When I get a new haircut, I immediately become a different person. You just feel reborn, you know? It’s like when you rearranged the furniture in your bedroom as a kid or when you close out of 18 tabs at the end of a long project. Every year, right before going back to school, I’d pore over fall haircut trends for hours on end in search of the most perfect new chop — one that would make all my classmates say, “Holy crap, who is that?” as if they hadn’t seen me, like, two months ago.
Luckily for anyone itching for a fresh cut now, the haircuts trending for back to school season are, frankly, The Sh*t. With just the right mix of nostalgia and modern flair, these silhouettes scream “look at me” in the best way possible. To make sure you’re not walking out of the salon with a cut that makes you want to hide from the world indefinitely, I talked to professional hairstylist Amy Farid, the hairstylist behind the fire looks you see here, for her best advice on everything from what to ask your hairstylist before getting a cut to how to keep this style looking 100 at home.
Prepare to come at this new year full force with new hair.
To Put It Bluntly
If you’ve been asking the universe for a sign you should chop off your long hair, consider this your sign. It seems like every celeb from Kim K to Hailey Baldwin has ditched waist-grazing hair for bobs and lobs that are weightless, fun, and more versatile than you think.
Because there are different types of bobs out there, Farid tells me specifying to your stylist the shape of the kind of bob you want is crucial. “There’s … a square bob, or there’s a rounded bob,” she says. “[A square bob is] going to be a little shorter in the back and a little longer in the front. A rounded bob is a little bit rounded in the front … rounded [bobs] will kind of go up in the front a little bit more.”
For a long time, the thought of having a bob terrified me, less so because of the drastic change and more because of thinking I’d have to spend hours styling it to its straightest and sleekest state. However, the upkeep and styling recommendations Farid has for bobs are surprisingly low-lift — it all just depends on your hair type. “Chloe’s [the model pictured above] hair is really fine and flat. [I used] a thickening mousse to help fatten up her root, and I set her hair with a round brush,” she says. “And then, I back-combed it to keep that style and stability while we were shooting.”
According to Farid, the combination of thickening products and back-combing creates more texture in fine hair, allowing it to hold the shape of your bob no matter how you decide to style it. For the curly-haired people out there, however, your hair has texture naturally. This means you may want to focus on using a product that’ll help define your curls more (if that’s something you want). “If you have really curly hair and you have a bob, you need a leave-in conditioner to help tame your curls,” says Farid. “It depends on how you wear your hairstyle, you know? If you like it really frizzy, maybe just use a nice light moisturizer, like a leave-in moisturizer.”
OK, so you want a cut but you’re not ready to slice off an entire foot of your hair just yet. I get it. Personally, that would feel like cutting off my left arm. Rest assured, short chops aren’t the only cuts trending for fall. Co-founder of IGK Hair Aaron Grenia previously told Elite Daily that medium-length cuts were becoming more and more popular, and that “volume is back, for sure.” The hair in Versace’s pre-fall 2019 show was a shining example of just how big big hair is now. Even better, Farid confirms this cut is not only the easiest to ask for in at the salon, but it’s also easy to maintain.
“It’s very simple. Ask your hairstylist for a long-layer haircut,” says Farid. “You could ask for face-framing layers. You could ask to take out some of the weight if it’s really heavy.” As Farid says, the smaller details of the cut are up to you, but to achieve the overall shape, a mid-length cut with long layers is the way to go.
While the cut and the layers essentially style themselves, achieving this level of “her hair is full of secrets” volume required a little extra effort. Farid first dried Julia’s (the model pictured above) hair with a round brush and set it into large curls. “You could do that with steam rollers or hot rollers to create that big, bouncy, Cindy Crawford hair,” she says. Subsequently, in addition to lots of back-combing, Farid used a styling cream for Julia’s look. This holds the shape in place, as well as “helps create shine, balance, and memory” in the hair.
If you’re not one for sky-high volume, Farid says using a styling cream on medium-length, long-layered hair is key for an easy, no-fuss look. “If you put a good product in it, you can walk out the door and just let it air dry,” she says. “That’s one of my favorite things with a long-layer haircut.”
