An undercut is a hairstyle characterised by its closely shaved back and sides with a longer top section. A classic undercut would typically be grown from temple to temple, with anything below that being shaved one level. However, more modern styles also feature taper fades and even nape undercuts. The longer top section of hair can be styled in a variety of different ways, from slicked back or combed over in a side parting to more messy textures.
Popular in the early 20th century the undercut has seen a major resurgence as of late thanks to hit period TV shows, including Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders.
Thinking about giving the undercut haircut a go? Before heading off to the barbers, see a selection of the best undercut hairstyles, below.
This is the perfect Thomas Shelby-inspired undercut style. The top is short but still long enough to play around with different looks, and the skin fade gives it a striking edge – all the key criteria for a good undercut.
Editor’s tip: Get the look by rubbing a small amount of the TONI&GUY Men’s Texturising Fibre through your hair, using your fingers to push the hair forward to add definition and texture to your style.
Men with long hair can pull the undercut hairstyle off amazingly. From James ‘Jimmy’ Darmody in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire to Charlie Hunnam’s hair in King Arthur, the long hair and undercut look has never been so popular. Credit: @rustandtrust
David Beckham Undercut
David Beckham has a lot of great hairstyle inspiration to choose from, but this undercut has to be one of his best.
Brad Pitt’s Fury Undercut
If there’s one film that will convince you to try a daring undercut, it’s Fury. Brad Pitt’s iconic undercut in this movie is one to take inspiration from. Credit: @4hairfashion
Retro meets modern, this pompadour undercut mixes old and new to create a classic look with a fresh twist. Perfect for adding volume and height to thin hair, check out our guide to styling a pompadour for help rocking your new ‘do. Credit: @abbasmomo
Editor’s tip: The pompadour undercut is all about the lifted look. Need a helping hand? Make your hair look thicker with the VO5 Thickening Paste to give the top layers of your hair shape and fullness.
Messy Top with Undercut
If you prefer messy, bedhead styles, this undercut look will be right up your street. Credit: @giuse_laguardia
Low Fade Undercut
Want to try out a fade but worried about taking it too short? With a low fade, the taper (the blend from long to short) starts lower down on the head, adding shape without taking away too much length from your overall style. Credit: @barber_sako
Thick Hair Undercut
Braids with an Undercut
Historically undercuts have had fully buzzed sides but if that’s too daring for you, you don’t have to write off the whole undercut trend completely. This Instagrammer’s faded undercut has all the appeal of the classic style but with a more subtle finish. Credit: @domenicotomei
Man Bun with an Undercut
Combine two of the hottest men’s hairstyles for one spectacular look. If you have spent the last few years growing out your hair to work the ever popular man bun, the last thing you may want to do is cut it all off.
So why not team your longer locks with a discreet undercut cuffing the ear? You won’t have to sacrifice any of your hard-earned length and will give your mane a fresh edge.
Side Part Undercut
Classic but cool, this guy’s defined side parting contrasts with an undercut for a neat and polished look. Credit: @aggari_o
Editor’s tip: If you need to keep your style in place, we suggest using the VO5 Extreme Hold Hairspray. For 24 hour hold and a non-sticky finish, simply spritz your finished style with this nifty hairspray.
Curly-haired gents needn’t miss out on the awesome undercut trend. If your curly hair is tricky to manage, take some of the stress away by going for an undercut (half the hair = half the stress).
Pairing his undercut with what has been dubbed ‘the surgical part’ this Instagrammer’s curly brown hair looks picture perfect. Credit: @lieanne
Like to show off your personality through your hair? Get creative with your undercut by experimenting with different patterns and designs.
Slick Back Undercut
Looking for a way to smarten up an undercut? All you’ll need is some gel or pomade to be able to quickly take your look from daytime casual to a dapper evening look, ideal for when you want to look on top form. Credit: @kingston_dean
Skin Fade Undercut
If you prefer a look that lets you get up and go with minimal styling required, you’ll love this no-fuss textured undercut. The best part about this hairstyle is that the more lived-in it looks, the cooler the effect – so you’ll finally have an excuse to rock the bed head look. Credit: @daniels_barber83
Undercut Comb Over
For the guy who likes to keep on top of the latest men’s hairstyle trends, let us introduce you to one of the hottest haircuts of the moment – the mushroom cut. Inspired by K-Pop band BTS, try adding an undercut to this updated bowl cut for an edgy, fashion-forward look. Credit: @sunyoung_ximending
Want to know how to get curtains hair with a modern twist? Consider adding an undercut (it can be as subtle or statement as you like) to the look to bring this iconic ’90s style up to date.
This Instagrammer has given his bold undercut the ultimate modern makeover, by colouring his hair a pastel pink hue.
