(Hair)

I Ditched My Long Locks For This "Ugly" Haircut Trend

A dramatic farewell to my man bun.

By EJ Briones

My hair journey has gone through many evolutions: from buzzed to bleached to mohawks, faux hawks, and everything in between. But regardless of what hairstyle I had at the moment, I was still fairly strict about getting a haircut every month — a habit instilled from attending an all-boys prep school, where "neat and clean shaven” was a part of the dress code. A mullet haircut hadn’t entered the chat quite yet... until recently.

Fast forward to 2020. All in-person gatherings were discouraged, and we were all confined to our carefully selected bubbles. And while others were stirring with cabin fever, I relished in it. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel that pressure to maintain a certain standard. So when barbershops had to close down for weeks, I took it as an opportunity to try something new with my hair. I decided to do nothing and just let it grow out.

To keep me focused, I had a goal in mind — I wanted to grow it long enough to put it up in bun. So week after week, I saw my hair change from stubbly strands to bold waves (I never knew how curly my hair could get!). And months later, even when the salons finally reopened, I fought the temptation to book an appointment and narrowly survived all of those awkward lengths. Two years later, my hair was suddenly past my shoulders.

With a bun standing tall on my crown, I had finally reached my goal. But in reality, I never fully embraced the whole long hair thing. I had mixed reviews from family, friends, and colleagues, which didn’t help either. But I knew deep down, I didn’t quite feel like myself. Not only that, I quickly realized all the complications that come with having long hair. From the amount of hair product and styling tools to the unjustifiable length of time it required, it all felt so draining. And the worst part of it all, there was just hair everywhere. I even invested in a little handheld vacuum to resolve this — yet another device (ugh!).

Before The Cut

Just before the big chop.EJ Briones

We all know the feeling — when you’ve committed a lot of time to something, it’s hard to let it go. So after months of debating, I ultimately decided I was done. But again the adventurer in me couldn’t just default to the more familiar coifs. I had to try something new. After extensive research and what felt like hundreds of Google image searches, I landed on a throwback style that is both historically cringe but has recently been embraced by “cool kids.” Yes, I am referring to none other than the mullet.

Hear me out though: while Billy Ray Cyrus may be the first image that comes to mind, I really wanted to do an updated shaggier version that felt both retro and modern at the same time. In order to execute this, I needed to enlist the the help of hairstylist Dhiran Mistry.

Walking into The Second Floor Salon in lower Manhattan, I was already feeling the gnawings of regret. But once I sat down with Dhiran and shared a reference photo, he loved the radical transformation and was eager to start chopping away. I mean who doesn’t love an extreme makeover, but I was lucky to have a true master with me to execute my vision and his excitement certainly put me at ease.

The First Cut

EJ Briones

The first cut was a bit both thrilling and terrifying, but as Mistry continued to shape my hair, I knew I made the right decision. He not only took into consideration my face shape but also my curly texture and my overall hair pattern. He advised that my curls would go into a bit of shock and would need a few days to get used to the new length. Hair, especially curly hair, tends to have a mind of it own, and factors like gravity can play a huge role in how they react.

After The Cut

Freshly cut and styled.EJ Briones

After incorporating a moisturizing product, he dried my strands using a diffuser. I learned that as curly hair dries you should avoid manipulating it too much otherwise you disrupt the curl pattern and end up with a frizzy mess. After several minutes of drying and some final touches, the process was complete, and I absolutely loved it!

How I Styled My New Mullet Haircut

How I’m styling my new mullet haircut for summer.

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EJ Briones
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EJ Briones
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Since then, I have made a few adaptations to styling it by pushing the sides back to accentuate the mullet-ness. I use a mixture of moisturizing curly products and a little bit of pomade to keep it tame and I have completely ditched my brush and comb and use my hands to style and situate my curls. Now that my hair has settled and I’ve figured out what products help my natural shape pop, I think I’m going to keep this one for a while.

If you’re thinking about trying out the mullet haircut trend for summer, check out a few of my tried-and-true styling products below

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