Deciding on a new haircut can be intimidating. Do you stick to what you know and get a bob, lob, or some variation of a mid-length shag, or do you go in a brand new direction with something bolder, more unexpected? If you naturally lean toward the latter, may we suggest a mullet? Ever since being popularized in the ’70s, the business in front, party in the back haircut has amassed many variations.
“Mullets are so varied, but the common thread is that the front is shorter than the back, and the layering is short relative to the overall length,” says expert Adriana Papaleo.
For a classic mullet, Papaleo says, “tell your stylist you want to see a strong separation, or disconnection, from front to back with short layers internally.” While that request will give your stylist a solid starting point, Papaleo says it’s even better to bring photographic evidence of your mullet hair goals.
Meet Our Expert
Adriana Papaleo is artistic director and head of cutting at Rob Peetoom Salon in Brooklyn, NY.
Nikki Providence is a celebrity hairstylist based in Los Angeles.
With that in mind, we rounded up an array of mullet haircut ideas to reintroduce you to the cut. By the end of this article, you might just be ready to make the chop.
The '70s-Inspired Mullet
Jane Fonda is largely responsible for popularizing the female take on the mullet. She rocked the cut in her infamous 1970s mug shot. In addition to inspiring hair transformations across a generation, Fonda ushered in a new wave of feminist rebellion with the widely-circulated photograph.
To recreate Fonda’s famous mullet style, celebrity hairstylist Nikki Providence suggests using the Bumble and bumble Invisible Oil Ultra Rich Hyaluronic Treatment Lotion ($47) “to keep hair soft and silky.”
The '80s-Inspired Mullet
Jane Fonda wasn't the only Hollywood A-Lister to rock a mullet back in the day. Meryl Streep did, too. Here, you can see Streep on set for her 1983 film, Silkwood. Her mullet features a soft fade that almost makes the cut edge on the side of a shag. Providence says that taking this approach will give you a more versatile cut that can be styled many ways.
The Mullet Lob
Cardi B turned heads at the Clive Davis Pre-GRAMMY Gala when she arrived rocking a sleek mullet with bangs. “Cardi B makes a powerful statement with this mullet,” says Papaleo. “She wears a versatile swept fringe and a bit of movement in the ends while keeping the rest of the shape controlled with minimal volume.”
If you’re looking to recreate the look, Papaleo says it depends on your starting texture. “If you have more curl or wave, start with Davines This Is A Relaxing Moisturizing Fluid ($30) on wet hair and a bristle brush to give you tension while smoothing the hair; dry the hair 100 percent and detail using a flat iron for a high shine finish with something between a curl and straight,” she instructs. “For hair with less movement, go with the Davines Momo Hair Potion and a flat brush since less control is needed to smooth out the look. A small round brush can be used to give movement through the lengths, and apply some Davines This Is A Shine Wax ($34) for a polished finish with a bit of hold.”
Mullet With Micro Bangs
Can’t decide between a pixie and a bob haircut? Consider a short mullet. “Amber Valetta rocked a short fringed mullet for the Met Gala this year and looked incredible,” says Papaleo. “The bold, face-framing fringe is a great choice if you have strong features and aren’t afraid to let them shine.” To get the look, she says to apply Davines Momo Hair Potion ($30) to wet hair and use a flat brush and blow dryer to subdue volume and shape the close-cut mullet. “Once dry, use Davines This is a Medium Hold Pliable Paste ($32) mixed with the Oi Oil to give separation, a bit of texture, and lots of shine.”
Related: The 8 Most Popular Types of Bangs
The Coily Mullet
Got coils? You can rock a mullet too, if you’d like. “Shenseea is a great example of a mullet on curls,” Papaleo says. “To get the look you want to start from wet and either let your hair air dry or diffuse.” The trick is to not touch your hair once it begins to dry. “On towel-dried hair, apply Davines This is a Curl Building Serum ($32) from roots to ends and use a wide tooth comb or Denman brush and comb the hair into shape,” Papaleo instructs. “Use your hands to gently push the curl back up into the hair [but not thereafter during the drying process.] This will ensure that the curls stay structured and reduce frizz.” Once the hair is fully dry, Papaleo says it’s fine to get hands-on. “Use your hands to gently shake out the curls,” she suggests, noting that the Davines Oi Oil ($51) works wonderfully as a finishing product to further tame frizz while adding a burst of hydration to curls.