Undercuts for a Receding Hairline
Before you write this quirky undercut hairstyle off, hear us out! This new trend is the ideal way to shake up the classic men’s undercut, plus, there are so many designs to choose from!
Think graphic geometrics to chevrons, or even cool swirls – you just have to decide on what you want your barber to shave in.
Want your patterned undercut to really stand out? Then why not experiment by adding in bright colours, too? It’ll really make your pattern pop, and will grow out quickly if you decide it’s not for you. Credit: @aprilisthebomb
Are you a Game of Thrones or a Vikings fan? Then this braided version of the men’s undercut might just be for you.
To nail this look, you’ll need to keep the top relatively long, as it’ll make braiding that much easier. And heads up, practice does make perfect for this one, so be patient if you’re not yet a braiding pro. Credit: @barberlessons_
Editor’s tip: Just remember to finish with a spritz of TRESemmé Firm Hold Hairspray to keep your hair in place all day long!
Undercut with Man Bun
Looking for men’s undercut hairstyles that’ll show off your lengthy locks? Then how about combining a man bun with your undercut, for a totally contrasting look? But don’t worry if your hair is less than bro-punzel length, because you can still totally rock this ‘do – just look to Jake Gyllenhaal’s bro bun for proof.
But that’s not even the best part: by working this style, you’ll be able get to tick off two great trends in one neat hairstyle! And if you’re clueless as to how to tie a man bun, just check out our step-by-step guide, here. Credit: @johnmikhailjison
Classic Undercut with Quiff
We like to call this hairstyle the gentlemen’s undercut. Classic in style yet youthful in attitude, this neat, grown-up take on the undercut works for both the office and out of hours!
If you’re after a more dramatic look, ask your barber to keep the top section longer to create a quiff; but if a classy, versatile style is more your thing, then keep the top relatively short for a slicker outcome.
Editor’s tip: To style your quiff, you’ll need to invest in some trusty VO5 Matt Clay, to help mould and shape the style.
When it comes to older guys rocking an undercut, we know the camps are split: but this refined look is a great choice for mature gents. Ask your barber for a more conservative medium fade. Credit: @beardedmapledave
High Fade and Pompadour
Want something a little bit edgier than the refined men’s undercut? Then why not try a similar look, but with a high fade? Not only is it a totally hot style for almost anyone, but it makes the ideal style for guys going grey gracefully.
The beauty of the undercut is that it can be work in conjunction with a tonne of other styles! Just take a look at this undercut man bun – the closely cropped sides give great contrast to the longer lengths of hair on top and looks great on fine hair.
Thick-haired chaps have the lucky advantage of being able to rock a high quiff. This is one of the easiest undercut hairstyles to pull off, simply ask your barber to leave quite a bit of length on top for your quiff, and to clip the sides and back ultra short to create a dramatic contrast.
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you guys with curly hair! Undercut hairstyles work an absolute treat for anyone with curls, as the cut will take away some of the overwhelming mass of your strands, while the longer lengths work as a fantastic way to flaunt your hair’s natural texture.
This will both showcase your cool curl pattern and give you a bold contrast that can’t be beat. Result! Credit: @ellemanvietnam
Afro hair guys, here’s your time to shine: style your waves with a fashionable fade undercut! This variation is perfect if you’re an undercut newbie and want to ease into this hair trend without having to make any changes that are too dramatic.
Why? Instead of a harsh, straight-up undercut, your barber will give you a subtle fade on the sides and back. i.e. he/she will start to shorten the length of your hair from approximately mid-point downwards.
Smooth and Sleek Undercut
Because this look is all about height (which will help create a distinct contrast between the top and bottom sections of your hair), it’s important to use a cleansing shampoo that will help hydrate the hair without weighing it down.
We recommend the TIGI Bed Head for Men Clean up Daily Shampoo as it cleanses and stimulates for healthier-looking hair while it moisturises.
Short Slick Back
The undercut hairstyle is incredibly versatile and can be styled in lots of different ways. For a smart and sophisticated outcome, why not experiment with slicking back the top section? Credit: @agbilsalam
The Smart Undercut
Keep the length on the top, but remember to request a slightly longer undercut, as retaining more hair will still allow you to tap into the undercut hair trend, just without showing any skin.
Editor’s tip: Keep your smart undercut looking slick and cool by styling it with some TIGI Bed Head Slick Trick Firm Hold Pomade, for a non-greasy hold that provides plenty of shine.
Long on Top
Love the style, but feel super attached to the lovely length of your mane? Don’t worry, with this medium cut, you can keep hold of your precious hair!
The key to nailing this ‘do is to keep the top casual and tousled, for a perfectly undone finish. And if you have really long hair on top, you can always try styling it into a relaxed man bun.
Are you a daredevil at heart? Then this statement look is a must for any brave souls out there! To enhance the contrast created by your undercut, try dyeing the top of your hair with an ultra-bold colour.
