It goes without saying that the past few years have both forced and inspired many clients to think outside the box when it comes to their hairstyles. For those with long hair, some have experimented with shorter and bolder styles, with some even embracing the buzz cut. With many of these styles having now grown out, the French crop (also known as the Euro crop, which is a combination of a cut with shorter sides and back with longer hair and texture or fringe on top) could be their next go-to if they’re looking to try something new. “Undoubtedly, the French crop has gained substantial popularity among clients,” says Hassan Nasser, owner of Avalon Hair Salon in Calgary and an educator for American Crew. “It offers a brilliant choice for individuals leading active lifestyles and seeking a stylish yet low-maintenance option that doesn’t compromise on making a statement.” “I believe it’s gained a lot of attention due to the sharp lines it can create,” adds Corey Bakon (a.k.a. The Cut Coach), a Vancouver-based barber, hairstylist and national educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems. “Additionally, the textured top—when cut correctly—can be quite easy to style for male clients.”
PRO TIP COMPARED TO A CAESAR CUT, THE FRENCH CROP HAS MORE LENGTH ON TOP AND A LONGER FRINGE, WHICH MAKES IT EASIER TO STYLE.
While the French crop is a relatively lowmaintenance option when it comes to styling, Nasser says it’s a look that’s all about shape. “The lived-in look allows [the client] to not have to stress about their hair throughout the day,” he says. “However, the cut is heavily reliant on shape, which means clients will need constant touch-ups to maintain the shape and fresh look.” “Since the cut demands frequent visits to the salon or barbershop, this keeps clients returning regularly,” he adds. “Additionally, by offering styling advice and related products, the salon can boost retail sales, so it’s a win-win for both clients and the business.” When it comes to boosting business in the salon, Bakon says it’s a great way to keep clients, especially men, coming into the salon every two weeks. “In the salon, male clients typically visit every four to six weeks on average,” he says. “Therefore, a salon can significantly increase its income by introducing this haircut to existing male clientele and adjusting the frequency of their visits.”
PRO TIP THE FRENCH CROP CAN WORK FOR A WIDE RANGE OF HAIR TYPES AND FACE SHAPES. HOWEVER, KEEPING THE SHAPE OF THE CUT SQUARE IS KEY.
Since the French crop is a versatile cut that can work for all genders, Nasser says the cut can be a great way to expand your clientele since it can be customized to suit the specific needs of each individual client. “Adjusting the shape, length, texture and styling based on the client’s preferences and head shape ensures that the style aligns with their identity and style goals.” With nostalgia playing a key role in emerging hair, fashion and beauty trends, Bakon says the French crop is also likely to appeal to those who are drawn to inspiration from the past, which is why this cut has become increasingly popular. “If you go back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, you’ll see similar cuts on a lot of R&B and pop singers,” he says. “It just wasn’t that long—the haircuts were shorter and the fringe was stronger.”
“SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE A LITTLE BIT AND STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE, AND THAT GOES FOR BOTH THE CLIENT AND THE STYLIST.” — HASSAN NASSER, OWNER OF AVALON HAIR SALON AND EDUCATOR FOR AMERICAN CREW
A Cut Above
When it comes to achieving this look, Nasser says that it’s important to start from the top to get the iconic square shape. “When cutting a French crop, I try to keep everything lean and square to enhance a strong masculine shape,” he says. “I prefer to start cutting a French crop from the top with my shears or feather razor and work my way down on the sides and back, fading with my clippers. Starting from the top allows me to ensure that I’m keeping enough weight and length for that squared shape.” In terms of perfecting the cut, Bakon says it’s important to use haircutting techniques that enable the stylist to remain in control. “Starting at the crown is going to give you the ability to stay in control of the hair texture,” he says. “If there are any changes in direction that are a little bit challenging or if there’s anything sitting at the top, it will give you an opportunity to adjust the cut around that without exposing anything at the top of the head. Start at the very top, creating the length—usually two inches is a desired length to start with. You can go shorter once you start to texturize the hair, but start with a two-inch length, straight up at a 90-degree angle from the crown of the head, and work that outward to the parietal region.” While some clients may be eager to try out this trend and are set on getting the cut before they even arrive at the salon, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons during the consultation. “Hair texture and density are definitely going to be important, as well as face shape,” says Bakon. “Just imagine trying to put a French crop on someone with a very wide forehead and a receding hairline. If you put this strong, stark hairline across the front, it’s just going to make them feel or look like they’re losing more hair. So we want to be sensitive to that before we make the suggestion, even if they’re asking for it, and we should be able to make the adjustments to the haircut to make it work for them.” “There’s a wide variety of French crop styles out there,” adds Nasser. “Some can be a lot more aggressive and edgy, while others can be a little more conservative. Finding a style that works for your client is important. You want them to feel empowered and confident when they leave the shop, so a good consultation can go a long way. It can create a blueprint for the style they want to achieve now and in the future.”
TEXT: LUCY MAZZUCO, HAIR: GEORGE SMITH, TONI & GUY, SALISBURY, U.K. PHOTO: ALEX BARRON-HOUGH, HAIR: TERRI KAY & ANDREA GILES, MARK LEESON, U.K., MAKEUP: CLARE READ, WARDROBE STYLING: BERNARD CONNOLLY, PHOTO: RICHARD MILES CALGARY