Allure August 19, 2021



31 Haircuts That Will Upgrade Your Long Hair


The list of options is… lengthy!

When you've got major inches, you've also got major options when it comes to your hair. Maybe you favor a one-length cut to give your fine hair some volume. Or perhaps you fancy a chop that will play well with your ringlets. If you're willing the shell out the cash, you might even want to add some super long extensions just to be extra.

Hairstory's resident New York City-based stylist Wes Sharpton says long hair is all about versatility. "If you like to style your hair, having a long haircut gives you great options to change up your look," he notes. No matter what you want to do with your long hair, there's a perfect cut out there just waiting for you to discover it; but since there are so many choices, a little guidance is helpful.

First things first: planning is key. "Pull images that speak to you," says Sharpton. "They may not be exactly what you want, of course, but this gives your hairstylist the overall vibe that you are looking to attain." You want the haircut itself to be customized for you and what's best for your texture and density. Create an image folder on your phone or put together a Pinterest board and have it ready the day of your consultation so you can jump right into the conversation with your hairstylist. "Being prepared with references makes it easier for everyone," Sharpton adds.

To make the process smoother, read on for inspiration from the stars and tips from the pros. Here, a few of our favorite cuts for long strands — and how to get them.

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Diagonal Lines

Rachel Green put layers on the map with chunky, piecey ones that fell every which way. That discreet choppiness was all the rage in 1996. Today, gradual layers that slide imperceptibly from short to long (Joan Smalls's start just below her collarbone) are much more versatile and subtle, but still dripping with style. It's a great way to preserve your length without going full-on Marsha Brady.

Styling tip: Amy Abramite, creative director and hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, says to apply an oil (we like the  Kérastase Elixir Ultime LHuile Original Hair Oil) on damp hair throughout roots to ends for strength, shine, and heat protection. "Blow-dry hair with a large paddle brush to smooth your hair, then use a flatiron to straighten hair further for a sleek, glossy finish," she says.

Textured Top Layers

Kelly Rowland's textured top layers, as New York City-based hairstylist Cataanda James calls them, work best on curly hair. Since the layers are only concentrated at the crown near the top and in front, the texture of the curls create a waterfall fringe and naturally frames the face, keeping weight around the perimeter.

Have your hairstylist section your hair in a horseshoe shape starting at the temples going back just below the crown. "Direct the hair toward the front hairline and slice into the ends at a 90-degree angle to avoid blunt lines," says James. "This will create movement in the curls for a natural flow."

To keep the style in tip-top shape, tie your hair with a scrunchie and cover it with a bonnet while you sleep. In the morning, set your hair free and "shake it out by placing your fingertips at the root, wiggling in a back-and-forth motion to encourage root lift," she says. Finish with a few spritzes of a frizz-fighting product, like the Best of Beauty-winning John Freida Day 2 Revival Açai & Avocado Dry Oil Curl-Reviving Spray.

Curtain Curls

Have medium to thick curly hair? Sharpton recommends a look like Victoria Monet's if you're going for a long haircut. Word to the wise before heading to the salon: "Be careful not to do anything blunt with this curl as you want it to look soft at the ends and more natural," Sharpton advises. "I'd recommend getting this cut dry so that you are able to read the individual curl patterns as they naturally fall." This also helps avoid any shrinkage that happens when you have curls going from wet to dry.

He adds, "You want to take longer layers that have a large sense of separation and at the ends." Anything too blunt will read as a harsh line. "When you cut into the line, it allows the curls to naturally diffuse and entwine within themselves creating a more seamless look overall."

Mixed Tousled Layers

If you like to constantly change your hairstyle, get a cut like Laverne Cox's mixed tousled layers here. It's a versatile length that looks good as is or styled in a ponytail, bun, anything. James says this haircut can be achieved "by layering starting at the curvature of the head and underneath to taper off the ends. This keeps the density along the front and sides which allows shifting the part without affecting the symmetry."

As for styling, James says to use a round brush to blow out your hair. "This enhances the cut by increasing body at the root and the top. The blowout method provides more control, directing the curls where you want to see them for a toss-and-go."

Let It Flow

Rosario Dawson took the classic "supermodel wave" and ran a brush right through it. The loose, flowing waves start from her shoulders and progressively build more movement through to the ends. The texture gives the appearance of layered hair, but look closely and you'll see her style is mostly one length with a few long layers. Darby Backes, hairstylist at Whiteroom in Brooklyn, recommends Dawson's cut for medium to fine hair, whether it's straight or wavy. "Ask your stylist for light face framing, and incorporate internal layering to help build volume and texture."

Understated Layers

Sometimes, simple is superior. Case in point: Laura Harrier's understated layers which James says "work best on average to thick hair that is naturally straight to wavy, or on curly hair that has been heat stretched or blown straight."

