The undercut hairstyle is probably the most trending men’s haircut right now. Its high contrast structure is unique and memorable, and it gives the wearer a classy, refined look. It goes hand in hand with current men’s fashion, and guys love it.

It’s easy to see why––the undercut is distinctive and sophisticated. Unlike some haircuts, you can easily recognize it at first glance. You can also style it in several different ways, and each of the variations is as distinct as the undercut itself.

So we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to this hairstyle. Whether you love the cut or have never heard of it, this guide will discuss its finer points, variations, and tips for styling. We’ll also go over which products work best for each variation and help guide you to an undercut you’ll love.

What Is The Undercut Hairstyle?

It is a short – to medium-length style that contrasts the top with the sides. The hair is left long on the top, while the sides (and often the back) are buzzed short. This places emphasis on the hair on top of the head and creates a vibrant distinction between the top and sides.

There are many variations on the undercut hairstyle, but that’s the basic idea: long top, short sides. More specifically, the basic form is a long top and buzzed sides. As such, it is a high contrast hairstyle that emphasizes the hair on top.

Ewan McGregor slicked back undercut
Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com

What Face Shapes Work Well?

Square faces work well because the cut makes the face appear more smooth and less boxy. The undercut also goes well with diamond-shaped faces for the same reason: the cut makes the face look less angular.

On the other hand, men with round or oblong faces might want to choose another haircut since the undercut is a rounder, smoother style. It isn’t meant to be a sharp, angular cut, but rather a seamless, blended style that creates a general smoothness to the face.

Zachary Quinto undercut quiff hairstyle
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

How To Get The Undercut Hairstyle

The undercut is quite flexible in terms of hair length. There are no requirements for how long or short your hair should be, but there are some general guidelines to get you started.

For the top, anything from as little as 2 inches to as long as 6 inches will work fine. The sides can be buzzed as short as a #1 or as long as a #4 or #5. This is completely up to you.

It’s important to note the relative lengths here. If your hair on top is only 2 inches, a #1 or #2 on the sides is best. However, if your hair on top is 5 or 6 inches, then a #4 or #5 would work best. You can experiment with these settings if you want a less striking undercut or an even higher contrast.

And like always, we recommend taking a picture to your barber or stylist so you get exactly what you’re looking for. This is especially important if you’re after a unique variation on the undercut hairstyle. If you’re after a certain undercut look, show your barber or stylist a picture so they can estimate the length of the top and sides.

If you’re interested in changing up your undercut but don’t know where to look, check out these stylish variations.

Slicked Back Undercut

The slicked back undercut is a contemporary variation of the regular undercut hairstyle, and you’ve probably seen it around quite a bit. It’s immensely popular in men’s hair fashion and men’s fashion overall.

In a traditional undercut, the hair is usually parted, but slicking the hair back is a common stylistic twist. The slicked-back look is reminiscent of a pompadour and is inspired by the greaser aesthetic of the fifties. It goes well with classy outfits and works nicely for nearly all occasions.

How to style: The key to the slicked back undercut is a high-quality hair product. Depending on your hair type and personal preference, you can use a pomade, a gel, or a wax. We recommend pomade because it will give you the trademark glossy shine of a slicked back undercut.

For most hair types, a product with a medium hold will work, since the slicked back look doesn’t require a ton of volume. A product like Suavecito Original Hold Pomade or Layrite Original Pomade will give you both hold and shine. These are both water-based pomades, so your hair won’t be greasy when the product is in your hair. (Bonus: water-based pomades also wash out of your hair much more easily.)

Undercut

Disconnected Undercut

The disconnected undercut is one of the most noticeable and dramatic variations of the classic undercut. The hair on top of the head is disconnected from the sides with a hard part. This creates a clearly defined line where the short hair stops and the long hair begins.

The hair on top can have some serious length and volume to it to create an extremely noticeable cut. Likewise, the hair can be cut at a medium length to achieve a more subtle, pompadour-like look.

Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

How to style: As with the slicked back undercut, the disconnected undercut relies heavily on good quality products, especially if you have thick and/or coarse hair. If you have thicker hair, you want a product with high hold like Suavecito Firme or Layrite Super Hold.

If your hair is lighter or not too thick, use a product with medium hold like Suavecito Original or Layrite Original.

