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Step away from the scissors: the five worst haircuts for men right now

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: the bowl cut is back. Except, now we’re grownups. If you believe the Mail, there’s been a significant uptick in the number of men heading to the barbers and asking for a ’do more readily associated with that spotty kid who stuck Wotsits up his nose at lunchtime than it is with 21st-century hipsterism.

Meanwhile, the man bun continues to bestride the pop-cultural universe, filtering down into ordinary life sufficiently that this week a focus group conducted (in sober mood and with forensic precision, one presumes) by a mobile gaming site has deemed them the worst trend of the year. Look around you, in fact, and it seems like a pretty diabolical moment for men’s barnets across the board. Here is some important analysis of the worst examples of the moment.

1. The bowl cut

Free bowl cut, anyone? Photograph: Joe Pepler/REX Shutterstock

I can’t really get my head round this one, which makes sense, since actually this is one that gets round your head. It’s Robert Pattinson’s fault, or possibly FKA twigs’, for the brilliantly literal version he got shortly after they started going out, removing every last wisp from below the colander line. (Except that weird little square he kept on the back, of course, which I always thought looked like where you would charge him up.) The only note of comfort: it is just possible that the hairdresser who exuberantly informed the Mail of this phenomenon is having us on a bit, since the picture provided of customers queuing round the block features several men whose hair is already too short to protrude once they stick a bowl on their bonce. If you’re ever tempted, repeat to yourself: soup and salads. It’s for soup and salads.

2. The man bun

Oliver Proudlock of reality TV show Made in Chelsea is the proud owner of a man bun. Photograph: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Fiercely though I wish to ridicule the man bun, I know, at heart, that this is mostly the product of envy. Whatever that focus group says, every woman I speak to seems to fancy a man with a bun – but try it in the office and your career will be unfairly derailed as everyone starts to associate you inextricably with Oliver Proudlock from Made In Chelsea. Proudlock aside, if you’re not a professional footballer or a boybandist, you should probably leave this to the experts. You’re not virile enough. Sorry.

3. The undercut bob

Jamie Oliver’s new hair does a TV interview. Photograph: screengrab

Show me a man with a good word to say about the undercut bob and I will show you a man who works for Jamie Oliver. Equal parts boyband, buzzcut and Brylcreem, as Hannah Marriott astutely pointed out, there’s a lot to unpack here: Oliver’s do has a lineage in football, being as it is a cousin of your classic Giroud and your Beckhamesque middle-aged man quiff. Giroud’s has a certain matinee idol charm, but the others are horrendous – particularly Oliver’s, which looks as if he’s put his mullet on upside down.

4. The bleach job

Jared Leto’s lightbulb moment. Photograph: SIPA/REX Shutterstock

This one I’ve definitely noticed in reality, as well as in pictures of Jared Leto looking a bit sinister: male peroxide jobs are ever more common, reminding us all of the fascinating fact that “blond” is one of the only English adjectives to take a gender suffix! Our own Oscar Rickett gave it a whirl, and I think he looks quite cool. You wouldn’t want it to catch on too widely, though, or our cities will take on an unfortunate undercurrent of fascist menace.

5. The Osborne

George Osborne: more than a hairdo. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

This is, if nothing else, a long-term economic haircut, and loathe though I am to admit it, a vast improvement on the UK Chancellor’s previous looks (even if he feels the need to frequently hide it with a hard hat). Of all these styles it’s also the one most likely to be widely mimicked, ticking off as it does most men’s primary hair goals of making you seem sharp, effective and less bald with what looks like minimal maintenance. Of course, by the same token, it also makes you look like a 24-carat Buller bastard, ruthlessly efficient as you smash up a restaurant. So probably not one to go for if you mind whether anyone likes you.

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