You’ve heard about the mullet haircut, right? One of the most popular hairstyles of the 1980s came with its own tagline: business in the front, the party in the back! That describes the mullet to a tee, honestly. The style is almost always categorized by a neat, polished haircut in the front, around the face, that transitions into longer hair in the back.
During its heyday, the mullet was a coveted ‘do for men, women, and children. The coolest mullet wearers had long, flowing locks in the back that reached their shoulder blades or lower, which hung in limp contrast to the exquisitely crafted wings of their bangs.
Modern mullet haircuts have none of the cheesiness of their predecessors, thank goodness. In fact, they’re having a moment right now that’s so big, mullets might just trend again.
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Because mullet haircuts come with a built-in bad reputation, you have to find a balance between nostalgic irony, retro appreciation, and modern style. Stringy, straggly hair and blow dried bangs simply won’t cut the mustard in 2023 unless you’re genuinely going for a vintage Billy Ray Cyrus vibe, and no one wants to do that.
Be inventive and creative. Before you head to the stylist’s chair, watch Joe Dirt, then ask for the exact opposite. The point is that you don’t want a 1980s mullet hairstyle. You need to bring that bad boy into the 21st century.
1. Party on the Sides
Instead of the business in the front, party in the back layout of most mullet haircuts, this one’s throwing a party along the sides. As you can see, there’s a gap, almost like the style of a traditional undercut, but the back and sides boast intricately shaved designs.
2. Short Spikes
Mullets don’t have to be long, either on the top or the bottom. Basically, as long as the hair in the back is longer than the top, you’ve got yourself a mullet. Add a few spikes and keep everything else sleek and slick for a hipster take on the classic ‘do.
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3. Wet Mullet Haircut
When done right, there’s something almost avant-garde about the mullet—and, as you can see, you can even fake the look. Slicking back the front of your hair blends it into the longer strands in the back.
4. Curly Mullet
A whole lot is going on with this mullet haircut, but it’s all phenomenal. The curls are the centerpiece—curls just lend themselves well to this cut. The pompadour up front is the defining detail—that’s what sets this apart from a traditional mullet and makes it more modern.
5. Spikes and Curls
Here’s another way to make curly or wavy hair work with your mullet. The curls at the ends of the long hair in the back are evocative of the traditional cut. The spikes on top are arranged like a faux hawk, and they add a much-needed modern edge to the ‘do.
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6. The Swanky Mullet
Becks always knows what he’s doing with his hair, even if it’s unconventional and out of the box. He’s kind of faking his mullet, but unlike Jared Leto, David Beckham steps out with a more sophisticated mullet, all thanks to that flawless side part.
7. Sharp Lines
To make your mullet haircut fresher and more stylish, ask the barber for flourishes and unexpected touches. Buzz the sides request a fade and, if you’re bold, get a few lines etched in to make yourself stand out from all the other mullet-wearing men.
8. The Dad Mullet
How many dads wear a variation of this haircut? Zac Efron knows the deal. His hair features a slight side part, as well, resulting in a mullet that actually looks a bit chic. You go, Zac.
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9. Mullet Mohawk
There are so many ways to shape a mullet haircut that you can easily get inventive and show off your signature style—like this dude. Check out the height on those spiked curls. The shaved sides contrast with the long curls in the back, which he clearly takes care of because they are kind of amazing.
10. Long and Lush
You’re looking at what might be the most beautiful mullet to ever see the light of day. It’s not as short on top as it looks—some of the hair is brushed back so that it blends in with the longer curls—and, if you notice, the sides and part of the back are still somewhat short. The whole haircut is like a unicorn tail.
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They say that everything old is new again, and that’s even true for mullet haircuts, which are currently making a rather unlikely comeback. Do you think you’d wear a mullet—even an updated one?