We’ve all been there: Rocking the hottest hair trend one day and then wanting to switch to another a few months later. Some of you might have been sporting the undercut, which was undeniably one of the hottest men’s hairstyles for the past few seasons now, and might think it’s time for a change. Learning how to grow out your undercut might be easier than you think.
If you do think the time has come to switch up your look, we commend your bravery! We all know that growing hair out—especially shaven looks—can get painfully awkward. But it can be done! Luckily, this is where you guys have the edge in this department. It won’t take as long for your strands to even out into a brand new look altogether. And in the meantime, all it takes are some clever styling hacks and a couple of great, transitional styles to keep you fresh, clean and on point.
1. Master the man bun
If you’re coming straight from a completely white-walled/shaven undercut, then you’ll need a few weeks—around 2 to 3, to be exact—for your sides and back to properly come in. This is prime-time man bun season, as it’s a tried and tested trend that helps guys look somewhat put together in the meantime (and it also keeps you sweat-free at those end-of-summer outdoorsy weekends). Don’t forget your hair care regimen: A strengthening shampoo and conditioner, like Dove Men+Care Thick & Strong 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner, leaves your hair thick and full-looking, not to mention hardy enough for some tugging. To create, simply brush the tops of your hair back to remove any tangles and gather it into a ponytail. Twist it till it resembles a rope, then coil it around itself (or if too short, just pull it through the elastic, making a knot). Put a hair elastic around the base of the coil, tie it around once with a figure-eight loop, and you’re done.
2. Try a high and tight
After three weeks, the sides and back of your undercut may have some respectable shadow, which is all you really need for a good high and tight haircut. This look is basically a high fade, which is almost military-issue in its neatness and is equally awesome as a transitional look or maintained as is. Ask your barber for a high taper all around, similar to a buzz cut, but leave 1 to 2 inches at the top. Play with this length by mussing in a pliable putty or clay product, such as the Bed Head for Men by TIGI Pure Texture Molding Paste, on damp hair.
3. Train hair via a blowdryer.
While your style is growing in, there are times when the sides and back of your undercut can stick out. Train your strands to lay flat as they grow by blowdrying in a backward direction from your face. Finish with a non-greasy pomade or gel, such as Bed Head for Men by TIGI Power Play Firm Finish Gel, to keep things looking smooth. Also, make sure to get your back and sides trimmed regularly. This will gradually blend in that disconnect on top. Forgetting this step at this stage can make you look shaggy.
4. Get a classic taper
Once your sides can lay somewhat flat, it’s time to go in and switch out to a classic medium taper. This style maintains that general shape but with around two inches more on the back and sides. It can also be done with scissors instead of clippers. Take note of the crispness of your sideburns and your back, which can make or break the look.
5. Go for a square cut
The square cut, or gentleman’s clean-cut taper, is like a classic, medium taper but done with scissors. A truly dapper, polished look, unlike the undercut it has almost an equal length of hair on all sides. It flatters almost all hair types and can easily go from day to night with just a dime-sized swipe of pomade, such as the Axe Signature Clean Cut Look: Styling Pomade. This haircut can also be styled via a modern pompadour or a quiff, another two of our favorite guy’s haircuts for the new season.