How to Give Yourself a Men's Undercut

You can cut this cool and easy style at home

Man with Undercut Haircut
  Simon Winnall/Getty Images

The modern undercut (basically a very high bowl cut or a non-blended high and tight with a long top) is a hot trend and can be seen on models and musicians such as Jack Antonoff and Macklemore and actors and celebrities such as David Beckham and Josh Duhamel. The modern undercut isn't rocket science, and it is fairly easy to cut a men's undercut at home.

The current style is to wear the hair on top going back in a pompadour style, so the haircut works best if you have significant length on top (three to five inches is ideal).

If you don't have enough length to work with, you should grow some additional length before attempting to do the haircut. It might be a good idea to go to your barber or stylist for the initial cut because it's easier to do a cut at home if you already have a basic shape to work with. Make sure you're OK with ending up with a buzzcut if you screw it up before you attempt this at home.

What You Need

  • Comb
  • Good clipper
  • Clipper guards
  • Hand mirror
  • Haircutting scissors
  • Hair trimmer

Choose the Right Mirrors

Use the Self-Cut System Haircutting Mirror or a swing-arm vanity mirror; either one will help keep your hands free. If you want to use a swing-arm mirror, mount the mirror on a wall that runs perpendicular to the vanity mirror. This will allow you to stand between the two mirrors and see the back of your head, giving you the use of both your hands, which makes the whole process much easier. If you are using a hand mirror, stand with your back to your larger mirror and look through the hand mirror into the large mirror to see a full view of the back of your head.

Give Yourself an Undercut

  • Section the top: Dampen the hair (not too wet, but just enough to give you a little control). Part the hair on top on both sides, combing the hair toward the center of the head. Make sure the part is the same height on each side. The shaved part of this haircut typically stops just past the round of the head, just above the temple, but use your own judgment. This is called the disconnected haircut line, and it is key to the undercut. Just keep in mind, the higher the part the more like a mohawk the haircut will look. Make a part at the back of the head at the same height or just below the side part (the back should ideally dip below the crown) and comb that hair forward and out of the way. The entire top of the head should be parted in a neat, even horseshoe shape. You can apply some gel or hair clips to keep this hair in place while you're buzzing the sides and back.
  • Shave the sides and back: Shave off everything below the parted section, or the disconnect line, on top. This is where you have to choose how long you want the sides and back to be. Choose the clipper guard size you prefer; no guard will leave nothing but stubble, a No. 1 guard will leave 1/8 inch of hair, and a No. 2 will leave 1/4 inch of hair. To buzz the sides and back, start at the top and clip the hair, front to back, with the edge of the clipper guard lined up against the part so you get a nice, clean line. The back could be a bit tricky but follow the part line around until it meets the other side. You may have to go over this a few times to get it completely even and remove any lines left by the clipper guard. Next, working from the bottom up, simply buzz off any remaining hair.
  • Clean up the back edge: After you've buzzed the hair from the sides and back, wet down the top and comb it straight back. You'll notice the hair in the back hanging over the shaved part. Typically, this is left a little longer, especially if you have a resistant cowlick that makes the hair stick up in the back. Decide how far down the back of the head you want this hair to hang and simply cut it across with the scissors; round the back instead of leaving it straight. You might need someone to help you with this so you get the cut across the back nice and even.
  • Detail the edges: Using your trimmer, trim your sideburns and shave your neck by creating a line and shaving everything underneath. This will give your cut a polished look. Holding your trimmer with the teeth of the blade pointing at your skin (the blade is parallel to the floor with the bottom of the blade facing up) will allow you to cut a clean line. Holding the trimmer with the bottom of the blade flat against your skin (with the teeth facing up) will allow you to shave everything underneath the line you created. Follow the natural hairline as closely as possible.
  • Style the top: This is the same as styling a pompadour. Brush all the hair on top up and back and set the style in place with a little pomade. One of the big plusses of the undercut is it lets the top be the star of the show and emphasizes that style.