Undercut men hairstyles

In this guide you will discover whether the striking and elegant undercut hairstyle suits you. Undercut is an ideal style (or "cut") to combine with other popular and practical hairstyles, such as a crop, side part, quiff or pompadour.


Undercut lookbook

Getting the undercut look

Good to know

Below you can read a number of points that ensure that you do not get an ‘overdone’ undercut on your next trip to the salon.

What exactly is an ‘undercut’?

Made popular in the 20s and 30s by the LooksThatWork of the time, the undercut has come a long way and has become a popular, modern hairstyle.

You will undoubtedly have read or seen the term ‘undercut’ in recent films such as Fury, in which Brad Pitt shows this cool haircut combined with the slick back haircut.

The undercut is a classic and very popular men’s hairstyle that will stand the test of time. Yet, it has been adapted over time too.

Where this hairstyle used to be fairly tame, it now takes on more and more extreme forms. Fortunately, this type of haircut works well when combined with other styles.

However you combine it, the undercut gives you a refined, stylish look.

And most importantly: self-confidence. It’s a daring cut, so make sure you’re ready to go all the way.

What makes an undercut haircut?

An undercut is a type of ‘cut’ where the hair on the sides and back of the head is noticeably shorter than on top. It is not the same as a shaved haircut, although we find these terms mixed up quite often.

Note: Some hairdressers feel that an undercut cannot be defined as a haircut or hairstyle in and of itself.

The reason for this is because an undercut is always combined with a different haircut or hairstyle.

That is why it’s referred to as a type of ‘cut’. We notice that these terms are used interchangeably, hence this note.

The hair on the sides and back of the head in the undercut is shaved short with clippers. The hair on top of the head normally measures between 5 and 15 centimeters.

Of course, you can choose the length of your hair yourself, but longer than 15 centimeters might cause your hair to fall over the sides. Then the effect of the undercut won’t be seen.

The minimum length of the hair should be 5 centimeters, as the difference between the side and top would otherwise be too small.

Because the undercut hairstyle can be styled in different hair lengths (which means that there is more than one specific undercut), the undercut is actually a collective name for several versions of the style:

So you immediately see that the undercut is a versatile men’s hairstyle where you can go in different directions once you have cut the base. In the lookbook later in this article you can see all possible combinations and variations.

→ Read more: The ultimate men’s haircuts guide with all the trends of this year

Styling tips

You can go in different directions with your hair with one haircut. For example, you can let your hair grow longer, comb it back and give it hold with a pomade or wax.

Or if you aspire to a more classic look, you can comb your hair back with enough gel to create a slick back look in combination with your undercut.

Your hair length is also not a problem if you prefer to wear your hair loose. Both short and medium-long hair will not look out of place.

Whether you have curly hair, straight hair, thick or thin hair, you can easily combine it with an undercut.

If you go for an undercut with a tousled top, then it is best to choose styling wax. Styling wax gives your hairstyle definition and at the same time a soft structure (unlike gel).

You can buy styling wax in different holds and shines, from a moderate hold with a strong shine to a stronger hold with a medium shine.

In the case of an undercut with curly hair, if you want to achieve a natural look, it is best to choose a cream. Styling cream gives your hair a fuller look as it moisturizes the hair and adds a little extra volume.

If you have a long day ahead, gel offers the best solution. Because gel is heavier than cream or wax, your hair will automatically stay in place.

This is especially helpful if you have longer hair that is difficult to style. Please note that gel makes your hair hard and ‘drier’ (your hair does not feel natural, unlike when using cream or wax, for example).

Pomade has long been popular with men because it is a go-to hair styling product that you can always achieve the look you want.

Oil-based pomade has a long and firm hold but is more difficult to wash out. Water-based pomade obviously has opposite properties.

→ Read more: The best pomade top 5 of the moment

History of the undercut

Historically, the undercut has mainly been associated with poverty. The image at the time was that you couldn’t afford a capable hairdresser who could make your hair on top of your head blend nicely into the sides.

Around 1920, the undercut became very popular among young men in street gangs. These guys mainly came from poorer backgrounds, so they took the haircut on purpose to show that they had achieved something.

In addition, it was perhaps a kind of ode to their roots.

Because the longer hair on top needed a lot of product to stay in shape, the boys used paraffin wax. One drawback: paraffin is highly flammable.

In addition, in street fights, longer hair gives the opponent the opportunity to get hold of you better.

Local street gangs weren’t the only ones to adopt the undercut hairstyle. Adolf Hitler and his Wehrmacht soldiers also wore this hairstyle.

After the Second World War, the popularity of the undercut haircut declined sharply until its comeback in the 80s. During this period Tom Cruise was the celebrity who wore the style with pride, so more men adopted the undercut again.

Today, celebrities from the film, sports, and music world show this classic men’s hairstyle en masse. Undoubtedly, the popularity of the undercut comes from the modern, trendy look that the hairstyle brings.

It is also a style that can also be worn by the older man and shows that a trendy hairstyle does not look out of place in later life.

Style icons like David Beckham have revived the undercut, popularized it, and created a following. The style combines elegance with a dash of class when cut professionally.