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What Is a Bowl Haircut?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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A bowl haircut is a hairstyle that is cut short and circular on the top of the head. It may be done using an actual bowl or cooking pot on the head and cutting the hair right at the edge of the vessel. Since the style is quite easy to do, it's often a favorite of parents to give their kids — especially boys — at home to save money on getting professional haircuts. Bowl haircuts tend to go in and out of style. Straight hair works the best for the bowl haircut, with either long or short bangs.

One variation of the bowl cut with short bangs and the lower part of the skull shaved is sometimes called a mushroom haircut. The name refers to the top of the head having the appearance of a mushroom cap — smooth, rounded and slightly peaked. This type of bowl haircut requires a smaller bowl or cooking pot, while a style with longer bangs and side hair would need a larger vessel. What makes the cutting simple for even beginning hair cutters is that the rim of the pot or bowl provides the cutting edge. The main thing to be cautious of is to hold the dish straight on the head during the hair cutting.

Celebrities known for wearing a bowl style of haircut include Moe Howard of The Three Stooges fame. Singers such as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Rihanna have also worn versions of a bowl haircut. Bieber's was brunette and symmetrical in shape, while Lady Gaga's bowl cut was platinum blond with curled under edges and Rihanna wore a dyed red version with a jagged, rather than straight, edge.

Basic bowl haircuts are popular with parents for children's styles not only for the ease of cutting the look, but also for the ease of maintenance. A bowl cut often looks neat, yet casual and is typically easy to wash and comb. It makes an ideal haircut for warmer weather, as it's a short style. Longer bowl cuts for women typically feature more hair on the sides than the super-short boys' style of cut. The bangs may also be longer.

Since bowl cuts are done on straight hair, some women like to use products to make strands look fuller. Hair serum products designed to add gloss to hair are also popular for a bowl cut style, especially for those with black or dark brown hair. While some bowl styles for women may be done using a dish or pot, many others are done only with professional hairstylists' cutting tools.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By turquoise — On May 21, 2014

@bluedolphin-- I had a bowl haircut for several years when I was about five or six years old. And it was cut by a hair stylist! So I agree with you that this haircut is not always done at home.

My parents changed my haircut after a few years simply because I have a small forehead. The bowl haircut had really long bangs and they were literally getting in the way of my sight. In fact, one day, I took a scissors at home and cut off half of my bangs. My parents asked me what happened and I told them I couldn't see. So although a bowl haircut is easy to do, it does require some maintenance because the bangs need to be trimmed regularly.

By bluedolphin — On May 20, 2014

@SteamLouis-- I don't think that a bowl haircut looks strange. It looks good on many people. I think in the past, many parents used the bowl technique to give their children bowl haircuts at home. I'm sure that there are parents who still do. But the bowl haircut is not really a haircut that is associated with poor families or children anymore.

Like the article pointed out, quite a few celebrities have and continue to sport the look. Obviously, there is also no rule that a bowl haircut will be done at home with the use of a bowl. Most people go to the salon if they want this haircut.

By SteamLouis — On May 20, 2014

I once heard that a bowl haircut, or mushroom haircut as I call it, is done using a bowl. But I thought that it was a joke or a rumor. I can't believe that people actually use a bowl and cut their hair at home. No wonder this haircut looks so strange!

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