Rat tail hairstyles are becoming popular again because of their versatility. These unusual styles can be braided, permed, dyed or just left to hang loose.
Rat tail is a low-maintenance hairstyle as you will only require to keep a short section longer at the back.
What is the origin of rat tail hair?
The rattail made its big break in mainstream culture in the 1980s. It is common among New Zealanders and Australians, especially among younger boys.
In pop culture, Jedis in the Star Wars franchise has a rattail, otherwise known as the Padawan braid, until they earn the rank of Jedi Knight.
What does a rat tail haircut mean?
The rattail haircut is a hairstyle with short hair around the entire head, except for a few inches on the back of the hair that is longer than the rest of the hair. The long hair can be braided or left loose. In the 1980’s it was often permed, curled, or straightened.
Trendy Rat Tail Hairstyles
Rat tail haircuts are most popular in New Zealand and Australia, but they have fans worldwide. International soccer stars often wear their hair in a rat tail style. They were very popular in America during the 1980s, and the style is now coming back again in 2024.
#1: Mohawk with Rat Tail
Your mohawk is a real statement but do you feel it can be even more than that? Get a rat tail in the back, to make it look like you are continuing the mohawk. To make it work, shave the sides and keep the same proportions as the hawk.
#2: One Side Rattail
You can grow a rat tail wherever you want, and it’s not a must to have it in the back! In this case, the longer piece is behind the ear, and it looks so good if braided, as you can see in the image above. Style a regular cut with a shorter side and a higher top for the rest of the hair.
#3: Curls and Rattail
Are you getting a simple curly haircut? Nay! Spice things up just a little bit with a rat tail hair. Keep a longer strand in the back and braid it to get a straight knit. If you don’t want to wear it all the time, unbraid it, and the hair will naturally form the curl.
#4: Fishtail Braid
Did you ever think that such a regular haircut could be the canvas for a hairstyle like this? I don’t know about you, but we believe that this shade of metallic dark emerald green is worth a try.
And the rat tail hair looks absolutely exquisite. Blend some platinum blonde strands to gain that marvelous effect.
#5: Tiger Rattail
Well, that’s a bold hairstyle that can be unseen! It combines so many elements that you don’t even know what stuns you most, right? Is it the tiger print, the undercut with a design on the side, or the long braided rattail in the back?
#6: Bowl Cut with Rattail
Need something extra for the regular bowl cut? A simple rattail in the nape area will certainly come as a surprise.
Instead of creating the fade for the whole back hair, spare a section and keep it longer. Try to maintain the same color combo as for the rest of the hairstyle.
#7: Hair Art
Amaze your friends with your hair art skills by cutting a rat shaped Mohawk into your hair. Leave your hair long enough at the back so that you can use your hair as the rat’s tail.
#8: Brushed Back Hair with a Braid
Start by brushing your hair upwards from the roots to create volume and then brush it backward to give a fast-paced look. Plait your longer rat tail section into a thin braid.
#9: Layered Curtains with a Plaited Rat Tail
Layer the majority of your hair so that the underneath is longer than the top sections. Roll the top sections slightly in a classic curtains style and then complete the look with a careful micro braid.
#10: Curly Top with Micro Braids
Rat tail hairstyles still look great even with curly hair. Leave the top of your style curly but straighten the long portions at the back. Plait the back into lots of little micro braids for a cool hairstyle for men.
#11: Choppy Style
Style your hair with a choppy look by cutting in lots of different layers. These layers will help to give your hair the type of texture that people will just want to run their hands through.
#12: Mohawk with Braided Rat Tail
Cut the sides of your style with a medium-length hair trimmer but leave the central section long. Run your hands through your hair from front to back to style it into a Mohawk. Braid the rest of your hair into a rat tail.
#13: Long Rat Tail
You can grow your rat tail as long as you want. To make your rat tail hairstyle look longer, you should keep the rest of your hair relatively short.
#14: Chunky Braided Rat Tail
If you want to make a chunkier rat tail braid, you should make sure that you grow a larger section of hair. A thicker long section of hair will help to give you a chunkier braid.
#15: Fishtail Braid
Fishtail braids have a really unique texture and use two strands of hair instead of three. You may need to straighten your hair first to get perfect Fishtail braids styled into your rat tail hairstyle.
#16: Tiny Braid
If you only have a thin rat tail hairstyle, you can try styling your hair into a teeny tiny micro braid. Be aware that it can be very fiddly to style a micro braid which is this thin.
#17: 80’s Rat Tail Style
For an 80’s-inspired men’s hairstyle, you should try to introduce more volume into your hair. Use your hands to pull your hair upwards from the roots. Set your hair with loose hold hair gel.
#18: Rat Splat
Use trimmers to carefully cut a flat rat shape into the back of your hair. Leave a long strand of your hair hanging down to represent the tail of the rat.
#19: Curly Tail
Give your hair a little bit of variety by adding a few curls to the rat tail section of your hair. All that you need to do is curl the hair around a pencil a few time and then add some holding gel. When you take the pencil out, your hair should stay a little bit curly.
#20: Single Curl
Styling a single curl into a rat tail hairstyle can create a really effective look. Aim to create a shape that looks like an upside-down question mark.
#21: Layered Curls
Give rat tail hairstyles a layered look by cutting some sections shorter than others. Giving layered hair a gentle curl can help to produce a soft waterfall effect.
#22: Mullet style
Keeping your hair long all of the way across the back of your hairstyle will give you a mullet instead a standard rat tail look. Add choppy layering to your mullet to give a more contemporary hairstyle for men.
#23: Subtle Tail
For a very subtle rat tail hairstyle for men, make sure that the tail is very short. All that you need for a subtle look are a few strands that are just a bit longer than the rest.
Try something a little bit different by growing a longer section of hair away from the center of your head. Leave the hair loose or style it into a braid.
Longer rat tail hairstyles can be pulled up into chignon buns that sit at the nape of your neck. Twist the style to give a tight rope of hair and then wind it around itself into a chignon.
Rat tail haircuts are not in the mainstream yet, but they are making a comeback. Stay ahead of the trend by trying out one of these rat tail hairstyles.
Alternatively, style your hair with a rat tail look to pay homage to the 1980s, like the Viking hairstyles.
Rattails are not cultural to a specific country or ethnic group. However, it is considered a hallmark of the fashion culture in the 1980s and among punk rockers.
In the 1990s, it fell out of fashion. Though it is making a small resurgence, it is largely left among the 1980s culture.
Both hairstyles are longer on the back and shorter on the sides and front. However, a rattail has much less volume than a mullet.
The rattail is usually only a few inches wide, while the mullet is usually much wider and longer.
Hair does not grow into a rattail naturally. However, if your hair is very stringy, it can resemble a rattail hairstyle because it sticks together and lacks volume. If this is the case, you likely have oily hair.
If your hair grows longer in the back but not in the front, your hair might have a shorter maximum length. If this is the case, you might need to keep your hair short to keep its volume.