Richard Armitage’s rear hairline, or: Looking at the wrong things

It seems like everything I want to write lately is longer and more serious. Not only is that harder to write, but there are certain emotional steps I need to take to get there and my emotions were not going there today for love or money. And so I distract myself with this kind of thing.

OK, so here’s where this rabbit trail started.

TI3_089Richard Armitage as Claude Monet in episode 3 of The Impressionists. Source:

Yes, everyone is observing Monet’s painting technique and the doubtlessly important painting he’s working on. In contrast: I’m looking at that little strand at the nape of his neck.

I had thought some time ago that Richard Armitage has an interesting rear hairline. His nape is noticeable or intriguing enough that at least one RPF fanfic author has written it as an Armitage erogenous zone.

It was particularly noticeable in Strike Back, I thought.

vlcsnap-2013-05-28-21h59m41s82John Porter (Richard Armitage) stands by as Sister Bernadette (Sibulele Gcilitshana) says an impromptu prayer in Strike Back 1.4. My cap.

Yes, everyone else is looking at the muscles in Porter’s back, and I’m looking at his hairline. It has a pronounced lean to the left of Armitage’s body.

In the process of looking at that, I was thinking, doesn’t John Porter have awfully long hair for an Army guy? I wondered about that and started reading about British military haircuts. Doing so, I learned that the British Army does not have a single regulation haircut for recruits, but that the regulations are issued by regiment. Not only that, but some regiments even have the rule that the hair cannot be shorter than 3/8″. They’re not supposed to shave their heads or look like skinheads. Fascinating and very different from the buzz cut or “high and tight” cut customary in the U.S. military.

I don’t want to get so much into haircuts because I know nothing about them and when I started reading about them tonight my brain started to fray at the corners. (I have the U.S. professional woman’s inverted bob, but I belong to the “get my hair cut every six months whether I need it or not” crowd. I do usually remember to brush it before I leave in the morning.)

However, I always thought that Lucas’ rear hairline was scraggly and that Armitage’s haircuts were not standing up to the demands of the character. Stylish Lucas, I felt, would have cared more about his hair, especially after that Russian prison. Being a senior case officer at MI-5 would have demanded more. And instead we got this kind of thing:

vlcsnap-2013-05-28-23h09m43s134Lucas North (Richard Armitage) recoils from the gun suicide of Marlin in Spooks 7.3. My cap.

Everyone else is looking at Lucas’ recoil and response to seeing Marlin shoot himself right in from of Lucas eyes, and I’m slowing down playback in order to catch a look at his hairline.

So, okay, Armitage has very fine hair, and Lucas was supposed to be kind of peaked-looking, but the fact that he couldn’t get a decent haircut bugged me. Even on his stylish days he looked downmarket. To wit:

vlcsnap-2013-05-28-23h15m04s15Lucas North (Richard Armitage) plays Banker “Pete” to get Ros (Hermione Norris) out of Meynel’s office to chat, in Spooks 7.5. My cap.

So everybody else is observing — what? How hard Lucas looks at the beginning of this scene? His masquerade? I know a lot of people really like this suit, but this is one of the positions from which it looked its worst. Anyway, everyone else was observing something else and I was critiquing the hairline.

So, as this was bugging me a lot tonight for some reason, I started to do some research (i.e., I googled) and learned that men’s haircuts in the West have three basic styles of rear hairline: Block, round, and tapered.

Suddenly, everything was clear to me!

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 11.45.45 PM

Armitage has a relatively muscled neck. Not hugely muscled, but his neck is thick enough that his shirt collars don’t fit all that comfortably. In this case, for a neater look, the barber’s advice is to choose a rounded neckline. (A blocked neckline actually adds width to the neck, making a slim neck look more masculine — and also requires more frequent cuts for maintenance, as often as every two weeks.) There’s another alternative, the tapered neckline, which also slims the neckline, and grows out more comfortably than either the blocked or the rounded neckline. But it doesn’t look as clean.

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 11.48.41 PMSo that’s it. Porter had something like the rounded neckline, while Lucas had the tapered one. It was as easy as that!

It seemed to me that in Wellington, Armitage had the rounded cut again. I like this a lot better than the tapered cut, frankly, for a guy in such a crisp suit.

[Right: Rear view of Richard Armitage at Wellington premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — detail of photo by Kellyduck. Source: Musings of a Wandering Duck]

He also seemed to have a version of the rounded cut in Michigan, as well — we can conclude his hair was cut less than a month before this photo, because we saw him with different hair in San Diego for ComicCon:

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 11.51.40 PMRichard Armitage, detail of photo by RALover, August 15th, Michigan. Source:

And here you can see why people sometimes object to the rounded neckline. It has a bit of feminine cast to it — especially when it gets long.

