The hard part is one of those hair terms that, if you know it, you probably love it. At its core, a hard part—or surgical part as it’s been called once or twice before—is essentially a part that is shaved into the hair. It’s a little more extreme than the sharply defined side part that has been running rampant all over men’s magazines lately. And, by its very nature, requires a bit more commitment.
*Please Note: Since this technique requires a certain level of skill and steadiness of hand, definitely don’t try this one at home. A hard part is best left to a clipper-savvy, knowledgeable professional that can help determine whether your desired style is a good fit for a hard part.
What Is A Hard Part?
Typically, a hard part pairs well with undercuts, fades, and combed-over styles like a “Classic Sweepback” or a serious pompadour, and a good stylist/ barber will take creating hard parts very seriously. After all, it’s a bit more permanent than your typical combed in parting. The trick to create it is to start with soaking wet hair, and using a comb to define the part perfectly before starting in with the clippers. A typical best practice is to finish it all off with a straight razor to make sure the lines are as clean as possible. This will also extend the life of the hard part.
Now, it should be noted that there is one potential drawback to the hard part—they are a bit high maintenance. Depending on the width of the part, outgrowth can be very noticeable. While longer-on-top styles have the option to comb the hair over to cover growing hard part stubble, shorter styles like spikes and crewcuts will just have to let the proper amount of time pass. If you want to keep your sharply defined part looking fresh, you’re going to need to see your stylist or barber a lot more often. Unfortunately, there is nothing to do for hard part regret except to let nature take its course.
The Hard Part At Home
As far as at-home maintenance goes, it can be covered with one word—don’t. As in, “Do NOT attempt to keep your hard part clean, yourself.” Remember how a hard part is irreversible? Well, so are hard part mistakes. If you are keeping an eye on your outgrowth, book a quickie appointment to get both your part and neckline cleaned up. By doing so, you’ll extend the life of your cut overall. As far as styling goes, a hard part looks best with “tamed” hair. You’ll want to get yourself a good pomade, preferably something with a soft finish and a medium to strong hold.
Styling on the day-to-day should be pretty simple, as your hair should naturally fall away from the part. All that you need to do is encourage it. Take a little dab of pomade, work it between your palms until it is warm and malleable, and smooth it over your hair, starting at the part and working your way outward. Follow up with a comb to evenly disperse the product through your hair and finish up with whatever the recommended styling steps are for your specific cut.
Now that you know the basics, deciding on how you can best incorporate this style into your current look is really the hardest part.