Here at Byrdie, we have the goal of always challenging you to think beyond the parameters of “defined” beauty and instead focus on the products, people, and feelings that empower you to be the ultimate version of yourself. And when it comes to hair, that includes maybe stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new (whether you’re getting over a breakup or just because). Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a signature haircut (we’re looking at you, Anna Wintour), it’s just that, you know that haircut that you’ve been talking about since forever but have never actually gotten around to getting? Well, perhaps it’s time to finally give it a go.
To help you make the jump and/or to get the juices flowing, we opened up the floor to some of the most talented celebrity hairstylists in the biz. Our question: Which haircuts should everyone try at least once in their lifetime? Not surprisingly, the experts had a lot to share. We’ve rounded up an eclectic gallery of hair inspo—courtesy of celeb stylists—so no matter your hair type or texture, or whether a change for you means committing to a chop or piling on length, you’re bound to find a look that feels right for you.
Ahead, 20 haircuts—from the iconic to the edgy—that stylists say everyone should try.
Straight, Blunt Lob
Have you ever wondered whether you can pull off a lob? The good news is that the long bob is universally flattering for nearly all hair types and textures, as well as face shapes. It’s also an incredibly versatile style and one that allows you to make a seamless short to longer hair transition if you’re growing out your bob.
Brianna Colette, senior stylist at Nine Zero One Salon, cites Gwyneth Paltrow’s blunt, blonde, and laser-straight style as the lob in its purest and most original form. “The blunt ends have the ability to thicken fine, chemically processed hair for a chic, collarbone-grazing haircut that’s a total head-turner.”
Looking to embrace your natural hair? Transitioning won’t be hard if you’ve got the right products by your side (and avoid these common mistakes). Logan Browning’s ’60s-inspired afro is classic, stylish, and empowering. And that blue eyeshadow? Electrifying.
If you’ve always dreamed of being a rockstar, why not live vicariously through your hair? A shag haircut, whether it’s long, short, or somewhere in between, is incredibly versatile and looks great on nearly all hair types. The choppy layers add tons of texture and movement—not to mention an edgy vibe—that is ideal if you’ve got medium to thick locks.
Long and Layered
Long and layered hair seems like a no-brainer when it comes to uncontested flattering styles. “To be honest, this haircut is probably one of the most sought-after looks, and I think all women should have glamorous length at some point in their lifetime—a long, layered haircut with body and style,” says Tim Dueñas, master stylist at Nine Zero One Salon.
“If you don’t have all the hair needed to pull this off, don’t fret. There are a lot of options—from clip-ins to halo extensions—which are amazing alternatives for lending an extra dose of volume to limper strands,” he adds.
It doesn’t get more classic than a bob. “This iconic haircut is so liberating for women who may have been attached to their long strands. A cut that is above the shoulders is chic, modern, timeless, and exudes confidence,” says celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan.
With a bob, ask for minimal layers to avoid looking helmet-y or mushroom-like, and have your stylist cut with shears as opposed to a razor for a super-clean finish.
To fringe or not to fringe? That is the question. Contrary to popular belief, almost everyone can rock a fringe (curly-haired peeps included). But before you go snipping away, you’ll want to consider your hair type and texture, plus what level of commitment—from the “no-fringe fringe” to precise blunt bangs—you find manageable.
Dueñas is a fan of fringe: “Like retro awesomeness, classic ’70s rock-and-roll-inspired fringe. Plus, the versatility of a good fringe haircut makes a dirty hair day so much better. It’s a great cut for enhancing the eyes and cheekbones and is reminiscent of iconic stars like Jane Birkin, Kate Moss, and Brigitte Bardot.”
Perfect hair is overrated. Shorter on one side and longer on the other, an asymmetrical cut like Gabrielle Union’s breaks from tradition while still retaining a recognizable bob style—albeit on one side only. Not to mention, the versatility of this cut is endless. It can be worn as a pixie or a lob, with variations in length that range from the more subtle to the more extreme.
Have you heard? The pixie cut is back in a big way. And while we’ve heard time and time again that this short ‘do is ideal for those with petite features and stunning bone structure, that doesn’t mean that the rest of us mere mortals can’t pull off a pixie with style and grace. In fact, the key to rocking a pixie really comes down to confidence and a trusted stylist.
“Although it was made infamous by Twiggy, we’ve seen this quintessential, classically short style re-created on Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Pink, and Rihanna,” says Colette. “It’s so daring and liberating to chop it all off, but keeping it longer in the front makes for an effortless grow-out period.”
If you want to create the illusion of a longer face, opt for a pixie cut that is shorter on the sides with some length on top.
From one extreme to the other, “Long hair—not so much a cut as a not-cut,” is a ‘do that celebrity stylist Eloise Cheung says is a must. “Something about ultra-long hair is just really intriguing. It’s visually stunning and the stuff of fantasy and fairytales as we’ve seen in Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. Historically speaking, I think of Cher.”
Lately, many celebrities have jumped on the ultra-long hair bandwagon. And with all that hair canvas to work with, there’s no shortage of cascading styles to choose from.
If you get bored with your look or are indecisive when it comes to committing to a certain length or style, you might want to consider the versatile undercut. While Kiki Sukezane goes bold shaving one full side of her head, you can opt for something more subtle.
