The Peaky Blinders hairstyle: what to ask for and how to style it


With frenzied show performances from Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, razor sharp costumes and good bloody hairstyles across the board, the BBC drama Peaky Blinders grabbed us from the start. It follows the story of a gangster family who ran a criminal racket in Birmingham just after WWI. It’s one of the most stylish things on TV since 2013, but apparently not everyone agreed with the look hairstylist and makeup artist Laura Schiavo had in mind.

It took about a week to convince the cast to cut their hair for the now iconic period-style haircut. Iddo Goldberg (who plays Freddie Thorne) claims he first went under the razor – which encouraged the “ Peakies ” to copy him. One of the main benchmarks for the look came from Peter Doyle’s book Crooks Like Us: A Compilation of Sydney Police Portraits of Criminals from the 1920s, but the style is also partly inspired by the haircuts. military and nods to earlier history. eras.

While Peaky Blinders outfits – all herringbone coats and baker’s hats – have understandably become popular off-screen, Schiavo is still bewildered by the hairstyle’s popularity: “It’s weird, when I did it for the first time the boys wanted to wear hats to hide it, but now they don’t need them anymore because everyone is wearing it.


Off-screen, the appeal is that the hard back and sides showcase your bone structure (or beard) and the high contrast between the styling on the top of your head is a guaranteed spritzer. Plus, loose hairstyles and faded cuts of various types have been hairstylist favorites since the beginning of Peaky Blinders.

What is the Peaky Blinders haircut?

When we first meet Mafia boss Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy), he’s returned to Birmingham from trench hell. Her hair is worn in a “disconnected, unmixed, very short and pointed style,” says Schiavo. It is also inspired by the styles worn by the “sloggers” or hooligans of the late 1890s.

Photo by Hannah Skelly on Unsplash

While most of the characters have roughly shaved backs and sides, the styling on the top varies. Some wear the Peaky Blinders haircut with a simple side parting, some with a textured French cut, some with a quiff and others with slicked back hair. This versatility is probably the other reason why IRI has become popular.


The gang mentality was also important to convey, as Schiavo explains: “In the post-war era, when the ‘peaky world’ is set, they shaved their heads because of the lice. Yes, this hipster-friendly haircut had a very practical, rather dark, function of helping to prevent the spread of lice between the troops and among the poverty stricken population at home.

“But the look I was going for when I designed the cut for the show was so that you only saw the skin when the boys wore hats,” she says. “This is how you only really see the individual character when he takes his hat off.” This effect would also likely have made it more difficult for witnesses to identify a gangster if caught red-handed.

What to ask

Watching the actors should give you an indication of what look will work best for your own hair type. The series is so popular that your hairstylist will likely be familiar with the look, but in essence you have to ask for a disconnected undercut with no fade.

“You have to be sure that you can be really short on your back and sides,” says Joshua Gibson, director of Sassoon Academy in London. “Decide whether you want to wear the hair away from the face or closer to the head in length and worn forward.”

Photo by Chris Knight on Unsplash

Often the most violent character, Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson) has the most extreme clearance to match. Ideally, you need straight, thin hair to do this, with a long left section at the top that it wears slicked back. Trying to be the respectable face of a ‘legitimate’ business, Tommy himself wears it in a slightly softer cut pushed forward across his face and swept to the side. Younger brother John Shelby (Joe Cole) wears his straight parting in short, sleek curtains.

Style advice

Assuming you won’t hide it under a flat cap, Gibson says the best way to style it for your hair type: “If you have straighter hair texture, you might be better off dressing the hair away from the face using pomade or wax and use a Tangle Teezer to avoid comb marks for more elegance. »Frizzy hair types will benefit from a light oil like Illuminating Oil from Sassoon Professional to keep it smooth.

Gibson also recommends a textured product like a paste to plump blonde, fine, or back hair. With a stylish look like this, he also recommends using Nioxin Cleanser 2 to avoid the buildup of a heavier product. Both “Arthur” and “John” require styling pomade that adds both high shine and hold and “Tommy” requires texture with a matte finish.

Key products

Stick Tancho Tique

Want to style your hair with the official Peaky Blinders kit? Schiavo used Tancho High Grade Tique, an obscure styling wax that smells of lavender, for most of the sets. Presumably, the sweet scent is more in keeping with the early 1920s than modern hair potions (those in the method take note of these details). It comes in a push up stick and helps treat loose hairs without adding too much shine.

Buy Now: £ 26.99

Stick, Tancho Tique (3.52 oz)

Sachajuan Brilliant Serum

On set, Schiavo mixed the Tancho with a hair serum to achieve the wet look sported by Arthur and John. We love the Sachajuan Shine Serum which gives the hair a high shine and protects it at the same time.

Buy Now: £ 22.00

Sachajuan Brilliant Serum 30ml

Reuzel ointment

For Series Five, Schiavo rocked it by switching to Reuzel Pomade, which comes in a handful of formulas that cover high hold and high shine to a matte finish, depending on your preference.

Buy Now: £ 16.79

Reuzel fiber ointment

Kent comb

To get a really clean parting according to John, you need to style the hair when it’s wet, with a precise comb like this handmade example from Kent.

Buy Now: £ 5.89

Kent Men's Handmade Coarse and Fine Tooth Pocket Comb

Tangle Teezer

Once you have the parting, use a Tangle Teezer to smooth out the comb marks, as suggested by Joshua Gibson.

Buy Now: £ 12.00

The original PANTHER BLACK


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