I’m about to get kicked out of my café, so I’ll just end by nothing that I don’t care that much about how Mr. Armitage cuts his hair in his real life. I like it character-appropriate in his roles — and if he’s going to wear such spiffy suits, he should have a haircut that stands up to them — neat, trim, masculine.

So yeah. You can see where I get in life by constantly looking at the wrong things.

~ by Servetus on May 29, 2013.

34 Responses to “Richard Armitage’s rear hairline, or: Looking at the wrong things”

  1. RA’s hair also curls at the nape when it gets much length to it–as does my husband, as does mine–which can add more unruliness which doesn’t mix well with crisp suit and tie looks. I actually wondered the same thing about Lucas’s hair cuts once he was fully back on the grid–they didn’t quite jive with the character.

    I am so used to seeing characters play military officers with hair that is so very NOT regulation (NTM wearing full dress caps when the situation doesn’t call for it, etc.) I guess it didn’t hit me that hard with Porter. But it’s interesting to know British regulations on hair length differ from ours in US (I personally am not keen on the shaved sides and back with crew cut on top look).

    With my husband’s hair so similar to RA’s in texture and growth pattern, you can bet Benny made frequent trips to barbershop to keep it within regulation.

    That being said, I LOVE the nape curls on RA and on my hubby. So tempting for a girl to tease with her fingertips. 😉


    • I was reading some military / veterans discussion board somewhere in 2010 about Porter’s uniforms and they were fairly positive. I guess there weren’t any blatant costuming mistakes. There was some quibbling about fit / cut of slacks in the uniform he’s wearing when he visits the regimental memorial (iirc).

      The parallel situation in my expertise is watching historical films in which they have the bishop wearing full ecclesiastical ceremonial garb when he goes out to visit the parish or something. Folks, those clothes were rarely, rarely worn!


  2. Going to take a wild guess here and say he’s got a cowlick right in the back that’s causing his hair to lean to the left. If he does, I honestly feel for him. I have one in the same place and it’s a nightmare to deal with sometimes. They might be leaving his hair a little longer in the back to try to cover it, but when it’s a certain length, it’s going to fall the way it grows. They might be able to make it less visible, but it’s not going to hide it completely.

    Some people just have problem hair. This might not be something he can help. :-/


    • thanks for the comment, Jaime, and welcome. Like I said, I wasn’t complaining — I think the little squidge is cute. I just didn’t think Lucas’ haircut fit the Lucas character. There were other problems as well (but I was getting kicked out of the café).


  3. I noticed a bad haircut/trim right at that spot over the left shoulder whilst viewing the video for the Hobbit opening Powhiri ceremony. I think perhaps there is a cowlick in that location. The unevenness can (kind of) be seen in preProduction12 and preProduction30 on but the video is sharper. Huzzah. I am not alone in the hair trim obsession. (Of course there are so many things to obsess upon when it comes to RA. It will be another tomorrow.) Cheers, sahRAobsessed


  4. Very interesting. I too have noticed some peculiarities with RA’s haircuts. In particular a very bizarre mismatched sideburn trim in Spooks. I have, for several months, been concocting a post on my own particular area of obsession. Let’s just say it relates to ears. Since I had to let my research staff go, I’m strapped with the tedious, thankless task of going through all those caps and pics. (Can you spot the falsehoods in the previous sentence?) 🙂 I’ve noticed at least several of the haircuts are uneven, even the fastidious (or not really?) John Thornton. Does this possibly relate to hair texture and cowlicks that, as saraobsessed suggests, make standard haircuts misbehave? My father has a cowlick on the left “corner” of his nape that causes his hairline to slope down as in the Porter cap. Surely that many different hairstylists can’t all be incapable (unless they’re having difficulty focusing on the job at hand. 🙂 ) One final note, I do agree with fedoralady that the little curlies of nape hair are very appealing!


    • YES. The sideburn trim in Spooks was a disaster. I mean, seriously, the makeup people let him on screen with that??? and that’s something that could have been corrected with a scissors.

      Armitage has a lot of cowlicks (at the front hairline, over the crown). But I also think that Thornton wouldn’t have had time to think so much about his hair. He was in love with the mill …


  5. I love this post,Servetus !
    IMO, this is his best hair line


  6. I wondered if his stylist hadn’t noticed that little naughty curl of leftward expansion at the nape of his neck… I had no idea (back in my early RA-viewing days) that others were noticing it as well. Oh, young, innocent Gigglepants, you silly naive girl… of *course* others have noticed it. (snort) And blogged about it.

