Mulletology 101: Know Your Mullets

Where have all the mullets gone? In the 80's, mullets made us happy when we were sad, they cherished us when we were alone, they made us laugh, they made us cry. When there was only one set of foot prints in the sand... why that's when the mullets were carrying us, of course. But where are the mullets now and where did the mullets even come from?

Mullets have largely become a tragic punchline. We devote websites to mullet jokes and we laugh at stray mullets on the street. This is a haircut relegated to hockey moms, Canadians, and hipsters (who only mullet ironically), so where has the history gone? Where is the majesty of the mullet? Let's look back to when men were men and men wore mullets.

Fashion Mullet

David Bowie

The term mullet can be traced back to the early 90's made popular by the Beastie Boys song “Mullet Head.” However, the mullet is far older, for the first mullet we need to go back to a time when a mullet was risky and dangerous – the 70's. This fashion friendly proto-mullet can be attributed to none other than David Bowie. Redneck's do not spend nearly enough time worshiping at the feet of David Bowie. He wanted to look like a fashionable gay alien from the future and no haircut conveyed this message quite like the mullet. The mullet let him embrace his feminine side without being all the way gay, and isn't that what fashion is all about? So, to all you mullet heads out there, the reason you look so douchey is because David Bowie and glam rockers wanted to look more like girls... it's a fact, deal with it. Other mullet trailblazers include Paul McCartney and Florence Henderson.

Action Mullet


As the mullet grew less and less fashionable, it went to where all good haircuts go to die: Australia. The hairstyle was picked up by most Australian Rules football players and found new life with their #1 son, Mel Gibson. Gibson then brought this hairstyle back with him to the Lethal Weapon film series and the Action Mullet was born. As a rule action hero could kill as many people as he wanted as long as A) they were all bad and B) they did it with a mullet. Most action stars of the 80's and 90's, at least, flirted with the mullet (if not outright married it): Kurt Russell, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Costner, and Patrick Swayze all sported mullets. Most action mullets were shaved or slicked on the side with a nice bushel of hair in the back, this is partying in the back with extreme prejudice. But the person who best represents the action mullet is Richard Dean Anderson and MacGyver. MacGyver was the “thinking man's hero,” so it's counterintuitive to lump him with the machine gun wielding He-men (He-Man... another mullet), but that's exactly why. MacGyver was a sensitive hero with a sensitive haircut, so why show Van Damme's character crying or Stallone rescuing a kitten, when it's so much easier to give him a sensitive haircut? Why waste exposition when hair can do all the work for you? The action mullet essentially softens the macho man's personality with a haircut. Killer in the front, guy with deep feelings in the back.

Lush Mullet

Uncle Jesse

The lush mullet is everything we think of in a classic mullet. Lush mullets are hair cuts that don't actually get cut. If you put off enough haircuts eventually you're going to end up with a mullet. This is the hairstyle that simultaneously says you don't care and you care a whole lot, because it takes heavy styling to be that casual. This is the hair in the 90's for anyone desperate to look cool, and who probably went to their barber and said, “I want to look... what do the kids say? Cool?” Popular with pop stars: George Michael and Richard Marx. Funny men: Bill Murray and Jerry Seinfeld (a mini-mullet). And even today's older movie stars: Tom Hanks and Nic Cage, anyone? An overgrown mullet being the perfect haircut to cover any plastic surgery scars (wink, wink). A young George Clooney fits in here, but the most famous lush mullet being Full House's Uncle Jesse... a man desperate to look cool to his preteen nieces. Uncle Jesse worked the mullet until a very special episode marked the end of a generation.

International Mullet

AC Slater

What Gomez Adams is to the Mexican mustache, Mario Lopez is to the Meximullet, and if you combine them together... words just can't describe the beauty. This is when the mullet became more than just a white dude haircut, it became an any dude haircut, an any nerd haircut, an anyone haircut. Anyone and everyone could rock a mullet. A mullet doesn't see colors just shades of gray. This is when the mullet crossed all races, nationalities, or genders (Tegan & Sara, I'm looking at you). A hair cut for the people, by the people, and the international mullet ultimately, of course, killed the mullet. When everyone is doing it, then it's not cool for anyone to do it. Nice going, Slater.


Billy Ray Cyrus

White trashy dudes still needed a haircut though, and what better way to revive the mullet than to make it 10 times bigger? The Supermullet is for guys with time to really nurture and grow a mullet. You need time to feed a mullet, read it bed time stories, take it out for long walks, and maybe, even make sweet love to it. That's not mousse. A supermullet is a time consuming and pain staking process not for the faint of heart. It's best to attempt a supermullet without the nuisance of a girlfriend around... yeah, that's the reason they're single. If comes down to the girl or the hair, it's always going to be the mullet. Great supermullets include Dog the Bounty Hunter and Billy Ray Cyrus.

Reverse Mullet

Zac Efron

So, where has the mullet gone, well the mullet is still in Hollywood, but has flipped it and reversed it. Let's take a look at Zac Efron's shag hairdo... if you look closely enough you'll see that it's little more than a reverse mullet. Instead of business in the front, party in the back, the reverse mullet is party in the front, business in the back. If the action mullet is trying to make macho men look more feminine, the reverse mullet is trying to make effeminate boys look a little more macho. Besides Efron, reverse mullet heads include Mitchel Musso (I have no idea who that is) and the ever twitterfied Justin Bieber (ditto). No one knows what Justin Bieber does, does he act? Does he sing? Who knows? He's little more than a walking haircut, but with a reverse mullet that's all you need.

  • Nosdoog
    Comment from: Nosdoog
    04/22/10 @ 07:17:03 am

    Excellent work. All of my mullet questions have been answered (and then some.)

  • Jellycrystals
    Comment from: Jellycrystals
    04/22/10 @ 03:32:07 pm

    The ‘Euromullet’ is somewhere between the International Mullet and the Fashion Mullet. Popular with boys in my year 10 class with their bling earrings and white high tops as well as the Italian men wearing gold chains and aviator sunglasses.

    Totally had an epiphany at your Reverse Mullet comment too. Also popular with the kids these days but the soft option in mullet choices.

  • Spyros
    Comment from: Spyros
    09/15/10 @ 02:56:19 pm

    In the supermullet you have to add andre agassi….!!

  • Hair Extensions
    Comment from: Hair Extensions
    02/15/11 @ 05:23:44 am

    Your post is as simple as it could have been but don’t you think it lacks some central theme? I really could not make out the theme. It seemed to me as if it was written randomly.

  • Bryan
    Comment from: Bryan
    01/13/12 @ 06:22:14 am

    Just to bring this up: this article is missing the Hockey Mullet. Anyone who has basked in the glow of Jaromir Jagr knows what I’m talking about:

  • Pumpkins
    Comment from: Pumpkins
    04/10/13 @ 12:32:41 am

    Nice article. There are several pieces of information missing from this though, including a whole category.

    Skullet: A mullet for the receding hairline. Phil Collins and Kelsey Grammer were once champions of the skullet; and last I checked, Hulk Hogan still has his. (I’m sure there are several other examples.)

    And I’m afraid Lionel Richie broke the mullet racial boundary before Slater wore one.

    Also, no mention of Michael Bolton? For shame!