Looking for modern or classic examples of a bowl cut? Read on to learn what a bowl cut is, see real-life examples of this style, and determine if this haircut suits you.
Wait, Bowl Cuts Are Back in Style?
We never thought we’d say this, but guys – it looks like bowl cuts are coming back. Don’t panic! We’re not talking about the puffy ‘shroom style cuts mom gave you in the ’90s.
There’s a bolder, better version of the cut on the rise, and we can’t lie — it looks pretty good. Before we show you some of our favorite upgraded bowl and mushroom cuts, let’s have a quick lesson on this iconic haircut.
Other Trending Hairstyles:
What Is a Bowl Cut?
A bowl cut (also known as a mushroom cut) is a haircut that features bangs that go all the way across the front. The back and sides are either the same length as the bangs, or longer toward the back.
However a bowl cut is done, the ends of the hair follow a straight or angled line around the head. The result is a mushroom-like haircut that looks like it was done with a bowl inverted on the head as a guide.
In fact, that’s how bowl cuts got their name. In medieval times, a bowl was used as a guide for cutting. Also, it’s featured in the movie Dumb and Dumber.
So, a bowl cut is a haircut with:
- Blunt bangs across the forehead
- Back and sides cut to same length as bangs
- Or, back and sides cut longer than bangs at an angle
There’s a lot of variation in these haircuts. They can be shaved underneath with longer hair on top. They can be very short or long enough to cover the ears. These haircuts can be worn by children, men, and women.
We usually think of yesterday’s straight hair tucked under at the ends when we think of bowl cuts, but today, they are commonly worn messy, layered, and tousled with wavy or curly hair.
Now that you know what makes any old hairstyle a bowl cut, it’s time to take a look at some of the revamped, new-and-improved examples you might consider getting.
30 Bowl Cuts We Love in 2023
Check out these updated versions of the classic bowl/mushroom cut. They’re coming back into style for a reason. Which one can you see yourself sporting?
1. Short Undercut
This example features super-short hair on top with a fringe that hits the temple area instead of the eyebrows. The hair underneath is shaved, making this a cool hybrid between the two-block cut and a mushroom cut.
Read Next: What Is an Undercut?
2. Curly Bowl Cut
Natural curls put a modern twist on the old-school version. The curls are cut to follow the classic bowl shape without being too rigid.
3. Swept Forward
A few layers will give your hair more dimension and texture. Sweeping it forward with a bowl cut keeps it from looking outdated and shows off the layers.
4. Wavy Ear-Length Cut
These cuts look great with any hair color or texture, but we really love the dimensional effect dark, wavy hair gives them. Cut to the ear level, this fashion-forward cut is easy to manage and takes no time to style.
5. Bowl Cut With High Drop Fade
These haircuts don’t have to be super long. We like the short version with a high drop fade pictured here as a modern twist.
6. High Curly Crop
Bringing the long top up a bit higher is a trendy way to wear the ‘shroom cut. Many guys who don’t have naturally curly hair to give the top height and texture are getting perms.
Read Next: What Does a Perm Cost?
7. Parted Bangs
This kid is sporting a straight bowl cut with a slight off-center part. If you’re looking for a haircut suitable for a little boy who hates sitting still to have his hair styled, this is perfect.
8. Stacked Mushroom Cut
A stacked mushroom cut is propped up by successively shorter layers underneath. This gives the hair some added volume and height in the back.
9. Messy Shag
A side part makes a big difference in the way a bowl cut looks. If this model’s hair were brushed down and forward instead, it would look like the classic version. But we love this tousled, messy twist.
Read Next: Short Shag Haircut Inspiration
10. Choppy Full Bangs
With straight hair, you can add a little interest and texture to this cut with choppy bangs. An uneven line in the front helps separate this cut from the old-school versions.
11. Pieced-Out and Layered
Styling wax can help you make sections of the hair look “piece-y” while giving it some hold. Sweep the hair off to one side for a casual look.
12. Tousled Top
Steering clear of the carefully coiffed mushroom cuts of the past, this version is mussed up and tousled for a more casual and updated look.
13. Coily Crop
Super curly hair cut to the temple area brings a modern twist to the classic. Bringing the long portion up much higher looks edgy and clean-cut at the same time.
14. Light Violet With Short Fringe
Modern women are breaking the rules of a classic bowl cut with a vivid color and a shorter fringe that isn’t the same length as the rest of the hair. We like the way this cut frames the face.
Read Next: Hair Dye Costs at a Salon
15. Curtain Bangs
Popular in the ’90s, a center or off-center part lets the front of the hair hang over the forehead like curtains. Make sure to leave the top at least eyebrow length for the best effect.
16. Hipster Parted Fringe
Keep longer straight hair out of your eyes with a bowl cut like this, where the front of the hair is parted to the side and held with a dab of light to medium hold gel.
17. Point Shaved Undercut
Light blonde hair pairs perfectly with a classic-style bowl haircut. But the surprise in the back – a point-shaved undercut – adds a little edge.
18. Low Fade Bowl Cut
You can always modernize a bowl haircut with a fade. A low fade that starts just above the ears refreshes this cut and makes it new.
Read Next: How to Do a Fade Haircut
19. Parted in the Middle
You don’t have to wear a bowl cut straight down and forward. Take a page out of this guy’s book, who parts it down the middle for a face-brightening look.
