Like so many beauty trends, the hairstyles of yesteryear have a way of making their way back around again. The octopus haircut is just one example of this phenomenon. You may have seen the look on stars like Billie Eilish and Kaia Gerber, or otherwise floating around your Instagram feed. The cut, which is characterized by choppy, face-framing layers and lots of movement, is meant to mimic the silhouette of an octopus’ tentacles. It’s sort of a combination of a mullet and shag, two other nostalgic haircut trends that have made a massive resurgence as of late. Some are even calling the octopus the modern-day “Rachel” haircut, aka the style that Jennifer Aniston’s character on Friends made so popular in the ‘90s.
If you’re looking to spice up your hair look (and throwback trend fatigue still hasn’t hit you), the octopus is a worthy style to try out. It’s flattering on a wide range of hair types and textures and is relatively easy to style and maintain — you just might need a few handy tips along the way.
To get the full scoop on the octopus haircut trend, TZR spoke with celebrity hairstylist Michael Duenas (whose impressive roster of clients includes stars like Hilary Duff, Riz Ahmed, Shantel VanSanten, and Ilana Glazer) as well as hairstylist and BLONDME Ambassador Linh Phan.
What Exactly Is The Octopus Haircut?
“The octopus haircut is very short layers on top with a longer length towards the bottom,” Duenas tells TZR. “[It’s] essentially a modern shag.” While it has drawn numerous comparisons to “The Rachel”, the stylist notes that the octopus is a distinctly different cut.
“The Rachel can be cut with short round layers, the octopus cut is typically done with concave layers on the top,” Duenas notes. “This creates a shorter crown section, giving shorter layers on top and a more disconnected look. It is much lighter in terms of weight. The Rachael is somewhat heavy and bulky.”
“This cut is more disconnected,” Phan adds. “The top layers have an extreme disconnect from the length.”
What To Ask For At The Salon
If your stylist is not familiar with the term “octopus cut”, Duenas says asking for a modern shag is your best bet. He also suggests asking for concave layers on the top and disconnected length at the ends. “If you do not want the disconnection and you want your layers to somewhat blend, ask for round concave layers pivoting from your crown,” he says.
The octopus is also ideal for medium to thick hair and wavy or curly textures, but ask your stylist what they think is possible for your particular hair type.
Octopus Haircut Maintenance & Styling
If low-maintenance hairstyles are your thing, you’re in luck. According to Duenas, there’s almost no upkeep with an octopus cut — especially if you have thicker, textured hair. “The more texture you have, the more disheveled it is, the better it looks,” he says. “It also lasts a long time as you remove so much weight from your crown ensuring you keep volume.”
As for daily styling, Duenas recommends air drying for the best texture. If you don’t have a ton of natural curl or simply want to amp it up, he says, “I highly recommend becoming friends with your curling iron or waving iron, even your mermaid iron.”
Texturizing products such as House of Scuff Potion No. 1, Aloxxi Volumizing Whip, and Rene Furterer Style Air Dry Cream will also help you style our octopus cut, Duenas says.
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