Two of the hottest hairstyles these days are the undercut and the two-block haircut. And although these styles are very similar, there are a few key differences that set them apart. If you want to learn the differences and similarities between these haircuts and what to consider before choosing one or another, keep reading.
What is a Two Block Haircut?
The two-block haircut is a cut that has really taken off with Asian men (think K-Pop), and it is a great way to add fullness to fine, straight hair. It requires the hair to be very short or even shaved on the sides and along the back of the head, while the hair on top is longer to allow for styling. While lengths may vary, it always shows a sharp contrast between the shorter hair on the sides and the longer hair on the top.
A two-block haircut often has some sort of bangs that are the same length as the rest of the longer top hair. In this way, it is kind of a combination between the undercut and the bowl cut and is inspired by the “mushroom cut” of the 80s.
What is an Undercut?
Undercuts are short around the sides and back of the head and longer on top. There are no guidelines as to how long they must be as long as they vary from one another. There must also be a sharp distinction between the shorter and longer hair as opposed to a fade which graduates subtly (although fade variations are possible).
The top of the hair can be worn in any way you, please. It can be slicked back, parted, etc. You can wear it straight, wavy, or permed.
The cut originated in the 1920s, and its combination of practicality and style made it popular among everyone, from businessmen to artists and entertainers. It still remains a preferred style as it allows for versatility, and has inspired many looks, including the high and tight, the fade, and the two block.
Related Article: High and Tight Haircut vs. Undercut: All The Differences & Similarities
The Differences and Similarities: Two-Block Cut vs. Undercut
Now that you are familiar with both haircuts, you may be wondering what’s the difference as they look pretty identical. Well, although they have many similarities, they also have subtle variations, which will be discussed in this section.
Both cuts have a similar overall style in that they are short around the sides and back of the head and longer on top.
The two block and undercut are versatile in that they can be cut to any length and styled in any way the wearer wishes.
Both styles must be cut to show a sharp contrast between the top and bottom of the hair. Therefore, there cannot be a graduation like a fade at the hair on the sides.
Related Article: Undercut on Thin Hair: How To Do It [With Photos]
Bangs vs. No Bangs
A two-block haircut almost always features bangs. An undercut is traditionally slicked back or parted on the side or in the middle.
All One Length on Top
The two-block is often all one length on the top, similar to a bowl haircut. An undercut can be layered.
Both two block haircuts and undercuts are considered disconnected styles, as there is a disconnect between the very short-length hair on the bottom and the long hair on the top. However, there are differences concerning where the transition becomes visible.
Both cuts require the transition to occur relatively high up on the head, usually around the temples. But the two-block style has a bowl-cut look that allows the hair to fall over the head where the transition appears. This makes it seem as if the transition is lower than it is.
So, to sum it up, the disconnect appears to be lower on a two-block cut as compared to an undercut.
Hair Lengths Contrast
There are no hard and fast rules that dictate how short the hair must be on the sides and back of the head or how long it must be on top of the head for either haircut. However, there’s usually more of a hair length contrast with the undercut.
The two block typically features the hair on top in a bowl cut style which tends to be on the long side. And while the sides and back are short, they are rarely shaved.
The undercut, on the other hand, often has very short hair on the sides and back of the head. Sometimes these areas are even shaved. The top, meanwhile, is long enough to slick back but not as long as in your average two-block cut.
Related Article: Undercut Vs. Combover: Differences & Similarities [Photos]
Which is Right for Me: The Two Block Haircut Or The Undercut?
Choosing either a two-block haircut or an undercut depends on factors such as your hair type, facial features, lifestyle, and more. This section will review the various elements to consider.
Both the two-block and the undercut are edgy styles that can also be worn in conservative environments. However, the undercut gives you the option of slicking it back or wearing it longer, while the two block often features bangs. There is no right or wrong here; it all depends on what you prefer.
It’s important to choose the haircut that goes best with your facial features. Here’s what you will need to consider:
- Big Forehead: If you have a big forehead, it’s best to wear bangs. The two block is ideal.
- Round Face: Bangs are also a good option for a round face as they add angles. They work especially well if the bangs are worn to the side. So if you have a round face, the two block is a good option.
- Long Face: If you have a long face, the two block wins out. If you choose the undercut and wear your hair long or pushed back, it will further elongate your face. The bangs of the two-block will detract from the elongation, making it a better option.
- Square Face: A square face will be softened by longer hair, so a long undercut may be your best option. The square bangs of a two block will make your face look ‘blockier’.
- Oval Face: Oval face shapes tend to look good with any haircut.
Your hair type must also be considered in the cut you choose. Here are some things to think about.
- Curly/Wavy/Slightly Curly: The two block is a good choice for people with any amount of curl in their hair. With just touch of gel, it will look effortlessly stylish and slightly messy.
- Straight: If your hair is straight, an undercut is recommended. It will look great when slicked back or worn long.
While these are good general guidelines, with the versatility both styles offer, you can wear either with any type of hair as long as you style accordingly.
When considering lifestyle, you need to think about which cut will be easier for you to maintain. After all, most people don’t like to spend a lot of time in the morning fighting with their hair.
If you are very active, you may also prefer a short two block haircut. While both cuts can be worn short, the undercut tends to be longer. This increases the likelihood that it will get caught on things when you are moving around.
The two block vs. undercut have many similarities, but they also have their share of differences. Now that you know what each has to offer, which do you feel will be the best choice for you?
Russell is the founder of themensattitude.com. He is a barber a beard enthusiast and he is obsessed with trying men’s lifestyle products and blog about them. If you have any questions you can hit him up via the contact page.