How To Maintain The Undercut Hairstyle

If you want an undercut for an extended period of time, it will require regular maintenance and upkeep. As your hair grows out, the undercut will look slightly different. If you like the way it looks when it grows out, then keep it. If you want to keep it trimmed to a certain length, however, you’ll need to visit your barber or stylist on a regular basis. Most guys sporting an undercut hairstyle visit their stylist about once a month.

When you visit your barber or stylist for a touch-up, you have several options to maintain your undercut. You can get the sides and back touched up but leave the top of the hair uncut. This will add extra length on top while keeping the sides and back short. This will prep your hair for a longer style like the disconnected undercut, which looks nice with longer hair.

Alternatively, you can have the entire undercut hairstyle touched up so it retains its length. This is best if you like the length of your undercut and don’t want to change it.

If you want to add extra volume, you have two options: mousse and blow drying. (Naturally, you can use these in unison.) A good mousse like Pantene In Control Shaping Mousse will add volume to your hair, making it more noticeable and eye-catching. This is especially good for the disconnected undercut and long side swept undercut. Blow drying (before you apply any product) is another good way to add volume.

It suits many guys and pairs nicely with a fashionable outfit. If you have or plan to get an undercut, make sure you style and maintain it regularly. It takes a little bit of work to have a great undercut, but it’s well worth it.

For more ideas check the gallery below:
Nick Jonas’s Clean Undercut
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
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Nick Jonas's Clean Undercut

It might be simple and it might be messy, but Nick shows us you can wear an undercut with even the least of effort.

Nolan Funk’s Messy Brushed Up
s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
2/77

Nolan Funk's Messy Brushed Up

Looking for something a little more suave? Funk’s brushed-up, extra volume undercut might as well have a mind of its own.

Josh Duhamel’s Wind Swept Undercut with Widow’s Peak
DFree / Shutterstock.com
3/77

Josh Duhamel's Wind Swept Undercut with Widow's Peak

Josh shows us you don’t need a straight hairline to sport an undercut. Embrace your widow’s peak for this rugged and angular hairstyle.

Taper Fade Brushed Back Undercut
@ryancutshair
4/77

Brushed Back Taper Fade

Ah, the humble undercut with fade. It’s devilishly exciting and surprisingly straightforward, although your barber will need some time to get the perfect taper — so will you, for that 80s reminiscent slick.

Drop Fade Undercut
Drop Fade Undercut, by @meha_barber
5/77

Drop Fade Undercut

The cool, sharp lines in this cut work wonders with the dropped fade. The color contrast looks best with black hair, but truth be told this style will work for anyone.

Textured Faded Undercut
Textured Faded Undercut, by @ambarberia
6/77

Textured Faded Undercut

Less definitely isn’t more with this thick and impressively textured undercut. Best of all, you won’t have to be carrying around a comb all day…

Brushed Up with Taper Fade
@we_married_hair
7/77

Brush Up with Taper Fade

Looking for a powerful, manly style which the military might even let you keep (no guarantees!)? Brush up any faded undercut and let your stubble grow out.

High Skin Fade Undercut
@virogas.barber
8/77

High Skin Fade Undercut

Here’s another faded style which works hard to draw sharp angles and smooth curves together. Sunglasses not necessary.

Street style | Mid Fade with Styled Pompadour
@cartersupplyco
9/77

Mid Fade with Slick Back

If you don’t mind spending those extra few minutes in the morning, adding a slick back to your undercut is an easy way to score style points.

Puffy Undercut Hairstyle
10/77

Puffy Undercut

This cut is nothing special, but the careful, puffy styling exudes youth and confidence. We’ll bet $$$ this guy has his own rock band.

Slicked back+mid skin fade
@z_ramsey
11/77

Slicked back + Medium Skin Fade

The slicked back top is a popular approach for these cuts, and there’s no wondering why. This style works perfectly with the beard to create a sophisticated yet outgoing style.

Spiky Texture with Skin Fade
@titan_barber
12/77

Spiky Texture with Skin Fade

Looking to stand out? The spiked top hair in this hairstyle screams fun. We’d probably trim the beard back, though.

Disconnected Undercut
@braidbarbers
13/77

Undercut with Side Pattern

This simple, low-maintenance undercut is kicked up a notch by the carefully patterned sides. It’s definitely a cool look.

