In the modern grooming industry, various forms of highly intricate, highly maintained hairstyles have become increasingly popular across the whole of society.
With a specific focus being placed on male grooming, perhaps more so than ever before, these kinds of haircuts are highly sought after by young men from all walks of life.
Aided in part by the popularity of shows like Peaky Blinders, and through a broader exposure to African-American and Middle Eastern-inspired grooming traditions through social media and the wider internet, more and more people are opting for hairstyles like the ‘fade’ and the ‘lineup’ – the latter of which being especially popular amongst both men and women.
But what exactly is a lineup, and what is its purpose?
What Is A ‘Lineup’?
The typically understood definition of a lineup is any hairstyle where the hairline is made perfectly uniform and symmetrical – either by shaving it in a straight line, or by thickening the hair with textured powder and coloring to give it more thickness.
Also known as a ‘shape up’ or a ‘tape up’, these hairstyles are particularly popular amongst young people, thanks to the look being made attractive and sought after through countless viral Tiktok and Instagram trends.
How Are Lineups Created?
The methods involved generally depend on the amount of hair the individual customer has, the type of hair they have (based on their race etc), and the existing style they possess.
Amongst African-American and black British men, the nature of their makes it easier for skilled barbers to create a sense of uniformity along the hairline.
This can be done by cutting into the existing hairline to even it – either with clippers or a straight razor – or by shaving a small section around the hairline and sideburns to create a straight edge.
This is what tends to happen in hairstyles such as dreadlocks and cornrows, with the straight, shaved edge forming a line around the more intricate, longer portions of the hair.
Barbers might also use thickening powder to color and thicken the existing hairline – thus creating uniformity – although usually they will shave and shape the ‘baby’ (new) hairs around the hairline and sideburns to create the desired shape.
Why Do People Like Them?
When it comes to the lineup, the attractive feature for most men (and women in some cases) is the uniformity it creates. However, there are other components as well.
Uniformity is key when it comes to the perfect lineup, and has come to be associated with cleanliness, ‘sharpness’, and generally looking ‘on point/fleek’.
Many young men prefer this style as it is generally easy to style (on the most part), but also creates a suave image preferred amongst certain circles and trends.
In youth culture, especially contemporary youth culture, there is a specific focus on appearance, and making sure everything is perfectly tuned and precise.
For many, the perfect lineup is the icing on the cake.
While symmetry and uniformity might seem like the same thing, what we actually mean by this is symmetry of the facial features.
In modern beauty standards, symmetry is consistently held up as an ‘ideal’ of classical beauty, and for both men and women, getting the hair perfectly aligned goes a long way to creating and maintaining facial symmetry – especially when combined with a perfectly groomed, even beard in young men.
For those who are receding, or who do not have uniform, thick hairlines, the creation of one using a lineup can be a great way of appearing more virile, masculine, and attractive – even though there is no factual definition on any one of those things.
While in reality, a bald head is generally considered a sign of masculinity and being ‘testosterone heavy’, many consider a thick head of hair to be a sign of youth, beauty, and physical perfection – even though such things are generally in the eye of the beholder.
What Are The Benefits Of A Lineup?
There are of course many benefits to having this haircut, many of which go a long way to explain why it is so popular.
For Black Hair
Most of the benefits for the lineup haircut are generally aimed at black men, as the nature of the haircut really works (and looks most effective) on black hair.
The tightly curled nature of black hair can make it difficult to style, but with the help of a lineup, it is easy for skilled barbers to make any style (or amount) of hair appear sharp and symmetrical.
Depending on the type of lineup – and the type of haircut you have to begin with – the shaved portions of hair, and the uniformity of the cut, usually mean that little to no upkeep is needed in between appointments, which is good for men who want to look sharp with minimal fuss.
What Are The Downsides Of A Lineup?
Of course, as with any style or choice, there are some downsides.
The major downside of the lineup hairstyle is that they require a lot of trips to the barbershop, especially if you are trying to maintain the clean look.
Shaved hair tends to grow quickly in the early stages, and so (depending on the style) it can begin to look untidy (or less effective) after a relatively short time.
With frequent trips to the barbershop comes an increase in expense, and depending on your shop of choice, it might not be a cheap visit.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about the lineup haircut, and what makes it so popular.
With styles to suit any hair type, the lineup has become a mainstay in fashion and grooming.
So, if you are looking for the perfect new style to keep you looking sharp and fresh, then maybe the lineup is the one for you!