13 Hairstyles with a Side Shave

Before I shaved my side, I did a lot of careful research, trying to find out how it would look worn in other ways aside from down. Examples are out there, but its a hard thing to find on purpose. So now that I’ve had my side shave for awhile, I decided to do a provide a public service by collecting some of the different ways I have worn my hair recently. (I know that the public is dying to know what a pony tail looks like with a bald spot on the side of the head…) In the interest of showing how this really looks in real life, these are not from a carefully planned and controlled photoshoot; these are just Droid camera shots of how I actually wore my hair on various days. There will also not be a lot of interesting makeup variety; these were all taken while I was having eye issues, so I couldn’t wear eye makeup.

I repeat- the moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived. You finally get to see what it looks like when a flat-haired slob with messy eyebrows fixes her own hair, in real life, with no eye makeup, despite her hair styling disability – with the side of her head shaved.

Basic- Down and (Mostly) Natural


Basic Down


This is the basic way my hair looks most days. My hair texture is flat and smooth; this picture actually has a bit more body than I have naturally, because I blow dried a little kick into the ends. This outfit is actually not slobby as you might think at first glance. Its actually a cutting edge style called “slob chic”.

It was actually surprising to me how not instantly apparent the side shave is. I usually do it with a #1 guard, and at that length, from a distance, I think it just looks like hair. I did it with no guard once, and I wasn’t a fan of it because it itched, and made all of my scalp zits apparent. That was a little more in-your-face shaved side.

The “I’m At Work” Side Knot

Side Knot

…Except I’m not at work in these pictures. To get this style, I essentially grab a handful of it at the side of my head, and make it into a pony tail without pulling the end all the way through. The I wrap the ends around the pony tail. I do this when my hair is in my face, in the way, feels like a giant damp dead animal, or is basically crazy.


Down and Wavy


This is how I can make my “down” hair look better with a little more effort, without looking like I’m putting in very much effort. The waves are done with a Bed Head “Wave Artist” Deep Waver.  It took some experimenting to learn how to make waves that don’t look decidedly deliberate and unnatural. The technique I usually use now is to start the waves lower on the hair, and hold each “bite” longer as I go towards the ends. So I hold very briefly at the top, about a second in the middle, and maybe 3 seconds at the end.  I still don’t think they really look natural, but I’m not always going for natural.

Skewed Top Bun

Top Bun

  I’ve always done my top buns canted to the side, even when I wasn’t bald on the side. So no, it doesn’t have to be off center because the side is shaved. I just like that look better. My standard top bun is done by pulling it into a tight, slightly off-center ponytail, and then twisting the tail and winding it around the base. It takes 2-3 bobby pins to hold. I’ve not had much success with any of the fancier versions of top bun, and the messier top bun doesn’t look carefree and full of body on me. It looks messy and ragged, with odd lumps, because my hair does not have an ounce of wave.

Down and Hidden


  The big question is probably “Can you hide the side shave?” The answer, at least in my case, is yes. I just part it on the other side. In this picture, you are looking at the side of my hair that has stubble under it. This might not work if you have thin hair; my hair is flat, but there’s quite a bit there.

Top Bun with Braids and Feathers

Top Bun Feathers


This is the off-kilter side bun again, this time with ornamental braids and feathers. The braids originate from the “corner” of the shaved area and from behind the ear on the other side. The feathers are tied in with craft string. I wish you could see more in the photo, but I hadn’t yet decided that I was doing a hair gallery when I took this, so I wasn’t careful.


The Semi-Chun Li Buns

Chun Lis


This is what happens when one googles pictures of the Spice Girls before going to bed. Or gets nostalgic for Nintendo and then does not wash hair in the morning (for unrelated reasons). Chun Li, if I have to spell it out for you, is a character from Street Fighter who has pigtail buns, although hers are covered. These are also off-kilter, because that’s how I roll. The part in the back has to be fudged to keep the buns of near equal size. Basically the right bun is all the hair remaining on my right side, and most of the hair from the back. The left side is basically just the hair from the left side of my head. This works out well because I never like the way my part looks in the back anyway. It always looks.. greasy.



Up in a Preppy Clip with Ends Crazy

Preppy Clip

  This is just twisted in the back and clipped with a “preppy clip”. The ends are left to do what they will. I told you already, I love the 90s. I also braided the corner strand again and left it out.

Incognito Pony Tail

Incognito Pony

  This is the pony tail way to hide the side shave. You can see it, if you look closely, but generally people don’t expect to see it, and they just see what they expect. Its great for getting pulled over, court dates, trying to look respectable when picking up your child from all the best preschools, ect. (As if I know anything about preschools.)

