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16 Fire Ways to Weave an Undercut Into Your Next Haircut

Photo by Jason Merritt / Staff/Getty Images

Whether you're looking to lighten up your super thick hair or you're just interested in adding an edgy element to your next haircut, an undercut may be just the ticket. New to this edgy hairstyle? "Technically, an undercut is any haircut where the lower section of hair (usually below the parietal bone and more commonly below the occipital bone on your head) is shorter than that of the higher portion of your head," says Emily Dove, the lead haircutting educator at The Hive Salon in Minneapolis. "Essentially, you have one haircut on the underneath section and a different, longer haircut that lays over it. An undercut can be anything from a clippered fade to a shorter bob—just as long as it’s shorter than the overlay!"

While an undercut can certainly add a lot of visual interest to a haircut, it can also be a practical choice. "The majority of the time when someone requests an undercut it’s because they have a ton of hair! They want to get rid of that bulky section that thick-haired folks tend to find ends up in a “rats nest” so to speak, by the end of the day. On top of the bulk removal, it can help that top, longer section lay a little nicer, depending on the cut." If you're planning to keep your undercut looking super fresh, it may require frequent visits to the hair salon. Dove notes that a clippered undercut usually requires maintenance every 3-4 weeks. "If it’s an undercut that is just slightly shorter, or at least finger-length hair, it can be cleaned up at your regular haircut appointments; usually 6-8 weeks," she says.

Looking for a little inspo to show your hairstylist before your next big chop? Here are 16 undercut hairstyles for all different hair types and lengths.

About the Expert:

Emily Dove is the lead haircutting educator at The Hive Salon, an eco-friendly hair salon in Minneapolis. You explore some of her work on her Instagram @emilydovehair.

1. Pastel Undercut

Kelly Osbourne rocking a lavender-colored undercut updo hairstyle, lavender eyeshadow makeup look, and nude lips
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

Want to go super bold? Try pairing a trendy pastel shade with an undercut. Here, Kelly Osbourne styles her lavender tresses into a mohawk-like updo to show off the buzz cut that lies underneath. 

2. Long Pixie

Close-up of Miley Cyrus rocking a long pixie undercut hairstyle and white suit
Photo by Jason Merritt / Staff/Getty Images

Want to make a pixie cut even more manageable? Follow Miley Cyrus' lead with a short, side-swept undercut. By emphasizing a deep part, this short haircut manages to evoke all the drama with minimal length.

3. Undercut + Bangs

Keke Palmer showing off her top knot undercut hairstyle with bangs
Photo by David Becker / Stringer/Getty Images

Keke Palmer pairs an undercut with straight-across bangs and a high, messy top knot. While the undercut and updo add interest from the back, the bangs offer a fun touch around the face. It's a 360 win.

4. Blunt Pixie

Side profile of Halsey rocking a rose gold blunt pixie undercut hairstyle on the red carpet
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

If you're *this* close to going for a full buzz cut, why not have a little fun with an undercut before committing to the low-maintenance look? Halsey's super short pixie subtly fades into an undercut, giving it just a touch of edge.

5. Long Hair Undercut

Natalie Dormer rocking an asymmetrical long hair undercut hairstyle with French braid details at the back
Photo by Ethan Miller / Staff and Alberto E. Rodriguez / Staff/Getty Images

Ready to fully commit to all the drama an undercut can bring? Try replicating Natalie Dormer's asymmetrical, edgy look. With flowing long hair on one side and a fully shaved head on the other, this style is a sure way to make a big splash. To keep that shaved side on full display, you might try copying Natalie's French braid that creates a border where the two styles merge.

6. Curled Top

P!nk rocking a curly pompadour and ombré undercut hairstyle and posing
Photo by Rich Fury / Staff/Getty Images

Pink's iconic undercut + pompadour combo gets a fresh spin with a fluffy, curled top. With her short hair styled into a bed of fun, messy curls, her ombré undercut also gets a moment to shine.

7. Undercut Bob

Rosamund Pike rocking an undercut bob hairstyle on the red carpet
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

This subtle undercut bob that Rosamund Pike sported during the 2015 award season is a testament to how versatile a simple undercut can be. When swept up into a bun, her undercut becomes the star of the show, but when the hair is left down, it's a classic, stunning bob haircut.

