How Freddie Mercury’s 1980s hair became timeless

Just three years into Queen’s career, in 1975, the British legends released “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It was the anthem that founded the band’s international success, leading on to even bigger anthems, such as “We Will Rock You”.

By the time the 1980s came around, Queen were at the top of their game. Their confidence in evolving their music also meant a new found freedom when it came to fashion and grooming. In particular, for frontman Freddie Mercury, who traded in his shaggy, shoulder-length haircut for the complete opposite. He chopped it all off and neatly trimmed it into a college boy cut – a growing 1980s trend also sported by the likes of dance-rock band Frankie Goes To Hollywood, as well as Mercury’s partner Jim Hutton.

He also added some very distinct facial hair – a chevron moustache, which went on to become a hallmark of his grooming game. With a neatly clipped mop of hair and perfectly trimmed moustache, his facial styling went against the sea of perms, manes and mullets that dominated the decade and is the one 1980s reference we can get away with re-creating without looking like total idiots. So we called up Joe Mills (of Joe & Co) and asked for his best styling tips. Pens at the ready.

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Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music
Do you have any cutting tips to achieve Freddie Mercury’s short haircut and chevron moustache? And what are the best products to use for styling both?

Joe Mills: Freddie Mercury’s 1980s grooming regime is simple but subtle in its delivery. First things first: ask your barber for a simple college boy cut, which is basically a short, layered cut. You want it around two inches long all over, with a slight graduation around the ears and into the nape of the neck.

There are no fades in this cut – it’s simply a squared-off hairline and side burns. The styling is pretty easy too. On clean, damp hair, add four sprays of Triumph & Disaster’s Karekare Hair Tonic and then blow dry it back and over to one side with no parting. Once it’s nearly dry, pull a little fringe down with your vent brush. Finally, a quick blast of Kevin Murphy’s Session Spray to hold it in place.

As for his iconic chevron moustache, you need to have a fairly established one, so I’d advise growing out your beard until you have some length and then shaving it in.

The key to this shape of moustache is the drop on the sides. Take a pair of clippers and start with the handle bar. Gradually work the sides up, keeping an eye on the shape, but also the balance of each side. Once you’ve achieved this, it’s time to work on the lip line. Using the corner of the clipper, work it along your lip line, but make sure to go easy, as you don’t want to take too much out. You want the lip a little hidden! Finally, use a comb to help keep the hair where you want it.

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