Dissecting the Modern Undercut

Jun 26, 2014

You first saw the infamous “undercut” appear on the runways in Milan. Then on all the fixed-gear bikers you swerve to avoid on your way to work. And just when you thought the trend had run its course, your best friend strolled in yesterday with close shaved sides and a tall pompadour.

Yes, the modern undercut’s influence has only grown since hip-hop Macklemore rapped his way through a thrift shop two years ago. Also called a “high bowl cut” or “non-blended high and tight with a long top”, the trendy undercut consists of close shaved sides with long hair on top, usually slicked back neatly.

If you’re interested in sporting this style, you’re in luck! It works on nearly every hair type. That’s why we’ve been seeing it on everyone from Kim Jong-un to David Beckham. However, we should say that the thicker the hair, the better it’ll look. Guys with receding hairlines or large foreheads should think twice about this trend. (Longer styles or fades with front bangs will be more flattering.)

When you come in, ask for trimmer sides and more length on top. Be sure to point out any cowlicks—you don’t want them interfering with your styling. Want a more dramatic look? Ask your stylist to completely buzz the sides, but keep very long locks on top. If you want to ease into it because you aren’t sure, ask her to trim the sides only a little.

There’s no denying it’s a trendy look, but the undercut is also low-maintenance—perfect for the fun and games of summertime activities. You’ll be able to have plenty of fun with the top, which you can style back with fingers and a little American Crew pomade to create a pompadour effect. If you want a more sophisticated look, pick a fine-toothed comb to comb it to one side. And if you want some extra height in the front, point a blow dryer in the direction of your swoop.

Finally, keep in mind that the shorter your sides, the more you’ll have to trim. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you’ll have to trim it anywhere from every two weeks to every month. In the meantime, you’ll have plenty of time to pick the perfect fixed-gear bike, and though we won’t be able to help you with that, we can definitely make you look good riding it.