How To Achieve A Slick Back Undercut: A Complete Guide – Beard Beasts Skip to content


Side profile of a man with a slick back undercut hairstyle, featuring neatly slicked-back hair on top and short, faded sides. Perfect example of a modern slick back undercut for men.

How To Achieve A Slick Back Undercut: A Complete Guide

A slick back undercut is a stylish and versatile haircut that combines a smooth, slicked-back top with short or shaved sides. This look has been around for decades, originating in the early 20th century. It gained massive popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, and has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to its modern, edgy appeal.

Brief History:

  • 1920s-1930s: Initially popular among men who wanted a sharp, clean look.
  • 1950s: Came back into fashion with the rockabilly movement.
  • 2010s-Present: Revived by celebrities and style icons, making it a go-to modern hairstyle.

Cultural Significance:

  • Featured in classic films and worn by iconic characters.
  • Symbolizes a blend of retro charm and contemporary coolness.
  • Widely adopted by fashion-forward individuals and celebrities.
Portrait of a man with a blonde slick back undercut hairstyle and a full beard. The slicked-back top contrasts with the faded sides, showcasing a modern variation of the slick back undercut.

Why Choose a Slick Back Undercut?

Opting for a slick back undercut offers several benefits, making it a favorite among men who value both style and practicality.

Benefits and Appeal:

  • Versatile: Can be styled for both casual and formal occasions.
  • Low Maintenance: Once cut, it's easy to maintain with regular trims.
  • Timeless Appeal: Combines vintage elegance with modern trends.
  • Edgy Look: The contrast between the slicked back top and short sides adds a sharp edge to your appearance.

Suitable Face Shapes and Hair Types: This hairstyle works well for various face shapes and hair types, but some suit it better than others.

Best Face Shapes:

  • Oval: Most versatile, suits all styles.
  • Square: Enhances strong jawlines.
  • Round: Adds height and angles, making the face appear longer.

Ideal Hair Types:

  • Straight Hair: Easiest to slick back and maintain.
  • Wavy Hair: Adds texture and volume, giving a unique twist to the style.
  • Thick Hair: Holds the slicked-back look well with the right products.

In summary, the slick back undercut is more than just a haircut; it's a statement. Its blend of historical roots and modern flair makes it a fantastic choice for anyone looking to elevate their hairstyle game. Whether you're aiming for a classic, polished look or something a bit more daring, this versatile style has you covered.

Preparation Is Key 

Getting ready for a slick back undercut involves a few important steps. Let's break it down so you can achieve the perfect look with ease.

Assessing Your Hair Type

First things first, let's determine if your hair is suitable for a slick back undercut.

Determining Suitability:

  • Straight Hair: Ideal for this style as it's easy to slick back.
  • Wavy Hair: Works well but may need more product to maintain the look.
  • Curly Hair: Can be more challenging, but with the right cut and products, it's definitely achievable.

Adjustments for Different Hair Types:

  • Straight Hair: Little to no adjustment needed. Use a lightweight pomade for a sleek finish.
  • Wavy Hair: Use a medium-hold product to keep waves in check while maintaining volume.
  • Curly Hair: Consider a stronger hold product and possibly a bit more length on top to manage curls better.

Choosing the Right Style

There are several variations of the slick back undercut. Choosing the right one depends on your personal style and preferences.


  • Classic Slick Back Undercut: Traditional, with a clean, sharp look.
  • Modern Slick Back Undercut: More textured and relaxed, often with a bit of volume.
  • High Undercut: The sides are cut very short, almost to the scalp, with a sharp contrast to the longer top.
  • Low Undercut: A more subtle version where the sides are not as drastically short, blending smoothly with the top.

Consulting with a Barber or Stylist:

  • Expert Advice: Always a good idea to consult with a professional who can assess your hair type and recommend the best variation for you.
  • Customization: A barber can tailor the cut to suit your face shape and personal style, ensuring you get the best possible result.

Gathering Necessary Tools and Products

Having the right tools and products makes achieving a slick back undercut much easier.

Recommended Tools:

  • Clippers: Essential for trimming the sides. Look for hair clippers with adjustable guards.
  • Combs: A fine-tooth comb is perfect for achieving that sleek, smooth look.
  • Scissors: Good for detailing and any minor trims needed.

Essential Hair Products:

  • Pomade: Provides a classic, shiny finish and strong hold. Great for straight and wavy hair.
  • Gel: Offers strong hold and a wet look. Ideal for keeping every hair in place.
  • Wax: Adds texture and a more natural finish, perfect for a modern slick back.
  • Hairspray: Helps set the style and keep it in place all day.

Pro Tip: Invest in quality products and tools. They make a significant difference in the final result and the health of your hair.

With these steps, you're well on your way to mastering the slick back undercut. Taking the time to prepare properly ensures you achieve a look that's not only stylish but also perfectly suited to your hair type and personal style.

Man with a slick back undercut hairstyle and a long beard, featuring neatly slicked-back hair on top with closely cropped sides. This modern slick back undercut style is complemented by a stylish beard for a bold look.

Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Slick Back Undercut

Now that you're all prepped and ready, let's dive into the step-by-step process of achieving the perfect slick back undercut. Follow these simple steps for a stylish and polished look.

Step 1: Preparing Your Hair

Washing and Conditioning:

  • Start Clean: Wash your hair with a good-quality men's hair shampoo to remove any dirt and product buildup.
  • Condition: Use a hair conditioner to keep your hair smooth and manageable. This is especially important for those with wavy or curly hair.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Make sure all the product is washed out to avoid any residue that can weigh your hair down.

Drying Techniques:

  • Towel Drying: Gently pat your hair dry with a towel. Avoid rubbing, as this can cause frizz.
  • Blow Drying: Use a blow dryer on a medium setting. For straight hair, use a comb to direct your hair back as you dry. For wavy or curly hair, use a diffuser attachment to maintain some natural texture.

Step 2: Cutting the Undercut

Instructions for Self-Cutting vs. Professional Barber:

  • Professional Barber: Highly recommended, especially if it's your first time. A barber can give you the perfect undercut with clean lines and the right proportions.
  • Self-Cutting: If you're confident and experienced, you can do it yourself. Make sure you have a good set of clippers and a steady hand.

Detailing the Undercut:

  • Clippers and Guards: Start with a higher guard to avoid taking off too much hair initially. Gradually switch to lower guards until you reach the desired length.

  • Sectioning: Section off the top hair and clip it out of the way. Use the clippers to trim the sides and back, creating a sharp contrast with the longer top.

  • Blending: Blend the edges where the long top meets the short sides for a seamless transition.

Step 3: Slicking Back the Hair

Techniques for Applying Products:

  • Choose Your Product: Depending on your hair type, select pomade, gel, or wax.
  • Apply Evenly: Rub a small amount of product between your palms and distribute it evenly through your hair. Start with a little; you can always add more if needed.

Combing Methods for a Smooth Finish:

  • Use a Fine-Tooth Comb: This helps achieve a smooth and sleek look.
  • Comb Backwards: Start at the forehead and comb straight back. For a more modern look, you can comb slightly to one side.
  • Add Volume: If you prefer some volume, comb back while lifting the hair at the roots slightly.

Step 4: Setting the Style

Using Hairspray or Other Hold Products:

  • Lock It In: Once you're happy with the style, use a light mist of hairspray to set it in place. This ensures your slick back undercut stays sleek all day.
  • Touch-Up: Carry a small comb and a travel-sized product for quick touch-ups on the go.

Maintaining the Look Throughout the Day:

  • Avoid Touching: Try not to run your fingers through your hair too much, as this can cause it to lose shape and become greasy.
  • Quick Fixes: If your hair starts to fall out of place, a bit of water and a comb can quickly revive the style.

With these steps, achieving a slick back undercut becomes straightforward and manageable. The key is in the details: proper preparation, precise cutting, effective product use, and consistent maintenance. Follow this guide, and you'll be rocking a sharp, stylish look in no time!

Slick Back Undercut Maintenance and Upkeep

Keeping your slick back undercut looking fresh and sharp requires some regular maintenance. Here's how to ensure your hairstyle stays on point day after day.

Daily Maintenance Tips

Routine Styling and Touch-Ups:

  • Morning Routine: Start each day by lightly dampening your hair and reapplying a small amount of your chosen styling product. Comb it back into place for a sleek finish.
  • Comb Throughout the Day: Carry a pocket comb for quick touch-ups. A few swipes can help maintain your style if it starts to shift.
  • Night Routine: Before bed, wash out any product to prevent buildup and give your hair a break.

Quick Fixes for Common Issues:

  • Frizz: Combat frizz by applying a tiny bit of hair serum or oil. Be careful not to use too much, as it can make your hair look greasy.
  • Flyaways: For flyaways, a light mist of hairspray and a small brush can help smooth them down.
  • Flattening: If your hair starts to lose volume, use your fingers to gently lift and restyle, applying a bit more product if necessary.

Long-Term Care

Regular Trims and Visits to the Barber:

  • Every 3-4 Weeks: Schedule regular trims to keep the undercut looking sharp and prevent the sides from getting too long.
  • Detailing: Ask your barber to maintain the clean lines and blending of the cut. This keeps the style looking crisp and well-defined.
  • Consistency: Sticking to a regular barber schedule ensures your hair always looks its best and avoids any awkward growing-out phases.

Maintaining Healthy Hair and Scalp:

  • Shampoo and Condition: Use a good-quality shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair clean and healthy. Look for products that suit your hair type.
  • Avoid Overwashing: Washing your hair too frequently can strip it of natural oils. Aim to wash every 2-3 days or as needed.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Healthy hair starts from within. Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Scalp Care: Keep your scalp healthy by massaging it regularly to promote blood circulation. Consider using a scalp treatment or oil if you have any issues like dryness or dandruff.

