Back in high school I was constantly fixing my friends’ haircuts and toning their highlights so crying fits and counseling sessions wouldn’t ensue. And this was way before I had taken any classes toward becoming a beauty professional. For some reason, I always got what I wanted when it came to having my hair or makeup done, while my girlfriends struggled for years.
I did eventually teach them how to speak in “hair talk,” and from my experience on both sides of the chair, I can now let you in on my happy haircut secrets. Think of your haircut as a collaborative project that will take both you and your stylist mutually understanding what you want and what will work best with your hair. Below are three of my favorite hot summer cuts this season and the stylist lingo that will help you get exactly what you’re looking for.
First, know what you want and what will work for your hair type and face shape. To figure it out, look at your hair in the mirror and note: Is it naturally curly, wavy, or straight? Are the individual strands of your hair fine and wispy or heavy and course? Also note the four basic face shapes: oval, round, heart, and square. Look at your jaw, cheekbones, and forehead in comparison to the four shapes to determine which one you are.
Next, let's explore what looks will work best for you!
The Gentle A-Line Bob or Lob
What is a lob you ask? Why a long bob, of course! A traditional A-line bob is short in the back and long in the front, but this season a gentle A-line is chic and subtle. The cut works great on most hair types and face shapes, favoring heart-shaped or oval faces. If you have a square jaw line, your hair should go past chin length in the front. Keep it just at chin length for a lengthening effect on round faces.
Stylist Lingo for this Look: If your hair always gets that "mushroom" feel when cut above the shoulders, ask your stylist to "thin it out." Thinning eliminates bulk and heaviness from thick hair. You can also request "texturizing," which will create a lifted effect on flat hair or make curly hair smoother.
The Choppy Bob or Lob
This haircut is exactly as it sounds: a bob (around chin to mid-neck length) or long bob (just grazing the collar bones) with choppy ends. The choppy bob works great on medium to thick hair with a natural wave. Any face shape can rock this cut. If you’re into the beach babe or bed head look, this one’s for you!
Stylist Lingo for this Look: Ask your stylist for choppy ends—those that vary a bit in length and have a jagged feel. Request a piecey look if you want ends that are more defined and separated, which is achieved by using cutting techniques and products like pomade.
The Long Blunt Cut
For all my fine, straight-haired friends, the long blunt cut will help your hair look longer, fuller, and thicker in a totally modern way. Great for all face shapes, this sculptural cut can have a few layers throughout but has a sharp geometric element at the ends. Tell your stylist you want blunt ends, meaning the hair is cut straight across in a sleek style.
Stylist Lingo for this Look: If your tresses tend to lie flat, tell your stylist you'd like layers if you want to create movement and volume by removing density. Whatever style you decide to go with, remember to bring two sets of photos to your stylist: past photos of yourself where you like your haircut and photos of the haircut you want. This will help your stylist understand things like where you prefer your part and how you like your hair to lie around your face, which will help her to shape your cut in a way that you find flattering. Additional photos of the sides and back of the cut can be super helpful as well.
If there are any adjustments you want your stylist to make as she begins to wrap up your cut, be sure to speak up! You’ve done your homework and deserve a great cut. Good luck and happy haircutting!