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How to Style a Mullet

Being under lockdown for most of last year due to the coronavirus pandemic saw the rise of some new trends we saw coming, like loungewear and house dresses. And some we didn’t, like the revival of the mullet. The resurgence of iconic hairstyle made popular by rebellious rock stars and athletes in the eighties and nineties is coming out of quarantine hot. Likely because growing our hair out and experimenting with it gave us something to do in lockdown. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about this hot hair trend, including how to style the modern mullet below.

What is a mullet?

When you hear the word mullet, it’s safe to assume you think of Billy Ray Cyrus and the classic mullet haircut. But the iconic business in front, party in back style has gone mainstream. Characterized by longer locks in the back and shorter strands upfront, the modern mullet is gaining a whole new following. Today’s mullet is way less severe than the ones of the eighties and nineties. The modern version is totally wearable for everyone. The sides are longer and there’s less of a graduation from short to long hair. The modern mullet relies more on styling to play it up. Slick back the sides and it’s obvious, but mess it up and it looks just like long hair. So if you’re ready to get on board with the modern mullet trend, let’s take a look at what it’ll take to get you there.

How to grow a mullet

Here’s everything you need to know if you're ready to rock the modern mullet hair trend.

  1. You need long hair to start. In order to optimize your hair needs to be a decent length. A true mullet isn’t as simple as shaving your sides and not touching the back. You have to start with longer hair the whole way around in order to shape it.
  2. Decide on the type of mullet you want. If you’re going for shock value, a traditional mullet that’s closely-cropped or shaved on the sides and long and flowing in the back is probably what you want. But it’s the least versatile. Have an idea of how long you want the back, and how drastic you want the sides to look in comparison. 
  3. Make an appointment with a barber or hairstylist. If you’re going for a drastic mullet, you can likely DIY- just shave down the sides and top till you reach your desired length. But if you want one of the hottest mullets of the season (and we’ve got a whole list below!) it’s best you leave it to the professionals. A modern mullet haircut is achieved with scissors, and you shouldn’t be doing it yourself unless you know what you’re doing.
  4. Style your mullet. The best mullet has lots of texture, so style yours with a beach hair spray on damp hair and as it’s air drying, mess it up a little with your fingers. Mullets also look better on second or third day hair, so skip the daily hair washing. Use dry shampoo between washes to soak up excess oil. To style, add a pomade for short hair at the front and mold your hair into the shape of your choosing, or use a strong hold gel for a spiky effect. Davines Regional Master Trainer Lauren Knox sums it up well: "The thing that I would tell anyone that and a mullet would probably be “the more tousled and messy, the better. You don’t want it to look too done with a funky cut like that. This is a Dry Texturizer and This is an Invisible Serum would be great!"

15 Modern Mullet Hairstyles

Now let’s take a look at some of the hottest modern mullets trending this season.

 1. Mullet fade

The mullet fade is one of the most popular versions of all the modern mullet hairstyles. Mullets and fades work well together because the short hair on the sides gives the front and back contrast. And because there are so many different types of fades to choose from, this style is totally customizable.

2. Undercut mullet

The undercut mullet is an alternative to the mullet fade. Undercut hairstyles are cut high and short on the sides but all one length as opposed to tapered. The mullet undercut works well on all hair types, and can be worn spiky, combed over, or messy.

3. Short mullet

The short mullet is simple to style and doesn’t require much maintenance. Still trendy and rugged, mullets don’t have to be long to look good. Neatly trimmed with a fade or undercut on the sides and back, a short mullet haircut is clean-cut compared to messier styles. 

4. Long mullet

Long mullets are the quintessential 80s mullet. This classic style is a bold look for sure, but it works in so many different ways. You can wear a long mullet with straight, curly, thick, and fine hair. Plus, it’s super low-maintenance. All you need to do is style the hair at the front and let the back flow freely. Ask your barber or hair stylist to take the layers down at the end to prevent your hair from looking limp.

5. Pompadour mullet

The pompadour mullet combines the classic style with a bit of a modern update. A pompadour is a hairstyle in which the hair is turned back off the forehead in a roll. This mullet is faded on the sides to highlight the pompadour on top.

6. Side mullet

The side mullet is another versatile mullet that can be worn many ways. You can rock it with a side swept bang, the hair in the middle parted to one side, or the longer hair in the back combed to one side. 

7. Straight hair mullet

A straight hair mullet works best on those with thin hair because thin hair is naturally straight. With a straight hair mullet, you only need to focus on styling the front to create volume and lift.

8. Spiky mullet

A spiky mullet looks best with short and medium length hair. Smooth your short hair on top by spiking it up with pomade, but let the hair in back grow out organically. 

9. Wavy mullet

A wavy mullet works well because the natural bends in the hair make it appear casual and effortless. A wavy hair mullet involves can be styled with product, or brushed over towards the back and sides for a more relaxed look.

Davines Heart of Glass blonde hair care

photo by @goldandglowco

10. Bleached mullet

When you pair platinum hair with a mullet you get an extremely bold hairstyle. Reminiscent of David Bowie in his rock star heyday, this version works best if you really want to make a statement. Remember to use hydrating hair products once you bleach your hair and use a mask for color treated hair weekly.

11. Mullet with beard

Rocking a beard with a mullet is a subtle style that works well if your beard is thick and your hair is fine. Letting the hair touch the nape of your neck while the rest of your hair is short is a subtle way to look edgy while your beard takes center stage.

12. Euro mullet

This mullet uses a side-fade with a faux hawk in front and back. David Beckham made this type of mullet popular, but you don’t have to be European to pull it off. It works well on naturally textured hair, so if this is you, the euro mullet is your mullet.

13. Feathered mullet

A feathered mullet is more like a classic mullet, but don’t let that fool you, this style is still bold and fun. Feathered hair is light and voluminous, and a feathered mullet maximizes your hair’s own height and flow. Feathered hair mullets work best on medium to longer hair. 

14. Curly hair mullet

Curly hair complements the change in length at the back perfectly. Naturally bouncy, curls add texture and firmness without taking away from the hair at the front. And growing your hair out at the back lets you show off your curls. If you’re a curly-haired guy check out our previous post Curly Hair Tips for Guys for more!

12. Faux hawk mullet

The faux hawk mullet haircut is ideal if you want the longer hair on top to be concentrated in the middle of your head. This mullet variation skips the shaved sides and adds a taper fade for a less dramatic cut. The result is still edgy, but a bit more mainstream.

Final thoughts on the mullet

There’s never been a better time to grow a mullet. This haircut is hot and it’s trending hard for 2021. Once thought of as the look of rebellious rock stars and athletes in the 80’s and 90’s, the iconic business in front, party in back style has gone mainstream. Celebs of all genders are adopting versions of this retro hairstyle, making the modern mullet the hairstyle for Spring. If you’re coming out of lockdown in need of a change, or wondering how to look younger, a modern mullet haircut might just be the trend for you.

by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor
cover photo taken at @resalonandmedspa

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