The Shaggy Mullet
It’s only fitting that Sophie Thatcher—one of the badass young women from Showtime’s psychological thriller Yellowjackets—can pull off one of the boldest haircuts. “This mullet on Sophie Thatcher is one of my favorite recent celebrity mullets because of the color/cut combination and the texture of the styling,” Papaleo reveals. “The tousled messy vibe pays homage to the origins of the haircut itself and doesn’t shy away from looking flawlessly indifferent.”
To recreate the look, Papleo says to apply mousse on towel-dried hair and add texturizing sea salt spray on top to add a touch of grit. “Push the texture into place using your hands and let the product and texture of the cut work its magic,” she says, noting that you can air dry or diffuse your hair after applying the styling products. “Once the hair is dry, use a texture dust to [boost] volume and give the layering some added separation.”
The Vivid Mullet
One of Providence's favorite mullets is one Lady Gaga rocked at a Grammy's after-party in 2016. The bob-length mullet featured voluminous roots doused in a vivid orange color. In her opinion, adopting a bold color for your mullet is a great way to channel David Bowie.
The Classic Mullet
Where many modern mullets verge on the edge of a shag, some are clearly business in the front and a party in the back. Case in point? Zendaya’s take on the cut for the Grammy Awards in 2016. Providence is a particularly big fan of the actress’s unique take on the haircut trend. “The honey blonde color and heavy fringe bring out her eyes and heart-shaped face—the priority here is healthy, shiny hair,” she says.
The Feathered Mullet
If you want to dip your ends into the world of mullets without going all out with the style, Providence says to turn your attention to Scarlett Johansson. “[Her mullet is] a shorter version, which is basically a pixie cut with an exaggeratedly long back perimeter,” she says. Best of all, in terms of styling, Providence says that this type of mullet is “pretty much wash and go.”
The Faded Mullet
While many mullets feature volume on the tops and side of the head, here, Rihanna proves that the cut looks fierce with a fade, too. No matter which way you get a mullet, Providence assures us: “All of them are pretty rock’n’roll,” she says.
Mullet With Long Bangs
Not all mullets feature texture or curls. Here, you can see how the haircut looks on glossy, straight hair. “For keeping hair healthy and hydrated, I’m obsessed with the Guerlain Abeille Royale Scalp & Hair Youth Oil in Serum ($140)—the whole line smells divine and is incredibly healing,” Providence says.
The Mid-Length Mullet
“If you’ve got guts and want to make a statement, wear the top super short,” Providence says. “The key to pulling off any hairstyle is commitment!” Here, you can get an idea of how the style looks on Teyana Taylor.
The Wolf Mullet
A wolf haircut is part shag, part mullet. Here, you can see the edgy, versatile cut on Miley Cyrus. For high-shine hair like hers, consider finishing your look with a spritz of Color Wow's Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray ($29).
The French Mullet
This quirky short mullet reminds us of a more subdued version of Florence Agnes Henderson's iconic Carol Brady cut. It also has a slightly Parisian feel to it with the upturned ends.
The Long Mullet
As demonstrated by Petra Collins, you can rock a mullet even with waist-grazing lengths. For extra edge, add a set of jagged micro-bangs.
The High Fashion Mullet
Ten years ago, model Joan Smalls strutted down the Jean Paul Gaultier fall 2013 runway sporting a rocker-chic mullet. Who knew the style would be back in style a decade later.
The Piecey Mullet
Kristen Stewart's piecey mullet looks a bit more grown out with light curls and wispy curtain bangs. To mimic the wet look, consider styling with a gel, such as R+Co Continental Glossing Wax ($29).
The Wispy Mullet
For a wispy, feathered mullet, Providence says the trick is to blow dry face-framing strands away from the face. This will add separation and volume to the look.
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