Mullet gets a makeover! Retro haircut trend taking Australia by storm

It’s official, the mullet haircut is back – and school principals aren’t happy about it.

The mullet – short on the sides, long on the back – has returned in such a big way that one hairdresser who spoke to Daily Mail Australia, 21-year-old Charlie, said ‘100 per cent’ of her friends have mullet.

Hairdressers in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide say high school and twenties are encouraging the return of the mullet, usually associated with the 1970s.

Mullets are back and Australia leads the way. One of the crowd favorites for the National Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is Leith Alexander’s ‘Mullet Madness’

Hairdressers say the current mullet craze is driven by a desire to copy sporting idols like the Bulldog's Bailey Smith (pictured)

Hairdressers say the current mullet craze is driven by a desire to copy sporting idols like the Bulldog’s Bailey Smith (pictured)

Teens tend to want shaved sides and longer collar hair - as long as their school allows it

Teens tend to want shaved sides and longer collar hair – as long as their school allows it

“Teenage boys want them more than anyone else,” said Rebecca Pereira, manager at Tommy Guns Parramatta.

But that does not go down well with the directors.

Earlier in 2021, Waverley College in Sydney’s eastern suburbs banned the haircut.

Hairdressers say principals of all private and Catholic schools send students with mullets straight to the hairdresser.

“If the boys go to Catholic or private schools, hair should not touch their collars,” said Ms Pereira.

But even private students find a way to get around the rules.

“So once school is done, they literally come in that afternoon and stick with it for two weeks so it has time to grow out. They even do that at the end of the normal terms.’

But teens and twenties have a slightly different take on the classic cut.

Teens tend to go for a crisp zero finish on the sides, while those in their twenties and thirties tend to keep the sides getting rough.

A barber joked with the people in their 40s and 50s with mullets that never stopped.

But the scissors experts say the mullet has made a full comeback — and it’s not just the guys they want.

Women in their twenties and thirties are also lining up for mullet-style cuts.

Mullets were associated with the 1970s in Australia, but they're back in a big way

Mullets were associated with the 1970s in Australia, but they’re back in a big way

“To be honest, I don’t have any friends who don’t have mullets,” said Charlie, 21, of Tooth and Nail Marrickville.

Mullet madness has spread all over the country.

One of the audience favorites for the National Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is Leith Alexander’s Mullet Madness.

“It’s not just a haircut, it’s a lifestyle,” Australia Best Mullets explains on Instagram.

Connor Keighran, Charlie’s boss at Tooth and Nail salon, says Australia is on par with the United States for the return of the mullet – and for the UK.

“I have a friend who opened a salon in London and they’re just now starting to make mullet. We’ve been doing them for two years.

“If there was an Ashes for mullet, Australia would easily win.”

In Adelaide, the locals are pushing the boundaries and adding a permanent to their mullet.

Senior hairdresser Mitchell Bandick of Zak Grooming For Men in Glenelg South told The Advertiser ‘everyone wants a mullet’.

“There are also a lot of young guys who have grown their hair really long and they want and want a curly look with it… the only way to get that is by doing a perm.

“So there are a lot of guys who choose both the perm and the harder.”

Ellen Thompson, manager at Just Cuts in Glen Waverley, Melbourne, believes much of the motivation has to do with following sports stars.

“It’s a very sporting thing,” she said.

Aussie Olympic sprinter Rohan Browning wore a popular mullet at the 2021 Tokyo Games

Aussie Olympic sprinter Rohan Browning wore a popular mullet at the 2021 Tokyo Games

It's official, the mullet haircut is back and school principals are not happy about it

It’s official, the mullet haircut is back and school principals are not happy about it

“They want haircuts like their sport idols. Look at the AFL 21 conscripts – they all have mullets.

“Apparently it started as a joke between AFL players during the lockdown and now it’s officially a thing.”

In Sydney the inspirations come from NRL and in Melbourne and Adelaide they come from AFL.

But one of Australia’s most popular Olympians – 100m semifinalist Rohan Browning – also wore a mullet.

The big exception, says Ms. Thompson, are footballers and fans – who still want short sides and backs.

“Look at Cristiano Ronaldo, he has such a high fade. Footballers have short hair, so the fans copy them.’

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