How to Get Joel Kinnaman’s Versatile, Side-swept Hairstyle

Joel Kinnaman
Michael Schultz


Joel Kinnaman, the star of Hanna, The Informer, and Altered Carbon, covers our July/August issue, sporting a textured, side-swept hairstyle. It’s a cut to consider snagging for yourself, since it wears well in both professional and casual settings.

If you’re curious how it might look on you, consider the advice of Alexia Saras, regional barber manager at Fellow Barber in New York City. Here, she explains whom the style suits best, how to style and maintain it, and what to tell your barber.

How to Get Joel Kinnaman’s Hairstyle: The Kind of Hair You Need

You need to start with some length, at least up top. It’ll be harder for your barber to achieve this style if you’re working with a previously disconnected haircut, Saras notes. You’ll need something that’s easily blended from top to sides.

Because of the forward fringe that sweeps across the brow, Kinnaman’s cut works really well on guys with receding temples. It also softens the widow’s peak that forms in the middle of the recession. Just be sure to ask the barber to leave more density in the front, says Saras, so that you can sweep it down and over the recession. Get your barber’s honest opinion on your density, though. If it’s too thinned out, Salas says you’ll just look like you have a really bad comb-over.

You’ll need relatively textured hair for the style, something that has a natural wave to it without being too curly. “If you have very straight hair, it’ll stick out from the crown and parietal ridge (upper sides) and run the risk of poofing,” Saras says.

It works on thin and thick hair, and Saras says that the style reduces bulk, which is an added benefit for guys with thicker hair: “It allows you to take the sides very short, which prevents them from growing in and looking like a clown wig,” she adds.

Joel Kinnaman
Joel Kinnaman Michael Schultz

What to Tell Your Barber

Your barber should be adept enough to know if this look suits you, as well as how to pull it off. But here are some points you can make.

“This haircut is a blend of a ‘French crop’ with longer fringe and a longer version of a crew cut on the sides,” Saras says.

On top, you want a lot of texture, so your barber should cut the sides with scissors to roughly one inch in length—or a #6 guard (though this entire look really should be styled with scissors).

“The top should be trimmed from a short two inches in the back to a long three inches in the front, done with scissors,” says Saras. “The sides are trimmed and connected to the top while breaking the corners to follow the roundness of the head.”

As for the sideburns and neck, leave them naturally faded, but not tapered.

How to Maintain This Style

Saras suggests a full haircut every three to four weeks, and to clean up the neck and sideburns every two weeks so that it stays natural-looking.

How to Style It

Use a nickel- or quarter-sized amount of lightweight styling cream, Saras advises. (Conveniently, Fellow Barber sells its own Styling Cream, which Saras uses on her clients with similar cuts. Product application is important here, too. After distributing the cream evenly in your palms, apply starting from the rear and sides of the head, moving forward, while targeting the roots. You can then massage the hair back from the front, and forward from the back after that, until it’s evenly applied.

Set your blow dryer on low, and point it down over the fringe, instead of under and upward. You can use the diffuser extension on the dryer, too, to better lock in the product and retain some of the moisture in the hair. “This helps keep the style looking great all day long,” Saras says.

You can go over the top of it with a light dusting of texturizing paste or clay (like Firsthand), or a zap of texturizing hair spray (like Ouai’s); it’ll ensure that your hair looks dense and defined.

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