Mark Maciver, a man perhaps better known as Slidercuts, has been cutting hair professionally for over fourteen years. During that time, he has nurtured a superlative client list, which runs the gamut from basketball player Lebron James to musician J Cole. He explains exactly how he masters some of his most popular haircuts, using some help from faces you might recognise... Beard shape ups styles.
Tinie Tempah: The twist-up
As one of Britain’s most stylish men, Tinie Tempah knows the value of a powerful cut. In fact, his hairstyle was the most requested of last year.
The style is called a “twisted box top”, with a “low fade” at the sides, clean edging around the hairline and a fade-up beard shape. This tightly curled style can only be done on afro hair using a Kurl King – a sponge tool with holes in it that hair sinks into. You take the sponge to your hair and move it in a circular motion give a twisted effect.
When I started cutting Tinie Tempah’s hair he already had this style in place, so to improve it I focused on making the shape stand out more. I did this by gradually introducing more length to the sides, giving it a more obvious fade. For Tinie Tempah, the small side-parting that was added to give the style a fresh edge became his signature. It even became referred to by customers as the “Tinie line”.
This year, he’s switched up and changed his style. He’s slightly grown out the sides and back to bring out more of the curls around his head. Even though the look is still done with the Kurl King, what was a twisted box top is now a fuller style all around, having also evolved from a low fade to a “tapered skin fade”.
With every look, Tinie Tempah is always up for experimenting, so it makes sense that his style – from his clothes to grooming – has become the talk of barbershops.
Popular facial hair styles
With the Kurl King, the best way to perfect the twist is by slightly wetting the hair before using the tool, as it softens the hair. If you want to bring out more curls, apply oil or wax, as this will help the hold and shine.
Anthony Joshua: Natural edge
AJ has been really experimental with his hair over the past few years. He’s gone through a number of different styles, such as low and skin fades, a mohican and occasional hair parting. More recently, in the lead-up to his big fight with Wladimir Klitschko, I was only lightly touching his edges and leaving the hair around alone. He was in full training mode and wasn’t concerned about his hair looking sharp or “pretty”, but he did want it to be neat – like old-school fighters Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier.
In barber terms, he generally gets a skin fade with an “open two” going with the grain (this is slightly higher than a classic number two). The level at the top means his hair will stand out when he’s on camera or at a distance. Because of his height, the majority of us have to look up to him, so the length on top means that you can see a clear shape and style.
Because of the cut Anthony Joshua gets, he can wear his hair in two different styles. It can be combed out, which gives him a neat and natural ‘fro on top or he can use a Kurl King to give it a slight twist. Day to day, AJ wants his hair to look in shape but with a rugged swag, so he’ll usually go with the former style and get a cut every seven to ten days.
Reggie Yates: Skin fade wave
Reggie Yates tends to get a 1.5 cut, going with the grain, and a medium to high skin fade. Because his hair has a natural wave, the haircut – specifically the gradient of the fade – is key to maintaining and nurturing this look. Waves, which are essentially flattened curls, are highly sought-after. Many of my customers try to emulate Reggie’s style, and I often get requests to create the same effect. Make sure you go with the grain to ensure that the wave pattern is emphasised.
The style is perfected by the skin fade. The benefit of Reggie Yates having a mid to high fade on the sides – shaved clean to the skin – is that it accentuates his hair on top, and therefore emphasises the wave. As Reggie is always very well groomed – he comes for a cut once a week – he likes his cut finished with a sharp shape-up. The silhouette and precision of this style suits the chiselled angles and contour of Reggie’s face. The lines are straight and the edges are sharp, and this is what makes his cut stand out.
In the two years that I’ve been cutting his hair, we’ve played around with the length on top to find the right variation that will bring out his waves with a perfect density. He might not always know the level he wants, but I know what suits him, so together we’ve evolved his haircut.
Waves are a style that need to be looked after and well maintained. In the same way that everyone has abs and a trainer can help to cultivate them, your barber can help to nurture your waves. Your hair needs to be flat and you need to brush your hair in the right direction of the wave. You can also use do-rag to help develop the wave, as well as warm water and hair creams and gels. In Reggie’s case, he simply uses a brush.
Stormzy: The classic cut
Stormzy rocks the classic “short back and sides” style. It’s a simple and effortless look that would sharpen any man’s appearance. The cut is an open one, against the grain, with a skin fade and a slick shape-up on the hairline and beard.
Before I first started cutting Stormzy’s hair, he used to get one gradient level all over. When I cut his hair for the first time, I could see that a skin fade would be a more suitable style for him – he allowed me to do whatever I felt was best.
The beard look
I tried out different levels and found the one I felt suited him the most. We changed the style of his hairline from something quite curved to a straighter shape, as it is now, which suits his bone structure. Similarly, with his hair lower on top, a classic skin fade adds to both the sharpness and timelessness of the look. Stormzy’s hairstyle is very much in keeping with his overall style – he’s a no mess, no fuss kind of guy.