The biggest perk is that this cut is truly low maintenance — it preserves a naturally lived-in silhouette as it evolves. To get the look, have your hairstylist snip your ends around the perimeter with very little tension and no elevation. At the back of your head, part hair into vertical sections, then direct it outward at a 90-degree angle until the lengths freely fall from the fingertips. "This is your guide," says James. "Subtly chip into the hair remaining, removing weight to create texture and movement for a seamless blend."

Elongated Waves

Nailing this look on Jaime Chung is all about making sure those ends don't look blunt. "The ends should be softly point cut in order to keep the subtleness. You don't want the wave to meet an incredibly blunt line, but at the same time, you don't want to take out so much weight that the ends look too weak or even [shaggy]," Sharpton advises. He adds, "Cut a slight angle around the face and add seamless layers throughout while keeping them about one to two inches above the overall length."

Blunt Ends

Izabel Goulart's long hair is borderline Rapunzel length and we're here for it. Sharpton says that this kind of cut is best for naturally straight hair. Besides the length, the boldness of this cut is emphasized by its blunt ends — this also ensures the hair looks consistent all the way down. One tip: "Only add layers if the hair is so dense that it becomes too triangular in shape," says Sharpton.

Blended, Curly Layers

"For this curly texture, you need beautifully blended, round layers all over your head to lend weight without looking heavy," says Los Angeles-based hairstylist Matt Fugate. You're safe no matter what your face shape — the trick is to keep the layers on the longer side. Look closely: Zendaya's first layer doesn't start until chin level. 

"If you've got curly hair, always get a dry cut," says New York-based hairstylist Lorraine Massey, founder of CurlyWorld. "Curly dry hair and curly wet hair are two different things." Cutting curly hair dry allows you and your stylist to see how your hair will truly look when you wear it.

All-Around Layers

For a simple, versatile option, try Martha Hunt's long, haphazard layers. When dong a cut like this, "I take the bottom two inches of hair and cut them in a way that's not too perfect by pointing the scissors downward," says Los Angeles-based hairstylist Renato Campora. The slightly imperfect ends make this a wash-and-go kind of cut. "You can blow it out or let it air-dry — the cut takes care of the styling for you." This cut complements every face shape and can be styled with a middle or side part.

Boho Bombshell

The curtain bangs are what really make Hilary Duff's haircut impactful. "These longer sweeping bangs flow away, showing off her face," says Sharpton, who notes that this cut works well for slightly wavy hair with medium density.

The haircut steps in a nutshell, according to Sharpton: "Remove a slight amount of weight to encourage separation at the bottom, then add layers throughout the entire haircut that are seamless (meaning there isn't a blunt line starting below the chin)." Your stylist should make sure that the bangs start just below the cheekbone and end before the chin. "Finally, add angles around the front, starting right below the chin, continuing all the way down to the perimeter length," Sharpton explains.

Tapered Ends

Gisele Bündchen's long-layered cut removes the bulk and keeps her natural spirals from ballooning out. Her horizontal layers start at collarbone level in the back, but remain long in front. The thinking here is that when you inevitably tuck your hair behind your ears, you don't end up with a wide wedge shape. (That's a tip we picked up from Fugate.) Overall, Sharpton says, "[This haircut] add lots of movement to the lower half of hair, giving the illusion of a longer and sleeker style."

Shallow-Snipped Ends

Jessica Alba may have a few shorter pieces just around her face, but the real story here is with her ends, which are gently snipped into all around her head. It's not about precision — some snips are deep, others quite shallow — but it is about consistency. By taking the cuts neatly throughout, you're left with dynamic movement, perfect if you're the kind of person who touches and flips your hair a lot.

Finish the look with a blowout creme (we like the Garnier Fructis Sleek Shot In-Shower Styler), to easily achieve a smooth look with a little body. "Blow-dry with a jumbo round brush from roots to lengths for a straight finish with slightly curved ends," Abramite says.

Low Layers

There's no math or science to Lais Ribeiro's cut, but there is rhyme and reason: Lots of thick, blunt layers scattered from shoulder-length down that look damn hot. You'll need to naturally have a lot of hair for this cut, otherwise, the back can take on a mullet-like vibe. But in general, a look like this is flattering to all face shapes. It can also work on a number of textures.

To achieve the cut, have your stylist "put your hair into a high ponytail, lift it straight up, then slightly over and back, but only by a few degrees," says Abramite. "Fan the ends of the hair between pointer and middle finger, then trim to the desired length."

Long With Bangs

If you want to add bangs to a long hairstyle, look no further than Camila Cabello's '60s cut. To avoid a dorky-looking blunt fringe, don't cut them too wide (that is, too far outwards towards your temples,) or too thick. "They should create a triangle shape that aligns with the outer corners of your eyes," says Fugate. 