By following these maintenance tips, you'll ensure that your slick back undercut remains stylish and well-groomed. Regular care and attention to both your hair and scalp will keep your look fresh and polished, allowing you to rock this timeless style with confidence every day.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Even with the best intentions, it's easy to make a few mistakes when styling a slick back undercut. Here are some typical errors and how to avoid them, along with solutions and tips to keep your hairstyle looking its best.

Typical Errors

Overuse of Products:

  • Heavy Hand: Applying too much pomade, gel, or wax can weigh your hair down and make it look greasy.
  • Product Buildup: Using too much product without proper washing can lead to buildup, making your hair appear dull and lifeless.

Incorrect Cutting Techniques:

  • Uneven Cut: Cutting your hair unevenly can result in a lopsided look that's hard to fix without professional help.
  • Poor Blending: Not blending the transition between the long top and short sides can leave harsh lines and a disconnected appearance.

Solutions and Tips

Fixing Common Styling Problems:

  • Greasy Hair: If you overapply product, try using a dry shampoo to absorb excess oil and give your hair a fresher look.
  • Flat Hair: For hair that falls flat, blow-dry with a round brush to add volume before applying a light amount of product.
  • Product Buildup: Use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove product buildup and keep your hair looking clean and healthy.

Professional Advice on Overcoming Challenges:

  • Start Small: When applying styling products, start with a small amount and add more if needed. It's easier to add than to remove.
  • Blend Carefully: If cutting your hair yourself, take your time to blend the transition between the top and sides. Use a mirror to check all angles.
  • Regular Check-Ins: If you're unsure about your technique, schedule regular visits to your barber for check-ups and advice. They can correct any mistakes and guide you on proper cutting and styling methods.

Pro Tips:

  • Product Application: Warm the product in your hands before applying it evenly throughout your hair. This helps distribute it more uniformly.
  • Comb Consistently: Use a comb to ensure even distribution and a smooth finish. For a more natural look, use your fingers to style after combing.
  • Maintain Tools: Keep your clippers and scissors sharp and clean to ensure precise cuts.

Avoiding these common mistakes and following these tips will help you achieve and maintain a flawless slick back undercut. Remember, practice makes perfect, and with a little patience and attention to detail, you'll master this stylish look in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some common questions about the slick back undercut and their answers to help you achieve and maintain this stylish look.

How long does it take to achieve a slick back undercut?
  • Initial Cut: Getting your hair cut into a slick back undercut by a professional barber typically takes about 30-45 minutes. If you're doing it yourself, it might take a bit longer, especially if you're new to the process.
  • Styling Time: Daily styling is relatively quick. It usually takes about 5-10 minutes to apply products and slick back your hair.
Can this style be adapted for different hair lengths?
  • Short Hair: Yes, a slick back undercut can work with shorter hair, but it might not have the same dramatic effect. Use a strong-hold product to keep shorter hair slicked back.
  • Medium Hair: This is the ideal length for a slick back undercut. It allows for easy styling and a noticeable contrast between the top and sides.
  • Long Hair: Longer hair can also be styled into a slick back undercut. It offers more versatility in styling but may require more product to maintain the sleek look.
What are the best products for maintaining this style?
  • Pomade: Perfect for a classic, shiny finish. Look for water-based pomades for easier washing out.
  • Gel: Provides strong hold and a wet look. Ideal for keeping every hair in place throughout the day.
  • Wax: Adds texture and a more natural finish. Great for a modern variation of the slick back undercut.
  • Hairspray: Helps set the style and keep it in place, especially useful for longer hair or windy days.

Additional Tips for Choosing Products:

  • Consider Your Hair Type: Different products work better for different hair types. For example, lighter pomades or creams are better for fine hair, while stronger gels or waxes work well for thick hair.
  • Test and Adjust: Don't be afraid to try different products to see what works best for your hair. You might need to adjust the amount or combination of products to get the perfect look.

By addressing these frequently asked questions, we hope to make your journey to achieving and maintaining a slick back undercut smoother and more enjoyable. With the right knowledge and tools, you can confidently rock this timeless and versatile hairstyle.


Achieving a slick back undercut is a fantastic way to elevate your style with a timeless yet modern look. Here are the key takeaways from our guide:

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Style: The slick back undercut combines a slicked-back top with short or shaved sides, blending retro charm with modern coolness.
  • Preparation: Assess your hair type, choose the right variation, and gather essential tools and products.
  • Step-by-Step Guide:
    • Prepare: Wash, condition, and dry your hair properly.
    • Cut: Ensure clean lines and proper blending, whether self-cutting or visiting a barber.
    • Style: Apply products evenly, use a fine-tooth comb, and set the style with hairspray.
  • Maintenance: Routine styling, touch-ups, and regular trims are essential for keeping the look fresh.
  • Avoid Common Mistakes: Use products sparingly, blend cuts carefully, and address issues like product buildup and frizz promptly.

By following these tips, you can confidently achieve and maintain a slick back undercut that suits your style. Ready to transform your look? Embrace the sleek, stylish, and versatile appeal of the slick back undercut!

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