In this guide, we will show you how to achieve and style the disconnected undercut – Gentleman’s Gazette style!
The Disconnected Undercut
One of the most popular hairstyles today, and it was popularized by shows like Boardwalk Empire or lately, Peaky Blinders. The best part about it is that you can style it in many different ways. Apart from that, it always makes a statement. It’s a very classic style, but it can be modern at the same time.
Basically, it’s defined as closely shaven sides with long hair on top and no or minimal fade. In this case, I have enough for a side part and I have it in a very classic style that’s more gentleman oriented from the 1920’s and 30’s. So before you can style it, you need to have the right cut. Look at my hair when it’s unstyled. Not quite what you expected isn’t it?
So how do you explain this haircut to your barber? The best way to do it is to bring a picture of what you want ideally, and if he cannot recreate that, it’s time to change your barber.
In case a family member or a friend is cutting your hair, here is what you should do. First, you need a clipper, and you should choose the number one attachment which is the closest to getting a shave. I had my last haircut about two weeks ago, so my hair’s a little longer, but usually, with clipper number 1, I get exactly the right length so it grows out nicely.
Basically, you want a distinct line between the long hair on top and the short sides. As you can see, it has to be straight. In order to get that result, I need to have my long hair up so I can get the proper line. To do that, you can either use a clip or a hair band to just keep them up so you can make sure everything is straight.
Once you’re done with the sides, you want to cut the top of your hair to an even length. In my case, right now it’s about 9cm or 3 1/2 inches. I would suggest not to go shorter than 7cm or 2.75 inches because otherwise, the distinction between the short sides and your top just is not as pronounced anymore and it’s not a disconnected undercut.
Personally, with my thick, coarse hair, that’s as long as I can go otherwise, I have trouble styling it. If you have finer hair or thinner hair, you can definitely go a lot longer and still get a nice undercut style.
The advantage of this haircut is that it can be styled in many ways; you can create a vintage look, or a 90’s look, or a rocker look, and it really all depends on what products you use.
The style was popular with close cut sides in the 1910’s, 20’s, 30’s and the 40’s. In the late 40’s and 50’s, they had a style, the so-called quiff top. Today’s disconnected undercut is a combination of these styles and there’s also a lot of different influences in there and basically, you can do whatever you want.
How do you style the disconnected undercut?
1. Pomade. Pomade is basically a wax based on paraffin or glycerin and it’s very thick and I used to do it when I started out with this hairstyle. The problem is, some people get what is called “pomade acne” so I ended up with lots of zits all over my forehead and it was a mess. On top of that, it greased up our pillow sheets and my wife complained constantly. That aside, if the strongest pomade wasn’t strong enough for my hair, and it was wavy. So overall, pomade was not the solution.
If you have thinner hair, you may get away with a styling cream that provides a little bit of hold, and you can shape it in any way, shape, or form. For me, it just doesn’t work because I have coarse, thick hair.
2. High-quality comb. Most people buy rather inexpensive combs for a dollar or less that are made out of injection molded plastic, and the problem is, they have little ridges and actually can hurt your hair. It’s also much more difficult to get the comb through your hair.
That’s why I’m using a quality hard rubber comb which is also acetate. It glides through your hair like butter, and it doesn’t damage your hair so invest a few more bucks in a quality comb.
3. Hair dryer. You can use a regular, store-brand, nothing fancy, just has to get hot if you want to dry your hair quickly and you need a certain amount of power, not too much, so it actually dries.
- I always start with freshly washed hair because just making it wet is not enough, at least in my case. It’s too thick, and it’s much more difficult to style it right. At the same time, you don’t want your hair to be too wet otherwise, it takes too long, and you may get waves in your hair. Once I wash my hair, I make sure to dry it thoroughly. You can also use a second towel if it’s not dry enough.
- Now, it’s time for some gel. Like I said, you want stuff that is white. I’ll take about this much, for the amount of hair I have. Don’t skimp on it, if you don’t use enough, you’ll lack the hold especially, if you have thick, coarse hair. I rub it in both hands and apply it to my hair. Usually, I start with one first, just get it in there, all the way down, not just on top. You definitely want to get all of your long hair, you really need to absorb it. Alright, now it’s time to wash your hands otherwise, everything will be sticky and it’ll be a mess.
- It’s time to choose your part. Personally, I like it either here or here. Usually, I don’t go all the way to the sides. It’s always something you may want to do if you have a receding hairline. I avoid center parts because it makes you look like from the Adams family.An easy way to get your part right is to comb it back on the side you want the part to be and simply go in straight and go up. Now, you simply comb it to one side and then the other, so you get a nice part.
- At this stage, your part is not perfect and you simply do it from the other way. Sometimes, it’s great the first time but usually, when you start out, it’s not. Now I go slightly to the side, not in the exact line otherwise, it will never be straight but just a tiny amount to the left or right and it’ll be a much smoother, straighter line. Once at the end, I hold my hair like this so I know what side it’s on then I comb the other part over so I get exactly what I want. Once I’m done with the part, you have this result.
- Next, up, I comb my hair down and to the side and the back, exactly where I want it to be. At this stage, it’s time for the hair dryer, normally, I choose the warm setting which is not too hot but also not cool because that way it dries faster and I use the medium setting because otherwise, it will just blow my hair all over the place and it’s harder to style it. First, I start with the shorter side because it’s easier. Basically, I dry my hair and follow with a comb so I get nice, straight hair lines and I get it to settle in the place I wanted to.
- Now, the short side is much easier than the wider side because you have a lot more hair. There are 2 ways to do this, you can comb and use your fan into one strand all the way at a time or you go along the part first and slightly move over until they’re all done. You can choose whatever works for you. For me, with my thick and coarse hair, it’s better to do it slowly from the part away. At this stage, I also use the hot setting simply to get it to dry faster.
- Once you have your hair in a shape you roughly want it to be, it’s time to use your hands and leave the comb behind. I do this because otherwise, I’ll get hair sticking out especially in the back and I want to avoid that. With my hands, I can hold my hair down while using a hair dryer and smooth it all out. If you get hair standing up, simply use some water, make it wet, put it back on, maybe use a little gel and use your hair dryer again.
Once you’re happy with the look and your hair is flat, you’re basically done. Voila! The disconnected undercut, Gentleman’s Gazette style.
Before you decide to go with this haircut, you should think about what exactly do you want, how long you want it on top, do you really want to shorten the side? Do you want a slight fade or not? And how are you going to wear it? What are you going to wear it with?