Why The Undercut Hairstyle Works on Everybody

Cuts for Men

The Disconnected Undercut: Learn More About This Trending Hairstyle

28 August 2017
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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.

Gentleman 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 to serious 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 fresh shape.

Although a haircut that involves multiple lengths may seem feel 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."

Drew Schaefering

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 over dramatic 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 communicate to 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 can help create texture and hold. Schaefering recommends using a modeling wax like L'Oréal Professionnel Lumi Controle to create a piecey texture.

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. Totally new to product? Give it a few days of a trial run to get your style perfect before heading into 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.

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