Understanding the Undercut
If you’ve been anywhere at all lately, you have probably noticed a number of people sporting an undercut, a decades-old hairstyle that has exploded in popularity in recent years. This trendy haircut features extremely short or shaven hair at the back and sides of the head, usually up to the temple area, with the top left significantly longer. It is typically worn disconnected, without blending the top and sides together. The result is a very fashionable look with clean sides and length on top that can be styled in a variety of ways; as a sleek pompadour, parted off to one side, or roughed up and messy. To make things even more interesting, many people have hair tattoos cut into the closely-shaved sides or back, creating lines, geometrical shapes and other intricate designs, allowing endless possibilities for self-expression.
The undercut has roots dating back to the 1900’s but is historically most well-known for being a popular style with many soldiers during the World War II era, particularly among the Germans. This has earned it a rather unsettling reputation by some. Nonetheless, the cut has reappeared throughout the years, notably with the “devilock” of the late 1970’s and in the skate punk culture of the 80’s and 90’s, styled into mohawks and liberty spikes. The early 2010s have breathed new life into the cut, now more widely worn in a sexy, even sophisticated manner, made recently famous by celebrities such as Brad Pitt and David Beckham. And a growing number of women are taking to the trend, fashioning the undercut in a more feminine aspect similar to that of actress Ruby Rose from Orange is the New Black.
If you are contemplating an undercut hairstyle, take a few things into consideration. First, think about your personality and how your hair will reflect on it. This can be a bold and edgy look, especially for women. Are you daring enough to embrace this image? If you want a fun look that’s a little more subtle, you can leave the hair on top long enough to wear down, or ask your stylist to create transition from the sides to the top rather than completely disconnecting them.
Secondly, consider your maintenance routine. Because the back and sides of the undercut are typically kept very short, you will require more frequent trips to your salon or barber for clean-ups. You will also need to invest in quality hair care products to shape and hold your style. Pomade is widely used for smooth, slicked-back styles, while waxes and pastes can help create texture and a firm hold for the “messier” looks.
The variety and versatility of the undercut make it easily adaptable to almost anyone. Talk to your stylist about the look that would be most flattering on you and learn how you can make this iconic style your very own.