Undercut with Beard
Who cares that Movember is over? If you’re a firm fan of facial hair, then you’ll really love this dapper undercut inspo.
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you guys with curly hair! Undercut hairstyle ideas are an absolute treat for anyone with curls, as the cut will take away some of the overwhelming mass of your strands, while the longer lengths work as a fantastic way to flaunt your hair’s natural texture.
This will both showcase your cool curl pattern and give you a bold contrast that can’t be beaten. Result! Credit: @adamkpray
Don’t be fooled by all the extreme undercut hair ‘dos you see on the street because you can rock this look in a far more subtle way.
Just take a look at the fella above: this is a great example of how to work an undercut in a classic and sophisticated way, that easily gives any ‘do a refined finish. Credit: @myneighborshair
To achieve this look, a great cut is essential: just ask your barber to keep the top section of your hair fairly long, while clipping the back and sides much shorter (but not too short).
Editor’s tip: Spray some VO5 Mega Hold Gel Spray onto the top section of your hair and use a comb to sweep your strands backwards (and slightly to the side if that’s the look you’re going for).
Subtle Side Parting
A big fan of your dapper parting and don’t want to lose it? Don’t fret: you can still rock a men’s undercut with a side part of your choosing.
To achieve the look, simply create your desired parting by blow-drying your hair into place. Note: this doesn’t have to be where the undercut starts, as depending on how dramatic you want the end results to be, it can start slightly off-centre for a more subtle look.
Editor’s tip: Just use some TONI&GUY Mens Texturising Fibre and a comb to help set your hair, so that your parting stays put all day long.
Wavy Top with Faded Sides
It’s time to style your waves with a fashionable fade undercut! This variation is perfect if you’re a newbie and want to ease into this hair trend, without having to make any changes that are too dramatic.
Instead of a harsh, straight-up undercut, your barber will give you a subtle fade on the sides and back. This means he/she will start to shorten the length of your hair from approximately mid-point downwards.
Neat Quiff with an Undercut
Rocking a high quiff? Why not pair it with a stylish undercut hairstyle for men? This is one of the easiest styles to pull off: simply ask your barber to leave quite a bit of length on top for your quiff, and to clip the sides and back ultra short to create a dramatic contrast.
Thought this style was out of the question because you have thick, heavily textured hair? Not so. This particular undercut is actually great for men with *ahem* ‘unruly’ locks.
A more extreme version of the classic look, this option means leaving the top part fairly long and going super short at the sides. While it may well mean having to grow your hair out quite considerably for this style to work, the slicked-back undercut is excellent for adding a bit of height.
Edgy Man Bun
Just take a look at this undercut man bun: the closely cropped sides give a great contrast to the longer lengths of hair on top, helping to make your man bun really stand out from the crowd. Credit: @nickdriver
A more directional variation on the classic style, the disconnected hairstyle is defined by a distinct ‘disconnect’ between the top and the bottom part of the haircut, while retaining short-trimmed sides and a not-too-long top.
Practical and versatile, much of the effect of this cut depends on styling. A side-part usually works best with products that will add texture and gloss to help strike a perfect balance between modern and retro.
A cool, contemporary combination of two classics, the undercut with a pompadour is best styled with a side sweep. Leaving the hair longer up top (for slicking purposes) and sides shorter (similar to the long, slicked-back style) results in a neat look with just enough of an edge to make it interesting.
Just remember to take care when parting: it should correspond with the way your hair naturally falls, which is, of course, different for everyone. The key here is to tailor the cut to suit your face shape; men with narrow features should opt for a shorter top and more length on the sides, while those with wider faces can have more volume up top and shorter sides to help elongate your face.
High Top Man Bun
Are you already wearing your hair in a man bun but want a way to make the style your own? Why not opt for a short undercut like this Instagrammer.
With this ‘do you can either choose to show off your short undercut by piling your hair into a high top knot or letting your hair loose and keeping it your little secret. Pretty neat, eh?
Editor’s tip: To tame flyaways and unruly hair, use the Lynx Natural Look Flexible Control Cream. Simply rub a small amount in your hands and run them through your hair as you pile it up into a bun.
Curly High Top
Embrace those curls with this short undercut hairstyle. Keeping the top of the length high, the contrast between the short undercut and high top makes this looks even more eye-catching. Credit: @jbrytemusic
Elegant Long Hair
Thinking of chopping off your long hair? Why not take a cue from this Instagrammer and go for a short undercut style before you take the full plunge? If you happen not to like your new style, simply flip your long locks over to the side and no one will any wiser.
