Home » 4 On The Sides Haircut: Everything You Need To Know [With Photos]

4 On The Sides Haircut: Everything You Need To Know [With Photos]

Choosing the right haircut is not an easy job as you need to find the right balance between the style you like, your face shape and also take into consideration its maintenance needs. 

To make your life a bit easier, in this article, we are going to analyze the 4 on the sides haircut. We will talk about what exactly it is, what it looks like, who should get it and who shouldn’t, give you some cool hairstyle ideas, and finally, talk about how to do it at home. So let’s get started!

What is the “4 on the sides” haircut?

4 on the sides haircut
Source: @rb.fades via Instagram

The “4 on the sides” haircut is a haircut in which your side and back hair should get trimmed to a 13-millimeter (½ inch) length with the number guard 4 on the clipper (this is where the number 4 comes from). The number 4 on the sides is ideal for conservative guys and professionals who like a demure, understated image.

The best thing about the “4 on the sides” haircut is that it can look good on almost all face shapes. This is because it will not alter your head shape; it will just reduce extra fullness and puffiness from the back and sides.

Since it has a slimming effect, people with rounder faces will benefit more from it cause it creates a narrower face effect and, at the same time, gives a little fulness to longer faces. This versatility makes the “4 on the sides”  haircut popular among barbers and hair professionals.

Another benefit is that you can get the “4 on the sides” haircut while retaining longer hair on top. The 4 on the sides works well with long top hair because when hair reaches a particular length up top, slicing it off to a #2 or #3 on the sides can make the style appear a bit top-heavy. But a #4 on the sides generally gives a good, subtle middle ground that appears balanced and tapered at the same time.

Related Article: 1 On The Sides Haircut: Everything You Need To Know [With Photos]

What does the “4 on the sides” haircut look like?

4 on the sides 2
Source: @chriss_cutss via Instagram

It is not easy to describe how the 4 on the sides look like cause you can pair it with completely different looks, like the French crop, the pompadour, and the comb-over, and get completely different results. Unlike the crew cut, which is tidy and somewhat boring, the “4 on the sides” also looks tidy, but it projects a lot of character. The subtleness and tidiness of the “4 on the sides” hairstyle give a more interesting look.

A “4 on the sides” is a great choice for those who are bored with their current haircut but don’t like to experiment much. This haircut will give you the desired change without causing too much drama. Also, if you want a neat, professional look but want to try something new and interesting, you should consider the “4 on the sides.”

If you like shorter haircuts, you can also try the 4 on the sides haircut as you can pair it with a longer buzz on the top, like a number 8 buzzcut with a “4 on the sides” or a number 6 with a “4 on the sides.” However, remember that if you want a strict military look, you should probably go with a shorter length, like #1 or #2 on the sides.

Top 4 on the side haircut styles

As mentioned, the best thing about the “4 on the sides” haircut is that it goes well with almost any face shape. All you need to do is to decide how to cut and style your top hair, so it looks good on you. If you are not sure, you can ask the help of your hairstylist or barber about this. Here are some ideas about how to style your top hair and get a killer “4 on the sides” haircut.

1. Scissors on top with a 4 on the sides

scissors on top 4 on the sides
Source: @hairdazenh via Instagram

This cut has textured, scissor-cut, full, thick hair on top and is recommended for those who want an untidy look. The combination of the scissor-cut longer hair on top and the not-so-short buzzed side and back hair will give you a messy and, at the same time, professional look.

2. Long top with 4 on the sides

top knot 4 on the sides
Source: @lone_wolf_pack__akki via Instagram

If you like long hair but do not want to look untidy you should go this route. Trimming your hair to #4 length to the sides while leaving the top hair long will make you look tidier than having it long all over. In addition, the contrast between the short hair on the sides and the long hair on top will make your face appear slimmer, so if you have a round face, you should definitely consider this style.

3. Pompadour with 4 on the sides haircut

pompadour 4 on the sides
Source: @kool_kuts_for_men via Instagram

The pompadour hairstyle projects voluminous hair on top and shorter on the sides (cut with a number 4 guard in our case). While it is a very impressive hairstyle, you should keep in mind that it is high-maintenance because you should use gel or another product daily (or even more often) to style it and make it look good.  

4. Number 4 Fade haircut

Number 2 fade into number 4

This hairstyle is recommended for those who want a more “extreme” look. As the word implies, the side and back hair fade from top to bottom, meaning the hair gradually gets shorter as you go toward the neck. There are three main fade styles you can choose from: low, mid, or high fade.

  • Low fade: The shortest length of the fade will start to gradually change into the #4 length around half an inch above the ear.
  • Mid fade: The transition in a mid fade starts an inch above the ear.
  • High fade: In the high fade, the transition happens considerably higher up, at or near the level of the temples.

5. Short and messy hairstyle with 4 on the sides

Source: @jairitotx via Instagram

In this hairstyle, the top hair is long, unkempt, and textured, while the sides are trimmed with a number 4 guard. It is referred to as short and messy cause it allows you to experiment with numerous hair products to obtain the desired texture appearance. There are no strict rules, and it depends on how you carry yourself.

6. French crop with 4 on the sides

french crop 4 on the sides
Source: @przebarber via Instagram

The French crop is a very cool hairstyle where the top hair is combed forward towards the forehead while the side and back are buzzed with a number 4 guard. It is recommended for guys with receding hairlines. The reason is that the fringe is typically long enough to cover the waning temples.

Related Article: 5 On The Sides Haircut: Styles, Length, and More [With Photos]

How to do a “4 on the sides” haircut at home

If, for whatever reason, a trip to the barber takes a great toll on you, doing it yourself at home is the way to go.

  1. The first thing you need to do is to put the number #4 guard in your clipper.
  2. After placing the number 4 clipper guard and preparing your clipper by charging it, trim your hair gently at the sides, starting at the bottom and going toward the top.
  3. After you are done with the sides and back, it is time to cut the top hair. We can’t help you here as it totally depends on the style you will choose to get.

If you are not confident enough to trim your hair yourself, do not take the risk. Going to the barber is the next best thing to do. Make sure to tell the barber what style you prefer in great detail. Bringing a picture of the haircut you want to have is very helpful.


You can never go wrong with the 4 on the sides haircut because it goes well with almost all kinds of faces, facial features, and facial shapes. However, it is better to ask your barber what type of top hair you will look good in. What top style are you going to choose? Let us know in the comments section.

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