How would you like to be the epitome of cute and generate a lasting image in pop culture? To be all that, you’ll have to fringe away from your hairdo and get a Mop haircut. Allow us to paint a word picture. What would be the hairdo if you mixed John Lennon and Paul Macartney’s hair together? Now, that might not be the best of sights, but it is the Mop haircut, and it is here to stay.
Every hairstyle has a phase in pop culture when it attains a trend status, and you see hordes of masses swept behind it. A couple of years ago, it was facial hair, then it went to buzz cuts and fades, and we have now come full circle to the early 60s and started loving the messy-yet-adorable haircut called the Mop. Let’s take a deep cut (pun intended) into the hairstyle, why it is here, and how you can get one.
What is the Mop?
Originating as the “Mop Top” in the early 1960s, the Mop entered the world in the most dazzling way possible – on the heads of the Beatles. Arguably the most famous ever, the Beatles were at their prime from 1960-65 when they donned these Mop hairdos and left a string of broken hearts across the western hemisphere. And a phenomenal hairdo was born. The American press initially laid down their fury by calling their haircuts “un-American,” to which John Lennon famously replied, “Well, thank you for noticing. We are not Americans.”
With all this history under it, the Mop is simply an unkempt box of hair, generally parted in the middle, that must be bushy enough to be worn as a helmet in battle. You have to have a lot of hair to pull off a good Mop. You have to comb many layers and then fringe them to go haywire, enabling you to look like a literal mop. The Fab Four called their hairdo “the Arthur,” They were in vogue for it because it was novel. They brought it back to the UK and probably created the trend of setting trends.
The Mop might seem messy, but it still follows a precise technique. You would comb or brush the hair down to your forehead to give the illusion of it being straight. Then the hair down on the forehead would be deliberately made shaggier. Everyone inspired by the Beatles tried their hands at the Mop.
Each Beatle gave it a signature twist – Paul had a thin head of hair, whereas John had a thick, slick, and straight variation. Noel and Liam Gallagher, founders of the rock outfit Oasis (another Brit sensation), also donned the Mop top when their band made it big.
The Mop has survived the test of time in pop culture. But sometimes, it is used in an unaesthetic, unappealing, and haphazard manner. Sadly, that feat has been done by another famous Brit – PM Boris Johnson. His Mop has not seen the good side of the trend.
Why is the Mop called the TikTok haircut?
The Mop has had its legacy carried forward in the most obscure of means – TikTok. TikTok is a social media platform where members can upload short, entertaining videos. These videos are often humorous and bring out the better side of social media to us. However, with the growing trend of making TikTok videos, the mass population idolized those who made it big on the internet. In essence, people saw who was getting attention on social media and decided to follow in their footsteps.
And who would make it big today but the boys who sported their adorable Mops? They became a phenomenon called “e-boys,” a group of men living on the internet who brought the Mop back into the limelight. How did this happen?
As all revolutions go, the e-boys’ movement started with a fight. A few TikTok stars believed that side-parted hair was for the Boomers, and middle-parts were new in. These sparks were enough fuel to ignite a flame between the side-partition and the middle-partition. In proving the supremacy of the middle-parted hairdo, TikTok unleashed the Mop upon the world once again.
The 21st-century Mop has, while paying homage to the original, deviated a little from its cause. The modern Mop employs a middle partition, which none of the Beatles tried. Some people also fashion their Mop in an unkempt side partition, where the partition is apparent but not clearly visible. Daniel Radcliffe has often sported such side partitioned mops on the red carpet. This newer range of Mops also has shorter hair on the sides of the head than on the top, which is another clear divergence from the original ‘Arthur.’ Lastly, today’s Mops have added an extra layer of untidiness and frizziness to their armada. You can visibly see the difference between the sleek Mops of the 60s and the haywire halcyon mops of the 21st century.
What could have possibly been the difference between the two styles, we wonder. The answer is front and center – Uppercut Deluxe Pomade. Too young to know what that is? It is a hair gel product. The hair gels in the 60s made your hair glossy and hard.
In contrast, hair gels today do not add as much shine and keep the hair heavy but not hard. There is a minute but very noticeable difference. We believe that these subcultural differences in time, along with social media uproars, have given birth to the new e-boy Mop.
How do you curate a Mop haircut?
There are a million origin stories told for the Beatles Mop Top. They cover a spectrum of “John Lennon stole it from a German guy” to “George Harrison walked out of the pool which chapped hair on all sides and left it that way.” No one knows the truth, and the world is better off without it. Now, generating a Mop is not the hardest thing in the world. There are few easy steps to take you to the back-in-vogue Mop.
Start from the top of your head
Take a thick-toothed comb and bring all your hair down right from the top center of your head. You would need medium-length hair for this endeavor. To fashion a classic Mop, your hair should do three things. It should fall to cover at least half your ears on the sides. It should tumble down the beginning of your neck on the back. Lastly, it must cover most of your forehead on the front. The cherry on the top for the classic Mop is to leave a little partition on your forehead as an ode to Paul being the “cute one.”
Chap the bouncy hair down with some pomade or gel to achieve a glossy look. If you have wavy or curly hair, you may have to employ a straightener to get it all down. Lastly, the Mop needs volume, and chapped hair just won’t do the job. So, get your hands on a blow drier and gently fluff up the top and front of your hair so that it stands out. Voila, you have the Mop!
To have an eye-catching mop today, you can couple it with a faded undercut. That means the hair above your ears would be short, but the hair on the top would still tumble down enough to give volume. However, everything on the top remains the same. People with wavy hair can absolutely slay in this hairstyle, with their natural swirls bringing a generous body to the top hair. Also, the faded undercut makes your face look thinner and sharper, so it’s a win-win.
Can black men sport a Mop?
Yes. There is no reason why black men cannot carry a Mop. The modern Mop combines fades, undercuts, and other recent trends with the messy top. That is something that every man of color can carry with grace and aplomb. Another iteration of the Mop is the Curly Mop. Curly-haired folks can let their hair tumble down from all sides to create a fantastic look. Jaden Smith sported this look for a while, fashioning his dreadlocks into a messy spill resembling the Mop.
The latest addition to trends in black men’s hairstyles is the hard partition, where you have your hair parted to one side completely, and the shorter side gets a fade, while the top remains like a Mop and falls down the other side.
The Afro, commonly sported by people of the black community, follows the same philosophy of the Mop – let the hair do its thing. With the proper facial structure, a Mop brings an ethereal boyish charm to your persona.
The Mop is a cultural phenomenon that nobody can let go of. It is a decadent hairdo that has won the hearts of many, and it has survived the test of time. It adds a unique color to your look every time you sport it. The idea behind wearing a Mop is to seem carefree and at peace with all that you have. If you can embrace the idea, you can pull off the Mop.