Byrdie: Trends are fun to follow when they concern elements you can switch up easily—think wardrobe and makeup. But when it comes to your hair, few of us want to embrace a bold new look every season just to stay one step ahead of the sartorial game. That’s not to say that we don’t get giddy upon discovering the most popular hair looks at NYFW, however, there’s something utterly comforting with tried-and-true classic styles.
Certain cuts make an appearance time and time again—think Twiggy’s iconic pixie or a ’70s-inspired shag. They are the haircuts that will always be in vogue, day to night, and season to season. To help us out in our quest to find a complete roundup of the looks that stand the test of time, we turned to the pros. Top stylists from both the U.S. and U.K. weighed in on what exactly makes a haircut timeless, plus the styles that they believe will never grow old.
From short to long, straight to textured, scroll on to discover the seven haircuts that will always be in style, and all the options for making them look their best.
Although Western society typically associates beauty with long hair, the short-haired pixie cut challenged this notion in the 1960s. “Twiggy started it all off, and then Princess Diana and Demi Moore ruled this look in the 1990s,” recounts Jordan Garrett, a hairstylist at Hershesons. It’s now one of the most iconic looks of all time.
Today, the pixie has become the preferred cut among certain celebrities. “More recently, we’ve seen it come up with a few modern tweaks on celebrities such as [Zoë Kravitz] and Katy Perry. It’s a classic look and suits people with petite features,” comments Garrett.
This short and stylish ‘do can, and should, be embraced by all hair types. Here, Ursula Corbero makes a very strong case for curly pixies. Style with Hydrohair Hydrocurl ($32)—it just so happens to be one of Emmy Rossum’s go-to curly hair products—to keep curls looking radiant and defined.
This sultry, textured, layered look features lots of shape around the face, drawing maximum attention to the eyes. “It looks great straight, curly, in plaits and in a tight or loose updo. It’s got incredible versatility, which always helps make a style timeless,” says Neil Smith, artistic director at Barrie Stephen Hair.
Gabrielle Union takes her shag to the next level with a head full of curls—bangs included. To score her style, we recommend investing in a curly hair routine. Cleansing with curly hair shampoo and conditioner followed by applying a leave-in conditioner (we like Tgin Green Tea Super Moist Leave In Conditioner, $15) will keep curls looking their best.
Lou Doillon channels the spirit of the ’70s with her rockstar shag. “This cut is a classic for millennials due to the fact that it’s so low maintenance,” says Smith. The bangs are a nice touch, too—although we wouldn’t expect anything less from Jane Birkin’s progeny.
Blunt bangs make a statement. In fact, they are an inexpensive yet effective way to completely change your look—and hide those frown lines (if that happens to be a concern), adding a youthful tone. It’s no wonder that Smith calls them “the Botox fringe.”
And while you might be wary of bangs due to concerns like their constant upkeep, a curtain fringe, like this one here on Bryce Dallas Howard, is low-commitment, not to mention, super stylish. They also get an A+ in face-framing.
Although a cowlick around your hairline can be annoying, that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. It’s just a matter of your fringe needing a little encouragement to sit where you want it to.
It’s no doubt that bobs are classic, but did you know that they can be worn in countless ways? According to Sam Burnett, owner and creative director of Hare & Bone, “This is arguably the most versatile cut of all time. Two people can have a bob exactly the same length, but if one has choppy layers and a fringe and the other has a blunt finish, they will look totally different.”
Paula Patton’s wavy bob gives off a vintage feel with its length and texture. Its appeal stems from the fact that it is a nearly universally flattering cut. “It can also be styled to suit all face shapes, ages, hair types and styles, which is why it will always be popular,” adds Burnett.
Lucy Boynton modernizes the classic chin-length bob with a dose of texture. Burnett comments, “Any small changes to the shape can have a huge effect on the overall style, which means it’s easy for it to be updated with seasonal trends to give it a fresh edge.” Not ready to make the chop? Then fake it.
Buzz Cut: Induction
Buzz Cut: Burr
Carolyn Malachi goes only slightly longer with her buzz cut and rocks a burr. It’s edgy and liberating—especially if you decide to do it yourself. “This is a bold, brave choice, so it’s not for everyone, but it really does look stunning, and it’s very, very low maintenance if you do go for it,” says Smith.
Buzz Cut: Platinum
If you want to take your buzz cut one step further, follow Kristen Stewart’s lead and bleach it. A platinum blonde buzz is head-turning and trendy. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to stay on top of regrowth (think: color touch-ups every few weeks), especially if your natural hair color skews darker.
Long Layers: Sleek and Smooth
Want luxe-looking hair? Then it’s a long one-length-looking (there actually are some layers in there) style you need to go for. “Subtle long layers give the hair fluidity and movement, and it’s such a timeless look,” says Marc Trinder of Trinder Hair Studios.
Long Layers: Natural and Curly
A blunt cut creates the illusion of fullness, so unless you’ve got fine or thin tresses, this might not be for you. Instead, consider long layers, which are “easy to style and maintain, and they help create shape within a haircut as well as reduce some weight, making them ideal for thicker hair types,” explains Trinder.
Long Layers: Retro
A blowout can vary from city to city, but in its simplest form, it is smooth and sleek with a touch of volume. Try it for yourself at home—but grab some Kristin Ess Blow Dry Mist ($13) first—and do like Elle Fanning by wearing this classic style with a retro twist: curling long layers inward and pinning hair to the side.
Freestyle Curls: Short Afro
When it comes to curls and textured hair, a freehand cut is a way to create a lasting style. “I think the most effortless and always on-trend look for curls is seeing them in their natural shape and state,” says Trinder. We recommend working in a small amount of Styling Cream ($15) from celebrity stylist Vernon Francis’s haircare line, which is made especially for natural hair.
Freestyle Curls: Light and Airy
If you’ve got curls, then why not embrace them? “To do this, the hair cannot be cut in a methodically layered way. It prevents curls from sitting in their natural shape,” explains Trinder. “Instead, your stylist needs to slice out lengths to make them soft on the edges—this will allow the curls to retain their definition and enhance the natural shape.”
Freestyle Curls: Varied Length
Nathalie Emmanuel nails curly-haired perfection with this visually effortless ‘do. Her curls sit at varying lengths that translate as natural rather than sculpted and uniform. Apply a dab of Miss Jessie Curly Pudding ($10) throughout hair to define, soften, and elongate your coils.