What makes Zayn Malik the ultimate accessory in an Indian barber shop?

Singer and role model, the man’s hairstyles are a cut above the rest.

Harper's Bazaar India

Singer, songwriter, and the man who is the face of the latest Harper’s Bazaar India’s digital cover—Zayn Malik is a man who is much more than his music. While his songs mean a lot to audiences around the globe, it’s his eccentric hairstyles that have made a very special place in the hearts (and heads) of Indian men. Don’t believe us? All you got to do is take a walk past the men’s saloons of the country and you will see the man on its board. Take a look inside and you’d see a collage of him with countless hairstyles leaving the customer with ample options to choose from. You see, when it comes to Malik and his hairstyles, he is well and truly a cut above the rest. 

And it isn’t just us, at Bazaar India, who’s noticed this. One has questioned this trend on Reddit and Quora, much to the delight of his fans, along with this being a running joke when his ex-girlfriend Gigi Hadid visited India last year in April for the launch of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC). 

So, the question is, why is Malik the ultimate accessory in an Indian barber shop. We hoped that India’s leading celebrity hairstylists and hair experts might have the answer

Why Zayn Malik and not anyone else?

Over the years, there have been countless men (both from the real and fictional world of cinema) that have made gents head straight to the saloon wanting their hair to look exactly like their hero. The popular ones that come to mind are Salman Khan’s middle-parting short fringe look from Tere Naam that was a rage in the early 2000s, John Abraham’s long locks in Dhoom that made him the talk of the town, Aamir Khan proving that bald can be beautiful in Ghajini, and MS Dhoni’s gold-ey locks that featured shoulder-length locks with golden highlights. While they’re certainly iconic, one has stood the true test of time, Zayn Malik. 

One might wonder why hairdressers chose Zayn Malik’s face to display in their salons over countless other celebrities. The answer lies in his unique appeal says Simran Sainani, the founder of Curl Care. “His mixed heritage and his ability to carry off a variety of styles made him relatable and aspirational. He wasn’t just another celebrity; he represented a fusion of cultures and styles that felt fresh and relevant. Plus, his haircuts were versatile enough to be adapted to different hair types, making them ideal for a diverse clientele.”

As one of the biggest celebrity hairstylists, Hakim Aalim represents the very finest in hair and hairstyles, from the contemporary to the classic. He’s seen many trends, but no prizes for guessing who’s been his A1 from day one. “Most saloons use his face as a reference because he’s so versatile with his looks. He dares to do something different and cool. And it’s not just his body language, tattoos, attire, but even his hairstyles. Today’s generation wants to stand out, but don’t have a reference to tell the barber or hairdresser. Saloons keep his picture as a reference because it’s easy to convince someone when it’s Zayn Malik. So when customers see a good hairstyle like that, it’s a good selling point.”

How Malik’s hairstyles became the go-to option for Indian men


A post shared by @zayn_bestie

Zayn Malik’s hairstyles have had a massive impact on Indian hairdressers. His ever-evolving looks, from sharp spikes to the suave undercut, have set trends that many strive to emulate. “Back in the day, it was almost a given that a salon would have numerous photos of Malik to show clients. His hairstyles offered a blend of modernity and edge that resonated with many young Indians looking for stylish, yet achievable haircuts,” says Sainani who talks about a Malik’s hairstyles that she’ll never forget. “Personally, my favourite Zayn Malik hairstyle has to be his classic spiked look. This style became iconic and was one of the first that made him a household name in the hairstyling world. The spikes were bold, easy to maintain, and suited a variety of face shapes, making it a popular choice for many.”

Type haircuts for men in say platinum, electric blue, pink or undercut fades on the Internet—there’s every chance that an image of Malik will pop up. Everything he does has been a style statement. “Right from the way he poses, to his tattoos and his hairstyles, Malik is the complete package from head to toe, who knows how to carry himself. Once you see a stylish haircut on a guy who dresses well, you want to be like him. Having his picture at the saloon means that hairdressers and stylists are not just selling his hairstyle, but are selling the complete package. Furthermore, you don’t want to see someone who isn’t cool,” adds Aalim who says that Malik’s electric blue look with side fades will always be his favourite look. “He also tried something with pink. You really need a lot of guts to do that, but he carried it off.”

An important aspect about Malik’s hairstyles is that they transcend all demographics and geographical barriers. You may be a youngster, businessmen, a teenager from a small-town or someone from a metro city, everyone apes and wants hair like Zayn Malik. Ojas Rajani is a celebrity make-up artist and hairstylist who has spent close to three decades in the industry. He’s seen icons come and go, but none have had the impact on the world of hairstyles quite like Malik. “His hairstyles add so much to your face and personality. His hairstyles make even someone ordinary look trendy, refined, and polished. That's Malik for you, adaptable and relatable. He also looks very Indian. Girls love him, guys do too. He has all our hearts. When you look at him, he looks extremely approachable, making you want to be like him. And that’s the reason why you see him at most men’s saloons.”

Pushing boundaries to become a trendsetter 
Zayn Malik is a true trendsetter with his hair who has never been afraid to experiment, whether it’s with colour, length, or texture. From platinum blonde to buzz cuts, each of his looks has sparked new trends and inspired countless fans and hairdressers alike. His willingness to push boundaries and redefine conventional styles has cemented his place as an icon in the world of hairstyling. “He’s a huge trendsetter, not just in India, but all over the world. That only happens when you don’t follow anyone and try to do things by yourself. That’s how you become a reference point. Icons are rebels, and when it comes to setting trends, he is one when it comes to doing something new with your hair,” adds Aalim. 

But Malik is no ordinary trendsetter and Rajani hits the nail on the head with a very telling statement. “Be it cricketers, actors, or models, everyone wants to sport their hair like him. Celebrities around the world look to ape his hairstyle. It just makes my life so easy when I see my models have a Zayn Malik hairstyle. And it's not just his hairstyles, but even the products endorsed by him that you'll see in a men's saloon. It's Zayn Malik all the way,” says Rajani.  

Also read: Zayn Malik gets candid about his music, life away from the city, and becoming a father