I’m quite sure anyone with thick hair would agree that it’s both a blessing and a curse. Every session in the salon chair involves an intimate tousle and gushing remark along the lines of, “your hair is amazing.” But the maintenance is often tedious, especially in the heat. Summer’s scorching temperatures currently might have you contemplating a drastic chop in an attempt at effortlessness. But to stay ahead of the curve, it’s time to shift your focus to the best fall haircuts for thick hair. According to the experts, there’s lots of nostalgia responsible for driving a few particular looks.
The nostalgic approach largely stems from ’90s and ‘00s-inspired styles currently beloved by Gen Z and Millennials, leading the way for buzzy cuts that are ideal for thicker hair. As hairstylist Andrew Chen tells TZR, the relevance of effortless strands continues, but severity, including blunt ends and playfully styled looks, is predicted to rule, all with a decided freshness for fall.
But before committing to a chin-skimming, mid-length, or waist-grazing cut, a few pro tokens to keep in mind: “A big misconception everyone thinks is [that] if you have thick hair, you must thin it out or add a ton of layers, which doesn’t work for everyone,” Carly Quist, a stylist at Mark Ryan Salon, tells TZR. “Not only do you need to take into consideration your hair texture and thickness but also your day-to-day routine,” i.e., how much time do you have every morning to style it? For low-maintenance seekers, Quist says layers are the wash-and-go move. “What I recommend to my thick-haired, low-maintenance clients is to add in face-framing layers,” she says. “The more layers you add, the more work you will need to put into it.”
According to Dhiran Mistry, a dry-cutting specialist in Charlotte and at the Second Floor Salon in NYC, it’s all about your hair’s texture and desired look. Across the board, he says, “there are no specific rules for any one person,” but for thick hair, “it really depends on what kind of shape they are trying to manage.” Meaning, you can have a lot of dense, thick hair or fewer strands that are plenty thick in diameter. Likewise, you can have straight, thick hair or curly, thick hair; everyone is unique with different preferences. “I listen carefully to what someone wants from their hair,” Mistry notes. For example, “A lot of layers may look bad on thick, straight hair but great on thick, curly hair, and so forth.”
If you’re unsure where to start or what cut will suit your needs, your stylist will always help guide you. Mistry says the most important thing is communicating what’s important to you: less hair to deal with, quicker drying time, a heavier cut to streamline fullness, a shorter cut for a fuller look, and so on. “The most general assumption I can make about thick hair is [that] it doesn’t need to be washed so often, as this can make it more unruly,” he says. Some people can go at least a week sans washing with barely a trace of oil build-up on their scalp. If that sounds drastic, Mistry has a tip for more frequent washing: “Rinsing without shampooing can tame that mane.”
Without further ado, the six best hairstyles for thick hair this fall, as predicted by the pros.
The Classic Blowout
For a sleek haircut to polish up your thick mane, Mistry and Quist predict a rise in the classic cut of long, soft layers in the back, below-chin length, and face-framing layers in the front, with a bouncy blowout. “We’re starting to see a shift from the undone, beach wave style to more of a fluffy ‘90s-inspired, modern take on the classic blowout,” Quist tells TZR. In agreement, Mistry says, “For so long we have been doing waves, so the softer, bouncier hair I think will come back. It works well with thicker hair because lots of layers can end up looking super obvious. So instead, this is a great look for someone with thick hair trying to add some extra movement.”
To make things more nostalgic, Quist says, “This cut has just enough movement to create that perfect bounce as you walk. Paired with some hot rollers at home — yes, hot rollers are making a comeback, too — this cut gives you that perfect, classic salon blowout.”
Sharp Sliced Bobs
Don’t call it a comeback — the straight-edge bob (and lob) has been super hot lately and carrying into fall. “The sharp bob haircut, also known at the sliced bob, will be trending into fall 2022,” Raven Hurtado, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, tells TZR. “It’s a short to medium haircut that is cut in a blunt length. This style is very classic and stylish.”
Just ask the Kardashians: Both Kim and Kourtney are flaunting the style these days. “Bobs are always current,” Mistry says. “I do a ton of them all the time. For fall freshness, Chen says, “I predict a square bob, with or without fringe.”
For thick hair, it is important to note that this is a cut that benefits from thinning out. “Thicker hair requires weight removal, and definitely, more texture adds to the look of a blunt, thick bob that moves,” Mistry says. Hence the “slicing” technique, which adds texture and movement to a one-length bob. And as a note, sliced doesn’t mean slick straight — for instance, take a look at Laura Harrier’s wavy styling of a sliced bob.
A recurring motif of this fall’s hair trends is vintage-inspired layers, a great look for those with thick hair. One such style, according to Hurtado, is a draped layers haircut, as worn by Lily Collins and Squid Game’s Hoyeon, and perhaps most notably calling back to the popular ‘90s “Rachel” haircut. “Draped layers are face-framing layers, and it's inspired by the ‘90s [and] early 2000s Y2K style,” Hurtado says. The haircut, she explains, includes layers that are cut around the face at different lengths in order to accentuate an individual’s unique features. Unlike traditional face-framing layers, which are typically more naturally blended, draped layers are chunkier on purpose in order to showcase bold, purposeful contrast.
Long, Natural Lengths
So you can’t quit your new natural beauty routine — well, don’t! Long, grown-out hair remains a key look for fall, according to Chen and Quist. “Natural texture is definitely the winner [in a] textured medium or long-length cut,” Chen tells TZR. Likening the mermaid vibe to Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon and referencing Rosalía’s long, thick hair, Quist says, “This cut is great for thick hair as it’s the least amount of maintenance to style it.”
If you’re looking to change up the style without cutting off the length, the Mark Ryan stylist suggests changing your part. “Try flipping it to the side for instant volume and lightness on the ends,” she says. And if you’re in need of long locks inspo, look to celebrities including Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa, and Beyoncé.
The Octopus (Or Butterfly) Cut
The octopus or butterfly cut is the 2022 sister of last year’s trendy wolf cut (which is still very much in, TBH) and the short bobcat cut (think: Florence Pugh). “The octopus haircut is very short layers on top with a longer length towards the bottom,” celebrity hairstylist Michael Duenas, whose clients include Hilary Duff and Ilana Glazer, previously told TZR. “[It’s] essentially a modern shag.”
Shag haircuts, in general, are incredibly popular these days and work very well with thick hair. Lauren Bailey, founder of Fever Few Hair in Los Angeles, says the layering of shag haircuts like the octopus cut are tailored around each individual’s bone structure. “Unlike a one-length bob that can add volume to the client's face or jawline, a shag can add softness and texture to emphasize cheekbones or perfectly frame out the eyes,” she previously told TZR. “All lengths and textures look great with this cut.”
Heavy fringe for fall? Major. Mistry says this prediction riffs off of the past year’s curtain bangs trend. “Through the cooler months, you want a bit more weight and warmth on the face,” Mistry says. “It looks so good with thick hair and brings a lot of attention to the eyes when it’s at the right length.” If anything, it’s an excuse to post the iconic Legally Blonde “I got bangs!” meme. Everything including the trendy bottleneck bangs (think: Dakota Johnson), blunt bangs (Taylor Swift), and ‘90s-esque baby bangs (Bella Hadid) will work well with thick hair.
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