Vanity Fair January 23, 2024

Vanity Fair


Zendaya now has a jellyfish haircut and is almost unrecognizable


The most trendy bold and genderless style among Gen Z starts, rightly, from the head

Zendaya may have pioneered the supermodel and butterfly haircuts of the '90s, but this year the Euphoria star is embracing more experimental styles. An example above all: the jellyfish hairstyle, or jellifish haircut , with which she debuted at the Schiaparelli spring-summer 2024 show for Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris. A real fashion victim statement.

Like its animal-inspired cousins, the wolf cut and the octupus cut, an evolution of the shag cut, the medusa cut is again another take on the layered shag, but much more dramatic. “It's a mullet style that's half short and half long,” says Raven Hurtado , stylist at Maxine Salon , about the jellyfish cut, adding that its asymmetrical aesthetic makes it essentially two haircuts in one: “The jellyfish cut has disconnected sections, with the upper section [having] very short layers while the lower one is long and structured."

The top is short and rounded, similar to a short bob or bowl cut or, in Zendaya's case, a micro fringe, while the bottom remains long. Translation? The long layers resemble tentacles, hence the name "jellyfish".

Even before Zendaya debuted her new look, the jellyfish haircut had achieved fame on TikTok, having amassed billions of views on the app. Pinterest also predicted an increase in jellyfish cuts this year; according to the site, searches for "medusa haircut", or jellifish haircut have increased by 615%. Obviously, Zendaya is right on trend.

That said, the style isn't actually new: it's inspired by the hime (or princess) cut , which originated during the Heian period in Japan. Like the new medusa, the hime is also bilevel and consists of a long blunt fringe on the front and long tufts on the back.

That said, don't call it a mullet. Dan Williams , stylist and owner of Studio Dan Williams salon , says this style is its own: “I wouldn't classify it as just a mullet; it's definitely more avant-garde and with much less hair left longer,” she explained to Glamour, underlining that the jellyfish is the ideal choice for those who want to experiment with a short, blunt style in the front while maintaining length in the back.

«If you are thinking of cutting long hair into a bob, I would try the jellyfish cut», continues Williams, specifying that the cut works on all hair types and textures because it is so customizable, «but it is definitely for a few , is niche, artistic and experimental."

If TikTok has taught us anything about hair, it's that the bolder and braver it is, the better. “This look is trending because it's a gender-neutral style and it's very cutting edge, artistic and creative,” Hurtado says. “It's like having short and long hair at the same time,” which makes it a viable option for those who aren't ready to cut the length but want to try a different look.

«This cut is also perfect if you want to experiment with color to achieve an over the top and playful style and show off your personality».

Do you feel inspired? To request the jellyfish cut, Hurtado suggests asking your hairstylist for short, rounded layers on top, maintaining length. As always, he recommends bringing reference photos with you.

Once you get the jellyfish cut, maintenance is simple: «The most important thing for this style is the cleanliness of the front and sides», says Williams, «the strands, or tentacles, at the back can grow as long as you want!» .

Styling is also super simple. Because the cut is so striking on its own, it doesn't need much to get noticed. However, Williams suggests applying a texture paste over the entire surface to take the cut to the next level.

Hurtado echoes this tip, recommending curling hair with your hands and fingers, then spritzing on a texturizing and thickening spray for added softness. However, if you want your hair to have more volume, he suggests using a small round brush, a curling iron or a hot brush to make it pop.

Call upon your inner jellyfish – and Zendaya – and shop the styling essentials below.