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.
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.
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.)
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.
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:
It might be simple and it might be messy, but Nick shows us you can wear an undercut with even the least of effort.
Looking for something a little more suave? Funk’s brushed-up, extra volume undercut might as well have a mind of its own.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
Here’s another faded style which works hard to draw sharp angles and smooth curves together. Sunglasses not necessary.
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.
This cut is nothing special, but the careful, puffy styling exudes youth and confidence. We’ll bet $$$ this guy has his own rock band.
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.
Looking to stand out? The spiked top hair in this hairstyle screams fun. We’d probably trim the beard back, though.
This simple, low-maintenance undercut is kicked up a notch by the carefully patterned sides. It’s definitely a cool look.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another haircut with a lot of motion and depth, this style allows you to achieve a messier look without anything seeming out of place.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Another good example of spiked hair, this undercut brushes most of the hair straight up to create a “wow” factor.
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.
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.
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.
With this undercut, the hair is blended evenly, so the sides, back, and top all flow into each other seamlessly.
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.
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!
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.
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.
There are no limits to the humble undercut. Here, it’s the dyed and heavily-textured top that creates a completely new look.
Short on top and even shorter on the sides. We think this style is particularly unique for its even hairline towards the front.
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.
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.
This light, high-volume cut works great for those who want an undercut, but also something a little different.
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.
This loud quiff has short sides, also making it something of an undercut. We think this is an awesome style.
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.
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.
This undercut is made unique with plenty of spikes on top. This guy’s rocking it, and we love that.
An ultra-smooth undercut with highlights on top: it’s certainly not a bad look. We think the clean shave works perfectly here, too.