Everything You Need To Know About The Mullet

Published 31st Oct 2023 by Josie Jackson

The mullet started cropping up (pun intended) back in 2020, thanks in part to Netflix’s Tiger King, starring former zookeeper and convict Joe Exotic, as well as the closure of salons and barbershops forcing many clients to (wisely) grow their hair out rather than tackle it themselves.

For a long time, this shaggy style has endured a bad rep – Bono even mournfully reflected on his mullet phase, sharing: “I regret that my hair looked like that when we did Live Aid. That’s still very hard to deal with.” Indeed, the mullet was iconic in the 80s, thanks to Bono and fellow musicians David Bowie, Billy Ray Cyrus and radio presenter, Pat Sharp, but it soon suffered a demise shortly after.

So where did it all begin? The mullet actually dates back long before the 80s, with the BBC revealing that literary records put the style as far back as Ancient Greece, where the poet Homer described a group of spearman as having "their forelocks cropped, hair grown long at the backs".

What is a Mullet?

Whilst the style is often described as looking ‘business in the front, party in the back’, Eleni Tsesmatzoglou from Nūdo Studio says she would describe the mullet as “individual, expressive, creative and chaotic”. The mullet could also be characterised as versatile, with Eleni adding: “There are lots of different types of mullets, ranging from sharp exaggerated and tapered to soft editorial looks. In my opinion, everyone can have a mullet.” This, perhaps, explains why the style has once again become so popular.

Oliver Hill from MaxOliver agrees, sharing: "A lot of our customers think curly or wavy hair is needed for a mullet, but I think by using the right products, all hair types and densities can work well."

How to Cut a Mullet

Award-winning hairdresser, Sharon Malcolm, shares her steps for creating a mullet...

"The main thing to remember when creating a modern mullet is to work with high elevation to maintain length and a contemporary shape. Start by taking a parting from ear to ear over the top of the head and clipping it away at the front. Begin the cut at the back, remembering to work with a high elevation of 180 degrees, point-cutting short to long on a downward angle."

"For the front of the hair, again use point-cutting and 180-degree elevation with over-direction. Take pivoting sections off the front hairline to connect the layers to the fringe."

"You can play with the fringe and sides of the hair, depending on how strong you want the look to be, either keeping it softer with a bit more length on the sides or really going for the modern mullet aesthetic by exaggerating the disconnection," explains Sharon.

What to Watch Out Fot

With so many different renditions of the style, Eleni notes: “It’s very important for me to have a vision of how the end result should look, using reference photos to know what sort of style the client is hoping for. Every mullet is individual and as such, may need to be approached differently."

Sharon advises: "Create plenty of texture in the hair, both on top and at the back to ensure you create a contemporary look."

Meanwhile, Max discusses the pressure points to watch out for when cutting this style, explaining: "I would say the trickiest part is connecting the back into the sides and tailoring the 'party' aspect. This is what can differentiate the 'modern mullet' to a 'classic mullet'.”

Now that you're up to speed with the mullet, why not check out everything you need to know about the Burst Fade?

Image credit: Eleni Tsesmatzoglou

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 31st Oct 2023

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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