A small shaven area at the nape of the neck is discreet and can be shown off in an updo or concealed if you decide to wear your hair down. It’s a style made to fit every mood and occasion.
Although similar to a pixie, crops have longer layers than their short hair counterpart. If you’re wondering if short hair suits you, dispel your doubt by trying this simple trick. You’ll be happy to know, however, that short hair looks good on nearly everyone. It’s just a matter of finding the right short style for you.
According to Dueñas, “Every woman should experience a crop. The liberation that comes with having a short, fun haircut is amazing. I think it is one of the sexiest moves and shows a lot of confidence. Think Mia Farrow, Scarlett Johansson, Ruby Rose, and, more recently, Kate Hudson.” Crops that embrace curls and waves are also very chic.
Medium-Length and Layered
If you like to play it safe but are still looking to change up your look, a medium-length layered cut may be for you. This length is flattering and versatile, while the addition of layers accentuates hair’s texture and movement. Just be wary if you have fine hair, which layers can exacerbate.
“I like to call this ‘The Rosie.’ It’s a medium-length haircut that’s great for thick, textured, and/or wavy hair,” says Colette. “The addition of lots of layers helps encourage movement and will simultaneously lighten up heavy hair, which might be easily weighed down otherwise. Then, barely there, long and sweeping fringe keeps it interesting.”
An all-over blunt cut is head-turning. Kerry Washington’s blunt bob and bang combo takes this razor-sharp style to the next level. Whether she was inspired by 1920s flappers or Uma Thurman’s character in Pulp Fiction, she gets a solid “10” on our hairstyle-o-meter.
Not too short and not too long, a cut that falls at the shoulders is just right. Celebrity hairstylist Chad Wood agrees: “This look is so versatile and perfect for any occasion. Shoulder-length hair is so chic and classic, and it’s easy to wear either up or down.”
“To show off the angle, it’s especially great worn straight, like Vanessa Hudgens,” he adds. “To achieve this look, you’ll blow-dry first (I love my T3 Cura Luxe Hair Dryer, $295, for optimal, quick results), and then I use the brand’s SinglePass Luxe Straightening and Styling Iron ($180), applying it from roots to ends to smooth out the hair leaving it polished and mod.”
The once wince-inducing mullet has gotten a modern makeover. We liken it to wearing your fanny pack as a crossbody: a wearable and fresh take on a retro style. As seen on Úrsula Corberó, today’s mullets are softer and more elegant than they were back in the ’70s and ’80s.
Is it just us or does Gwen Stefani look like a modern-day Marilyn Monroe? Soft, face-framing curls fall right above her shoulders. This cut naturally lifts limp, fine hair—with a little help from volumizing products like Joico JoiWhip Firm-Hold Design Foam ($20) and Kenra Root Lifting Spray ($18). Pair with a red lip to complete this retro look.
It doesn’t get much more statement-making than shaving your head. Cheung says this cut is “the ultimate rebellion against the ‘feminine’ stereotype that women need to have long, flowing locks. However, this cut isn’t for the faint of heart, as it pretty much lays you bare to the world, and there is nothing to hide behind once the clippers have stopped.”
Intimidating? Maybe. Liberating? Definitely. “Wearing a shaved cut with confidence is ultimate empowerment, and with that comes an otherworldly beauty,” preaches Cheung.
Voluminous, Graduated Lob
Keeping with liberating haircuts, take a look at Solange’s full-bodied, textured lob. According to Cheung, “The freedom to embrace our natural texture has been extremely liberating as of late. No longer are we fighting the frizz to attain and maintain the ‘utopian’ smooth hair. This face-framing, voluminous, and graduated lob haircut is super flattering for any face shape and requires little to no styling so you can go about your day.”
It may seem counterintuitive to feature a celeb who has worn the same style for years, but then again, a classic is a classic. Nina Garcia’s long layered tresses are fool-proof and will flatter nearly any face. The addition of curtain bangs is also one of the easiest bangs to pull off and maintain.
A bit shorter than a classic chin-length bob and often—but not always—worn straight with bangs, a French bob is très chic. And in case you’re curious about a bob but are hesitant to get rid of your length, Marjan suggests experimenting with a faux bob.
She explains, “I braid up most of [my client’s] hair, leave out the top layer, then add extensions—either headband-style or clip-ins that I can cut to whatever length and style I want. This is what I did for Khloé Kardashian so she could try out the shorter length before she decided to cut it short.”
How often should I get a haircut if my hair is healthy?
While how often you get a haircut depends largely on your hair type, there are some general rules: you should get a cut if your hair is visibly damaged, or if you’re no longer able to style it in the way you originally intended. If you have a short cut, more frequent trims are a must. Longer and you can go between 8 and 12 weeks.
How often should I get a cut or trim if my hair is damaged?
If you are prone to split ends or have chemical treatments done, to your hair regularly, get a trim every eight weeks to keep your strands looking (and feeling) healthy. Frequent trims can help prevent breakage.
What should I do if I’m unhappy with my haircut?
If you aren’t thrilled with a recent haircut, the first thing to do is speak up (after all, it can’t be fixed if the stylist doesn’t know you’re unhappy). Your stylist will likely be able to make minor changes to fix the look, or can work with you to create a plan to grow it back out.