Brushed Back with Long Top
@javi_thebarber_
14/77

Brushed Back with Long Top

Here’s a simple and eye-catching take on the undercut that keeps the sides super tight so the hair on top stands out. This is a great option for a fresh, trendy look.

Wavy Blonde Undercut
@cartersupplyco
15/77

Wavy Blonde Hair

If your hair is naturally wavy, you can leverage that to create some amazing looks. With this haircut, the waviness of the hair is emphasized and kept a bit messy for a casual appearance.

Messy Top with Acute Angled Fringe
@mr.lo__
16/77

Messy Top with Acute Angled Fringe

If you’re after a shorter hairstyle that still has lots of personality, consider this messy undercut. The top is textured and spiked a bit, and unlike other undercuts, this hairstyle features an angled fringe with a line up, making it a rather unique style.

Low Key Faux with Angular Fringe
@hayden_cassidy
17/77

Low Key Faux with Angular Fringe

The faux hawk is normally a rather attention-grabbing haircut. This variation tones it down by blending a very slight faux hawk with an undercut. Finally, the fringe is kept neat and tidy. The result is a stylish look that’s not as dramatic as a full faux hawk would be.

Spiky Textured Angular Fringes
@cutsbycameron
18/77

Spiky Textured Angular Fringes

This youthful hairstyle is full of texture and depth. It’s a great casual style for younger guys who want the “just rolled out of bed” look.

Faded Undercut
Fade Undercut, by @we_married_hair
19/77

Casual Quiff

The star of this undercut is a slightly messy quiff. The hair is teased just a little, but it has a huge effect. If you have thicker hair, this style will really suit you.

Skin fade Mohawk
@elboribarber
20/77

Skin Fade Mohawk

This mix of an undercut and a mohawk is definitely a daring style that won’t be for everyone. For the right person, this will help them stand out from the crowd and make a statement with their hairstyle.

Curly Undercut
Curly Undercut, by @andrewdoeshair
21/77

Curly Undercut

With curly hair comes high amounts of texture, and this style takes advantage of that. The hair is tousled for maximum texture, and the hair on top is the same length all around, providing a nice sense of balance.

Thick Elephant Trunk and Medium Fade
@barberiaharo
22/77

Thick Elephant Trunk and Medium Fade

This undercut features tidy hair on the sides and back while the messy bangs in front create the “elephant trunk” effect. It’s a great choice if you like to have fun with your hair but don’t want something too extreme.

Textured French Crop
@z_ramsey
23/77

French Crop Undercut

Here’s a combination of a French crop and an undercut that’s playful yet understated. The teased French crop almost looks like a small faux hawk, and the sides and fringe frame the top nicely.

Brushed Back with Skin Fade
@alan_beak
24/77

Brushed Back with Skin Fade

The brushed back style is extremely popular, and it’s easy to see why. This style takes rather short hair and makes it look longer thanks to the medium-volume quiff. This is great for men who like shorter hair but want to do more with it.

Disconnected Undercut with Quiff on Top
Disconnected Undercut with Quiff on Top, by @javi_thebarber_
25/77

Disconnected Undercut with Quiff on Top

The disconnected look is also very trendy, offering a unique addition to classic styles. Here, it places all the focus on the high-volume quiff.

Faux Hawk with Disconnected High Skin Fade
Side Swept Undercut, by @conortaaffehair
26/77

Faux Hawk with Disconnected High Skin Fade

One of the more dramatic haircuts on our list, this disconnected faux hawk pairs textured hair with a hard part that’s fairly high up on the head. This is another good choice if you want your hair to be a statement piece.

Brush Up Undercut Faded
Source
27/77

Brushed Up Quiff

Simple and fashionable, this undercut highlights a tall quiff and uses a gradual taper fade for a more even, balanced appearance. It’s definitely trendy but also very respectable.

Undercut
@mikeyyyyyyy_
28/77

Disconnected Undercut with Long Fringe

This adventurous style combines a long fringe, disconnected sides, and a skin fade for a very unique result. As seen here, this style works well with curly hair but would also look great with straight or wavy hair.