    Seriously, I agree: those little unruly curls at the nape are just omfg#$%. I can’t. But then he’s all I can’t, from top to bottom, including his bottom, both back and front bottom. (snort and snort) Sorry, it’s 5am and I’m a little silly. Going back to bed now because am too silly to be awake. Mwah, lovelies!


    • For everything you’ve seen, you can be sure others have seen it as well … I very rarely say something here where there isn’t someone who’s paid attention to it.

      I like his hair, I like his hair! I just felt that Lucas would have had a trimmer haircut.

      it’s interesting that if you look rearlly closely at scenes sometime (I actually think “Banker Pete” is an example, but I don’t remember correctly) you can see points at which someone has stepped in and combed his backhair — they’re splicing together pieces from different takes, I assume.


  7. With the Spooks 7 hair cut I think there needed to be enough hair left to attach the extensions for RH3.


    • It’s a bit hard to say because we don’t know what order the episodes were filmed in, and presumably he started with the grown out hair which was cut for 7.2 and then grew out, but his hair is shorter again at the end of S7.


  8. Looking at any aspect of Richard Armitage can’t be “wrong”. Ha! I love the nape of his neck!

    And who can forget this candid BAFTA 2009 image by KoolKat? Sighhhh!


    • that’s interesting, b/c shortly after that he must have started filming SB and had it trimmed again …


  9. Ok, this is my first comment here, because I`m a non native speaker (I´m German) and it´s not so easy to express my thoughts and feelings exactly. I have to confess, the last few days I´ve gone to your posts through and through and I suppose it´ll last last some weeks to get them all. Thanks so much for all you detailed, deep insights of so many different topics. Though I know most of the “facts” about RA, the pondering about is so fascinating…

    Now, back to the tread: I´m not really sure what neckline in case of RA I´d prefer (depends on the role), but as far as I remember my former husband´s neckline was round, and it suited him well.

    The imagination stroking with my fingers the tapered neckline of RA is really thrilling. Seems, I´ve to stop this now *sigh*


    • Thanks for the comment and welcome. You can always write German if you prefer. Every now and then when I’m feeling emotional about something German I write in German 🙂


  10. I think RA might have what my family calls “Harry Potter” hair (it grows all over the place with multiple cowlicks, and varied thickness/curl). My children, mother, and myself all have this problem, and it makes getting a good haircut REALLY hard, even by an excellent professional. Those sideburns, though, no excuse from the hair and makeup people.


    • It really is a challenge when your hair has a mind of its own, isn’t it? Mine has natural wave, and it’s really curly at nape of neck, but in the front one side has more wave than the other! It also has a sway to the left. I cut my husband’s hair (his idea, NOT mine) and it has so many little sways and cowlicks I want to scream sometimes.

      So I do understand where it could be tough to get that “perfect” haircut for RA.
      I think we are all agreed on the ‘burns. But then, when I think of that travelling tattoo of his, I know continuity, etc. wasn’t a high priority with Spooks folks. *rolls eyes*


  11. I like how is hairline has a swirl to the side. Son3 has a swirl to the right and it is kind of cute as he is the only one of my boys to have it.

    Richards hair has body to it. Get it long enough and it curls and yea you can see it has a mind of it’s own. Even when it is longer you can see the waviness it has. Back on October, 5, 2011 RAFrenzy had a post called Felled by The Sexy Back ( I have no clues on how to link to it, still learning these things) where there 3 photos of Richards back while filming Spooks. They show his hair a bit longer than the link that Grati posted and yes are very sexy indeed. To wrap ones fingers around his hair, happy thoughts. You have to wonder about the texture of it, maybe the smell, running hands though it…. I will disclose that I have a going bald husband who had soft hair which I couldn’t keep my hands off. Now he keeps it so short as to not look funny.

    Now that I have gone on about Richards hair, I will say that I hate mine. It has a mind of its own, to the point that it parts on the right with no help from me. It curls big curls that also do there own thing, and more so when it is humid. I have been told there is a cowlick on top somewhere, maybe that is why the right part. My hairdresser loves to fix my hair so I let her have a field day on it. So I would like to figure out why I like Richards hair, but hate mine. I think they might be a bit alike. That bit in the back of his hair is a lot like the back of mine.


  12. Have to tell you that now I am so aware of his back hairline I stare at it everytime I’m watching him. LOL Believe me that I never noticed it before your post. What an influence you have. 😀


  13. […] he still has that rear hair squidge thing, but you can see from this film a bit how his hair grows out at the hairline level. As well as […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: