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Mullet gets a makeover! Retro hairstyle trend taking Australia by storm

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It’s official, the mullet haircut is back – and school principals are not happy about it.

The mullet – short at the sides, long at the back – has returned in such a big way that one hairdresser Daily Mail Australia spoke to, 21-year-old Charlie, said ‘100 per cent’ of her friends have mullets.

Hairdressers in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide say high school students and twenty-somethings are driving the return of the mullet, which is most commonly associated with the 1970s. 

Mullets are back and Australia is leading the way. One of the crowd favourites for the National Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is Leith Alexander's 'Mullet Madness'

Mullets are back and Australia is leading the way. One of the crowd favourites for the National Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is Leith Alexander’s ‘Mullet Madness’

Hairdressers say the current mullet craze is being driven by a desire to copy sporting idols, such as the Bulldog's Bailey Smith (pictured)

Hairdressers say the current mullet craze is being driven by a desire to copy sporting idols, such as the Bulldog’s Bailey Smith (pictured)

Teens tend to want shaved sides and longer hair to the collar - as long as their schools will allow it

Teens tend to want shaved sides and longer hair to the collar – as long as their schools will allow it

‘Teenage boys want them more than anyone,’ said Rebecca Pereira, manager at Tommy Guns Parramatta.

But that isn’t going down well with principals.  

Earlier in 2021, Waverley College in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, banned the hairstyle.

Hairdressers say principals from all private and catholic schools are sending students with mullets straight to the barber.

‘If the boys go to Catholic or private schools they’re not allowed to have hair touching their collars,’ Ms Pereira said.

But even private school students are finding a way around the rules.  

‘So as soon as school finishes they literally come in that afternoon and they keep it for two weeks so it has time to grow out. They even do that at the end of normal terms.’

But teens and twenty-somethings have a slightly different take on the classic cut.

Teens tend to go for a sharp zero trim on the sides, while those in their 20s and 30s allow the sides to get increasingly shaggy.

One hairdresser joked the people in their 40s and 50s with mullets never stopped having them. 

But the scissor experts say the mullet has made a full comeback – and it’s not just the boys who want them.

Women in their 20s and 30s are lining up for mullet-style cuts too.

Mullets were associated with the 1970s in Australia but they are back in a big way

Mullets were associated with the 1970s in Australia but they are back in a big way

‘To be honest I don’t have any friends who don’t have mullets,’ said Charlie, 21, from Tooth and Nail Marrickville.  

Mullet madness has spread nationwide.

One of the crowd favourites for the National Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is Leith Alexander’s Mullet Madness. 

‘It’s not just a hairstyle it’s a lifestyle,’ Australia Best Mullets explains on Instagram.

Connor Keighran, Charlie’s boss at Tooth and Nail salon, says Australia is on par with the United States for the return of the mullet – and ahead of the UK.

‘I’ve got a friend who opened a salon in London and they’re just starting to do mullets now. We’ve been doing them for two years.

‘If there was an Ashes for mullet cuts, Australia would win easily.’

In Adelaide, locals are pushing the limits and adding a perm to their mullet.

Senior barber Mitchell Bandick from Zak Grooming For Men at Glenelg South told The Advertiser ‘everyone wants a mullet’. 

‘There are also a lot of young guys who have grown their hair out really long and they want and want a curly look to it … the only way you are going to get that, is through doing perm.

‘So, there are a lot of guys opting for the perm as well as the mullet.’

Ellen Thompson, manager at Just Cuts in Glen Waverley, Melbourne believes a lot of the motivation is about following sports stars.

‘It’s a very sporting-driven thing,’ she said.

Aussie Olympic sprinter Rohan Browning sported a popular mullet at the 2021 Tokyo Games

Aussie Olympic sprinter Rohan Browning sported a popular mullet at the 2021 Tokyo Games

It's official, the mullet haircut is back in a big way and school principals are not happy about it

It’s official, the mullet haircut is back in a big way and school principals are not happy about it

‘They want haircuts like their sporting idols. Look at the AFL 21s draftees – they all have mullets.

‘Apparently it started as a joke between AFL players during lockdown and now it’s a officially a thing.’

In Sydney, the inspirations are from NRL and in Melbourne and Adelaide, they’re from AFL.

But one of Australia’s most popular Olympians – 100m semi-finalist Rohan Browning  – sported a mullet too. 

The big exception Ms Thompson says, is soccer players and fans – who still want short back and sides.

‘Look at Cristiano Ronaldo, he’s got that high fade. Soccer players have short hair so the fans copy them.’



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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