The modern undecut (basically a very high bowl cut or a non-blended high and tight with a long top), is a hot trend lately and can be seen on models and musicians such as Jack Antonoff of fun. and Macklemore and even actors and celebrities such as David Beckham and Josh Duhamel. Of course, as someone who earns a living by cutting hair, I almost never endorse home haircutting, but the modern undercut isn't rocket science and it is fairly easy to cut a men's undercut at home.
It should be noted, that the current style is to wear the hair on top back in a pompadour style, so the haircut works best if you have significant length on top (three to five inches is ideal). If you don't have enough length to work with, you may want to grow som additional length before attempting to do the haircut. When you're ready, follow these instructions and you should come out with a solid haircut. It may be a good idea to go to your hairdresser first for the initial cut (it's easier to do a cut at home if you already have a basic shape to work with). Make sure you're okay with ending up with a buzzcut if you screw it up.
Time: 15 Minutes
What You'll Need:
You'll need the right tools: a comb, a good clipper, clipper guards, a hand mirror, haircutting scissors, and a hair trimmer. It may also be handy to know the location of the nearest barber, just in case.
Tip:: For choice of mirrors, I recommend the Self-Cut System Haircutting Mirror or a swing arm vanity mirror -- either will help keep your hands free. If using a swing arm mirror, mount the mirror on a wall that runs perpendicular to the vanity mirror. This will allow you to stand between the two mirrors and see the back of your head. Having both hands free is a big plus. If using a hand mirror, you'll want to stand with your back to your larger mirror and look through the hand mirror into the large mirror to see a full view of the back of your head).
1) Section the Top: First, you'll want to dampen the hair (not too wet, but just enough to give you a little control). Part the hair on top on both sides, combing the hair towards the center of the head. Make sure the part is the same height on each side. I typically see the shaved part of this haircut stop just past the round of the head, but use your own judgement. Just keep in mind, the higher the part the more like a mohawk the haircut will look. You'll also want to make a part at the back of the head (at the same height or just below the side part -- the back should ideally dip below the crown) and comb that hair forward out of the way. The entire top of the head should be parted in a neat, even horseshoe shape. You may wish to apply some gel or hair clips to keep this hair in place while you're buzzing the sides and back.
2) Shave the Sides and Back: Next, you'll simply want to shave off everything below the parted section on top. This is where you have to choose how long you want the sides and back to be. Choose the clipper guard size you prefer -- no guard will leave nothing but stubble, a number one guard will leave 1/8 inch of hair and a number two will leave 1/4 inch of hair. To buzz the sides and back, I recommend starting at the top and clipping the hair, front to back, with the edge of the clipper guard lined up against the part, so you get a nice, clean line. The back may be a bit tricky, but follow the part line around until it meets the other side. You may have to go over this a few times to get it completely even and remove any lines left by the clipper guard. Next, working from the bottom up, simply buzz off any hair remaining.
Tip: A good professional quality clipper will give you better results than a cheap supermarket brand.
Clean Up the Back Edge: After you've buzzed the hair from the sides and back, wet down the top and comb it straight back. You'll notice the hair in the back hanging over the shaved part. Typically, this is left a little longer (especially if you have a resistant cowlick that makes the hair stick up in the back). Decide how far down the back of the head you want this hair to hang and simply cut it across with the scissors (you'll want to round the back instad of leaving it straight). This may be a good place to have someone assist you, so you get the cut across the back nice and even.
Detail the Edges: Using your trimmer, you'll now trim your sideburns and shave your neck by creating a line and shaving everything underneath. This will give your cut a polished look. Holding your trimmer with the teeth of the blade pointing at your skin (the blade is parallel to the floor with the bottom of the blade facing up) will allow you to cut a clean line. Holding the trimmer with the bottom of the blade flat against your skin (with the teeth facing up) will allow you to shave everything underneath the line you created. Follow the natural hairline as closely as possible.
Finally, you'll want to style the top as you would style a pompadour -- brushing everything on top up and back and setting the style in place with a little pomade.
Good luck! Remember, it's only hair and it will always grow back. Best case scenario, you end up with a cool haircut that doesn't cost you a lot of dough -- worst case scenario is that you end up with a buzzed head, which also doesn't cost you a lot of dough.