Evolution of Hairstyles: From Classic Cuts To Trendsetting Styles
Have you ever wondered which hairstyle you would wear if you were born in another era?
Like our society, how we style our hair has evolved decade after decade. From the dapper looks of yesteryears to today's daring, creative styles, haircuts have traversed an intriguing journey through time. Especially after the pandemic, many have channeled their creativity into grooming, enhancing both mental and physical well-being.
In this article, we'll take a trip down memory lane to look at all the fantastic changes we have made to our hairstyles ranging from the classics to the trendsetting cuts of today.
The Evolution of Classic Haircuts
The classic haircuts were usually influenced by historical figures, celebrities, or any cultural movements that left undeniable marks on society. As a result, each style possessed some unique characteristics and carried a particular statement that depended on the circumstances or people that inspired it in the first place. Look at some of the most popular classic hairstyles that made waves worldwide.
This hairstyle became super popular in the 1920s when the jazz age began. It featured closely shaved sides and back and contrasting long hair at the top, always flat and slicked back. Men adored this elegant hairstyle because it allowed them to wear hats without ruining their looks.
When the great depression hit in the 1930s, people wanted to look elegant without spending too much on hair products; therefore, the undercut was still the go-to style. The only difference was that some people began to part their hair on the side instead of leaving it slicked back like before. In addition, a few men grew a well-groomed mustache to complement the new look.
The 1940s also saw a slight evolution in the undercut during world war II. There was a lot of military influence on hairstyles because most men wanted a practical way of grooming, and the undercut was the best bet. The only difference was that men during this time preferred natural-styled waves instead of the classic slick-back look of the 20s because they were practical and easier to maintain.
The evolution of the undercut has continued up to today, with modern barbershops like Chaps and Co using contemporary techniques like fading, tapering, and blending to breathe new life into this classic hairstyle. Even women are embracing this style, giving it a little feminine twist with bangs, and longer hair, among other creative grooming methods.
Surprisingly, the classic pompadour hairstyle was originally a women’s style in the 1700s to 1800s. However, thanks to icons such as Elvis Presley and James Dean, this hairstyle became one of the most loved cuts for men in the 1950s. The front of this iconic hairstyle is long and has a lot of volume, but it is swept back off the forehead in a roll.
The undercut inspired the men’s version of the pompadour because the hair on the sides was shorter than the top in both styles. Unlike the undercut buzzed sides, the pompadour's sides remained long enough to comb back behind the ears.
Like the undercut, the pompadour hairstyle has evolved over the years, with modern barbers coming up with several variations that fit the modern age. For example, I've seen a pompadour variation where the hair on the top of the head is left long and brushed back, just like the original style. However, the sides were more personalized with a skin fade that gave it a striking contemporary look without losing its classic allure.
Another popular variation of the pompadour is the texture version, so don't assume that your curly or wavy hair won’t do the trick. You can style textured hair into a pompadour, although the results will be slightly loser and more casual than the original style - that’s the point of evolution, isn’t it?
The Beatles popularized the iconic mop-top hairstyle in the 1960s. It looked like a distant cousin of the undercut, where medium-length hair covered the forehead and ears with a vertical bang.
The style remained popular throughout the 60s but waned in the 1970s. This shift was due to the rise of natural textures, afros, and curls, symbolizing an intense yearning for liberation. However, this iconic hairstyle has made a significant comeback today, and you can see both grown men and young boys rocking it all over TikTok and other social media platforms. The only difference you'll notice between the original mop-top of the 60s and the modernized versions is that people grow longer fronts with many natural waves and textures nowadays.
This hairstyle started becoming popular in the 1980s when rock and roll became one of the most loved music genres in the world. Most of the rock musicians at the time loved to wear this hairstyle, and so their fans showed their love by cutting their hair in the same way.
The original mullet looks like the undercut hairstyle in reverse - the hair was cut short at the front and sides but left long in the back. And like all the previous hairstyles, the mullet has evolved and made a comeback as the modernized “mullet fade,” which involves completely shaving or fading the sides instead of a simple trim.
Even though the mullet fade is the most common version of the original mullet, it isn’t the only way to modernize this iconic style - you can get creative however you want.
As evident, many of today's trendsetting hairstyles derive from classic cuts or are mashups of two similar styles. Recently, a heightened focus on self-expression and individuality has paved the way for both genders to experiment creatively with their hairstyles. The evolution won't stop there, as modern barbers continually discover innovative techniques, creating fresh and trendy cuts tailored to individual preferences.