Glamour June 3, 2024



The Jellyfish Haircut Is Perfect for Anyone Torn Between a Bob and Long Hair


Can’t decide on a hair length? Now you don’t have to.

From wolf and octopus haircuts to butterfly layers, animal-inspired styles are everywhere, so it’s no surprise that the jellyfish haircut is also trending. Like its fellow zoologically-named cousins, the look is yet another take on a heavily layered shag—but this time, combined with the ever-iconic bob haircut.

“It’s an unblended bob with long disconnected tendrils that resemble the tentacles and shape of a jellyfish,” says Amy Abramite, creative director and stylist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon. In other words, it’s a bi-, and sometimes even tri-, level haircut, combining various styles and lengths into one edgy look.

“The jellyfish haircut is a bilevel haircut with short pieces or bangs around the face and top with longer layers and length in the back,” Rogerio Cavalcante, owner and hairstylist at NYC’s the Second Floor Salon, tells Glamour. “The shorter layers can vary in length but are no longer than bob length.”

The style is unique, to say the least, and it’s gained serious traction on TikTok. After it gained nearly 2 billion views on the platform, celebrities started hopping on the jellyfish bandwagon—or perhaps, submarine?—too: Zendaya, Shay Mitchell, and Lizzo have all debuted versions of the chop this year.

That’s not to say the look is anything new, though. “The jellyfish is inspired by traditional Japanese fashion and anime styles for its creative silhouettes that crossover into the fantasy realm of hair,” Abramite points out.

Indeed, what we now know as the jellyfish cut is very much inspired by the “hime” (or princess) cut, which originated in the Japanese Heian period, as well as modern interpretations of it. For example, you’ve likely seen the cut on anime characters you know and love, like Yumeko Jabami in Kakegurui—which is probably the best known example of the look—as well as Boa Hancock in One Piece and Hinata HyÅ«ga in Naruto.

Like the newly named jellyfish, the hime is also bilevel, consisting of blunt, bob-length fringe in the front and lengthy tendrils in the back.

Still, don’t go calling this a mullet. According to Dan Williams, stylist and salon owner at Studio Dan Williams, says the style is in a league of its own. “I wouldn’t classify this as just a mullet; it’s definitely more avant-garde, and much less hair left longer,” he tells Glamour, noting that the jellyfish is an ideal choice for someone seeking to experiment with a short blunt moment in the front while maintaining length in the back.

If TikTok has taught us anything about hair, it’s that the more bold and daring, the better. “This look is trending because it’s a gender-neutral style and it’s very edgy, artistic, and creative,” says Raven Hurtado, stylist at Maxine Salon. “It’s like having short and long hair at the same time.”

This makes it an ideal option if you’re not ready to chop off your length but want to test out a different look, she adds. “This cut is also perfect if you want to experiment with color for an extra-bold, playful style and show off your personality."

As for which face shapes this style works for? Pretty much all of them, though Abramite reiterates that it’s far from low-maintenance. “This bold style works on every face shape, but it’s not for the faint of heart. The design lines are unblended causing a heavy build up in weight that features thin lengths underneath,” she explains. “While it’s big on style and trendy, it’s not the easiest style to wear because of the extreme silhouette and changes in weight distribution.”

Cavalcante echoes this. “It’s modern and youthful but a bit more of a commitment than other haircuts,” he says. “If you go all in, this isn’t a boardroom cut; make sure it fits your lifestyle.”

Once you’re 100% committed to the look, Cavalcante recommends requesting “significant layers around the face with bangs and left long in the back” at the salon. “You can make it subtle or seriously go for it by creating different lengths of layers for a softer look or go dramatic by cutting a bob, yet leaving pieces in the back underneath long,” he says.

Once you have your jellyfish cut, maintenance is easy. “The most maintenance for this style is cleaning up the front and sides,” Williams assert. “The back ‘legs’ can grow as long as you’d like!”

The jellyfish haircut is equally easy to part with, says Abramite. “Luckily, this haircut is easy to grow out when you’re over the trend,” she says. “It can immediately be transformed into a bob by cutting off the tendrils returning to a more classic look.” Really, there’s no way to lose.

Finally, there’s styling, which depends on the look you’re going for as well as your hair type. “A sleek look with a flatiron is popular for straight hair with an oil or serum for shine,” says Abramite. “Round brushing with a mousse is best for volume to flip out or curl the ends under. For wavy or coily hair, a blow-dry with a diffuser is recommended with a texture cream.”

For a more classic blowout, Cavalcante suggests starting with a round brush or a flatiron to style the upper section of the hair, smoothing and straightening the bangs and layers.

“The longer back sections can be blown straight and flipped outwards at the end, or loosely tousled, like a jellyfish,” Cavalcante says. “Use a heat-protection spray like Hask Monoi Coconut 5-in-1 Leave-In Spray to add thermal protection and add shine without stiffness. Try a Trademark Beauty Sunny Styler flatiron to smooth.”

Alternatively, to take the edginess to the next level, Williams suggests applying texture paste all over. Hurtado echoes this, advising that you scrunch it up with your hands and fingers, and spray texturizing and thickening spray for some extra fluff.