Half Up, with a Bump


  Some days I want to go for a Brigitte Bardot thing, but this is about all the volume my hair does without being severely abused. I’ve had it teased into a full on puff ball, but that was against my will, and it took a full bottle of conditioner to undo. I have a policy of not pushing my hair very far beyond its intended shape. (Color is a separate matter.)  For this I just teased the top back a little and fluffed it with hairspray, then pulled the top section back into a ponytail. The head band is just a piece of old trim from my sewing stash, tied around my head. The side shave is visible, but it doesn’t  really affect the style much.

Letting it Fall Where it Will, with a Barrette


  I didn’t style my hair on this day, I think I did blow dry it a little since the ends have some movement. When it started to get in my eyes, I stuck a barrette in it. The barrette is just a cheap metal Goody one that I spray painted with blue metallic paint a long time ago. (I also have some spray painted bobby pins from that experiment.) You can see that my eye is messed up in the second picture, how cool is that.

The Granny/Semi-Geisha Bun

Granny Giesha

  This differs from my standard top bun in two ways. First, it doesn’t have a pony tail in there somewhere – I just wad and twist the hair up and pin it in place. Secondly, I do this bun when I don’t intend to have my hair up all day. Its actually more of a styling tool than a style. I wear this at work all day, and then…

The Cheap Bodywave

Cheap Bodywave


..When I take down the Granny/Semi-Geisha, I shake my hair out and then I can go out with the Cheap Bodywave. Its a little different each time, but its always more body than usual for me. I usually take the bun out and redo it several times a day, because this seems to make the wave more even in the end. Sometimes the result is more heavy on wave, sometimes its just a bit of a body boost.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Scott Free says:

    Preppy clip with ends crazaay!

  2. Herey says:

    I wish I could do that side knot thing. I just don’t think it would look right with my hair, though. I love the wavy look! You’ve inspired me to try out my wavy/dreads thing again, too. It should probably look cool with the shave.

    I love your semi-Chun Li buns! I used to wear my hair like that all the time (except for the swooping bangs and side shave).

    Preppy clip + crazy ends: I used to wear my hair in a variation of that style ALL THE TIME. So often that it actually began to damage my hair. But what can I say? I was lazy and I liked the way the crazy ends looked. 😛

    Your incognito ponytail reminds me so much of my best friend. She has a little baldish spot right there from when she had radiation, so the side of her head usually looks similar to that.

    LOL the cheap bodywave is how I have my hair right now, and how I wear it most days (unless it’s in a bun or a braid).

    1. rika9 says:

      Just out of curiosity, does your hair cover the shave completely when down? You have more shave than me but you have tons of hair.

      1. Herey says:

        Well, since most of my head is shaved, I can only wear my hair swept to one side when it’s down. So, mostly it looks like I have half of my head shaved. There’s not really enough hair left to cover ALL of the shave.

  3. Adryen says:

    My hair is shorter than yours so a couple won’t work out but you’ve given me a bunch of ideas thanks!

    1. rika9 says:

      You’re welcome! I’ve been meaning to do another, but I guess I just havent been being very creative with my hairstyles lately. 🙂

  4. Chels says:

    I love your personality. I was cracking up the whole time. I too am unable to wield a styling tool and possess straight (and flat) hair with messy eyebrows. I’ve been considering the side shave for a while and wanted to see what a ponytail looked like (for running and IDGAF days). Your gallery was awesome- thanks!

  5. Miriam says:

    You are hilarious! Seriously, this was helpful because I’ve been considering this hairstyle, but I have fine hair so not sure if it will work. I’ll have to ask my stylist. It looks great on you!

    1. rika9 says:

      Lol thanks! I have really flat/straight hair, but its not actually fine, so mine covers the shave if I want it to. If you weren’t concerned about ever covering it, I wouldn’t think fine hair would be an issue. I see the side shave worn with hair with a lot of volume a lot, but personally I like it with the flat hair look too.

  6. triplethreat77 says:

    I want to say thank you [so much] for the article (I’ve seen the newer one too). I love your tongue in cheek humor and realness throughout, we’re alike in that manner. Anyways, I’m a programmer and I work in a professional environment. I’m used to working from home in a metal shirt and panties with blood red hair but alas. The “normal” world has stripped me of my anime hair with my new job. I was trying to make a decision if I could successfully shave the side of my head and cover it at work when I came across your article. I love your punk rock attitude with the messy hair and lack of make up – beautiful. I’m a strong, confident woman myself and it was fucking refreshing to run across your blog. Cheers, Rika. Have a great day, lady. I’m shaving the side of my head tonight. ❤

    1. rika9 says:

      Awesome to hear from you! I hope you like the side shave as much as I do. I’m lucky to work in a place where the definition of professional is a little more open than most.. But I totally get the value of finding little ways to be yourself while still fulfilling the obligations of the space you’re in. Always good to meet a lady in the tech fields.. And a member of Team No Pants too!

