The contrast of extremes that undercuts emphasize also highlights just how cool this haircut can looks when done right. Undercuts are a bit of an older style, but the style has come back in vogue in recent years. Some men like it for the simplicity offered by certain variations, while others stay away because of the upkeep involved.
One thing that barbers know is that for most undercuts, they should not taper the side cut. That means that the same clipper length needs to be used throughout the haircut. It’s just a matter of how tight the undercut will be — a number one length on clippers keeps it nice and tight, while a number three cuts the hair slightly longer.
What Is an Undercut?
The simple version is that it’s a haircut that’s long top and short on the sides. A more detailed explanation is that undercuts feature long top hair with buzzed sides. The length completely depends on the desired look for either the top or the sides. A longer top with shorter sides makes for a pronounced undercut, while a shorter top with a thicker buzzed cut is less striking but still stylish.
What Are the Benefits of Undercuts?
- A distinctive hairstyle that makes someone recognizable
- Versatile with any hair — curly, thick, thin, messy
- Makes the face appear more smooth and less angular
- Works with any classy outfit and for any occasion
Top Undercuts for Men
1. Slick Back Undercut
Image CCO to Marlene Leppänen via Pexels
This style is one of the most popular undercuts currently going. Sporting an epic-looking slicked back undercut requires a man’s hair to be kept long enough to slick it back.
This undercut look starts with a buzz cut on the sides and back with some clippers. The buzzing ends at around the level of the temples. The classic version of the slicked back undercut is flat while the more modern version has some volume to it. Some have blended those two styles into a something more interesting.
The next part is to make sure there is enough hair to style it backward to begin with. We suggest that the right hair products be used to maintain a polished look throughout. Matte hair mousse or a thicker hair gel will either give a man an old-school or modern look, respectively.
2. Disconnected Undercut
Image CCO to RoyalAnwar via Pixabay
When barbers start working on an undercut, they tend to look for a specific visual point around the upper part of the temple. That part is called the disconnected haircut line, and that this line marks for the barber where to clip from. This undercut style gets its name from the absence of distinctively long to short hair, and this makes the transition particularly stylishly.
To get a better idea of where hair will be disconnected, it is best to let the hair grow out to about two inches. Once the clippers start their work around the head, it is important to keep an eye on the line so it stays even.
A good two-inch cut on the top gives the undercut a very nice, uneven aesthetic. We recommend routine maintenance on the undercut so that the uneven lengths between the top and sides stay noticeable. If the pompadour and quiff hairstyles meet somewhere in-between, you’ll find there the disconnected undercut.
3. Undercut Quiff
Image CCO to Technogeek Studios via Pexels
Speaking of the quiff, there is a way to take that iconic style and give it a modern look. Originally, the quiff came out as a response to the military styles (buzz cut and flat top) that were required at the time. It became more popular with the rise of rock n’ roll artists who sported the look, and then teenagers all over started wearing it. The quiff, in a way, was a sign of rebellion and signaled a major shift in male grooming.
The traditional quiff has short sides and longer hair, particularly that part that is right above the forehead. That part is then swept upwards and backward. It is incredibly versatile — it can be kept straightened, brushed, or worn messy.
When it is styled as an undercut quiff, it works better when there is more hair on top. The contrast is what commands the cut — either ask your stylist for a gentle ease into the locks or a more drastic cut into the top locks.
Once the undercut quiff is done, then comes the process of keep that sleek look. We recommend while it is still damp, giving it a bit of texture using salt spray. Take a brush to the hair while blow-drying it, then finish it off with some product so that the separation stays.
4. Angular Fringe Undercut
One of the positives of the resurgence of undercuts into the world of men’s hairstyles is that it has taken the hair out of the face of men. Most undercut styles do not have any kind of fringe or bangs, as it also called. But bangs or fringes are now making their own comeback, at least in the last two years.
One such style uses the normally long locks of hair after the sides are cut and lets the fringes hang over the forehead. Sounds simple, but the stylist will also need to cut it at an angle (hence the name) to give it that unique texture. Different angles lead to different textures — you can even ask your barber if they can use their razor for a choppy look on thr fringe.
Of course, while it does look cool to have the fringe flowing right over your face if done right, no one wants to lose sight from too long a cut. It is best as a rule of thumb then that the bottom of the fringe rest right above the eyebrows.
5. Textured Brush Back Undercut with Long Beard
Image CCO via Pixabay
This combination radiates masculinity throughout. The stylish look of the undercut on is enough on its own, but the ruggedness of the beard creates a look that catches anyone’s attention.
The textured brush back is created with short layers on top to bring down that bulky look. This is a style that can be neat or messy according to your needs or mood. The same level of care and attention applies to the beard as does to length and disconnection you want for the undercut. Most of the time the same clipper is used to trim the beard for a streamlined finish, but this applies mainly to a shorter undercut.
Upkeep is definitely something to keep in mind with this look, as the whole package might need a fix or two. It might not always be necessary to style hair with wax or pomade, but any man with an ounce of grooming sense knows that beard and mustache wax will be live-saving for beard health. We cannot possibly stress how alpha male this comes out in the finished product.
6. Undercut Comb-Over
There is no haircut that has more of a bad reputation than the comb-over. It is a traditional, yet boring, look according to many. But with the right buzz and clips, it can be brought out of its classic glory into something that mixes the modern with the milquetoast.
The hair on top is kept long while the sides are cropped according to how close the person wants to keep it (fade, shaved, etc.). The hair is then combed to the side, most likely at the disconnected haircut line, before putting in the desired hair products. For a stronger look, we recommend asking the barber for a shave into a thick hard part of the scalp. The side part will be more noticeable, yet remain a comb-over.
7. Undercut Faux Hawk
When the urge to get adventurous with your hair reaches mohawk levels, but you still are not ready for that drastic a hairstyle change, enter the faux hawk. What separates one from the other is the amount of hair — a mohawk cut allows little to no hair on the side, while the hair on the sides of a faux hawk cut runs from short to medium lengths.
There are many variations of the faux hawk that range from curly to tapered, but the one that gets the closest to the roots of the style is when it is combined with a deep undercut. Depending on how you want to style it, you can either play down the severity of the cut with a short trim to the sides, or make a more extreme choice with a full shave.
For a good style idea, try spiking up the hair to take up the front of the top while having a tight fade undercut, or grow out the hair longer and ask the barber for a much tighter side cut.
The number of undercut variations might astound any man looking for the right one. To choose the one you like, make sure to check out some pictures and pick your favorites. After that, take the photo to your barber and then let them estimate the length of the top and sides and help you decide the right look for you.