The List February 25, 2023

The List


Retro 'Soft Jellyfish' Bangs Are In (But You Can Fake Them With Extensions)


Love them or hate them, bangs are not going away any time soon. If anything, they just keep coming back. This is thanks to animal-inspired hairstyles that include the octopus haircut and the jellyfish haircut. The latter became especially popular when a photoshoot for Perfect magazine featuring actor Nicole Kidman sporting the now-famous haircut went viral. But what exactly is this distinct haircut? Stylist Raven Hurtado explained to Glamour, "It's a 'half short, half long' mullet style," adding that "the jellyfish cut has disconnected sections, with the top section [having] very short layers while the bottom layer is long and textured."

Moreover, the top section is similar to a shaggy bowl cut from the '70s, while the longer bottom gives the style its jellyfish name. This trend originated in Japan during the Heian period and has since blossomed in the United States on social media. In fact, #jellyfishhaircut on TikTok has nearly 30 million views. Hurtado suggested the popularity of this look is "because it's a gender-neutral style and it's very edgy, artistic, and creative," per Glamour.

Despite this, the jellyfish haircut is not for everyone. Celebrity hairstylist Frédéric Fekkai informed The New York Times, "It's almost punk, in a sense." There is, however, a way to achieve the jellyfish cut without fully committing to it.

'Soft jellyfish' bangs are edgy and simple

If you like the jellyfish cut but feel like the look is too extreme for you, then "soft jellyfish" bangs might be the solution. In February 2023, celebrity hairstylist Gregory Russell posted a photo of actor Lily Collins' stunning transformation on Instagram, debuting his take on the popular hairstyle. This comes a few months after Collins first showed off her '60s-inspired bangs at the Season 3 premiere of "Emily in Paris." Thanks to Russell, Collins' new haircut resembles the jellyfish cut, albeit slightly toned down. Like the quintessential jellyfish cut, her hair features the appearance of a mullet and bowl cut.

However, Collins' side bangs are cut at her cheekbones to create a soft and subtle look. Her tresses are sleek and reach above her chest. Collins looks edgy but still manages to look effortless. Likewise, the look has a vintage and modern feel. In an interview with Byrdie, Collins spoke about taking risks with her hair and her desire to try new styles saying, "I think now I'm someone who loves to experiment, and I don't even look in the mirror when I'm getting my hair and makeup done because I trust my team so much."

Fake it till you make it

Although Lily Collins' "soft jellyfish" bangs look has universal appeal, stylist Sarah Cunningham told Byrdie that you don't necessarily have to cut your hair to get the same look, noting "This look can be achieved with a classic bob and some added-in extensions for a semi-permanent eye-grabbing effect." You can also get a wig and cut it o match the jellyfish look. However, if you do want to go all out and get the jellyfish haircut, there are some factors to think about regarding bangs, your hair texture, and the shape of your face. Hairstylist Dhiran Mistry expressed to Nylon that "The length should also suit your hair texture," and that "texture can add more volume and create a totally different effect."

Others, like stylist Dan Williams, told Glamour, "If you're thinking of chopping that long hair into a bob, I would try doing the jellyfish haircut." Williams notes it's a versatile look and recognizes "it's definitely for a niche, artsy, and experimental group." Nevertheless, Hurtado acknowledges the appeal of the jellyfish cut and why its popularity continues to rise. Per Glamour, she said, "It's like having short and long hair at the same time. This cut is also perfect if you want to experiment with color for an extra bold playful style and show off your personality."