In the last couple of years, the wild popularity of the bob (in all its guises) has prompted many women to chop off their lengths in pursuit of the perfect short hairstyle. But what about those approaching the bob trend with trepidation – who, though tempted by the idea, don’t want to commit to cutting off years’ worth of hard-won long hair?
Introducing the butterfly haircut, a style that gives the illusion of a short haircut, with all the safety of a long one. “It’s a short haircut in a long haircut,” says hairstylist Luke Hersheson, “and a style that allows you the ability to wear your hair up at the back, but look like you’ve got shorter hair from the front. It’s called a butterfly because the idea is that the hairstyle offers two completely different looks.”
Hersheson compares the butterfly cut to grown-out curtain bangs (about eight to 12 weeks after they’ve been cut in). The cut is made up of two obvious layers – the first of which is the curtain bang length, which is around the same length as a shorter hairstyle. This upper layer effortlessly falls out of a low ponytail or roll neck tuck-in, and makes it look as though you have a bob – even if you don’t. “It’s like a faux bob,” says Hersheson. “It frames the face really nicely.”
The second layer is what gives the cut its length and, as mentioned, this part of the haircut can be tied up or left loose, depending on your mood and ensemble. “It’s a good way to achieve the coolness, androgyny and boyishness of short hair but without fully committing to it,” adds Hersheson. Good examples of the look are Margot Robbie in Vogue’s August 2021 issue, or Hailee Steinfeld, pictured below.
It’s a super flattering ’70s-style cut and for those who like a bit of length, it delivers movement, body and texture, without the need for much styling. Plus, it offers the kind of low-maintenance face-framing effect that those with round faces can benefit from.
How to style it? This is hair that looks great with a bit of texture, whether that’s curls or just a mussed-up finish. “You want to encourage some movement,” says Hersheson. “One trick is to tuck your hair behind your ears when it’s damp and let the bend of the hair fall naturally around your cheekbones.” Modern, easy to style and the best of both worlds – what’s not to love?
This story was originally published in British Vogue.