Like most cultural trends in the 1940s, hairstyles of this era were heavily influenced by World War II and tended to be low-maintenance and practical. Many male haircuts at the time were dictated by military standards, which meant that hair had to be very short or shaved. For those men outside the military, hair was still worn short and mimicked the styles of cinematic stars, according to the HairCareResources website
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For men who were fighting in World War II, a crew cut hairstyle was common. With this style, hair is cropped or shaved very shortly on the sides of a man's head, but it is left slightly longer or tapered on the top of the head, especially toward the forehead.
Many soldiers in the 1940s also donned a flattop hairstyle. Like a crew cut, the sides of a man's head are shaved or tapered short, but the hair on the crown of his head is left longer so it can stand straight up and give a flat appearance. Variations of the cut depend on the sides of the hair. For example, if the sides go straight up, it is called a "boxy" flattop, or if the sides are contoured, it gives a more circular appearance and is called a "rounded" flattop.
For men who were not in the military and had the freedom to choose their hairstyles, the most common style was to cut hair short, usually above the ears, and part it on the side. This mimicked popular movie stars at the time, like Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart.
Men from the 1940s also liked to slick back their hair using vaseline, grease or lard, according to HairStyleTwist website. Men could achieve this look by growing out their fringe and then brushing them back, which sometimes resulted in a big wave on top of the head. Movie stars of the era like Clark Gable sported this look that left the forehead exposed.
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