Undercuts will continue to overwhelm summer haircuts

Undercuts are the latest throw-it-back hairstyle for summer. This one features a zigzag courtesy of stylist Nicolette Olson of Le Reve Salon & Barbershop and Dream Spa in Cherry Hill.

From mohawks to half-shaves, the most fashionable of fashionable haircuts usually include some major shearing.

The trendlet

But the latest tight fade on the scene is the king of them all — the undercut. In its latest incarnation, undercuts (popular on men and women) feature crowns of hair that are retro-chic slick or piled high into a bun.

Where does it come from?

In the 1920s and ’30s, men had the bottom half of their heads buzzed as close as possible to the scalp in order to lengthen the amount of time between haircuts. In some cases, undercuts were the unfortunate work of  not-so-skilled barbers. As it caught on, the close shave was part of the rough-and-tumble look of street gangs. Eventually, celebrities from Frank Sinatra to James Dean popularized the look.

Fast-forward to the 1980s, and young men — especially those in the world of hip-hop — adapted a high-top fade. Some were actually faded. But others, like that of Chris “Kid” Reid (one half of Kid ‘n Play) featured an incredibly clean nape of the neck. In the grunge-era ’90s, women were shaving a naked swath straight across the nape, making ponytails start a little higher.

Undercuts are the latest throwback hairstyle for summer. On this model is a classic cut courtesy of Alex Masi of Le Reve Salon Barbershop in Cherry Hill.

As the 2010s rolled into the teens, men and women began to adopt a variety of close cuts featured in all manner of street-style looks. Women began shaving the sides and backs of their hair (and maybe dying it purple). And the pruned area underneath man buns began creeping higher and higher. Eventually, undercuts began featuring designs. In 2014, David Beckham made the original undercut look hot again. Classic was back.

Who is wearing it?

Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Joseph Sikora (Tommy from the Starz hit show Power), and singer Jidenna. Rihanna has been known to sport one, as have Kelly Osbourne, Kesha and Kristen Stewart.

Would Elizabeth wear one?

That would be a firm no.

Should you wear one?

Ask yourself: Can you commit? If not, the time it will take for your undercut to grow out will feel like torture.

Le Reve Salon Barbershop is at 2110 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, 856-888-2436.