This is actually Dove's favorite way to sport an undercut. "I love showing how an undercut can improve a precise, chopped, bob on someone who has a lot of hair and finds it difficult to get a bob to look sleek," she says. "Removing that bulk underneath will allow a bob to lay flatter to the head, and even mimic the curvature of the head when cut correctly. It’s a game-changer."

8. Blunt Bowl Cut

Ruby Rose smiling and rocking a blunt bowl undercut hairstyle on the red carpet
Photo by Frederick M. Brown / Stringer/Getty Images

This shaggy bowl cut is a fun, playful way to blend a bold cut with an undercut bottom. The voluminous top can be blown out and neatly combed (as pictured here) or try adding in a little bit of texturizing spray for a tousled, messy top. Either way, this short hairstyle will put those shaved sides on full display.

9. Soft Undercut Pixie

Michelle Williams smiling and rocking a soft pixie undercut hairstyle
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/Getty Images

Undercuts don't have to mean buzzed sides or super short length. Take this long pixie haircut that Michelle Williams is sporting, for example. With a super long pixie on one side and essentially a shorter pixie on the other, this asymmetrical undercut is enough to add interest but still long enough that it won't require much maintenance.

10. Undercut + Braids

Jada Pinkett Smith rocking a long pixie undercut hairstyle with blonde braids at the red carpet
Photo by Amy Sussman / Staff/Getty Images

Want to lighten up the weight of your next set of braids? An undercut is a great way to do just that. Here, Jada Pinkett Smith's long pixie undercut gets a lengthening makeover with blonde braids. This protective hairstyle is a great way to keep your hair healthy while also temporarily adding a ton of extra length.

11. Sky High Volume

Lupita Nyong'o rocking minimal makeup paired with bold pink lips and her natural curls with undercut hairstyle
Photo by Frederick M. Brown / Stringer/Getty Images

If you have natural hair that is able to stand tall on its own, an undercut can be a great way to really emphasize your hair's height. Here, Lupita Nyong'o styles her hair into a super tall top with tight sides. It's a cool undercut that's equal parts elegant, edgy, and totally timeless.

12. Two-Toned Undercut

Rihanna sporting a two-toned undercut hairstyle, neutral makeup look, silver dangling earrings, and white floral dress at the red carpet
Photo by Francois Durand / Stringer/Getty Images

Another way to ramp up your undercut a notch is to keep your undershave your natural hair color and only dye the longer part of your hair. Here, Rihanna gives us a subtle, natural example but feel free to get creative. Interested in more than one pastel hair color? This could be the perfect opportunity to try both. 

13. Clippered Front

Ellie Goulding looking glam in a long undercut hairstyle
Photo by Florian Seefried / Stringer/Getty Images

While most undercuts are clipped or shaved along the lower half of the head, Ellie Goulding's iconic cut goes another route. Instead, her undercut look features a shorter section along one side of the hairline. When sporting a deep part, the undercut is on full display, but with a center or slight side part, you can hide this undercut with ease.

14. Classic Pompadour

Scarlett Johansson rocking a classic pompadour undercut hairstyle and green-beaded dress
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

Scarlett Johansson's voluminous pompadour is a classic way to style an undercut. With a slick, straight top and super short sides, this shaved hairstyle is a total eye-catcher. To make sure your top half stays firmly in place, be sure you've got the right styling product handy. To give the hair tons of hold without too much shine, a pomade will likely be your best bet.

15. Micro Braids + Undercut

Zoe Kravitz looking fierce in a cateye makeup look and platinum micro braids undercut hairstyle
Photo by Michael Loccisano / Staff/Getty Images

In this dynamic hairstyle, ultimate celebrity cool kid Zoe Kravitz expertly blends three different hair trends: an undercut, micro braids, and vibrant platinum hair. Twisted into a chic low bun, the haircut and hairstyle work together perfectly for an edgy look that's still stunning and sophisticated.

16. Expert Detailing

Back view of Halle Berry's updo undercut hairstyle with intricate details
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

Halle Berry takes this hairstyle idea up notch by adding in intricate detailing. With the rest of her hair styled up into a double chic bun, this nape undercut is a fun, unexpected twist that can be as visible (or invisible) as you like.

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Article Last Updated September 8, 2021 12:00 AM