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How to Grow Out a Mullet, According to A Hairstylist

Without the dreaded awkward hair stage.

Fortunately for all of the haircut indecisive, the mullet has been having a major comeback since 2020. No longer a hairstyle reserved for ’80s glam rock bands, celebrities like Rihanna, Barbie Ferreira, and Miley Cyrus have all rocked the modern mullet in recent years. Like its older counterpart, all the action is happening at the back of your head, with choppy layers upfront. After being revamped, however, recent mullets have been more gradually layered, like a hybrid between older dramatic ’80s aesthetic and a more relaxed, overall shaggy haircut.

The mullet is inextricably linked to the spirit of rebellion, like the buzzcut, another style that’s recently experienced an uptick. In general, the biggest trends of 2021 and 2022 are all about taking risks and having fun— and not necessarily thinking about the consequences (or awkward grow out stage) that might come next. Considering that layers and bangs are ruling spring trends, it’s hard to see the shaggy look disappearing soon, but if you were involved in the first wave of 2020 mullets, you may have reached a point where you’d like to try something new. Fear not, with some strategic hair appointments you can shed the business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back dichotomy in no time. Here’s what our experts had to say about how to grow out a mullet.

Get Strategic Trims

Amanda Power, studio owner and lead stylist at Power Hair in Brooklyn, says this depends on how disparate the layers of your mullet are. Because you’re trying to level out several different lengths of hair, growing out a mullet often involves as much chopping as it does growing. “To achieve an even length, the easiest option is to get a trim every six to eight weeks around the perimeter (the longest lengths of hair) while the layers and face-framing sections grow out,” she says. Don’t be afraid to chop off some length, to get a new look faster.

Choose A Transitional Cut

While waiting for your mullet to grow out, you might want to meet the mullet’s more subtle and versatile sister—the shag. With slightly longer face-framing pieces and layers around the crown of your head, the shag will be your friend in the transition process. Because of the layers in your previously mullet-style hair, it might be an unavoidable phase anyway, so why not lean into it? “We suggest appointments for de-bulking and texturing to shatter the shape and make it appear less obviously like a mullet,” says Power. For those open to shorter styles, the mixie cut (a cross-over between a mullet and a pixie) might be the best transitional style. The more of your hair you cut off, the faster you can get to one length again.

Start Styling More Creatively

Because you’re growing out the mullet’s more defined shape, you’ll want to avoid your cutting any new short layers and stick to styles that will eventually create a more even length. But, remember your hairstylist can help you with more that just the chop. “Clients can always reach out to their stylist to book a styling session to review multiple transition style tips,” says Power. Before your initial cut, “the questions that matter the most are, ‘What will my maintenance look like?’ and ‘How often should I return to reshape this cut?’” explains Power. After you’ve committed to a new hair shape, “ask about flexibility in styling, what products are best, as well as styling times based on your natural hair texture,” she suggests. Learning how to air dry your hair can go far to helping keep it healthy as you grow out a dramatic cut. Trying out a gelled back look or using hair accessories are other options available for camouflaging transition length layers.

While you can’t magically speed up your hair growth, growing out your mullet is entirely possible with a combination of patience and the right hair styling plan. As with any dramatic hairstyle, your hair won’t be able to transition from one to another overnight (unless you shave your head or cut your hair into a pixie cut, which is another chic option). You are, however, in luck that you’re growing out the style during a time that shaggy hair cuts and layers are also all the rage. Who knows, you might end up loving the look so much that you choose to stay in half-mullet purgatory forever.