Whoever predicted that the undercut hairstyle would prevail to this day is probably laughing all the way to the bank. Did you know that this edgy, directional style making its rounds on the fashion scene had quite the colorful past?
To give you an update on the most modern ways to wear it, we’re sharing a brief history lesson, as well as 15 of the most stylish undercut hairstyles to check out:
History of the Undercut Hairstyle
Wondering how the undercut hairstyles came about? Read on to find out.
Undercut Hairstyle History
The undercut hairstyles gained attention around 1910 during the lavish Edwardian era, but its association as primarily being a poor boy’s haircut is what gives the undercut its curious appeal. The cut was a style apparently adopted by blue-collar Englishmen, who couldn’t afford to go to skilled barbers and would then end up with a crude, non-blended hairstyle.
The shaven sides were apparently also practical in street fights, making the undercut the go-to style for gang members. It was also a popular haircut with soldiers during WWII, which furthered the style’s controversial reputation.
It then became a fixture of the punk and new wave scene in the 1980s and gained even more steam two years ago. This was thanks to celebrities who displayed and rhapsodized the undercut in its various forms. Today, it remains one of the most sought-after styles, notoriety aside, due to its versatility, ease of wear and some would say an unparalleled swag factor.
How to Wear the Undercut Hairstyle
From slicked-back to pompadour styles, keep scrolling to check out our favorite undercut hairstyle inspo!
1. Undercut with side quiff
Blended with a slight downwards taper, this style incorporates two trends in one: the undercut and a fun quiff at the hairline. One of the more wearable versions due to the fading and slightly mussed-up feel at the crown, it’s a trendy, boyish take on this look and is popular with the model-off-duty set. Style with clay or putty, like Axe Signature Spiked Up Look: Styling Putty, to maximize texture.
2. Undercut with clipping
A high and tight fade is one of the best ways to showcase some cool hair clippings or designs on your white-walled (shaven) sides. Ask your barber for something distinctive, yet minimal near the hairline to keep it fresh but still professional.
3. Slicked-back undercut
The classic of all classics, tell your boys this is a literal street style right here. Ask your barber to leave at least four inches of hair at the top for a length that can neatly be slicked back à la scallywag—or you know, to keep hair out of your face while working.
4. Comb-over undercut
Made for the dapper dudes out there, the comb-over is the good brother of the slicked-back undercut. Simply run a comb lengthwise on your natural part and comb hair away to each side towards the ear. Use a gel or pomade, such as Dove Men+Care Defining Pomade, for a glossy look to play up the retro vibe, or a matte version for a less vintage feel.
5. Undercut with pompadour
Another hip 2-in-1, the definitive pompadour cut gets updated with shaven sides. This look starts out as your regular top-heavy undercut, but with a slight fade where the tops are styled with a 1950s greaser wave. This is a great style to go for if you want to achieve more of a vintage-inspired look. However, it’s still perfect for everything from work to date night.
6. Fauxhawk undercut
Either you’re trying to relive that CBGB life or you have a killer facial structure to pull this off because this style is definitely not for the regular Joes of the world. Cop this confidence-booster by asking your barber for a high fade that tapers both at the sides and towards your parietal ridge, and relatively shorter hair on top (around three inches). Use a blowdryer and some mousse on damp hair for more volume and create your faux hawk.
7. Knotted undercut
It’s the style du jour of busy-slash-peacocking celebrities and sports heartthrobs everywhere. The top knot or man bun with an undercut is a pretty handy way to keep your long hair out of your face on off days, or even grow the style out if ever you decide that you’re over it. Make sure hair is at least six inches long before knotting to avoid pressure on your scalp.
8. The Caesar undercut
Famous during the ’90s (aside from, well, Ancient Rome), the Caesar bowl cut gets a revamp with a high and tight fade on the sides and back. The top lengths, which are normally left to an inch short, can be left to grow up to three inches and styled flat on the hairline for a masculine fringe effect (Yes, boys can get bangs too.)
9. Curly top
Guys with wavy or naturally curly hair shouldn’t be averse to trying an undercut hairstyle. It looks equally interesting worn with curly textures! Emphasize the hip, modern feel of your undercut by asking for a taper on the sides and styling the tops by simply following your natural texture as you dry. Run a softening product on your curls, such as Axe Natural Look: Softening Cream, and blast your hair with a blowdryer, finger-styling to refine.
10. Floppy long bangs
We’ve been seeing a lot of gentlemen rocking this major undercut hairstyle. It’s a throwback to the ’90s, but with a cool twist: a sexy mid-fade. This undercut hairstyle variation is also an awesome way to show off that full, bouncy head of hair.
11. Silver Strands Undercut Hairstyles
Get in on the silver hair strand and pair it with an edgy undercut for a super fresh look. When you’re sporting a color like this, it’s important to use a purple shampoo so your silver strands don’t turn brassy. We love Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo and Conditioner because it combines keratin proteins and violet pigments to keep blonde and silver healthy and toned.
12. Major Volume
Amp up the volume on your strands and pair your undercut with a voluminous style. Use a blowdryer and brush to help your hair dry in the right direction. After drying, use the paste to give your hair more control, hold, and shape. When you paid a look like this with an undercut, you’ll naturally create the illusion of more voluminous hair thanks to the contrast between lengths.
13. Classic Pompadour
What can we say? You can’t go wrong with a classic pompadour! A style like this is professional and looks very sleek. If the rest of your hair is long enough for a pompadour hairstyle, it’s very easy to achieve. All you need is a small amount of gel and you’ll be set for the rest of the day.
14. Voluminous Waves Undercut Hairstyles
Embrace your natural texture and show off your wavy strands. If your hair is on the wavier/curlier side, an undercut can work in your favor. The shaved portion will help take away volume, making your texture easier to style and manage. It’s basically the best of both worlds because you can still show off those luscious waves, but don’t need to hassle with a lengthy styling routine.
15. Subtle Highlights
We get it. Adding color to your hair can seem daunting if you’re new to the world of hair dye, but there’s no need to worry. Something as simple as highlights can completely transform your look. If you’re looking for a way to switch up your typical undercut hairstyle, add subtle color to your strands. This draws even more attention to your edgy undercut. We love how the look of highlights instantly warms up an undercut look.
Are you thinking about trying out one of these undercut hairstyles? Be sure to snap a picture and tag us @AllThingsHairUS!