The Classic ‘80s Rattail is Back With a Modern Twist—And Hairstylist Andrew Zumbo Has Expert Tips on How to Style It


There’s no easy way to say this but it appears that we may be in the midst of a rattail renaissance. Blame it on The Weeknd, but ever since the singer sported a rattail-esque hairstyle while starring as his character Tedros in HBO’s show The Idol, the haircut has seen quite a rise in popularity. In fact, since the show’s airing, the #rattail has completely blown up on TikTok, amassing over 48 million views and counting.

While there’s no denying that the rattail is easily one of the most divisive haircuts of all time (aside from the mullet, of course), the latest rendition of the hairstyle is so much cooler than the throwback look you might remember from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

“Back in the glorious ‘80s and early ‘90s, the rattail hairstyle was particularly popular and characterized by having short hair on the front and sides of the head, while leaving a long and daringly defiant tail cascading down the back. However, like many passing trends, it lost its lustrous appeal as the ‘90s unfolded, fading away from the mainstream fashion and hair scene.” Andrew Zumbo, American Crew brand ambassador and hairstylist, told The Tease. “We are seeing trends ebb and flow which is typical in fashion and hair, and right now rejuvenated versions of classic styles are being brought to light like the mullet and now the rattail. Aside from the obvious rattail styling technique of braiding and tying, an elevated rattail incorporates color, beads, and other accessories to showcase personality.”

With the rattail back on trend, The Tease tapped Zumbo to share his insights on the haircut and how to achieve it. Keep scrolling for his tips, tricks, and helpful recommendations.

What is a Rattail?

Even if you didn’t already know the rattail by name, you would probably be able to recognize it. According to Zumbo, the hairstyle is characterized by a strand of hair extending from the back of the head. “The hair on the rest of the head is typically shorter or shaved, while the rattail portion is left longer and usually braided or tied with a hair elastic,” he says.

While the rattail has traditionally been associated with men, it’s a genderless haircut that can be worn by anyone. In fact, you might remember that Rihanna and Miley Cyrus made just as many headlines for their rattails in the 2010s as Shia LaBeouf did with his own take on the hairstyle.

How to Achieve a Rattail

When it comes to making the rattail work for present-day, the key is to combine it with modern haircuts. “For example, incorporate the rattail into an undercut, fade, or layered hairstyle, blending it seamlessly with current trends,” he says.

As far as the actual styling goes, Zumbo recommends sectioning out a piece of hair from the center of the nape down and keeping the left and right sides shorter to make the rattail more prominent. He adds, “If you are growing this out, you want to keep the center piece of the hair longer than the rest of the hair so it’s more obvious and highlighted.”

While rattails are generally much longer than the rest of the hair, you can totally customize the length to fit your needs. “Adjust the length of the rattail to accommodate different preferences,” says Zumbo. “You could opt for a shorter and more subtle tail if you’re seeking a more subdued look, while keeping a longer tail if you want to embrace the full rattail experience.” 

According to Zumbo, it’s important to “be bold and brave” when exploring different styling techniques for the rattail. He says, “This could involve braiding the rattail, adding colorful accessories, or incorporating unique textures to suit different tastes. 

When it comes to adding touchable shape and texture to a rattail, Zumbo recommends using American Crew Molding Clay due to its high hold and medium shine finish. “On dry hair, massage a dime-sized amount in your hands to emulsify then rub the product in the hair for texture,” he explains. For anyone looking for a matte, low shine option, the American Crew Fiber is your best bet due to its pliable hold and its ability to thicken, add texture, and increase the fullness of the hair. “To style the rattail, rub a small amount evenly between the palms before working into dry hair,” Zumbo says.

For more of Zumbo’s hair tips and tricks, be sure to follow @andrewzumbo on Instagram.

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Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches. Send her a pitch:

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