Also, ask your stylist to snip up into the ends so they're not too blunt and add a few light, graduated layers in front. As for the rest of your hair, you can keep it one length or sprinkle in a few layers. "Just don't make the layers around your face too short," Fugate warns. "They'll look most flattering if they begin below the chin."

Long and Balanced Layers

The trick to getting Hailee Steinfeld's cascading long hair? Balance the length with a few face-framing layers. "Her hair is all one length, other than a few layers starting at her cheekbones, which are sliced with a razor," says Los Angeles-based hairstylist Marcus Francis, who has worked with Steinfeld. Pro tip: Avoid this length if you have fine strands — they can become feathered or limp near the ends.

Long, Knotless Box Braids

Jhené Aiko's long box braids are beautifully done. Kattia Solano, hairstylist and founder of Butterfly Studio Salon in New York City, says this length and style works best if you have very curly, kinky, or coily hair. "Textured hair will hold onto the braid better, allowing you to keep your style looking fresh for longer."

Besides the actual braiding, another cool thing about this style is the straight jagged ends. "I like that the stylist didn't cut the ends to be one length because it gives the look some dimension as Jhené moves the way loose hair would," says Solano. She notes that cutting the braids to slightly different lengths and sealing the ends with boiling water will ensure your braids are locked and look soft and natural. 

Bodacious Bangs

Be bold without having to say a word with eye-grazing bangs like Heidi Klum's. Sharpton says, 
"The bangs are strong, meaning that the section is deeper so they feel substantial, but there is some softness to the ends that allows for hair to move around and not look stiff."

Sharpton notes that this cut calls for minimal to no layering. "At this length, you want to focus your attention on framing with angles below the chin and taking a much deeper bang section (meaning further back)." Point cut the bangs for a slight angle on the edges so they gently flow into the cut.

Shallow, Snipped Ends

When it comes to kinky-textured strands, getting a trim or a chop can be tricky as this hair type has a way of holding onto its shape. To avoid a too-blunt cut, request wispy ends for an overall softer look the next time you step into the salon. As for the length, one of the best parts about having long hair is the endless updo options. Here, Ciara's wearing a '90s-esque half-up pony done by Los Angeles-based hairstylist César DeLeön Ramirêz.

To recreate the style, James suggests sleeking your hair into a high ponytail with an edge control to smooth flyaways, and secure with a non-damaging hair tie. "Take a small section from the lengths to wrap around the base of the ponytail to conceal the hair tie," she says.

Long Curls

Besides Angela Bassett's acting skills, the 9-1-1 star's hair is also always on point. Here, her long curls create movement and make styling a breeze. "If it's cut right, the shape can last right up until your next cut," says Santa Barbara-based hairstylist Christin Brown. "Cut the curls dry to retain length and zero tension while cutting to avoid creating the classic unwanted pyramid shape."

Brown's styling tips: Use a product (we like the Ouidad Going Up! Volumizing Texture Spray) to create maximum volume and finish with a gel to hold it all together.

Long Layers

One of the easiest ways to make your hair look more interesting? Get layers. When you have long hair, adding in shorter layers can draw more attention to your eyes and create flow, says Brown. "This cut would look amazing on someone who keeps a side part all the time and wants some motion around their face," she says. "Whether you're using a curling iron for texture or just rocking it as is, this cut definitely gives a little extra glam."

Voluminous Texture

Anyone with curls and coils can benefit from a Teyonah Parris-esque haircut like the one shown here. "Whether you're rocking a wash-and-go style or a twist-out, this cut gives you versatility and volume," says Brown. And as always, be sure your stylist is cutting your hair while it's dry. "Some would think to straighten the hair first, but if you wear your hair natural all the time, you'd want to cut it the way you most often wear it to avoid unevenness."

Solano agrees: "Dry cutting allows me to visualize the shape without over cutting. The curlier the hair, the more the shrinkage. A mistake would be removing too much weight and hair than expected," she says.

For an extra dose of volume, diffuse your hair with a blow-dryer at the crown area. Brown recommends to finish by adding the CurlDaze Creamy Curl Styler with Kukui Oil for softness.

Expanded Volume

Go ahead, let your hair down. When you've got volume like Tina Kunakey's, it's hard to not show it off. Abramite says this haircut works best for curly or oily hair with thick density, which supports fullness, volume, and bounce to curls throughout the shape. Here, the model’s hair is trimmed below the shoulders with rounded layers for volume expansion.

To style, massage a curl gel, like the Not Your Mother's Curl Talk Gel, through your wet hair to keep it defined and frizz-free. "Twirl select curls around your fingers to shape and enhance coil formation. Then, air-dry hair naturally or use a blow-dryer with a diffuser attachment for extra volume," says Abramite.

