When transitioning to natural hair, there comes a time when you realise that you can do just about anything with your hair with little repercussions because well, it’s going to go! That’s when the crazy hair colours, interesting haircuts and all come into play. When I was about 2 months from doing the big chop, I discovered a kind of hair cut called an “undercut”; let me assure you, my mind was BLOWN.
So what is an undercut, anyway?
An undercut is a kind of haircut where the hair at the nape of the neck is shaved and designs are etched in. It’s usually the bottom quarter of the head that gets the chop, but some people also go ahead and cut the sides as well. It’s super funky and the best part is it’s so non-committal! This is because if you don’t want to show it off (or the hair has grown out lol) you can simply let your hair down and it’s like it never happened. Then when time comes for being the most effortlessly cool kid in the room you just hold your hair up in a ponytail, maybe a bun, and you’re good to go. It has that wow factor, that edgy OMG-you-actually-cut-your-hair! vibe to it and I’m all for it.
This might not be the best option for those who have chosen to grow out their hair and desperately want that length, because let’s face it, it’s going to be so messy trying to put your hair in a puff when there’s that section of hair members that just don’t want to cooperate. However, this haircut shouldn’t discourage you so much if you’re a risk-taker because…
…hair grows. Everyday.
I personally went with the tapered look for most of the time after my big chop, although I had wanted an undercut at one point. I was told my hair would grow weird and unevenly, but I met a wild surprise. Here are a few ideas for the tapered hairstyles if you’re looking to try them out. So be encouraged, enjoy your hair, because it grows back. Anyway, back to the undercut.
Be sure to choose a barber who you know can bring your vision to life. The time when I had the undercut idea I was still in Mukono, so I asked a few guy friends who the best barber was. Despite finding him, he was apprehensive about cutting my hair, however small the section was, and he turned me away. By the time I got home I was on to other ideas and soon forgot about the undercut. Don’t be like me. Find a great barber, preferably one who is adventurous enough to bring your vision to light.
Here’s one of our Mami’s of the Week, Grace, rocking the style herself:
This haircut is super high maintenance though; you’re going to have to head to the barbershop every two weeks (at least) to keep it up. This is because when you shave your hair it will grow back pretty quickly. So now it’s up to you to decide, how long do you want to rock this look? Is it for the entire time you’re growing your hair out, or for an event? Depending on how long you want the look for, keep in mind how often you’re going to have to freshen it out.
Growing it all back:
Believe it or not, growing your undercut back is not so complex. Depending on how high you cut, it could be back in no time, and no one would notice. It just takes a little creativity and patience, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Since one side of your hair is really short, stop trimming it once you decide you want to grow it back, then start inching off a little on the rest of your hair. This way by the time you realise it, they are at the same level and you can continue growing it out. This is why it is perfect for someone who is transitioning by growing out. You can start trimming your relaxed hair a little bit by bit, till you hit natural, while your undercut was growing out.
It’s your chance to get creative. The best part about a nape undercut is that it’s super easy to hide. Even if you do a protective style like braids, it won’t matter if you just let the hair down and continue your day. If not, it could even be braided into the style. If not let your hair down, hold low ponytails, or even do a flattering pixie cut.
Gel it up
If you’re growing out your undercut and you want to hold your hair up then a great option would be to gel the shorter hair so that it blends in with the rest, or doesn’t look as awkward as it would otherwise.
Give it some help:
As you do the rest of these tips, you can also start doing targeted hair growth tricks. Use hair growth oils like amla or castor and let your hair have time to catch up with the rest. Check out my post about hair growth options you could use
Without further ado, here are a few more ideas for your next undercut!
Comment if you would try this!