This Trending Haircut Can Make Your Locks Look 10x Thicker
As much as we wish we could instantly restore lush, full locks, we know that encouraging hair growth does not happen overnight (big sigh). Even the best hair growth serum or supplement on the market takes time—and consistent use—to deliver desired results. But can you rely on certain hairstyling tricks to make your locks appear twice as thick in the meantime? Oh yes, you can.
Recently, beauty fans have been hollering the phrase "U-shaped haircut" all over social media, and they swear it makes your strands look instantly fuller. Fact or fiction? Below, we tapped top stylists on the buzzy, bouncy style.
What is the U-shaped haircut?
"The U-shaped haircut is referring to the shape of the perimeter of the haircut," says celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein. "Instead of being cut straight across, it is cut in a U-shape which is longer in the back and shorter in the sides and front." So when someone looks at the back of your head, the ends of your hair will follow a U-shaped pattern. "The U-shape has a retro feel and lends itself to the full and fluffy layered cuts that are so popular right now," Rubenstein adds.
While adding layers can help create that fluffy bounce, you don't have to necessarily shear off any inches: "It can also be one length while the perimeter or 'outline' of the haircut resembles a U," notes celebrity hairstylist Sunnie Brook. Your front and side pieces do need to be shorter to achieve a U-shape, but you don't have to opt for a full head of layers if you'd rather not compromise length.
How does it make hair look fuller?
This popular style gives off the illusion of fuller locks, even if you don't wish to chop precious inches—it's a trick of the eye. "It has to do with the curvature of your head," says Brook. "The back of our heads have the most hair, while the side tends to be less dense and oftentimes the most damaged. By curving up the outer shape of the hair, you're removing dead weight and giving the hair more movement, and this gives the hair more lift and volume from the shape."
You see, dead, brittle hair appears thinner, and most people tend to have damaged ends around the front and sides of their mane where the strands are more fragile. On the other hand, hair tends to be much stronger and denser in the back, adds Rubenstein. "If you cut all this hair in the front into intentional layers, it makes hair look thicker, healthier, and fuller," she explains. Not to mention, face-framing layers naturally create more movement, which helps you nail that bouncy blowout look (if that's what you're going for).
What to ask for at the salon.
Here's the thing: The U-shaped haircut may be super buzzy right now, but it's not exactly a groundbreaking idea. Stylists have been fashioning this layered cut for years—it just didn't have a cute name until now. They've long known that trimming off dead ends can create a fuller look, and stylists will tailor the exact length and layers to your face shape.
However, if you'd like to mirror the U-shaped cuts you see taking over social media, feel free to bring photos! "It's a great way to make sure you and your stylist are on the same page," says Rubenstein. Still, your personal hair texture will determine how layered you'll want to go: "If you have fine hair, you may want to take the length up for this shape," says Brook. "If you have thick, coarse hair, you may want to add layers in the interior to remove weight and bulkiness, creating more movement in the lengths of the curve."
The bottom line? Chat with your stylist. They'll be able to tweak the shape to achieve maximum volume from your locks.
How to maintain the style.
After you've strutted out of the salon sporting a bouncy, U-shaped style—maintaining the look is a whole other battle. How do you keep your U-shape full and fluffy at home? "I love a great volumizing shampoo and conditioner," says Rubenstein. "There's no better way to prep the hair for this look." As we've said time and again, a top-notch hairstyle starts in the shower. Specifically, Rubenstein praises the MONAT IR Clinical Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner. "It's a great foundation for a full, bouncy, layered blow-dry," she notes.
If you do choose to blow-dry, a heat protectant is nonnegotiable. Find our favorite picks here, or feel free to snag FEKKAI's Root Lift, which provides protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and contains a triple-boost technology to volumize and restore broken keratin bonds, so you can add instant lift and prevent those fragile strands from becoming brittle (thus appearing thinner) over time.
Then to add a coat of shine—fullness and shine are quite the power couple, no?—apply a finishing cream over the ends to keep your cut looking and feeling silky. Just make sure you use a lightweight product that won't weigh down the strands and sacrifice their bounce, like the Smooth Ends from Mela & Kera; the brand even describes it as "lip gloss for hair" since it adds instant radiance, and you can easily toss it into your bag for on-the-go touch-ups.
If you're craving some extra volume and bounce, try asking your stylist for a U-shaped haircut the next time you're due for a trim. By shearing off the dead ends around the front of your mane, you can create the illusion of a thicker head of hair. It's still a good idea to stick to your tried-and-true hair growth products and habits, but this cut can certainly help you out in the short term.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.