Guide: Choose The Right Undercut

Emil Albrechtsen

The undercut is extremely versatile, and it always adds a twist to any popular men’s hairstyle. From slick backs and pompadours to quiffs and disconnects. We’re breaking down the magic of the ever trending undercut and helping you choose the right one for you.

So, what exactly is an undercut? An undercut largely refers to any haircut that leaves length on top while the back and sides, in contrast, are cut short, faded or even totally buzzed off. Getting the perfect undercut is all about skills and precision. And since the skin fade versions are highly popular, choosing the right hairdresser or barber for this haircut is vital.

Should I Try the Undercut?

There are a few things you should consider before booking an appointment, if you are doubting weather the undercut is the right hairstyle for you.

  • Face shape: Which type of undercut to choose depends greatly on your face shape. A slick back or short haircut balances nicely with a longer face shape. In contrast, an undercut pompadour or quiff slightly cropped sides compliments a rounder face better.
  • Hair type: The undercut works with almost all hair types – from curly, coarse and thick to the thin.
  • Maintenance: As you may have guessed, the undercut is not maintenance free. It needs to be freshened up at least every 3 weeks. On the bright side, it is easy and fast to style in the morning once you get the hang of it.

The 3 Most Popular Undercuts

1. The Undercut Quiff: There are many, many different variations of this iconic hairstyle. Depending on your hair type, the undercut quiff can look either sharp and slick or more relaxed – you can even make it beachy.

2. The Slick Back Undercut: A classic slick back is always a good idea. It has a true gentleman’s touch to it, but adding an undercut takes the haircut to a whole other, cool level. The slick back undercut is, as you might have guessed, characterized by a visual difference between the length on top and the short sides. The sides are often times made as a complete disconnect.
Pro Tip: Haven’t been blessed with hair of a lion? – Don’t go too high on the back and sides with the clipper. And make sure to keep as much length as possible to create a thicker look on top.

3. The Pompadour Undercut: The pompadour undercut has two sharp characteristics that set it apart from other types of undercuts. In order for the hair to be swept back in a pomp the haircut needs to be almost skin fade around back and sides and much longer on top of the head. 

How to style a proper Undercut

  1. Start out with a newly washed head of hair to remove product residue, excess oil and dirt before styling. Use a quality shampoo and wash your scalp with a shampoo brush. That’ll increase blood flow and stimulate hair growth. Remember to finish with a nourishing conditioner.
  2. Add pre-styler to your hair game. Spray 15-20 pumps into the hair to protect from the heat of the blow-dryer and add texture, volume and hold. Use a styling tool to distribute the product evenly. Choose a brush or comb that suits your hair type and your preference when styling.
  3. Time to blow-dry. Put your blow-dryer on maximum heat and use a comb or brush to create extra volume. Don’t be afraid to get in there using your hands to tousle and switch between drying backward and forwards for greater volume and texture.
  4. Now you’re ready for the fun part! Grab your favorite wax or at styling product that matches the look you’re going for. A pomade is a good pick if you want a slick, smooth finish while a molding wax is the better choice for a more natural look with a longer lasting hold. Apply the product evenly all over the hair, always starting from the back to the front, and work it in thoroughly. Play around with it until you’re happy with the result. Finish off by using your preferred styling tool to work your hair into the desired position. Et voilà, you’re good to go!

Here's an example of an undercut with a twist. We love this look on Rasmus. Click play and get inspired...