Cut to the Chase

Trim, shape and style your way to spring-ready

Warmer weather calls for fewer cares and refreshed hair. We spoke with South Africa’s premier barber, Warren Theunis aka Mr Barber, about which cuts and styles will be making waves this spring. 

Written by Nabeel Allie

Many men have grown out their hair because of the cold winter months and the trappings of endless curfews and lockdowns. These may seem like unprecedented times but Warren Theunis aka Mr Barber has experienced it all and has a few ideas about what’s coming next. Spoiler alert: the future’s looking bold, whether you’re looking to trim, neaten or style. 

A standout haircut needs a bold fit to complement it.

N: Summer’s not here just yet but days are beginning to warm up. Have you been getting any summer cut requests? 

W: It’s not so much that we’re doing summer cuts, because it’s still a bit chilly, but we can already see the season’s new trend, being bold. People aren’t afraid to push boundaries and to actually live. Living means that people who never grew their hair are growing their hair. People who were worried about what a beard would look like – they’re doing it now. 

N: Is this spring season about making statements with your hair?

W: We saw them make a big statement last summer. People were going bold with their shades, going grey, going blonde, I’ve done some green, people went for white and silver. This year I think it’s going to be big again but more outrageous. We’ve been going through a lot as a people and people express that in their look. Often when someone says, “I need a change” the first thing you see is not that they changed their job – they change their hairstyle.

A close fade allows your sunglass choice to cap off an athleisure aesthetic.

N: Are we going to see men trimming their hair before that big summer cut?

W: There’s going to be a blend. The maintenance of styling your hair as you’re growing it out is going to be in the form of mullets, you’re going to see people with mini afros or dreads from the top, meaning that their grown-out hair is not being cut but they’re shaping the sides. Almost like the fruits of their labour – they’ve gone through winter growing it and don’t want to lose all of it but just give it a trim and a shape up. Before we lose that length people are definitely going to experiment with the length and the longer layers.

N: Are there any trends that you or fellow barbers are trying to push for the season?

W: There have been a few from the influential barbers in South Africa and in neighbouring countries like Namibia. Influencers in the barbering game are pushing crops. A crop fade with longer hair on top but they kind of meet at the same place, I do see barbers and influencers pushing those types of styles.

Dress up for the season by styling your high-top fade with a fit that speaks for itself

N: Could we see the return of soccer cuts with sport coming back into swing?

W: The soccer industry and television’s influence on barbers is something that cannot be ignored. It’s a visual medium. When television came, barbering became popular. We want to be the people we see on TV. Right now the talk of the town is Ronaldo going to Man United. Ronaldo is an extremely influential person when it comes to hair trends, everyone wants their hair like Ronaldo. With a new hype around him you can definitely see that filtering into the barber shop.

N: We’ve seen a throwback in some of the styles you showed us, will we see a return of high tops and those retro cuts?

W: Absolutely. We’ve grown our hair out but we’re not ready to let it go yet, and now we’re tapering on the sides and we’re just trimming the top to a shape that complements our face and the look that we’re going for. That high top cut is a classic example of people growing their hair out and then managing it in a way that makes them presentable.

Refresh the classics by keeping your length on top and showing off new kicks below.

N: Could we see any other comebacks this season? 

W: I don’t think we’ll have to look very far back in history to spot this season’s trends. If we go back to 2007/8, a hard parting where the hair is considerably longer beyond that parting line – also known as a comb-over but there are variations of it. If you want to give it a technical term it was a disconnected cut and a hard parting. To bring it back to the analysis on football, that was a big deal in football, the comb-over, and that line moved from the side of the head to almost-the-centre of the head, then it became a diagonal line and not a straight line – there were variations of it. I do think – I won’t put money on it – that a comb-over is something that we’re going to see.

There’s no better way to celebrate springtime than with a fresh cut and denim shorts.

Whatever the trend is, classic remains classic. There are some gents cuts that remain no matter how bold we go and no matter how the runways and social media try to push trends – short back and sides, little trim on the top. It’s always going to be smart and it’s always going to be in. For this upcoming spring season, neaten your growth. Style and trim it into a look you otherwise couldn’t have had without longer hair, all the while preparing yourself and the world for that summer look.