Suave and Swept Back
Are you thinking of trying out a short undercut but need a hairstyle that still remains smart? Then this hairstyle could be the look for you. Simply keep the centre swept back for a slick, dapper finish. Credit: @haniarlind
While most undercut hairstyles are short on the back or sides, we think this short undercut at the nape of the neck makes a nice finishing touch to any hairstyle. After all, if you’re going to for a standout style, you might as well get creative with it! Credit: @qvrbarber87
Long Quiff with Undercut
Take the classic quiff and give it an on-trend update with an edgy undercut detail. By combining this well-loved look with a shaved undercut you’ll have a style that’s both iconic and contemporary all at once. Credit: @toastiestyles
Slick Back Top
On the hunt for something sharp and slick? This dapper swept-back style is perfect for work and formal occasions alike, making it the ideal on-trend finishing touch to any smart outfit.
Editor’s tip: Inspired by this slicked-back style? To recreate the wet (but not greasy) effect for yourself, apply some of the VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel to your hair before using a comb to style your hair into your desired shape.
Not only will this add a superior shine to your strands, but it will also lock your look into place.
Crop with Undercut
More of an alternative sort of guy at heart? Yet to take the plunge with a new hairstyle to channel those vibes? Then surprise everyone by revealing your inner hipster with this French crop and shaved undercut style. You’re sure to get people talking with this one! Credit: @barberosargentinos_
Blonde Curly Undercut
If you haven’t yet noticed, curls are everywhere right now. So whether you’re blessed with a naturally-coiled mane or you fake it with styling products, why not add toughness to your curls by throwing a shaved undercut detail into the mix?
Undercut with Curtains
We never thought we’d see the day that curtain hair made a revival but thanks to the trend for all things ’90s and nostalgic, they’re back in a big way!
Man Braid Undercut
The perfect way to keep your longer tresses back during high-intensity sports or gym workouts, topping off the look with a shaved undercut will ensure all of the focus is on your edgy man braid. Credit: @fernandadiniz_barber
Editor’s tip: New to braiding? Here’s a quick tip: start by spritzing your hair with the TONI&GUY Sea Salt Texturising Spray before styling.
This will add a grittiness to your strands, making it easier to braid and ensuring it stays put no matter what your workout throws at it.
Want to try out a shaved undercut but know that your boss wouldn’t approve? Well, one way around it is to opt for a more subtle shaved detail, like this Instagrammer.
This way, you’ll easily be able to cover it up with the rest of your hair during the 9-5 and they’ll never suspect a thing. Smart styling or what, eh?! Credit: @hairstyles_undercut
After something funkier? Whether you’re looking for a fun temporary style for a festival, a lads holiday abroad or you’re just over the standard styles, there are plenty of ways to jazz up your shaved undercut. Credit: @mens.hairstyles
Smart Side Undercut
Who said you can’t rock James Bond-esque hair with an undercut? Add a modern touch to any classic hairstyle by opting for a sharp side undercut hairstyle, like this gent does.
This handsome ‘do is ideal if you’re a style-conscious gentleman who’s always on-trend, ensuring that you’re well ahead of the mane game. Just be sure have some pomade on hand! Credit: @bullfrog_barbershop
Undercut with Skin Fade
The best thing about a side-swept undercut? It can work in conjunction with all hair types.
Just take a look at this side-part undercut, for example – the closely shaved sides create a cool contrast to the textured lengths on top, which work a treat for this gent’s fine hair. Credit: @squirebarbershop
Undercut with Quiff
Already rocking an Elvis-approved quiff hairstyle? For this season, the look is getting an edgier upgrade and being paired with a side undercut.
As this gentleman with thick hair demonstrates, this look fuses that retro vibe with a casual, cool attitude, resulting in a look that’s totally on-point. That’s what we call #swag! Credit: @londonschoolofbarbering
Long Hair + Side-part Undercut
Just because you’re ready for the razor, that doesn’t mean you have to part with your Tarzan-esque long mane. In fact, long hair can work with a side-part undercut, which this Instagrammer perfectly demonstrates.
But what makes this hairstyle so great is that you can switch up the side you want your hair to fall on whenever you feel like it. Oh, you could even rock a top knot and be out of the door in seconds! You can’t argue with that, can you? Credit: @cortesmasculinos
Patterned Side Undercut
This subtle yet unique hairstyle is for the creative mavens who like adding a personal touch to their looks — you know who you are!
Be as discreet or as eccentric as you like with your pattern choice, but one thing’s for sure: you’ll stand out wherever you go.
Most of Hollywood’s leading men are taking the colour plunge, so to take your side-swept undercut to even more stylish heights, you should do the same.
Whether you go for a platinum blonde colour or something pastel (like this gent above has done) is all up to you. Who’s going to have the coolest looking side-part undercut around? You are. Credit: @nia.scar
Editor’s tip: If you do decide to give your side undercut hairstyle a colourful upgrade, remember to invest in a good wash and care system, like the Dove Colour Care Shampoo and Conditioner. This will help you maintain your dapper new shade for longer and keep your style looking on point.