If you want your hair to look somewhat different from the rest of the population, then alt hairstyles are for you.
Alt hair can be defined as any hair color or hairstyle that goes beyond the norm.
This means it is not traditional, often consisting of unnatural colors, wild haircuts, and unique hair, like dreadlocks and fully shaved hair.
Table Of Contents
40 Most Popular Alt Hairstyles
The mullet’s popularity peaked during the late 80s and early 90s. It was every boy’s haircut of choice back then. However, the mullet faded into obscurity during the 2000s.
These days though, it seems like the mullet is making a modern comeback. It may not look quite like the original, but the “business up front and party at the back” look has made a triumphant return.
Mullet Featuring Shaved Sides
This is a modern take on the traditional mullet, a typical clean men’s haircut but with the back left long. This new style has the sides of the head cut with a high skin fade and the top and back are still left quite long.
Short and Fluffy
The short and fluffy style is undeniably quite cute. The hair is cut short, right up to the back of the neck, with a slight fringe in front. The key to pulling off this look is volume. Use volumizing hair products to make your hair “fluff” out the way you want it to.
This was popular for women in the punk rock scene in the 80s, as the legendary Joan Jett popularized it. To get the same look, have the sides and top of the head trimmed to a medium length.
Add texture by layering the lock. Leave it at whatever length you want and add a similar texture for the back.
The wolf cut first became popular in 2021. It is a shaggy hairstyle that relies on lots of volume and layers to achieve the right look. It is low-maintenance, as you do not need to brush quite as much and can tweak it easily to suit any hair texture.
Alternative Crimped Hair
Crimped hair was popular in the early 2000s, with almost all the pop stars wearing it. Now, as most hairstyles do, the crimped hair is coming back. Break out those old hair irons and start putting them to work again.
‘90s Grunge Crimped Alt Hair
As the name suggests, this hairstyle was popular during the 90s grunge rock era. It is a mix of the then-popular crimped hairstyle but not nearly as prim and proper.
In the vein of the grunge lifestyle, it seems somewhat unkempt but still looks like it was appropriately styled. Just crimp your hair in several places, as its purpose is to add more texture to it.
This hairstyle is similar to the classic bob cut, but one side is slightly longer. This asymmetrical cut gives the classic hairstyle a modern and quite edgy twist.
Half-and-Half Bubble Ponytails
This works great if you have two-tone hair. This means one half is colored differently from the other. Start by parting the hair down the middle. Grab a section from both crown halves and style them using bubble ponytails.
This means you will tie up the sections of hair using several hair ties.
Traditional bangs are cut just above the eyebrows. However, alternative-style baby bangs take it to the extreme. Here, the fringes are cut more than an inch above the brows, giving the style a menacing look.
The space buns look was a style popularized by the black community in the 90s. It has found its way into the mainstream and is worn by everyone regardless of hair texture.
To get this look, part your hair down the middle and take a section from each side. Style each section into tiny and loose buns.
Half-Up Space Buns
The traditional space bun hairstyle has the hair styled up, but this variation is a bit looser. Style your hair “half-up,” take two sections from the top and style them into space buns.
Big Bold Curls Style
It is time to let it all hang loose if you have naturally curly hair. This style can remind you of the classic afro but with color highlights and bigger and looser curls.
The short shag haircut is yet another classic hairstyle experiencing a renaissance. Give it an alternative and modern twist by using layered bangs. You may also give your hair a color-blocked look.
Modern Long Shag
This modern take on a classic style is suitable for most women. Multiple layers and volume will give this hairstyle a refreshing look and feel that is different but still familiar. Add bursts of color to give the illusion of more volume.
When talking about alternative hairstyles, it is not just about radical cuts and styling. Sometimes, it is about coloring. Giving your hair a bright and loud two-tone coloring will make the traditional bob cut more modern.
This is yet another way to make your hairstyle look alternative. You can achieve this by coloring just the fringes in front. This will give the edges of your hair lots of contrast from the rest.
Color-Blocked Alternative Hair
This is a trend that is getting rather popular nowadays. The idea is to block off a section of your hair and dye it a contrasting color. It does not need to be a natural color.
The most popular trend nowadays is to part the hair down the middle and dye them into two separate colors.
As the name suggests, you can achieve this look by making twin braids on each side of your face. Don’t touch the bangs. This style is essentially black hair with highlights but only at the front. You can then add a bit of texture spray to them to complete the look.
If you want to give the traditional pixie cut a bit more attitude, leave the top quite long. You should then cut it into a faux hawk.
If you want a hairstyle that is extreme and loud, nothing says it more than the traditional punk mohawk style. Part your hair into three, with a 3 to 4-inch section running down the middle of your head, from front to back.
Isolate this middle section and shave off the rest. Use a strong hold hair gel to keep the hair standing on end.
This is the traditional mohawk cut, but you should leave the long middle section. You also have to give the hair a bit of texture using a curling iron. Unlike the traditional mohawk, the curly mohawk allows the hair to drop down the sides of the head.
This would not be considered an alt haircut for men. However, if you are a woman, it can be pretty extreme of you to lop off your tresses. However, a buzz cut can look quite good if you have the head shape.
Buzz Cut With Design
One way to spice up an already extreme (on ladies, anyway) haircut like the buzzcut is to carve designs. Start by buzzing the hair on the thicker side, like a #2 guard, and then draw your preferred pattern. Make sure to get a hairstylist with steady hands.
Alternative Black and White
This is another take on the face-frame hairstyle. This is ideal for brunettes as they only need to dye/bleach the fringes of their hair.
Asymmetrical Long Bob
This is similar to the classic long bob haircut but with one side styled shorter than the other.
