Disconnected Undercut: How To Cut And Style Like The Pros

Top Haircuts for Men With All Hair Types

The Disconnected Undercut: Learn More About This Trending Hairstyle

10 September 2018
man getting his hair cut
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.


Gentlemen of the world, a new haircut is calling you.

Unlike your fathers with their mustaches and sensible haircuts, you live in an age of ample styling options for men. One of the most appealing is the disconnected undercut hairstyle, a look that’s risen in popularity over the course of the last few years.

To delve into detail about the style, we called in one of our favorite professionals: L'Oréal Professionnel artist Drew Schaefering. He gave us the lowdown on a cut that’s all about movement and a new shape.

Although a haircut that involves multiple lengths may seem strange at first, it’s actually a genius idea. Think of a suit: You purchase it in a standard boxy shape, one that’s not flattering to anyone. Once you’ve gotten it tailored, however, the piece fits perfectly—even if that means one width across the shoulders and a narrower width at the waist. See what we’re getting at?

If you’re ready to schedule a hair appointment, swapping your old style for something that’s both flattering and fresh, Schaefering is your new best friend. Read on for every detail about the disconnected undercut.

 

What is a disconnected undercut?

First of all, Schaefering wants to correct the common misconception that “disconnected” implies this haircut is somehow broken or mismatched. Using two different techniques to cut the hair gives the stylist more freedom, creating a look that’s tapered to fit the head without sacrificing movement.

It enables the hair to collapse closer to the head and allows the hair to swing and have more energy while being tailored to the head’s shape.
In other words, this style is all about a long-on-top, short-on-the-sides aesthetic—like you’ve combined two haircuts into an extremely flattering Frankenstein’s monster of a hairstyle. If you’re a little worried about a cut that will look and feel too overdramatic for everyday wear, rest assured that the look is fully customizable.

“The biggest thing about this [cut] to understand is that it can be as drastic or as conservative as desired,” Schaefering adds. In other words: Don’t panic before you’ve actually seen the cut.

 

Who should get it?

Sooner or later, you’ll get let a stylist talk you into a haircut that seems like a great idea while you’re in the salon. Once you leave and take a good look at yourself in the mirror, you’ll realize the chop was a huge mistake. You signed up for a style that’s meant for teenagers on skateboards, not grown men. That’s not the case with the disconnected undercut.

Schaefering is very clear about this point: the disconnected undercut is for almost everyone. You don’t have to be a runway model or a basketball player to pull it off. Because the style is about a custom cut that plays off the shape of the head while allowing movement on top, it’s made for most men—regardless of age or profession.

If you do happen to be in the market for a fashion-forward cut, that’s something to discuss with your stylist.

“Men who embrace this look should definitely find a stylist who will take into account their bone structure and keep the shape more square than round, keeping the sides short and the top length suitable for their image,” Schaefering says.

There is one caveat, however. If you’re dealing with very thin or fine hair, this cut may not be a fit for you. Without enough strands to create movement, the disconnected undercut will fall flat.

 

Why should you mix up your style?

Here’s a question that’s easy to answer. Many men are stuck in a style rut, clinging to what they’ve been told is a flattering haircut. They never change or try something new, so they have no idea how stylish a cut can be.

If you drop your preconceived ideas about hair, Schaefering believes you’ll open yourself up to a better style. All your hair doesn’t have to be the same length to look stylish and professional. That’s the magic of a talented hairstylist.

“The best-suited haircuts allow the hair to hug the head, give volume, and add movement where it’s needed,” Schaefering says. “Give up the need for everything to be ‘connected’ and your hair—as well as your style—will be better off.”

You heard it here first, folks.

 

What products should you buy to make it last?

Here’s a real pressure point for many men. They don’t know what product to buy, so they don’t buy anything. They shampoo and condition their hair, towel dry it, and call it a day.

Spoiler alert: That is not how you achieve salon-quality hair. To make the disconnected undercut work for you, think about products as a tool that will help create texture and hold. Schaefering recommends using a modeling wax like L'Oréal Professionnel Lumi Controle to create a textured finish.

If you’re in need of lift and volume, Schaefering stands by L'Oréal Professionnel Volume Envy Extra mousse and L'Oréal Professionnel Densité to create the illusion of added thickness. Entirely new to using hair products? Give yourself a few days to get your style perfect before heading to work. It’s also important to ask your stylist for his or her favorite techniques—they’re an easily accessible resource.

 

Know Before You Go

There’s a common hair mistake we see among men. Contrary to popular belief, one fantastic haircut will not last you forever. You’ll have to keep going back to maintain the shape of your new style.

According to Schaefering, your salon schedule will depend on the exact version of the disconnected undercut your stylist gives you and how long you prefer your hair be.

“A really textured cut can go a few months before the shape changes drastically,” he explains. “If someone likes maintaining a specific look, I would say six to eight weeks is a good benchmark. Most importantly, it’s whatever works for each person.”

As a reference point, Schaefering notes that most hair grows between a quarter and a half inch every month. Make a note of the length your stylist deems most flattering for your face, and then try to stick to it.

 

Need some hair-spiration? We’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling to see our favorite disconnected undercut styles.

Textured Undercut

The textured undercut is an easy way to show off your curls without having to wrangle a full head of them every morning. Focusing the ringlets at the top of your head will provide a focal point and shorten your pre-work routine.

Graphic Undercut

The hard part—a section of hair shaved away to create the illusion of a defined part—can be an excellent way to add grit to any undercut. We particularly love it on very straight, dark hair. Be warned, though: Hard parts need to be touched up every day or two. If you choose this style, you’re accepting the maintenance that goes along with it.

Twist Out Undercut

Don’t make the mistake of thinking undercuts are just for the gentlemen with straight hair or light waves. Natural texture is made for undercuts—try something adventurous on top, while keeping it neat on the back and sides of the head. We love simple twists, which add visual interest to your personal style.

Surfer Undercut

Men who spend their time catching waves have enviably good hair thanks to all that wind, sun, and sea salt. Mimic the vibe (even if you’re just in an office) by asking your barber to play up your beachy texture with some length on top. If you’re not sure how to apply a sea salt spray at home, make sure you get a tutorial before leaving the shop.

‘90s Undercut

Until recently, man bangs had gone the way of layered t-shirts and slap bracelets. With the ongoing revival of all things 1990s, however, we’ve gotten enthused about choppy bangs paired with a modern disconnected undercut. Use a multipurpose styler like Baxter of California’s Clay Effect Style Spray, a strong hold product that imparts a clay-like, texture-rich finish for that gritty, lived-in, natural look.

Military Undercut

You don’t have to enlist to take inspiration from military style, which has been shaping men’s hair trends for decades. We love a close-cropped disconnected undercut on thick hair. It’s a traditional style with an unexpected twist. If you get tired of styling your length, feel free to go full buzz cut.

Punk Undercut

Think outside the traditional bounds of men’s hairstyling the next time you go for a trim. We’re in love with the graphic shape of this punk-inspired undercut.

Looking for personalized advice about trying a disconnected undercut? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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