Undercut + Brushed Up Fohawk
Undercut + Brushed Up Fohawk, by @tombaxter_hair
29/77

Undercut + Brushed Up Fohawk

A twist on the standard faux hawk, this style brushes up the faux hawk at the front to give a bit of a different look.

Messy Textured Undercut
Messy Textured Undercut, by @agusdeasis
30/77

Messy Textured Undercut

If you like casual hairstyles with a lot of texture, this undercut may be for you. Best for guys with thicker hair, this style features a windswept look that’s fun and carefree.

undercut-charliegray248_21227786_1868406063177322_7787312501250588672_n
@charliegray248
31/77

Messy Curls + Fade

Here’s another style that’s well suited to curly hair. Since this cut keeps the hair shorter, it’s ideal for men who want something that’s easy to wear and style.

Faded Undercut
Fade Undercut, by @ryancullenhair
32/77

Faded Undercut

This is another straightforward version of the timeless undercut. The hair in front is brushed up, and the rest of the head is kept slightly messy for a textured effect.

Undercut with Short Pompadour
Undercut with Short Pompadour, by @javi_thebarber_
33/77

Undercut with Short Pompadour

While pompadours are traditionally somewhat tall, this shorter pompadour works really well with the undercut style. In addition, a subtle line up adds a unique flair.

Loose Curly Hair + Undercut Fade
Loose Curly Hair + Undercut Fade, by @mattjbarbers
34/77

Loose Curly Hair + Undercut Fade

If you have thicker hair and like a very full look, this undercut fade will serve you well. The sides and back are faded but kept rather long, giving this undercut a much different appearance than most of the styles showcased in this list.

Side Part Undercut
Credits: Braid Barbers
35/77

Side Swept Undercut

This style is very minimal but has a noticeable presence. The sides have an extreme skin fade for a dramatic effect, and the side swept hair adds motion and visual interest.

Brushed Up Mid Skin Fade Undercut + Textured Top
Brushed Up Mid Skin Fade Undercut + Textured Top, by @javi_thebarber_
36/77

Brushed Up Mid Skin Fade

Another haircut with a lot of motion and depth, this style allows you to achieve a messier look without anything seeming out of place.

Undercut Curly Long Hair
Credits: Braid Barbers
37/77

Curly Fringe Undercut

This is a bold cut that’s not for the faint of heart! With an extremely long curly fringe, a brushed up quiff, and skin faded sides, this hairstyle is full of attitude. We also think a beard really helps to balance out this look.

Undercut With Thick waves
@marek_marin_hair
38/77

Undercut With Thick Waves

A low maintenance hairstyle that’s best suited for thick hair, this undercut features short and textured hair that’s brushed up just a bit to round out the look.

Disconnected undercut faux hawk
@z_ramsey
39/77

Undercut with Fohawk

Looking for a unique take on the faux hawk? This disconnected faux hawk undercut may be exactly what you’re looking for. The hair on top is messy and almost spiked, and the hard part on the side adds definition.

Side Swept Undercut + Faux Hawk + Angular Fringe
Side Swept Undercut + Faux Hawk + Angular Fringe, by @barberdeano
40/77

Side Swept Undercut + Faux Hawk

Here’s an interesting combination of a faux hawk and a side swept undercut. The faux hawk is brushed up and swoops down to form a long fringe that goes just below the eyes.

Mid Skin Fade + Short Pompadour
Mid Skin Fade + Short Pompadour, by @mattjbarbers
41/77

Undercut with Short Pompadour

This take on the classic pompadour keeps the hair short all around, making this a great choice if you want a low maintenance haircut that still has a lot of style.

Wavy Brush Up with Taper_
@javi_thebarber_
42/77

Curly Undercut with a Disconnected Fade + Line up

Curly hair naturally has a lot of motion to it, and this undercut helps to emphasize that. While the main point of interest is the front of the head, the entire haircut has a wavy nature to it that’s satisfying and stylish.

Back Swept Undercut
Back Swept Undercut, by @agusdeasis
43/77

Back Swept Undercut

If volume is what you want, this back swept look might be for you! This hairstyle features a tall quiff that’s brushed back and sides that are a bit longer to balance out the overall length of this cut.

