Curtained hair

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1990s film actor Jonathan Brandis sporting an example of curtained hair, 1993
Art Nouveau artist Aubrey Beardsley with the centrally parted hair fashionable at the end of the Gay Nineties.

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 and North America throughout the 20th century and in the 21st century.


Mao Zedong with the short version of curtains fashionable from 1910 to 1930

A shorter version of the 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 from the 1840s to 1890s. This was due in part to the popularity of sporting activities like rugby football among younger men.[citation needed]

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.[2] Other gangs who favored this haircut were the Scuttlers of Manchester, and the Peaky Blinders of Birmingham because longer hair put the wearer at a disadvantage in a street fight.[3]


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.[4]

In the UK, curtains were popularised during the early 1990s by the Baggy or 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.[5] It was also popular in the UK because of David Beckham hair in the mid '90’s.

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.[6][7]

During the early 2020s the haircut had a resurgence in popularity, driven largely by the social media platform TikTok. As a result, the haircut has become favored among youth, and is considered an attractive hairstyle for males and individuals who identify as masculine. This came with a general revival of 90s fashion by TikTok users.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

Actors who have worn the longer version of curtained hair include Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 2,[9][10] Brendan Fraser in The Mummy Returns,[11] Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic, River Phoenix in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and David Duchovny in earlier seasons of The X-Files.

Many manga and anime characters, such as Dragon Ball protagonist Trunks, James from Pokémon's Team Rocket,[12] Fullmetal Alchemist's Edward Elric, Levi Ackermann from Attack on Titan, and Naruto's Sasuke and his older brother, Itachi Uchiha have this haircut.[13] Japanese video game characters with this haircut include James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2, Sothe from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Raziel from Legacy of Kain, Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 4, and Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

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


  1. ^ Douglas, Joanna (17 November 2011). "'Hitler Youth' Haircut Gaining Popularity". Yahoo! Shine. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  2. ^ Christie, Stuart (2002). My Granny Made Me an Anarchist. Oil & Gas USSR. pp. 87–88. ISBN 1-873976-14-3.
  3. ^ Davies, A. (1998), "Youth gangs, masculinity and violence in late Victorian Manchester and Salford", Journal of Social History 32 (2)
  4. ^ Williams, Alex (15 November 2011). "A Haircut Returns From the 1930s". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  5. ^ Shivash, Shastri (8 November 2019). "Ideal mens hair styles, treatments and tips for hair maintenance". Meramaal Wiki. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  6. ^ Tom Cruise in 1983
  7. ^ Patches, Matt (June 15, 2012). "Tom Cruise's Hair: The Defining Box Office Factor?".
  8. ^ Singer, Jenny. "TikTok Teens Have Spoken: The Side Part Is Dead". Glamour. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  9. ^ Tom Cruise hair
  10. ^ Singer, Matt. "Every Tom Cruise Movie Ranked (By the Magnificence of His Hair)". ScreenCrush.
  11. ^ "". Archived from the original on September 10, 2014.
  12. ^ ^ Kusaka, Hidenori, & Satoshi Yamamoto. Pokémon Adventures, Volume 14. Chuang Yi Publishing Pte Ltd., July 2004. ISBN 981-260-014-0
  13. ^ ^ Director: Seiji Mizushima (October 4, 2003). "太陽に挑む者". Fullmetal Alchemist. Episode 1. Tokyo Broadcasting System.

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