In 2021, Y2K hair trends were everywhere. From bubble braids to butterfly clips, these nostalgic styles made a major comeback. But the return of mullets? Well, that wasn’t something we predicted for 2022. Though the look has graced the fabulous heads of David Bowie, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jane Fonda and even Dolly Parton, the general public has always been a bit reluctant to rock the style…until now.
The 7 Rules of Rocking a Mullet in 2022
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Why Are Mullets Popular Again?
A classic mullet features a longer top and shorter sides, while the back is kept intentionally longer (aka the rat tail). The cut hit peak popularity in the ‘80s before eventually going away for most of the ‘90s and ‘00s. But with retro trends making their return on social media (i.e. curtain bangs and shag cuts), it makes sense that mullets are back in the spotlight again. “The best thing about hair is that it’s a great outlet for self-expression,” says Kamara Brown, a hairstylist for StyleSeat in West Hollywood. “Mullets give you so much creative freedom and they’re also the perfect cut for switching up your look and really making a statement.”
Just ask celebs like Barbie Ferreira, Demi Lovato, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus, who have all been rocking the style recently. And during this new age of Zoom and quarantine, it’s a good time for some experimentation. So, if you’re ready to try the look yourself, here are a few rules to follow.
The best part about the modern mullet is how customizable it is. You can try a very subtle iteration or unleash your inner rocker with choppier layers. The style can also be cut based on your hair texture and length, so you don’t end up with a cut like Billy Ray’s (unless that’s what you’re going for). “The great thing about this hairstyle is that there is no set way to do it. It really just depends on how you want to get creative with it,” says Brown.
1. Go Super Short On Top
The pixie-mullet combo (also known as the ‘Mixie’) is quickly becoming the haircut of 2022. This short, low-maintenance hairstyle as seen on Úrsula Corberó here showcases a pixie on top and the signature length of a mullet in the back. This cut works especially well for people with oval or heart-shaped faces to accentuate their features.
2. Ask For Choppy Layers
Another hot combo is the ‘Shullet,’ which is a shaggy mullet. The ‘80s meet the ‘90s with this subtle look. “It is an edgy, shaggy hairstyle that consists of fringy bangs and lots of volume and texture with more length in the back,” says Brown.
3. Don't Forget To Add (and Customize) Your Bangs
Bangs, bangs and, oh yes, did we mention bangs? Whether you go for micro bangs or curtain bangs, they add an extra layer to your look. Depending on the direction of your bangs, you can change the style entirely.
Regardless of the cut you end up choosing, mullets tend to be a low-maintenance ‘do. Basically, you’ll just need some styling cream to get through the day. But, if you want to switch it up sometimes, there are plenty of ways to go from brunch to a night out with the gals, which we’ll get into below.
4. Wear It Sleek
This sleek style from Cardi B shows you can turn a classic ‘80s mullet into a high fashion look that’s fit for the 21st century. All it takes is leave-in conditioner and plenty of heat protectant, before you blow dry your hair. Then, grab a flat iron and run it through the outer sections for a smoother style. Complete the look with a hair serum to prevent frizz and add shine.
Shop the products: Design Essentials Agave & Lavender Serum ($10); Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream ($24); Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner ($35)
5. Use Gel To Shape And Define Locks
Another style you can try is the textured mullet or the ‘wet look,’ which makes it look like you just jumped out of the shower (or the pool) looking like a runway model. This texturized style is replicated using a lot of gel and a glossing spray to keep things defined and shiny all day. Playing up your waves and shaping them as you please can give an edgier finish.
6. Try Texturizing Products
Yup, the mullet isn’t just for straight, fine hair. Wavy and curly gals can get in on the fun, too. Make like Rowan Blanchard and let your locks do their thing with your modern mullet. Brown suggests using a texturizing spray to add extra volume to complete the look.
7. Experiment With Color Or Volume
As we mentioned, the past two years had us experimenting with our hair more. And what better way to take things up a notch than with a new hair color like Kesha (or Billie Ellish’s iconic two-toned mullet)? Not ready to commit to color? You could also try adding extra body to the crown of your head. Use your blow dryer to create more volume, your comb (or fingers) to create texture throughout and a heating tool (like a curling or flat iron) for definition. “Get creative with your mullet. If you have a certain idea in mind, even if you haven’t seen it in photos, feel free to make your own tweaks to make it perfectly tailored to your style!” Brown adds.