Spiky Undercut
@ambarberia
44/77

Skin Fade Undercut with Spikes

Spiky hair is making a comeback, and we think this is a prime example of how spikes can be done well. This haircut has a ton of texture and doesn’t require the hair to be too long.

Brushed Up Undercut + Spiky Hair
Brushed Up Undercut + Spiky Hair, by @javi_thebarber_
45/77

Brushed Up Undercut + Spiky Hair

Another good example of spiked hair, this undercut brushes most of the hair straight up to create a “wow” factor.

High Volume Undercut
High Volume Undercut, by @aaron_kiely_hair
46/77

High Volume Undercut

For guys who want a lot of volume and texture, this undercut delivers. This is best for guys with thick hair, since thick hair really brings out the fullness of this style.

Slicked Back + Disconnected Undercut
Slicked Back + Disconnected Undercut, by @javi_thebarber_
47/77

Slicked Back + Disconnected Undercut

This heavily styled undercut keeps the hair tidy while still having a wavy motion throughout. It’s a satisfyingly neat style that creates a slightly preppy look.

Curly Undercut
Curly Undercut, by @spukthebarber
48/77

Curly Undercut

Another take on the curly undercut, this hairstyle works well with extremely curly or even coiled hair. The hair on top is simply trimmed, allowing the hair to fall naturally.

Brushed up and Back Undercut
Brushed up and Back Undercut, by @javi_thebarber_
49/77

Brushed up and Back Undercut

With this undercut, the hair is blended evenly, so the sides, back, and top all flow into each other seamlessly.

Brushed Back with Undercut
@agusdeasis
50/77

Brushed Back with Undercut

Closing out our list is this simple brushed back undercut. The hair is styled and teased in different directions, yet it retains a simplicity that’s very appealing.

Side Combed Classic
@lanedorsey
51/77

Side Combed Classic

This hairstyle features one of the most popular motifs in the undercut, the side part. In fact, we’d say the part is the defining feature of this style!

Paved Twin Hairline with Brush Up Top
@ fleetwoodthebarber
52/77

Paved Twin Hairline with Brush Up Top

Extra long on top and as short on the sides as you’d expect from an undercut: that’s how this style creates novelty in a timeless classic.

Undercut with Subtle Fringes
@conortaaffehair
53/77

Undercut with Subtle Fringes

This Caesar-esque undercut is defined by the even fringe at the front, plus all the texture on top. We think the well-kempt facial hair is an excellent touch.

Sharp Undercut with Subtle Line Up
@yakuzabarber
54/77

Sharp Undercut with Subtle Line Up

There are no limits to the humble undercut. Here, it’s the dyed and heavily-textured top that creates a completely new look.

Classic Laid Top with Shaved Neckline
@kevinluchmun
55/77

Classic Laid Top with Shaved Neckline

Short on top and even shorter on the sides. We think this style is particularly unique for its even hairline towards the front.

Irregular Pushed Back Top
@lieanne_
56/77

Irregular Pushed Back Top

This hairstyle is somewhere between an undercut and a pompadour. The majestic, swept-back top hair really contrasts against the skin-tight trim on the sides.

Curly Medium Top and Undercut
@henlo_
57/77

Curly Medium Top

This curly hairstyle is also something of an undercut — after all, it’s a long top with short sides. If you’re looking for less maintenance, this could be it.

Icy Highlights on Volumized Top and Undercut
@jarredsbarbers
58/77

Icy Highlights on Volumized Top

This light, high-volume cut works great for those who want an undercut, but also something a little different.

Hard Part and Pompadour
@kieronthebarber
59/77

Hard Part and Pompadour

We’d say this look really is a classic undercut style. With well-combed top hair, apart on the sides, and some fading, there isn’t much else to define the undercut.

Blonde Quiff and Undercut
@ moohammad_hamze
60/77

Blonde Quiff and Undercut

This loud quiff has short sides, also making it something of an undercut. We think this is an awesome style.

Blonde Blowout with Dark Undercut
@ moohammad_hamze
61/77

Blonde Blowout with Dark Undercut

Here’s another big undercut that spares no expense. The dyed pompadour on top has excellent contrast with the short, darker sides and facial hair.

Sideline and Degradation Design
@ moohammad_hamze
62/77

Sideline and Degradation Design

The thick, curly top hair here is separated from the short sides with a fine part around the head. We think it’s clever how they’ve added extra excitement by shaving a clean border at the bottom of the fade.

