Everything you need to know about the undercut hairstyle

All Things Hair | 30 April 2016

Thinking of getting an undercut? Read our guide and make sure you get it right.

Planning to get an undercut but not sure if it’s for you? With the barbershop revival, the undercut hairstyle is definitely enjoying a resurgence and, when done well, can look both fresh and stylish. Read on to get the lowdown on how to get the perfect undercut.

The undercut hairstyle: Everything you need to know


What’s an undercut?

Simply put, an undercut involves short sides and a long top. It’s a well-defined, precise and clean-looking cut that works for all kinds of hair textures and face shapes. And while it’s definitely a more directional style, the beauty of it is that it really lets you show your personality, with the freedom to style it however you want.

What to ask for

When it comes to the undercut hairstyle, precision is key. Don’t forget: the defining characteristics of an undercut is its razor-sharp neatness and striking contrast, so no room for sloppiness here.

Simply explain that you want to keep it short on the sides and back, and longer on top, though, of course, any good barber will be more than familiar with the undercut. How much contrast you want (i.e. how short you want to take the sides and how much length you want to keep up top), however, is entirely up to you. This will, in turn, determine how dramatic or directional the final cut will look. And take it from us, bringing in a few pictures of your ideal hairstyle is never a bad idea. Although do beware that depending on your hair texture and facial structure, the results might not match your reference 100%.

undercut hairstyle: dark haired man with beard
There are many undercut variations

Faded or disconnected?

Another thing to take into account is the fact that there are a few variations of the undercut, especially now that barbers are becoming increasingly skilled and, well, it seems everyone just wants to look unique. So before your barber gets his scissors out, you’ll need to decide what kind of effect you really want.

The disconnected undercut is one of the most popular versions of the classic undercut. Presenting a distinct contrast between the short sides and the longer top, this style has been sported by men for decades – and for good reason. It looks ultra modern and is a cinch to style, whatever your hair texture.

Editor’s tip: once you’ve washed your hair with the TIGI Bed Head For Men Charge Up Thickening Shampoo (£9.95*) and TIGI Bed Head For Men Charge Up Thickening Conditioner (£10.95*)leave the top slightly messy and finish with the VO5 Extreme Style Rework Putty (150ml, £3.99*), or use a comb and VO5 Extreme Style Grooming Pomade (£3.99*) to help keep it slick for a more polished vintage look.

Alternatively, you could choose to dial back the extreme contrast by opting for a more gradual fade. You’ll still get the undercut effect, of course, but your barber will start to fade the back and sides from around mid-point downwards. The key here is to ensure that the fade is done as smoothly as possible, so no odd kinks. And don’t be afraid to ask your barber for touch-ups to get it looking perfect.

*RRPs are Unilever suggested retail prices only, it is at the discretion of the individual retailers to set the actual price.

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