Curtained hair

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Film actor Jonathan Brandis exhibiting curtained hair in 1993

Curtained hair or curtains is a hairstyle featuring a long fringe divided in either a middle parting or a side parting, with short (or shaved) sides and back. Curtained hair generally applies to males, although an alternative name, the undercut, is used for both male and female haircuts following this style.[1] Variations on this haircut have been popular in Europe, North America, and Japan throughout the 20th century and in the 21st century, peaking between 1986 and 2001.


A shorter version of the curtain haircut, parted in the middle and kept in place with pomade, became popular during the Edwardian era as a more practical alternative to the longer hair and sideburns fashionable c. the late 19th century. This was due in part to the popularity of sporting activities like rugby football among younger men.[citation needed] The slicked-back style remained popular into the 20th century,[2] appearing on notable individuals such as Chinese politician Mao Zedong (c.1910–1930) and American real-estate developer Fred Trump (c.19401950).

English Art Nouveau artist Aubrey Beardsley with the centrally parted hair fashionable at the end of the 1890s

From the turn of the century until the 1920s, a longer variant of the undercut was popular among young working-class men, especially members of street gangs. In interwar Glasgow, Neds (the precursors to the Teddy Boys) favoured a haircut that was long on top and cropped at the back and sides. Despite the fire risk, much paraffin wax was used to keep the hair in place.[3] Other gangs who favored this haircut were the Scuttlers of Manchester and the Peaky Blinders of Birmingham, due largely to the disadvantage caused by longer hair in a street fight.[4]


During the late 1980s, centrally parted hair, derived from the bowl cut, made a comeback among fans of new wave, synthpop, and electronic music as an alternative to the mullets and backcombed hair worn by glam metal bands.[5]

In the UK, curtains were popularised during the early 1990s by the baggy/Madchester scene as well as contemporary Shoegaze and Britpop bands such as The Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, early Blur, The Beautiful South, and the Stone Roses.[6] It was also popular in the UK because of David Beckham's hair in the late 1990s.

A longer, collar-length version of the haircut went mainstream in the early-to-mid 1990s and was worn by many celebrities, most notably Tom Cruise.[7][8]

During the early 2020s the haircut had a resurgence in popularity, driven largely by the social media platform TikTok and K-pop. As a result, the haircut has become favored among youth, and is considered an attractive hairstyle for males. This came with a general revival of 90s fashion by TikTok users.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

Actors who have worn the longer version of curtained hair include Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 2,[10][11] Brendan Fraser in The Mummy Returns,[12] Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic, River Phoenix in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Kim Milford in Laserblast, James McAvoy in X-Men: Apocalypse, Jonathan Taylor Thomas in Home Improvement, and David Duchovny in earlier seasons of The X-Files.

Many manga and anime characters, such as Dragon Ball protagonist Trunks, Takumi Fujiwara from Initial D, James from Pokémon's Team Rocket,[13] Fullmetal Alchemist's Edward Elric, Levi Ackerman from Attack on Titan, Vinsmoke Sanji from One Piece, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure's Jonathan Joestar, and Naruto's Sasuke and his older brother, Itachi Uchiha have this haircut.[14] Japanese video game characters with this haircut include James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2, Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII, Sothe from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Raziel from Legacy of Kain, Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 4, Kyo Kusanagi and various other characters from The King of Fighters, and Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Most male K-Pop stars utilize this haircut, such as members of BTS, Monsta X, NCT, EXO.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas, Joanna (17 November 2011). "'Hitler Youth' Haircut Gaining Popularity". Yahoo! Shine. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  2. ^ Jarocki, Pawel (6 February 2021). "The Illustrated History of Pomades". Topgun Men Care. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  3. ^ Christie, Stuart (2002). My Granny Made Me an Anarchist. Oil & Gas USSR. pp. 87–88. ISBN 1-873976-14-3.
  4. ^ Davies, A. (1998), "Youth gangs, masculinity and violence in late Victorian Manchester and Salford", Journal of Social History 32 (2)
  5. ^ Williams, Alex (15 November 2011). "A Haircut Returns From the 1930s". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  6. ^ Shivash, Shastri (8 November 2019). "Ideal mens [sic] hair styles, treatments and tips for hair maintenance". Meramaal Wiki. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  7. ^ Tom Cruise in 1983
  8. ^ Patches, Matt (15 June 2012). "Tom Cruise's Hair: The Defining Box Office Factor?".
  9. ^ Singer, Jenny (29 October 2020). "TikTok Teens Have Spoken: The Side Part Is Dead". Glamour. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  10. ^ Tom Cruise hair
  11. ^ Singer, Matt. "Every Tom Cruise Movie Ranked (By the Magnificence of His Hair)". ScreenCrush.
  12. ^ "". Archived from the original on 10 September 2014.
  13. ^ ^ Kusaka, Hidenori, & Satoshi Yamamoto. Pokémon Adventures, Volume 14. Chuang Yi Publishing Pte Ltd., July 2004. ISBN 981-260-014-0
  14. ^ ^ Director: Seiji Mizushima (October 4, 2003). "太陽に挑む者". Fullmetal Alchemist. Episode 1. Tokyo Broadcasting System.

External links[edit]