Styled medium Brush Up and Hardline Design
@titan_barber
63/77

Styled medium Brush Up and Hardline Design

This undercut is made unique with plenty of spikes on top. This guy’s rocking it, and we love that.

Highlighted Brush Up
@tonisaura_barbershop
64/77

Highlighted Brush Up

An ultra-smooth undercut with highlights on top: it’s certainly not a bad look. We think the clean shave works perfectly here, too.

Long Top and Taper Fade
@tonisaura_barbershop
65/77

Long Top and Taper Fade

The undercut can be done in a million ways and this is another example. The hard part is a modern variant of undercut which helps taper sides in a fancier way. The top, however, is brushed back with thick volume to look fuller, and don’t miss those twofold line ups, they are a sign of details.

Brush Up
@kevinluchmun
66/77

Stylish Brush Up

Brush up is one of those that go quite well with an undercut as it needs helps from the sides to bring top into the light, what better way than undercut. The sides here are tapered which is enhanced by undercut and the top is slightly dyed for that poppy look.

Disconnected Side Line Design
@mensworldherenkappers
67/77

Disconnected Side Line Design

Two undercuts are always better than one and this is a prime example of it. The shaved lines also come out as an undercut and that temple fade is more like a low fade which not only makes the side sweep on top look better but also makes it look thicker.

Undercut and Long Top
@mensworldherenkappers
68/77

Undercut and Long Top

Slicked back, is that you Tom Shelby? This undercut also comes as high fade more often than not and this combed back texture makes it look so richer. The faded line up is always a classy move and gives a cleaner tinge overall.

High Undercut with Fine Faded Sides
@v.hugostyles
69/77

High Undercut with Fine Faded Sides

Talking about sleek looks, this one is another one in the line. This one can also be classified as a low-key military hairstyle. The faded sides with undercut top are quite dense and that’s exactly what’s going on with the beard.

Side Swept Undercut Fade
@4hairpleasure
70/77

Side Swept Undercut Fade

Side sweep is one of the underrated looks and here it is in its full glory. The hard part also acts as an undercut plane, the left side of it is taper faded with the top being dense and side-swept. This looks rocks a part and a conference.

Long Top Pompadour with Tapered Sides
@figarosbarbershoplisboa
71/77

Long Top Pompadour with Tapered Sides

Long hairstyles don’t always have to be shags or curls sometimes they come in the form of pompadours with longer fluffs and sleek sides. This happens to be one of those. The longer the hair better the fluff.

Long Top with Tapered Sides
@chadius_maximus
72/77

Long Top with Tapered Sides

Starting with the top it is quite long with a side brush. The fluff is done by using some hands to shape it. That being said, the sides are tapered with a cool undercut which is being used as a side part. The low fade makes all the difference.

Undercut Side Brushed Fluff Top
@chadius_maximus
73/77

Undercut Side Brushed Fluff Top

Mid Faded sides with the top being side brush with that slicked back texture and the small fluff that makes up the day. The undercut makes a clean way to let the side part in with that sleek look.

Highlighted Fringe with Hard Parted Undercut
@ pedrinho_cabeloearte
74/77

Highlighted Fringe with Hard Parted Undercut

Hard parts don’t have to always be undercut but here we are and here it is! The top is highlighted on the fringe with sides being taper fade, the clean look is what makes this one a special one.

Dyed Undercut with Shaved Slit Sides
@hosseinsarv
75/77

Dyed Undercut with Shaved Slit Sides

Undercut comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors; here it is in its full glory in another fashion. The top is all dyed with icy white dye and sides are undercut with that classy slit shave. The clean is look is the courtesy to the majestic temple fade.

Curled Top with Neat Faded Sides
@johnny_snips
76/77

Curled Top with Neat Faded Sides

The top is amazing as it is dense curled but the sides are what make all the difference. The undercut on the sides brings out the difference and that fade gives the face a very clean look.

Thin Hair Tapered Sides
@nicholas_the_greek
77/77

Thin Hair Tapered Sides

Who said undercuts only have to be with the parts. This one is a fresh take on undercut with a man bun on top with sides being margin undercut with thin taper following it for that neat look.