Look around the salon, the street, the red carpet, or any corner of the internet and we guarantee you’ll see it: the wolf cut. This modern take on a shaggy retro look has quickly become the “go to” haircut for 2021, and TBH we can’t get enough of it. To help you get a better picture of the wolf cut hair trend, including where it originated and how to style it, we tapped Sharon Spellman, hairstylist and Matrix brand ambassador. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
What is a wolf cut?
If you search for pictures of wolves, you’re probably not going to see a resemblance between the animal and the style itself. Rather, it’s the earthy and untamed nature of the cut that inspired its name.
“The wolf cut is a mixture between the shag and mullet haircut. You can make it wild, or chill it out keeping the length, volume, and wispy layers on point,” says Spellman. “The versatility of the wolf is endless. It’s an extremely gender neutral style therefore all humans can spice up their look and feel their best.”
She adds that there isn’t a specific hair type that should avoid a cut like this. However, if you have straight hair, you’ll probably want to use some hot tools and the right styling products to add texture and volume—two key facets of this trending style.
One more note on the wolf cut. There’s a current TikTok trend where people are DIYing the wolf cut. Unless you’re a seasoned pro, we recommend saving your hair (and some tears) by scheduling a visit with your stylist.
“Haircuts take a lot of professional training, therefore even if you have the best scissors in the game, you don’t have the experience like the pros,” says Spellman.
Who started the wolf cut hair trend?
Though the wolf haircut is trending right now, it actually first popped up in South Korea in the mid-2000s. Several well-known K-Pop singers rocked the iconic shag-meets-mullet ‘do, creating a micro-surge in popularity. Just like the BB cream took about a decade to make its way West, so did the wolf cut.
That said, if we want to get really technical, then inspiration for the wolf cut can be linked back to hairstylist Paul McGregor, who created that iconic shag on a certain award-winning actress. Partial credit also goes to the OG mullet, which surprisingly dates all the way back to ancient Greece. (However, a certain ‘80s band officially coined the term in one of their famous songs).
Is a wolf cut the same as a mullet?
While the wolf cut definitely has similar features to a mullet, the two aren’t quite the same.
“The difference between the wolf and the mullet is the softness of the look,” Spellman explains. “Mullets tend to be much tighter and more cropped at the top, while the wolf cut layers blend more seamlessly. Think of it as a party all over versus just in the front.”
How To Style A Wolf Cut
Styling the wolf cut means leaning into texture, not shying away from volume, and embracing that carefree essence. In addition to texturizing and volumizing hairspray, you should also have products in your routine that can tackle frizz.
“[At the salon], my top tip would be to make sure you’re prepared on how exactly you want your haircut done and specify whether you want more or less layers and volume,” says Spellman. She adds, “My favorite product to tame any frizz at home is the Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Multi-Benefit Treatment Spray.”
For adding volume and texture, we recommend Matrix Miss Mess Dry Texturizing Spray. This multi-benefit formula completes any style with light hold, texture, and lasting volume.
Looking for a little inspo to style your existing (or future!) wolf haircut? We’ve got you. Keep scrolling for five of our favorite wolf cut inspiration photos—plus a few tips on how to achieve these looks for yourself.
Wolf Cut Hair Inspiration
Wolf Cut With Wispy Bangs
Thick fringe is a natural choice for a wolf cut, but you can keep your bangs wispy, too. This look works well on fine hair types. To boost volume, reach for Matrix Vavoom Height of Glam Volumizing Foam. You can spritz on dry hair as a finish spray, or apply directly to your roots.
Ultra-Long Wolf Cut
No need to crop too much off to participate in the wolf cut hair trend. You can still embrace your long locks while creating layers at the top of your head and around your face. If you’re in the process of growing out your hair, we recommend a strengthening hair care system , such as Redken’s Extreme Length Shampoo and Conditioner with Biotin.
Cropped Wolf Cut
Yep, you can have your short hair and wolf cut, too. The piece-y bangs and feather texture really bring this style home. For extra texture, spray Matrix Style Link Texture Builder Messy Finishing Spray onto dry hair and tousle.
Curly Wolf Cut
All textures can rock the wolf cut, including those with super curly tendrils. To better define your curl, apply a dollop of Mizani True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion to wet hair, use your finger to define the curls, and then diffuse or air dry.
Colorful Wolf Cut
Infuse a little extra drama into your wolf haircut via some color. The moody tones pictured here work brilliantly, but any color will do. Don’t forget to use products that help preserve your color, such as Biolage Colorlast Shampoo and Moisturizing Conditioner.
Interested in trying a wolf haircut? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.