Can You Dig It?
Just as bell-bottoms and tie-dye have resurrected from the depths of trends past, so has the shag haircut. Rampant in the ’60s, ’70s, and a little in the ’80s, this short, layered, and slightly messy chop is perfect for someone who wants a bit of edge to their style, with virtually very little upkeep. “The shag is really good for people who have a natural wave to their hair,” Farid says. “[It] works really well for them because it gives them shape and texture [while], again, not having to do much.”
Though you certainly could walk right into the salon and ask for a shag haircut, Farid says, for this style, it’s best to go in with a reference image to show exactly the kind of style you’re looking for. “Sometimes, with a ’70s shag, when you’re saying it, the hairstylist might have a completely different reference in their minds. So I always suggest bringing a picture reference of what you want, so you both know, ‘This is what I like about this,’ or ‘This is what I don’t like,'” she says. “Sometimes, people think shag can just be tons and tons of layers. That might not work for you, so you have to go in knowing your hair texture and knowing that the hairstylist understands your texture.”
To keep a shag haircut looking, well, shaggy, Farid says it’s important to “help weigh [hair] down or help bring out the texture in hair,” especially if your hair is super thin and fine. She says a cream pomade or wax for the hair is a prime pick to achieve this type of look. “When you put that in the hair, you just rub it together in your hands and with the hair,” Farid says. “It gives it that kind of messy, shaggy, disheveled look, which I think is so good for a shag.”
Like it or not, the bangs you thought you left in the ’90s are racing back, full steam ahead — and they look damn good. All kinds of bangs are getting some much-deserved love for fall, but curly bangs are having a pretty special moment in the spotlight. “[Curly bangs] are my favorite,” Farid says. “[They’re] a beautiful thing, and they add something a little special, too.”
Curly bangs are a truly gorgeous style indeed, but Farid warns it’s imperative you visit a hairstylist who’s skilled in styling curly hair to make sure you get bangs that are the right length and work for your texture. “A lot of times, people with curly hair have been tortured in their life because they’ve gone to hairstylists who don’t know how to cut curly or natural texture,” she says. “So they’ve gotten messed up bangs where they’re like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t have bangs.'” While this couldn’t be further from the truth, there are some extra precautions to take when cutting curly bangs, one of which is the length.
“People don’t realize that curls spring up,” Farid says. “So a hairstylist will pull it and then cut it, and then, it springs up to the scalp.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that if baby bangs are what you’re going for. But if not, it can feel disastrous. This is why Farid goes so far as to recommend calling a salon in advance to ensure someone on staff has experience working with curly textures, though she says this shouldn’t be a problem with most properly trained hairstylists. “Hair is hair and if you’re a hairstylist, you should know how to do curly hair.”
When it comes to ensuring your new curly bangs stay fresh and fierce, Farid says to find a leave-in conditioner or leave-in moisturizer you love, keeping in mind your hair texture. “There are curly hair products for fine curly hair and thick curly hair. You can have fine curly hair and lots of it, but you can have a product that’s for thick curly hair and it’ll just weigh it down,” she says. “You still want your curls to have body, bounce, and oomph … curls are expressive, and they’re not supposed to be just weighed down.”
Farid also recommends using a rejuvenating curl spray to “revive that product that you used the day before.” Not only does this cut down on the amount of times you need to wash your hair to reset your curls, but it keeps your other curl products (like your leave-in conditioner) working for longer, saving you tons of money on product.
So whether you want to start the year with one of the trendy styles here or try something completely different, Farid says there’s a way to make whatever look you want work with whatever hair texture you have, given how much more representation there is in the beauty space. “In the beauty business and the fashion world, too, we’ve become more inclusive with different hair textures. We’re getting the opportunity to see more representatives of different hair textures within media,” she says. “[It’s] like, ‘Oh, that girl looks like me, and she has my hair texture. Now I can bring that in.’ And we’re embracing that … so we don’t all look like cookie cutter versions of things where we have to sacrifice ourselves.”
Regardless of who you are and what your hair looks like, your new year, new hair is ready for you.