The 10 Best Haircut Trends for Women
Make your next trip to the salon count with a bold new look
by Lois Joy Johnson, AARP, August 13, 2020
En español | We're finally getting to update our isolation hair — hallelujah! Expect plenty of COVID-19 changes at your local salon. Some shops are admitting one client at a time, spacing out seating and adding plexiglass barriers between stations; stylists are wearing face shields in addition to masks and gloves. Be advised: no bags, drinks or personal items allowed. It's a lean, clean in-and-out deal, so know the cut and style you want way before you arrive. Here are 10 hair trends that are ready to push your reset button.
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1. The classic bob
This chin-grazing, one-length cut has come roaring back in first place. It's still the best solution for fine, thin hair. Chop stringy strands and do-nothing inches, and your hair will look instantly thicker and healthier. Let the cut provide a frame for your face. Blow-dry it sleek with a round brush like Lucy Liu, air-dry it for a more casual look like Naomi Watts, or add bangs to this sharp structured cut like Allison Janney for a fashionable tweak. You'll need trims every six to eight weeks to keep the line.
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2. The blunt LOB
If you can't stand to let go of long hair completely (but should), compromise with a long bob — or LOB as it's known. This collarbone-grazing blunt cut happens to be the most universally flattering longish length for women 50-plus. (I promise it won't leave you feeling naked and hairless.) You can blow it smooth like Bo Derek, wave it like Viola Davis, or add full, flirty bangs and flick the ends up like Mary Steenburgen. Just ditch the blowout for a more casual look and heat-style for a sleek finish. It's plan B for those with thin, fine hair.
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3. The layered bob
This chic bob variation requires layers to build volume and movement. Don't confuse it with the trendier shag cut (see No. 4), though. It's essentially still a bob (anywhere from chin to middle of the neck in length) in overall shape but has layers (instead of one uniform length) to bump up fullness and textured ends to add separation. It's better on medium-textured hair with some natural wave. Those layers can go big and glam like Alfre Woodard or loose and laid-back like Carrie-Anne Moss and Geena Davis. If you don't mind some daily effort — like throwing in some texturizing spray, hot rollers or adding oomph with a curling iron — this is a good choice.
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4. The modern shag
Choppy and edgy, this new shag still has lots of piecey ends and texture but is softer and more feminine than the original. It still makes every woman feel like a rock star. If you're looking for a cut with sex appeal and attitude (and have hair that's not pin-straight or thin), this is the one. Shaggy bangs are the must-have ingredient here, although the cut's overall length can vary from short and tousled like Monica Bellucci and Lisa Rinna to long and curly like Sandra Oh. A medium mid-neck length seems to work for most women. How much you pump up the separation and texture can make the difference. Mousse and scrunching are in your future with this one.
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5. The scooped-out bob
This cut is like a bob that has had big bites taken out of the shape to reveal cheekbones and earlobes. It features a few long-curved layers at the sides and sideswept bangs. Basically a modern low-maintenance look with polish (earring lovers, please note it lets them star here), fans include Helen Mirren, Ann Curry and Kristin Scott Thomas. For anyone with botched DIY isolation cuts or bangs gone awry, this cut also makes the most of them while assisting a painless, flattering, more blended grow-in look. In fact, you just might keep it as your new signature style.
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6. The short crop
Just like a swim cap, this cut hugs the head for a sculpted look. It's a trendy no-work, no heat-styling choice for anyone who has the guts to go for it, is OK with their profile and has a fairly well-rounded head shape (check yours in the mirror from all views before you leap). When hair is this super short, you get to play up texture from wavy to curly to twists or coils like Olivia Colman, enhance the shine like Tamron Hall, or opt for statement color like Annie Lennox. And sure, if you're in a gray grow-out mood, this is your instant plan!
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7. The bang-boosting pixie
This short cut is the next step for bob lovers who are on the fence about sticking with their bob or going short. From the front it's all long, full shaggy bangs, but then it swivels to be very tapered and close cut at the sides and nape. A favorite of Glenn Close, Emma Thompson and Kris Jenner, this cut emphasizes eyes. And unlike the short-textured crop, it “dresses” your face even when you're not wearing makeup or glasses. It's also a good, short choice for anyone with a thin or long face. since the bangs emphasize width and volume.
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8. The bi-level crop
This crop — another short cut that's long on top with tapered sides and back — proves you can have it both ways. This wake up-and-go look can be simply side parted — like Cynthia Nixon — or groomed to look smoother and fuller or lifted up and off the face like Annette Bening and Sharon Osbourne. All it takes is five minutes with a dryer, brush and a dollop of mousse.
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9. Afros, braids, twists and coils
Many women with very textured natural hair are leaving the relaxers and smooth (and high maintenance) look behind in favor of modern Afros, braids, coils or twists. From rounded ‘fro styles like Iris Peynado to updos like Phylicia Rashad to everyday party-on-top styles with a “frohawk” effect (often enhanced with bicolored optics) like Jada Pinkett Smith, these salon-driven looks are always head-turning and individual.
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10. The “Rachel” update
If you're absolutely not willing to shed any length (and by some miracle have relatively lush, full hair) add a few long layers around the face. These should start around the mouth/chin (no higher!), and the ends should be layered, too. At first glance it's a feathery look similar to the iconic cut Jennifer Aniston rocked for so long on Friends, but there's a big change: It's not as precise or symmetrical. These long layers have more flow and movement, as well as a tousled look. They also work for any hair texture — smooth on Meg Ryan, wavy on Courteney Cox, or curly on Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Give it an undone boost with a side or center part and by not over-coiffing the blowout.