The experienced hairdressers at Iris Cabrera’s hair salon specialize in all types of men’s haircuts, but lately it’s been a recurring request among their younger customers.
Most of them, usually under the age of 21, want to wear the “Edgar-cut,” a hairstyle popular among Latino men of Mexican descent who carry a sense of pride in their indigenous roots.
The owner of Old East Dallas Barbershop, located at 515 N Carroll Ave., said her son Nathan Cabrera, 12, has been rocking the trendy cut. The sixth-grader at Uplift Heights Primary Preparatory wanted to get the look because that’s how everyone wears it.
“A haircut if it’s in style, he’s definitely going to have it. He will be the first to get it, said his mother.
The “Edgar cut” is popular among youth living in Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona, all bordering Mexico. TikTok videos fueled the popularity of this look since 2020, when everyone relied on digital entertainment during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The hairstyle is associated with the modern ranchera/o aesthetic known as “takuache”, where young people living in the United States find ways to connect with their Mexican roots. They usually wear square boots or Jordan sneakers, listen corridos tumbados (explicit lyrics,) drive a pickup, and dance to the tunes of different genres such as cumbias, huapango, and tribal at rodeos or dance clubs. Videos of this culture abound on social media.
The name of the hairstyle comes from a reference to Edgar Martinez, a former Major League Baseball player who played for the Seattle Mariners. In early 2019, a fan asked a Puerto Rican hairdresser to engrave Martinez’s face on the back of his head. The young fan’s cut, performed by Puerto Rican barber Anthony Reyes, included a bun-like cutout on the front. Reyes posted a video on Instagram and after it was reshared by the MLB Puerto Rico account, it went viral.
Since then, it has been called the “Edgar cut.”
Subcultures created by Latino youth
The hairstyle has become an aesthetic expression to emphasize and connect to Mexican and indigenous roots, said Frank G. Pérez, associate professor of communication at the University of Texas El Paso.
This is a typical case, he said, of how each generation creates its own identity with its own taste and style.
It’s their way of saying ‘this is who we are, we are the youth, and we are the future,’” Pérez said.
This example can be seen in younger generations of musicians taking over the regional Mexican music genre. Popular artists like Natanael Cano, Kris Nava of T3R Elemento (Third Element, in Spanish) and two members of Yaritza y Su Esencia have all rocked a variation of the “Edgar cut”.
What does “Edgar cut” do
Most people would describe it as a bun style cut where the hair on the top of the head is longer while the sides are tapered. The neck, sides and temples are not completely shaved, but shorter than the top which can be an inch long or more.
Boys with straight or wavy hair can wear the style characterized by straight bangs (bangs) that sit above their brows.
As the top hair begins to grow, the bowl shape begins to become more apparent. Barbers create this hairstyle using scissors and clippers.
Inspired by Indians
The new hairstyle owes a spot of inspiration to how Jumano Indians — who lived in central Texas between 1500 and 1700 — would cut their hair, according to the Texas State Historical Association.
Men cut their hair short and used paint to decorate it, leaving a long strand to which they could attach bird feathers.
Rachel Cruz, assistant professor of Mexican American studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said in an email that she has seen hairstyles very similar to the “Edgar cut” in some Mexican iconography, particularly in regions such as Tulum and Chichen Itza .
When Ayden Gonzales, 19, found out his current haircut might have some Native origins, he was thrilled.
“I like when simple things or simple little trends actually have a deeper meaning to them,” he said.
The South Dallas resident was a student at Duncanville High School during the COVID-19 lockdown. When virtual learning stopped and it was safe for in-person classes, he saw more boys wearing the “Edgar cut.”
And when he graduated, he got the trendy haircut.
“Did you cut Edgar?” his family commented, he said, as he went home with the fresh look.
But Gonzales wasn’t bothered by the jokes. His response: “I just got a regular haircut”.
Sonya M. Alemán, associate professor of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said the criticism about this haircut is misguided.
“The haircut and aesthetic can be read as defying Western notions of beauty or style.”
The hair trend is thriving in the Lone Star State
Oscar Ayala, 21, a barber at Old East Dallas Barbershop, explained that aside from gaining popularity thanks to social media, the haircut is also in demand because it’s a practical cut for youth.
Ayala, a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, said boys don’t need to put much effort into styling their hair with this hairstyle when getting ready to start the day, making it highly sought after by middle and high school students.
“I’ve never seen the Edgar haircut as a bad thing because these are just people getting haircuts and just living life,” Gonzales said.
“If that’s what they like, then that’s what they like, people always want something to make fun of.”