What do Joe Exotic, Billy Ray Cyrus and Steve from Stranger Things all have in common? Their mullets, of course! The mullet haircut is still going strong as it continues to evolve with every decade. Characterised by longer locks in the back and shorter strands upfront, the fresh and modern mullet is now gaining a whole new following.
Unlike the traditional mullet, you don’t need a head full of long hair to achieve this modern iteration. In addition, it can now work on curly or wavy-haired guys alike. However, with a great mullet comes great responsibility.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about growing and styling a mullet. Then, keep on scrolling to the bottom for a round-up of the best ways to style a mullet – you might be surprised at just how wearable it can be.
How to Get the Modern Mullet Haircut
With its new even shorter length at the top, this modern day spin on this vintage style is sexy, stylish and quite sharp.
- Step 1: First, you’ll need at least an inch of hair all around to achieve this hair cut. Since you’re aiming for something more contemporary, you’ll need to give your stylist some specifics.
- Step 2: Once this style is cut and groomed, it can be worn as a casual or formal hairstyle. The key is not to end up with a super long rat-tail.
- Step 3: Ask for a length at the back of your hair that you’re most comfortable with. A length that reaches the midpoint of the back of your neck would be ideal if you have longer hair. Be sure that the proportions are cut right. Give your front and back the right amount of balance and the ability to complement one another.
For example, ask for a mullet with the right amount of balance all around. You may opt for a low fade at the side, or if you have curly textured hair, leave your sides just about the same length as the top of your hair. This plays well with the longer length at the back, it looks more uniform and not faux hawk-ish. The top should be cut with just the right amount of length so you can carry out your daily styling routine.
Styling a Mullet
- Step 1: Depending on the direction your hair grows, brush or comb the sides of your hair forward or backwards.
- Step 2: Apply gel or pomade like VO5 Gel Wax to add shine and keep your sides in place.
- Step 3: Comb the top section of your hair backwards and mould into a pompadour-like style. If you want an edgy and spiky effect, rake some wax or gel through your hair. Use your hands to give it a piecey finish, and comb the sides of your top inward. For a smoother effect, (most favoured by curly- and wavy-haired guys), use TIGI Bed Head Slick Trick Firm Hold Pomade to slick your hair back, using your fingers to mould your locks as you create volume.
Tips on Mullet Maintenance
The mullet is all about maintenance and grooming, so don’t miss out on your weekly or bi-weekly trims, especially if you have a low fade on the sides. For those with curly or wavy hair, the help of stylers can keep your mullet cut in check. When the hair tends to grow out a bit, it won’t look too obvious. Your sides will easily blend in with the overall length of your cut. But, don’t go too long without a trim!
The History of the Mullet
“Business in the Front, Party in the Back”
The mullet haircut can be described quite simply as a style featuring long hair at the back and a short-to-medium length at the front and sides. This combination of a conservative, standard look with something that was generally seen as a ‘rebel’ style gave the haircut the memorable description: “business in the front, party in the back”.
The look came to prominence in the ’70s and ’80s, with classic mullets sported by celebrities of the era, including Keifer Sutherland, Andre Agassi and David Bowie. During these decades, it was common to see heavily-styled mullets with voluminous, blown-out hair, worn loose or tied back into a ponytail.
The Revival of the Mullet
Although the mullet haircut can seem best relegated to the many other style sins of the past decades, it looks like it might actually come back into fashion. And after the wave of man buns and braids, a resurgence of the mullet almost makes sense. However, luckily, the new interpretation of this cut is less likely to be quite so cringe-worthy. In fact, it might even look halfway decent! So what makes the modern mullet different?
While it still involves the combination of short and long lengths, the modern mullet is styled with less of a dramatic contrast between the two. Hair can be kept longer at the back, with a slightly shorter length at the front and sides. And this look actually works really well for hair with a lot of texture, so if yours is naturally thick, wavy or curly and you’d like to try this style, the shorter lengths around the front can make it much more manageable. But don’t worry, you can wear this look even if you have fine or straight hair by applying a texturising product like the VO5 Texturising Gum to create a rougher tousled texture. Did we mention that it’s also great if you want to emphasise sharp cheekbones or add length to a round face?
To keep it feeling fresh, avoid the heavily-styled look of the past and stick to a more moderate length at the back of your head (just above the nape of the neck). You can also try making your mullet haircut more unique by adding a brighter colour or creating more contrast with a faux hawk or a sharp fade. See? Now the idea of a mullet doesn’t seem so out-there, right?
10 Ways to Style a Mullet in 2021
From authentic retro-inspired cuts to more modern, cutting-edge styles, there are plenty of ways to make a mullet work for you. Scroll on for all the inspiration you need to show your barber.
A bold statement fade adds a sharp, modern edge to this traditionally soft cut and makes it a little more manageable. Credit: @e_kutz21
Slicked Back Mullet
Mullet with a Beard
Create contrasting textures between the top of your hair and the ends of your mullet by trying out spikier layers up top. Credit: @locksxsmith
Prevent longer mullets from looking limp and lacklustre by asking your barber to take the layers all the way down. This will also help to accentuate any natural movement or curls in your hair for even more texture. Credit: @hair_by_kelseybenz
If you’re not afraid of colour, you’re onto a winner with the mullet. This teal green looks great, but we think an orange or blue ‘do would look just as cool. Credit: @andy_doesyourhair
This ’90s throwback-inspired cut gives a subtle nod to the mullet trend without the total overhaul of committing fully. Credit: @themailroombarber