Long, Glassy Hair

Is that a mirror or just Ashley Benson's ridiculously gorgeous and shiny hair? To get this look, your hair needs to be bluntly cut with no layers for a one-length shape. According to Abramite, "straight hair with fine-to-medium density will enhance the simple shape and reinforce the strong clean line at the bottom."

How to get this glass hair look: mist Oribe Invisible Defense Universal Protection Spray on damp hair to protect from heat styling without weighing it down. Then, blow-dry with a flat paddle brush to smooth hair from roots to ends. Finish by using a flatiron to further smooth the cuticle and boost the shine factor.

Long, Connected Layers

You really can't go wrong with long connected layers if you've got thick hair that's straight or wavy. Here, Emily Ratajkowski demonstrates the look to a T. New York City-based hairstylist Matt Newman says this cut gives "beautiful movement to the hair without taking away from the length. The layers give the waves a perfect shape that is very light and airy."

And it's easy to achieve, too. "This is a simple graduated layer haircut, with the shortest layer just below the collar bone," says Newman. To style, start with dry hair and apply a heat protectant. Then, use a 1.25-inch curling iron to create loose waves. On the shorter layers, curl all the way down to the end. On the longest bottom layer, leave the ends of the strand uncurled to maximize length, and create a more "undone" style.

Extra Long Waves

You can always count on H.E.R. to deliver top-notch music and hair inspo. "Her wavy hair with thick density aids in maintaining the long length without making the ends look too wispy," says Abramite. To get this style, trim lengths below the waist and add soft layering around the collarbone downward toward the bottom.

Similar to how you would style Tina Kunakey's hair above, mist a curl-refreshing product on damp or dry hair, then air-dry naturally or use the diffuser attachment on a blow-dryer to enhance the wavy texture. But instead of leaving it as is from there, Abramite suggests to use a large curling iron to define curls by wrapping the hair vertically around the barrel.

Classic Symmetrical Layers

Sofía Vergara's long curly locks are as iconic as her role on Modern Family. "The cut and highlights collectively break up the depth and add dimension to her dense hair for fluidity," says James. If your hair is long, this cut will work for you regardless of the texture because of its equilibrium. "A perfectly-balanced shape eliminates room for textural resistance, so the flow is harmonious."

James says, "You should create very slight layering throughout the hair with a focus on subtle face framing. This technique will keep the density around the exterior while softening the interior for ease of styling." Follow by parting your hair down the center then using a 1.5-inch curling iron. Finish by running your fingers toward the back to separate the curls to achieve a soft, curtain-like framing around the face.

All-Around Voluminous Layers

Looking to maximize your hair's volume? If you have straight or wavy hair that's thick and heavy, this Lily Collins-approved option can work for you. Besides adding lots of lifted volume at the root, Newman notes that the separate layers also enhance the body and distinct wave definition. Technically speaking, "This is a disconnected layer cut with no face framing, and the shortest layer starts just above the shoulder."

To style, start by applying blow-dry cream on wet hair. Then, using a round brush, blow-dry the mohawk section with the roots lifted and set on velcro rollers. Continue the blowout moving downward layer by layer. Pin curl and set each section of hair once it’s fully dry. Once the entire head of hair is set, give it a light mist with a hair spray. Then, carefully take down each section and gently finger comb them together.

Long French Fringe

Elizabeth Olsen has a certain je ne sais quoi with bangs like these. Sure, they require a bit more upkeep to trim (as all bangs do), but if you're into the look, the follow-up salon visits will be worth it. Newman says this cut works best for thin or fine hair of any texture. "The mostly blunt ends with slight layering maximize the appearance of density for thin hair."

And since it can be harder for finer hair textures to hold a long-lasting style, "these brow-length bangs create a sophisticated style that lasts longer than curls and waves," says Newman. His tips: section off the bang triangle and point cut just below the brow. Then, slant downward at the edges to create the cheek-framing pieces.

Wavy and Whimsy

Emma Stone's long hair and beachy waves give off a free-spirited vibe. "I would give her tons of elevation in the crown area to add to the texture and volume without cutting into her length," says Brown. "This is important for wavy hair that tends to lay flat and [has you] constantly searching for dry shampoo to add lift. Instead, I would cut that texture into her hair for long-lasting results."

Styling this cut would simply be flipping your hair to one side and scrunching in a product (we like the IGK Beach Club Volume Texture Spray) to add more texture and volume without weighing your hair down.

One Length

Megan Fox's one-length cut may look effortless but it takes great precision to get it just right. Newman's advice for hairstylists to cut hair with care is to do so with "perfect posture and flat feet." His steps on how to achieve this look: "Detangle and comb all hair straight down from the root to the tip. Using tight tension on the hair, and a moving guide, trim to the desired length, one finger notch at a time."

For waves, use a 1.25-inch curling iron and alternate the shape and size of sections as well as the exact starting point of the wave placement. Newman says, "This will give bounce and body throughout the one length of the hair."