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What Are the Different Types of Punk Haircuts?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 21, 2024
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There are many different types of punk haircuts, and part of the punk ethos is that a punk can wear his or her hair in whatever style he or she wants. Typically, punk haircuts involve either highly theatrical and shocking hairstyles or very utilitarian, easy to maintain cuts. Punk hairstyles are often gender-neutral, although women's hair is generally longer than men's hair. There are many, many different punk movements, each with different characteristic hairstyles, so it is important to think about punk haircuts in specific terms.

One of the most common haircuts identified with punk fashion is the mohawk. This haircut involves shaving the sides of the head to create a single band of hair running from front to back. Some basic variations on this style involve multiple bands running in parallel and mohawks with the sides of the hair left intact. A mohawk often requires maintenance in order to make it stand up, which can make this style less popular with more DIY-focused punks.

The simple shaved head is also a very popular punk haircut. Buzzing the hair close to the scalp is seen as appropriate for both women and men, and is very popular because it is easy to maintain. Many punks view the elaborate use of theatrical hairstyles to be divisive and time-consuming, making haircuts that would be deemed "normal" in a given culture also very popular in this movement.

Spiky punk haircuts rely less on how the hair is cut and more on how it is styled. Dying the hair is also a matter of styling rather than cutting. When punks who are concerned with eschewing traditional culture take on different haircuts, it is common for them to cut their hair themselves rather than pay someone else to do it. This can lead to a variety of choppy haircuts that are popular in certain subsets of punk culture.

In many cases, punk haircuts are all about expression and drawing attention to the person with the haircut. This means that very unusual cuts may be undertaken if the person in question likes the way they look or feels inspired to duplicate a non-punk aesthetic for any number of reasons. For example, an individual might wear his or her hair in dreadlocks even if that hairstyle is not typically associated with many punk subsets. Simply letting one's hair grow and slashing it off with scissors is another popular way punks cut and style their hair, because this implies that they do not care about their hair. Truly, the haircut depends on the person, which is why punk haircuts are so varied and unique.

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Discussion Comments

By stoneMason — On May 20, 2014

@discographer-- I'm not sure. It might be or might not be depending on how it's used. If it has spikes though, then it probably is.

Most short haircuts that are styled at different angles with spikes can be a punk haircut. Having one part of the scalp shaved also works really well. Women usually shave one side and style the other. Different colored highlights can also turn a haircut into a punk haircut. Some people dye half of their hair one color and the other half another. Or they put a streak of bright color in only one part. Long, colored bangs can make a haircut punk too.

I think that a punk haircut is half about the haircut and half about the styling. Even with a regular, short haircut, a punk style can be created at home.

By discographer — On May 20, 2014

Is a tape up haircut with a spiked top considered punk?

By donasmrs — On May 19, 2014

I think mohawk is the ultimate punk haircut but I don't think I'm ready it for it, at least not yet. Not only is it very hard maintenance, there is also no going back if I get bored of it or change my mind. The only way to change a mohawk is to wait for the sides to grow and then cut it to the same length or to shave it off altogether. I want to be completely ready before I get this haircut for this reason. But I admire people who have mohawks and maintain them very well.

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