Whether you’ve rocked the iconic ‘80s hairstyles or saw a modern version of it on Instagram, seeing a mullet in 2021 might make you cringe a little (or maybe a lot). When you think of mullet hair, shaggy rockstar manes and your parents’ high school yearbook photos likely come to mind. Modern variations of the mullet, however, have been getting a lot of love from celebrities and influencers alike.
Wondering how to (or why to) make a modern mullet haircut work for you? We asked a few pros to break down how to make the look work in 2021.
What does a mullet haircut look like?
If you’re wondering, “what is a mullet haircut?” Let us break it down for you. Popularly referred to as the “business in the front, party in the back” haircut, the mullet haircut features bangs at the front, short hair on the sides, and longer length towards the back of your head. This haircut typically also features shaggy or choppy layers that give the look an edgy appearance.
Are mullets coming back in 2021?
The modern mullet haircut is bigger than ever in 2021. It first started gaining mainstream popularity back in 2019, but according to Erica Moomey, L’Oréal Professionnel artist, the cut has never truly left the spotlight.
“Similar to couture fashion, most hair trends start out extreme, yet over time the shape will be manipulated and toned down, resulting in a more commercial wearable look,” Moomey says. “I do not see this rebellious trend coming to an end anytime soon.”
Heather King, Redken brand artist, agrees. She also sees a surprising use for a mullet hairdo’ when it comes to that awkward haircut grow-out period we've all experienced.
“I think taking something that was cool before and making it trendy and unique again is exciting and what fashion is all about,” King says. “Not to mention, what a chic way to grow out the pixie cuts that have been so popular the last few years!”
Philip Wolff, Matrix artist, suggests that the rising popularity of mullets is related to something totally different.
“As with anything, there are early adopters, trend followers, the masses, and then people who never left the original times...With social media having the ability to spread words and images faster than word of mouth, it allows anything to trend at a faster rate. Everything eventually makes a comeback with that specific era’s twist to make it relevant.” Wolff says.
Is a mullet unprofessional?
Some variations of the mullet may seem unprofessional—but that’s another reason we love modern takes on mullet haircuts for women and men. They feature more blended layers and softer layering on the sides of the cut, which makes it way more workplace-appropriate. Mullet hair, however, is still pretty edgy. If you’re searching for a professional haircut with some edge, opt for a choppy bob or modern shag cut instead.
Who do mullets work best for?
Like most daring cuts or colors, the mullet definitely isn’t everyone's cup of tea.
“I think it is important to read your audience,” Moomey explains. “Recommending a mullet haircut to someone that prefers to fly under the radar may not be in your or their best interest.”
If you’re a hair daredevil, however, King says a modern mullet might be the perfect fashion statement cut for you.
“It’s the ultimate convertible hairstyle as you can make it as professional or trendy as you want,” King says.
How To Style Mullet Hair
The best part about mullet hair, by far, is how easy it is to style! If you want to keep your styling routine as low-maintenance as possible, Moomey recommends trying a wash-and-go mullet and embracing your natural texture.
“The best part about the mullet is that it can be worn by all hair textures from straight to curly. I personally prefer to cut my clients dry while their hair is in its natural state in order to enhance movement,” Moomey says. “For my low-maintenance guys and girls, I always suggest L’Oréal Professional [Tecni.Art] Next Day Hair Dry Finishing Spray applied on dry tresses to add extra roughness and volume.”
If you’re into more polished styles, the good news is that mullet doesn’t always need to be super undone and messy. For those days when you’re going for more of a chic look, King suggests opting for a slicked-back mullet hairdo’.
“Spray Redken’s Guts 10 into dry hair and directionally blow-dry the hair back with a paddle brush...Then, blend Redken’s Velvet Gelatine 07 Cushioning Blow Dry Gel and Oil For All Multi-Benefit Hair Oil and apply generously to the hair to create a super sophisticated look,” King suggests.
Inspired to try mullet hair for yourself? Keep scrolling for 15 of our favorite mullet hair ideas.
The Best Mullet Hair Ideas To Try Now
You might think that a very short mullet haircut would be edgier, but the result is the exact opposite. This layered chop is actually super wearable if you’re searching for a more toned-down mullet hair idea.
Channel your inner ‘80s rockstar with this spiky variation of the modern mullet.
Mullet Hair For Men
Don’t think we forgot about you, guys! While mullet hair for women is super on-trend, the same goes for men—particularly classic ‘80s mullet hair. We recommend using a hair pomade like Redken Brews Maneuver Cream Pomade to give your mullet hair a firm yet moldable texture.
Mullet With Extra Shaved Sides
Give your modern mullet an even edgier feel by keeping the sides of your cut tapered.
Baby bangs and mullets go together like bread and butter. While baby bangs require a bit of maintenance, the visual impact you’ll get from a super short fringe is totally worth it!
You’re already pushing boundaries with your haircut, so there’s no reason not to do the same for your color. If you want to take your mullet hair look to the next level, try pairing it with a rainbow hair color.
Classic mullets are all about texture, so apply a few spritzes of texturizing spray like Redken Triple Dry 15 Dry Texture Finishing Spray if you’re looking to channel your inner ‘80s rockstar. This aerosol dry texturizing spray provides medium hold with effortless, beachy texture.
If a traditional mullet isn’t short enough for you, ask your stylist for a pixie mullet. Allow the strands towards the back of your head to grow a few inches longer than the rest if you’re already working with a pixie cut.
Opting for a mullet is a total power move, so you’ll need a power hair color to go with it. There’s nothing better than a vibrant red shade when it comes to statement-making hues.
If you’re looking to give your ringlets instant volume and bounce, mullet cuts and curly hair are a match made in heaven.
If you’re looking to incorporate bangs into your look, you’ll be obsessed with how straight-across bangs accentuate a mullet haircut.
Ask your stylist to pair your mullet haircut with a half-and-half hair color for a look that’s guaranteed to turn heads wherever you go. If you need some inspiration, we love this bubblegum pink and teal duo.
If you’re considering a mullet, you’re not afraid to be edgy. For those going for an even more avant-garde look, try a spiky mullet. Use a hair gel like Biolage Styling Gelée All Purpose Styling Gel to add body, shine, and control to your ‘do.
Long And Straight
You don’t have to give up your long hair to try a mullet haircut. In fact, long and pin straight is one of the most modern ways to wear the look.
Interested in trying a mullet haircut? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.