Gothic-Style Chop Featuring an Undercut
This style was also quite popular in the 90s underground rock scene. If you’re a goth, this style might suit your taste. To give you an idea of what this looks like, it’s like a bowl cut up front and a mullet at the back.
Choppy Layered Bob
This haircut looks great on any hair, whether straight or frizzy. This is a typical bob cut with much weight removed from the ends.
This hairstyle looks great on black men and women. Their naturally curly hair is easy to turn into dreadlocks. The micro locs can be made using a simple crochet hook, so you can do it yourself at home.
Ideal for alternative girls, the spiky pixie is an alternative take to the classic haircut. Ask your hairstylist for a pixie cut but leave the top a bit longer. To style your hair, use hair wax to style it upward.
Flat Side-Swept Bangs
This is similar to the styles that the Kardashians usually wear. The hair is combed and styled so much that it looks like it is stuck on the sides of the face. The defining features of this style are the sharp edges and corners.
Undercut Featuring Designs
This hairstyle is a great way to express yourself while still letting you hide it when needed. You need to have relatively long hair to pull this style off.
You can have the undercut at the sides of your head or the back. As mentioned earlier, pick a stylist with steady hands when it comes to design.
Haircut Featuring Green and Blue Shades
These days, it is pretty trendy to color your hair in wild and highly contrasting hues. Green and blue colors are popular, thanks to musicians like Billie Eilish wearing them. You can use blue and green to color block your hair or use them to add streaks of color.
Half Black Half Red
This is a type of hair color blocking where you (considering that you’re a brunette) bleach half of your hair into a bright red color and leave the rest black. This is ideal for those looking for an emo and stylish hairstyle.
This style is for grunge girls. It may look complicated, but it is pretty simple to do. Start with giving yourself some bangs. Isolate the bangs, then part the rest of your hair down the middle. Style each side of your head into loose buns.
Alternative Shag With Ombre
The shag hairstyle was quite popular in the rock and roll scene in the 80s and 90s. You can still rock it today but give it a modern touch and an illusion of more volume by getting an ombre color job before styling your hair.
These are similar to cornrows but are usually thicker and limited to just two rows. To do this, part your hair down the middle. Start your braids around the temples of your head and continue towards the back.
Short Rainbow-Colored Pixie Cut
Adding numerous colors to an already fun haircut will make it even more fun and incredible. One way is to add colors in streaks, but you can also go with splotches of color here and there.
The peekaboo hairstyle is where the top is your natural color. However, underneath, the hair is colored in bright hues.
Faux Undercut Teased Pompadour
This is called a faux undercut because instead of shaving the side of the head, you style it in a tight skin braid. Tease up the rest of the hair using products to heighten it.
Best Hair Colors for Alternative Hair
The great thing about alt hairstyles is that you can do whatever with your hair. This means you can use whatever bright color you want. Just ensure that your chosen hair color will make you look unique and different so your style will be considered alt.
How to Get and Maintain Alternative Haircuts
Step 1 – Choose a style you like
The one thing you need to remember about alt hairstyles is that most are pretty radical. This means they typically require drastic changes to your hair, so be careful in choosing a style. Also, if you’ll be dyeing your hair, get some hair color ideas beforehand.
Step 2 – Get an alt hairstyle that you can groom differently
For instance, you can opt for the shag hairdo because you can style it as it was meant. You may also apply some hair products to tame the strands and make your style ideal for formal events. You can’t say you can do the same with a mohawk.
Step 3 – Maintain the style properly
When you get an alt hairstyle, you will also be dyeing your hair in bright colors. Use shampoo and other products that protect your hair against damage and prevent the color from fading too quickly.
Step 4 – Use the best products for alt haircuts
You will need those that can hold your hair in place. This means you will need a good amount of wax for teased-up hair and volumizing products for shag haircuts.
Common Alt Hairstyle Mistakes
The biggest alt-hairstyle mistake people make choosing a style that is so extreme that they regret it later. This is why you need to think about what alt-hairstyle you want to get. Ensure that it suits you and your overall look and personality.
Alternative Hair Accessories
For some alternative hairstyles, you will be using quite a lot of hairpins and ties. You may need these accessories, especially if your chosen hairstyle requires you to braid your hair.
What are some alternative hairstyles for curly hair?
If you have curly hair, there are several alt styles that you can try. Among them are short dreads, space buns, and any hairstyle that requires styling your strands.
What’s an alternative to a pixie cut?
You can get a short bob cut if you want to style your hair short but don’t want it as short as a pixie cut. This will still give your hair some volume, but you won’t have to deal with a heavy head of hair.
How long does an alt hairstyle take to create?
It depends on what style you are aiming for. If you are getting a buzz cut, it will take less than fifteen minutes. However, if you want designs carved into your buzz cut, it would take more than an hour on the barber’s chair.
How long does an alt hairstyle last?
Again, this will depend on what style you choose. For instance, if you get a shag hairstyle, your hair will grow back to its original length in a couple of months. On the other hand, if you get a pixie cut, it would take more than a year to grow your hair back.
How often do you need to trim an alt hairstyle?
If you are getting something as extreme as a mohawk, you will need to get the sides of your head trimmed and shaved several days a week. On the other hand, there are styles where you do not even need to get a trim, like the short dreadlocks, that you can leave to grow.
What are some alt hairstyles that are easy to style?
One of the easiest to style is the short and fluffy haircut. It is just a short bob with a slight fringe. To style it, use a bit of mousse to add volume and tease it to your desired shape.
What are some common alt-hairstyle myths?
One of the silliest myths about alt hairstyles is that if you cut your hair too short, it will not grow back to what it initially looked like.
Remember that hair is hair. This means it will grow back like before, provided you keep nourishing your body with what is good for your hair.