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Earlier this year, animal-inspired hair trends were having a moment — from “octopus” layers to the “jellyfish” haircut — but more recently, cuts inspired by letters of the alphabet have been taking over our social media feeds. The U-shape cut became popular for faking fuller hair, as did the V-shape for layers, and now, the C-shape is all we’ve been hearing about for the last few weeks.
While the style is technically nothing new, it’s been given new life thanks to everyone’s obsession with bringing all things ’90s back. If you’re curious to know more about C-shaped haircuts, we tapped two hairstylists. Keep reading to learn what exactly a C-shape cut is, how to style it, and what it looks like on different hair lengths and textures.
What Is a C-Shape Haircut?
The C-shape cut gets its name from the way its face-framing layers are cut into “C” shapes. The layers typically begin at chin length and curve inward. It’s a versatile style that works for practically anyone. “The C-shape haircut works great on anyone with longer hair — especially people with thick hair — because it removes weight and bulk,” Raven Hurtado, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, tells POPSUGAR. If you have short or fine hair, the cut gives hair texture and volume, and it actually has the ability to make hair look longer thanks to the way it falls.
Celebrity hairstylist and Virtue Labs ambassador Xavier Velasquez adds that it’s also flexible when it comes to everyday styling. “It really bodes well to any way you wear your hair daily,” he says. “It looks great down or in an updo, and it gives a fun layered pony.”
As for upkeep, this style is about as low maintenance as they come. “Unlike a pixie cut or a shorter hairstyle, your trips to your stylist don’t have to be as frequent,” says Velasquez. “The C-shape will hold its cut as the hair grows, so I’d recommend going in [to the salon] every three months.”
How Is a C-Shape Haircut Different From a V-Shape or U-Shape Cut?
All the alphabet-themed cut names can get a little confusing, so let us quickly break the most popular ones down for you. “The C-shape haircut heavily affects face framing, whereas the V-shape cut is mainly sharp layering throughout the hair,” Velasquez says. “U-shape is a rounded look with the longest hair in the middle and the sides sculpted shorter.”
Still not sure which cut is right for you? The best way to look at it is this: if you’re looking for softness around the face, the C-shape cut is your best bet. If you want lots of volume without the effort, the U-shape haircut will get you there, no problem. If it’s dimension and depth you’re after, ask for a V-shape cut.
How to Style a C-Shape Haircut
If you’ve recently made a hair change to a C-shape cut but you aren’t sure how to style it, it’s actually fairly easy. “The most iconic C-shape haircuts come from the ’90s — think Jennifer Anniston in ‘Friends’ — so the best way to style is a simple blowout,” Velasquez says. He recommends starting out with a volumizing product like the Virtue Volumizing Primer ($40) to give the hair body before using a large round brush to blow-dry and turn all sections of your hair toward your face. To finish, Velasquez suggests using a soft-hold hairspray to set the style in place.
Hurtado says if you’re not comfortable using a round brush, you can also use the Trademark Beauty Easy Blo ($50), “which combines a blow dryer and brush in one.”
If you’re ready to book an appointment, both Hurtado and Velasquez agree that the best way to make sure you leave the salon with the style you want is by arriving with inspiration photos in hand. “Express how you want the face-framing layers starting at the jawline and following through the hair,” Velasquez says.