  7. Sara FG says:

    Really cool. Thank you, you gave me some new ideas! 😀

  8. Michela DaiZovi says:

    This was really helpful. I’m considering it for myself but wanted to know what it looks like if you’re not Natalie Dormer or Rihanna. It looks great on you; I’ll probably go get it tomorrow. Thanks!

  9. Maddie H. says:

    All of these look absolutely awful. They don’t suit your face at all… Not to mention that these are all outdated trends. Don’t embarrass yourself; keep your hair down.

    1. rika9 says:

      You’re commenting on a blog from 2013. And, I normally wouldn’t say anything but since you’ve gone out of your way to do it on my blog.. you’re kind of being an asshole. That’s less flattering, and more embarrassing to you than any old thing I’ve done with my hair. But thanks for visiting!

      1. sourpatchkitkat says:

        Boohoo, cry me a river. If you’re so inclined to reply to an old comment on an old post, you should have at least considered the serious advice part of it. Let’s just hope your taste of hair has changed in the past 5 years.

  10. Shell says:

    I know this is an old blog, but this is the only thing on the net I found about trying to hide a side shave! I work in a pretty conservative work place that deals with the public a lot face to face. I have to have my hair tied up at all times, with no straggly bits and no crazy colours. I’ve wanted a side shave for a long time, but I’m worried it won’t be easy to hide… What do you think after your experience with one? The photos you took make it look like it can be done…

    1. rika9 says:

      It depends on your hair of course, but for a lot of people, probably most people, I think yes. I kept mine covered over at work for a long time, even though my industry is not terribly conservative. I’ve had work friends make comments like “When you first shaved the side of your head..” and I laugh because they are talking about the moment I stopped parting it on the other side at work – I had had it shaved for two years before I knew them or had that job.

      My hair isn’t terribly fine, but it doesn’t have much natural volume. When I parted mine on the opposite side and wore it down, it was invisible. I could also do a deep side part on the opposite side and sweep it over and back into a bun, and if I used product on it, it was covered really well. In the picture I have on here I wasn’t trying very hard to cover it perfectly, basically just trying not to draw attention to it. I actually didn’t even have it parted on the far side there. (There’s another post where I did a few more of these, it might have one where I was trying harder?) On me, the short pieces just in front of the ear do tend to show, but it seems like people don’t notice that or don’t realize that it indicates you’ve got a whole shaved side under there. I’ve seen several friends with various parts of their heads shaved experiment with covering it, and most of them actually had an easier time than me, because most of them did not have some wave or curl which I don’t.

      All my sides are actually shaved now except the top of my head, and that’s shorter, about chin length. I don’t think I could hide both my sides at once, but when I let it flop to one side it still looks like there’s a full head’s growth of hair on that side.

      Words of caution:
      – My original side shave that you see in these pictures didn’t go back very far. Mine stopped in a line at the top point of my ear. You have to be specific with hairstylists about this, a lot of them think that the default is to have the shaved part curve down behind your ear. I think having the hair behind your ear left alone is key to easily hiding it while its back.

      – Also don’t shave it up any higher than the lowest place your hair will easily do a part on that side.

      – If you dye your hair a color mush darker or much lighter than your natural, if you let your roots get bad, it gets harder to hide.

      – If you want to do it not just back but up while you hide it, you have to part off the front section, and smooth/swoop that down over the shave with product while the rest goes up, if that makes sense.

      – If your professional life depends on it being undetectable, I would not probably go ahead with it unless you are pretty decent at hairstyling. If you basically can only execute one pulled-back hairstyle or have trouble with neatness, I would practice some more hair manipulation techniques before you jump in.

      The way to somewhat test if you think you’ll be able to do it:
      Get a really heavy firm hair product like a super heavy gel. Section off the hair that you think youd shave, and slick it back or slick it into a coil as close to your scalp as you can get. Then try to put your hair back in a way that covers it. (Its a better test if you have hair that’s light enough to turn a slightly different color when soaked with gel..)

      Anyways, my best advice is.. you can probably do it, but proceed with as much caution and pre-testing as you can? I hope you get to do it and it works out, being able to have the hair you want is one of life’s little joys. I like to think this post has helped some people live out their shaved-side dreams. 😉

  11. AndrewSquix says:



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