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Bow down to the hair gods of Hollywood!

The single most culturally significant event of the 2014 Academy Awards was not a performance or speech, but the moment Jared Leto took to the stage with his long, dip-dyed and perfectly greased locks to receive his award. Rock stars win Oscars? The world, you guys, has come so far. It has indeed been in the hair department that the popular view of what a mainstream heterosexual man should or could look like has seen its biggest evolution over the past thirty years. Never mind the flamboyant pop stars of the 80s or the grunge movement of the 90s. It was when the hunks of the silver screen started experimenting with their ‘dos that the conventional masculine image really got a makeover. While Jared Leto seems to have been alive forever without ever aging, he of course isn’t by far the first leading gentleman to shake things up via hair, but rather the result of a line of hunky sex symbols, who pioneered the pretty boy hair affair a long, long time ago. Here are the male hair gods of Hollywood.

Text Anders Christian Madsen

  • Fabio

    He doesn’t really qualify for the list, being less than an A-lister and all, but he does have the most famous golden locks in showbiz. A real red-blooded Italian playboy, Fabio Lanzoni made a name for himself as the most sought-after romance novel cover star of the 80s and 90s. Titles he covered include Love Storm, Golden Temptress and Savage Betrayal, and had it not been for his aptly conditioned mane (and, perhaps, his aptly conditioned chest) Fabio wouldn’t be the sex symbol he is today. In 1993, the romance novel readers incorporated at Cosmopolitan named him no less than The Sexiest Man Alive, and at 55, he’s still got it: his own hair and all the muscles. Fabio once nearly got in a fight with George Clooney, who had to back down admitting that Fabio could take him any day. Brute vibes aside, Fabio isn’t just a man’s man and an Adonis, but a true trailblazer amongst hair gods.


  • Johnny Depp

    It took much consideration to come to a conclusion as to Johnny Depp’s relevance on this top five, but it was between him and Antonio Banderas and the Spaniards have always been able to pull of a femme-y hairstyle, so Johnny won. Although he has pretty much stayed true to his greasy man bob since the early '90s (sometimes engaging in a spot of fancy dip-dying) the reason Johnny really makes the list is because of all the real-world hairstyles that his on-screen hairstyles have inspired. From Gilbert Grape’s grunge hair to Edward Scissorhands’ goth-rock do and his highlighted tresses in Secret Window, Johnny inspired a world of men to throw a little glitter on it in the hair department. Johnny Depp looks people haven’t embraced however, are the Willy Wonka dainty pageboy, the white-streak Sweeney Todd wild curls, and the full extent of Jack Sparrow’s beaded dreadlocks.


  • Tom Cruise

    While some of us choose to see Tom Cruise for his non-action roles (Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, Interview with the Vampire), it’s hard to get around the fact that he is Hollywood’s alpha male action man. In this context, however, it’s a fact that’s served society well. With his ever-changing hair lengths, sumptuously groomed locks and attention to volume, Tom taught the burly macho men of the world that a girly haircut wasn’t synonymous with gay. Take for instance the scene in M:I-2 when he’s hanging off a cliff with his tresses blowing softly in the wind, or pretty much all of Magnolia in which he pulls off playing the most repulsively sexist macho coach, a high ponytail present throughout. This is the man who made the princely vampire Lestat look sexy in a curly ginger wig to a sea of swooning women, and even with his present short ‘hip dad’ cut, he’s always heavy on the product.


  • David Beckham

    Thanks be to Victoria Beckham, who presumably masterminded every man’s football hero’s foray into becoming the undoubtedly most important pioneer of metro-sexuality in the world. We bow low. Beckham qualifies as a Hollywood star thanks to him having a house there, just in case you were wondering, and after he bleached his curtains in 1998, there was no way back on the road to hair godliness: 1999 saw him sport the be-all-and-end-all asymmetrical cut of the late part of that decade, in 2000 he shaved his head (in a pretty way), 2001 introduced the Beckham Mohawk, in 2002 he embraced spikes followed by a crazy bleached mohawk, 2003 gave us the ponytail worshipped by all (sometimes in a hot bun), and then he pioneered cornrows for white people before a set of really long blonde locks graced 2004. In 2007 he got an undercut, quickly matched by a bleached crew cut, and several experiments with clippers and dye followed over the years until in 2011, he turned into Cary Grant. Cut it like Beckham.


  • Brad Pitt

    No actor in Hollywood has had more hairstyles that weren’t necessarily related to a role than Brad Pitt. The perhaps most universally loved actor of our time, Brad proudly led the slightly conventional, slightly scared male heterosexual troops of the world into hair territory previously unchartered. Much like Beckham but light-years ahead, Brad went from curtains to died curtains, from long grunge hair to ponytails to long bleached hair, and from a blonde asymmetrical haircut that matched his girlfriend at the time Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘do to frosted spikes. He did the little ‘gay bar’ crop and other takes on short hair, he did crew cuts and a shaved head, and something that resembled Jack Nicholson. Then he went all Hitler Jugend on us with a 30s undercut before he suddenly started looking like a rocker, rugged long hair in tow. And whatever he did, the men of the world had a go at it, too. Some more successful than others. For Brad, all that cutting and trimming and clipping and highlighting were worth it. And like anything the Pitt family does, he did it for a greater purpose than just his own good looks. Would it be going too far calling him a saint?