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David Beckham's 'trend-setting' hair transformations that shocked the world

The former footballer and husband of Posh Spice is always ahead of the fashion curve

David Beckham's hair through the years
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior Features Writer
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Though football fanatics and sports lovers might disagree, David Beckham's hairstyles over the years have become almost as iconic as his bending free-kicks.

The former Manchester United player's confidence to don often shocking hairstyles whether on or off the pitch has been making headlines since he shot to stardom in the late 1990s.

There have been many different looks that the 48-year-old has opted for over the years, but just how has David managed to keep his hair in tip-top condition, all the while setting trends in men's hairdressing and always looking his best? 

WATCH: David Beckham's biggest hair transformations

Experts weigh in on some of David's most memorable styles and how the former athlete remains a legend of the hair game...

David Beckham's hair transformations explained…

The beginnings of Posh & Becks

British footballer David Beckham and wife pop star Victoria Beckham attend the MOBO awards at the Royal Albert Hall on October 6, 1999 in London.© Dave Hogan,Getty

When David Beckham began stepping out with Victoria Adams, as she was then known, AKA Posh Spice and one-fifth of the biggest girl band on the planet, a power couple was born. They were constantly splashing the front pages of magazines and newspapers not only by dint of their romance and status but because they were embracing dressing as one.

David may not have been the only 90s heartthrob to rock some curtains, but his look stands out as memorable in celebrity culture. Ben Vowles, Master Barber at the celebrity-adored swanky barbers in London, Murdock, told HELLO!: "No one has done as much for men's hairdressing as David Beckham.

"As a footballer, he set the way for men to experiment with their hair and beauty. Until he came along talking about hair and beauty products was taboo – but he made it acceptable and in fact, cool, to try out new styles."

The moment that shocked the world

David Beckham of England poses for Pepsi's 'Share The Dream' 2002 advertising campaign in Manchester, England on October 15, 2001© Clive Brunskill,Getty

David's Beckham documentary on Netflix reminded us all of the moment he walked into a media conference and, quite literally, stopped the press by sporting a buzzcut that no one saw coming. What had happened to Becks' beautiful blonde locks? Jaws did indeed drop but suffice to say, many men followed suit.

Ben added: "This style is bold, much like with the ponytail, you'll need strong features for this style - there's nowhere to hide. 

"Beck's expertly paired this with some great stubble, this is something we recommend to any client getting a buzzcut."

The moment that shocked the world

Portrait of David Beckham of England before the World Cup 2002 Group Nine Qualifying match against Greece played at the Olympic Stadium, in Athens, Greece© Stu Forster,Getty

It wasn't long before David then decided to embrace his hair growing back with his memorable mohawk. 

Cue half the men in Britain walking around with strips of hair on their head à la Becks.

New beginnings

David Beckham of Real Madrid celebrates after the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Real Madrid and Olympic Marseille at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on September 16, 2003 in Madrid, Spain.© Shaun Botterill,Getty

A new team in a new country came knocking on the athlete's door and as fashion evolved, so did his 'do. 

In classic David style, the then-Real Madrid star went from one extreme to the other and decided to grow out his locks and rock a longer length cut, and his ponytail became somewhat iconic. 

MORE: Victoria Beckham shares never-before-seen photo of four children as she reflects on special time in her life

"Beckham's hair at Madrid was arguably as provocative as his form on the pitch," explained Barber Ben. "This classic half-ponytail look was no exception."

Hollywood hair

Athlete David Beckham and fashion designer Victoria Beckham arrive at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California© John Shearer,Getty

Fast forward to the LA years and beyond, David began rocking a stylish pompadour cut which carried him through the majority of the 2010s. 

"The pompadour style was something David ran with for a long time, he transitioned to this style from the famous swept back, side-parted style that was so popular a decade ago - the is a great style for all men to try, it'll never go out of fashion and it's relatively easy to maintain," explained Ben.

Always a classic

David Beckham attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Royal Opera House on February 8, 2015 in London, England.© Samir Hussein,Getty

As mentioned, having longer locks at the top and shorter sides is a style that has seen him through recent years. But what's his secret to keeping it in tip-top condition? There are a number of ways the star could be doing so.

As hair specialist, dermatologist and co-founder of PowerYourCurls, Dr Hamdan Abdullah Hamed states: "If I were to hazard a guess, I'd think his routine would include derma-rolling along with a minoxidil topical treatment.

"In order to continue to keep hair in top condition, I'd think he'd probably be doing scalp PRP treatments every six months to aid in follicle stimulation. I'd suggest using correct vitamins containing biotin, Vitamins E and D, as well as using topical treatments such as minoxidil as needed."

MORE: David Beckham shares intimate insight into early morning ritual at London home

MORE: I had dinner at David and Victoria Beckham's New York date-night restaurant - here's why you should visit

Short and sweet

David Beckham attends the "Ronnie O'Sullivan: The Edge of Everything" Premiere at Odeon West End on November 21, 2023 in London, England.© Jeff Spicer,Getty

Fans of David are of the view that the former footballer is ageing like a fine wine – and we're inclined to agree! The 48-year-old in more recent weeks has been sporting a shorter, neat cut, something that Ben says is a great option and easy to maintain.

"It's the perfect style for a man who's getting a touch thin, the short sides and subtle texture through the top will give the appearance of a fuller head of hair. Low maintenance too!"

Fashion forward

Retired soccer star David Beckham attends 2023 Tatler Ball event at The Londoner Macao on November 24, 2023 in Macao, China© VCG,Getty

David undoubtedly looks great with both long and short hair, but for those who want to keep their barnet on the fuller side for as long as possible, there are ways to do so.

Dr. Roshan Vara, expert hair surgeon at The Treatmeant Rooms in London told us: "Fifty percent of males experience male pattern hair loss by the age of 50. Preventative hair loss treatments supplemented with some simple lifestyle hacks can help slow the process.

MORE: David Beckham talks career 'sacrifices' and impact on Harper, 12, and family 

"Men can also consider taking preventative hair loss treatments like Minoxidil and Finasteride which help slow down the hair loss process and keep the hair looking youthful over longer periods of time." 

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