A Guide to the Best Haircut Styles for Women
by Jessi Wilson
Find inspiration for your next hair appointment with this guide to the best haircut styles for women. We teamed up with Stephanie Scuoppo, senior hairstylist and extension artist at The Salon and Spa at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, to create this lookbook that has all the pictures and lingo you need for your next salon visit.
For short styles, medium-textured hair that is straight or wavy works best. “If the hair is very fine and you can see the scalp, it’s probably not a great idea to go too short,” Scuoppo says. Curly-haired gals can rock shorter ‘dos too, but keep in mind that the shorter the hair, the harder it may be to style.
For a cut like Miley’s super-blonde pixie, tell your stylist you want to keep the length tight to the head with some shorter layers on top. If you want this style to look soft and feminine, use words like “feathery” and “piecey” when describing it at the salon, Scuoppo says.
We love Shailene Woodley’s long crop. This edgy style is shorter at the nape of the neck and longer on the top and sides. The top layers should be three to five inches long, and the sides should be long enough to tuck behind your ears, Scuoppo says.
When in doubt, remember medium-length styles work well on most hair types and can easily be styled with curling irons and flatirons, Scuoppo says.
Taylor Swift’s current ‘do is cut two inches below the back hairline with layers around the bottom—longer in the front, shorter in the back. To mimic this look, Scuoppo says you should tell your hair stylist you want a one-length cut with minimal layering around the bottom to add movement.
Like the classic bob cut, a long bob (a.k.a. lob) is an all-one-length style, but this cut sits at or below the collarbone, Scuoppo says. Because this cut has no layers, keep it looking modern by leaving the front slightly longer than the back, like Elle Fanning’s.
Love volume? Ask for layers that start at the chin. “Tell your stylist you want to be able to wear it either with soft volume or straight,” Scuoppo says. “Keeping the interior layers longer will help achieve that.”
If your hair hangs below your shoulder blades, it’s pretty simple: Do you want layers or no layers?
Long with Layers
Layers can add dimension to long locks, but Scuoppo says the trick is to have your stylist integrate the layers into the length. If you’re after messy, undone waves like Alessandra Ambrosio’s, ask for layers that start at the cheekbones and blend throughout the ends of the hair.
Long without Layers
There’s no trick to this style; simply tell your hairstylist to keep the length long with no layers. This cut works best on women with fine hair textures, Scuoppo says. When curly hair is cut without layers, it can create a pyramid effect if the roots become too weighed down by the heavier waves.
With bangs, there is a fine line between Jennifer Garner’s sophisticated cut and one that resembles your elementary school ‘do. “They have to be careful that the bangs wind up looking sexy and feminine, rather than cutesy and childish,” Scuoppo says. “Generally speaking, with most women that means keeping the bang on the longer side.”
For Zooey Deschanel’s famous blunt bangs, Scuoppo says to tell your stylist to cut the bangs straight across so they lie atop your forehead. Keep in mind that this style usually works best for women with thick and mostly straight hair—women with fine or wavy hair may find this look tedious to style if the bangs are not full enough or don’t hang straight naturally.
To get a style like Reese Witherspoon’s piecy side bangs, ask to have your bangs a little shorter on one side of the face and then subtly blended across the forehead to the other side. Scuoppo says the shorter bangs will help guide the longer ones to the side.