20. Layered With Side Swept Bangs
Instead of letting the hair fall straight down, use a small amount of gel or pomade to sweep the front over to one side across the forehead. This softens the look.
21. Temple-Length Curls
Don’t sleep on this haircut, because it’s getting more popular by the minute. It’s like a blend between Patrick Mahomes’ iconic cut and the classic mushroom cut.
22. Arched Fringe
The shape of this cut is almost classic, but with the twist of an arched fringe across the front. Add in a vivid hair color, and you’re anything but dated.
23. Sporty Shag
The textured nature of curls is such a great fit for a bowl cut. They keep the hair from lying limp and flat and create so much interest in the haircut. A curly shag like this is perfect for active guys who need their hair to stay out of their face.
24. Short and Tapered
A shorter bowl haircut is a new way to wear the trend without pointing too much to the older style. Pair it with a tapered cut to keep the lines from looking too harsh.
25. Parted off-Center
An unexpected part is a great way to style a longer bowl cut like this. Parting off-center near the middle really opens up the face and gives the hair more shape.
26. Undercut With Side Part
Doing an undercut with a bowl cut helps keep your head cool and looks great. Part it off to one side so you can tuck your hair behind your ears to keep it out of your face.
27. Parted and Casual
The effortless look is always popular – it looks cool and requires less of your time to style. Part a bowl cut to the side and tousle your hair with a little mousse or gel for this look.
28. Drop Mushroom Cut
Even if pink isn’t your thing, this drop version of the classic dips down in the back for an updated look. The front hits mid-forehead, and the drop is done behind the ears with a shaved undercut.
29. Choppy Layered Cut
Mushroom cuts have a lot of versatility when you add choppy layers. This cut extends just past the ears and angles down in the back.
30. Wavy Middle Part
Make the most of your waves with a medium-length bowl cut and a middle part. Parting down the middle gives you swooping bangs that can hang loose or be tucked behind the ear.
Things to Consider Before Getting a Bowl Cut
Some of us were traumatized by a bad bowl haircut early in life. We hope the inspiration photos above helped show that today’s mushroom cuts are much different from the 90’s monstrosities.
If you feel ready to get back out there and try again, arm yourself with knowledge first. Here’s what you need to know before you get it done.
- Know what’s different about the modern version. Vintage bowl/mushroom haircuts were voluminous and polished. Today’s are often layered, choppy, wavy, or curly. And if they’re left straight, they need some added interest – shorter bangs, an angled back, or an undercut all work perfectly to bring the style into today’s fashion.
- Face shape matters. Most face shapes will look great with any kind of bowl haircut – heart, oval, and square faces are all a good fit. But if you have a round face, a bowl cut can exacerbate the fullness at the cheeks and make your face look bloated. A shorter cut with a fade can help diminish the added volume on the sides for round faces.
- Make sure your stylist knows what you want. If you’re visiting a stylist who might not be up on today’s trends, asking for a bowl cut might result in you getting the vintage version you’re still having nightmares about. Make sure you’re specific about what you want and have plenty of inspiration photos to show them.
- Know your hair type and characteristics. It’s easy for a stylist to make your hair look great in the salon or barbershop, but you need to understand your hair and how it tends to behave before you get this cut. If you have cowlicks, super coarse hair, stick-straight locks, or curls that always frizz, a bowl cut could make those challenges even harder to manage.
- Thick hair can puff out when cut this way. Thin and medium-thick hair won’t have issues with a mushroom cut, but super thick or coarse hair can. If you want to avoid the puffy look, have your stylist undercut the hair under the longer top or thin out the hair underneath.
Frequently Asked Questions
Would I Look Good With a Bowl Cut?
It depends on the face shape you have. A rounder face can pull off this look better than an oblong-shaped one because the length of the hair will be more flattering. Bowl cuts also look good on curly hair, as the curls add texture and volume to the haircut.
Why Are Bowl Cuts So Popular?
Bowl cuts are popular because they are effortless to maintain and suit various face shapes. They are also a simple way to achieve a modern, edgy look. People who choose bowl cuts can alter the length and texturize or thin their hair to suit their personal style.
Who Started the Bowl Cut?
The bowl cut was worn by European sportsmen as early as the 1500s. It was later popularized by the Beatles in the early 1960s and continues to be a popular haircut for both men and women and is seen as a simple and practical hairstyle for young boys.
Do You Use a Bowl for a Bowl Cut?
Bowl cuts are hairstyles in which the hair is cut short and evenly around the head. It gets its name because a bowl is often used to create the shape, and because it looks like an upside-down bowl sitting on the head. Bowl cuts are a popular style for children as they are easy to maintain and are not too short.
What's the Difference Between a Bowl Cut and an Undercut?
Differences in length, styling, and thickness are common distinctions between a bowl cut and an undercut. Bowl cuts are shorter and are styled around the head in a bowl-like shape. An undercut is a haircut where the hair on the sides and back of the head is cut very short or shaved, while the hair on top of the head is left longer.
Should You Get a Bowl Haircut?
If you’re thinking about getting a modern bowl or mushroom cut, now is the time to do it. You’ll be at the forefront of this growing trend, and you’ll love the way it looks. These haircuts are easy to manage and quick to style.
When it comes to the old school bowl cuts of yesteryear, we can’t be mad at ‘em. They taught us a lot. Take a few pointers from the vintage version, keep the parts that looked good, and put a modern twist on the cut to make it less dork and more New York.