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When it comes to fresh, new hair trends, we like to think you'll want for nothing here at Refinery29 Australia. Recently, we brought you the 'Sachel' (if the '90s Rachel cut inspired by Rachel from Friends were to meet the lived-in shag), the 'midi flick' (a mid-length cut, which sits on the shoulders or collarbone and flicks upwards slightly), as well as the U-shape haircut, a rounded style that makes hair appear twice as thick. But as more and more hairstylists flock to TikTok, all manner of hair movements are taking centre stage — and one, in particular, is speaking to our love of '90s nostalgia.
Enter: the C-shape haircut.
What is the C-shape haircut?
If TikTok is anything to go by, the C-shape haircut is about to go viral. It's all thanks to the intricate details: lots of layered sections of hair which are cut in C-shapes. These layers cup the face and lend the appearance of thickness, volume and longer length.
"C-shape layering, or alternatively and more familiarly known as face-framing layers, are often jaw-length layers or longer," explains Stephen Buller, hairstylist and co-founder of Buller + Rice. "These layers run seamlessly down the length of the hair, which makes the hairstyle reminiscent of the iconic '90s Rachel from Friends cut," which Stephen says has actually been one of the most requested hairstyles of all time.
In salon, Stephen says that, recently, layered cuts have been less popular. But he's seeing a new wave of face-framing hair trends on TikTok — and it's these which are being requested lately. "Cuts like this are always on trend in some capacity because they look so good on everyone," says Stephen. "Some of the more recent online trends seem to showcase more texturised ends — almost wispy," much like the above C-shape cut by Ryenne Snow on Instagram.
What are the benefits of the C-shape haircut?
Stephen says that the C-shape haircut gives hair a softer edge. As a result, it looks beautiful in a bouncy blow-dry, but it's also great if you prefer to wear your hair up. "Those wispier ends can be left out for softness around the face," says Stephen. "But I think the best thing about face-framing layers is that they are extremely versatile for all hair types, lengths and face shapes."
Sure enough, TikTokers are showcasing C-shape layers on lots of different hair. @barbiebrignoni proves that on curly hair, the "C-shape trim" keeps volume towards the sides of your face (not the crown of your head), making for a nicer silhouette. Teamed with a fringe and some subtle layers in the back, their curls look gloriously defined and voluminous. TikToker @zouniia also went viral for bravely cutting C-shape layers into their very long hair at home. The end result? Springy layers and a ton of bounce throughout.
"The benefits of a C-shape haircut is definitely more texture," says Stephen, "as the shorter layering will help promote more movement and body." Combined with the shorter layers around the front, Stephen says this will also give the illusion of your hair looking longer. "You can also include internal layers with this style," says Stephen — basically invisible layers which are cut in underneath the top section of hair. "This will give a nod to the more shag-style hair trends," says Stephen, "but it can equally work as well without."
The C-shape haircut is good news if you have lots of hair and feel as though it's heavy. "This cut will remove more weight around the front, leaving your hair lighter," says Stephen. "As a result, this allows for more volume when styling."
Stephen explains that the exact style will be heavily influenced by your face shape, your features and your preferences (which your stylist will be able to help with). But he adds that if you already have existing curtain bangs and they're a little grown out, they'll pair perfectly with the C-shape cut. "It allows you to blend the fringe with the layers seamlessly," says Stephen.
How do you style the C-shape haircut?
Once you get a cut like this, the styling is pretty straightforward. But face-framing layers do look best blow-dried using a round brush, going inward towards your face, says Stephen. "Use the OWAY Smoothing Fluid, $78.60, to provide a sleek finish and to stretch out that blow-dry." Alternatively, says Stephen, you can blow-dry outwards to create that iconic '70s flicked-out effect if you'd rather segue away from the '90s. "I like the OWAY Flux Potion, $71.40, for giving hair a nice moulded effect," says Stephen.
If you have curly hair, a diffuser is your best bet. "Diffuse the ends with a hairdryer to encourage volume and bounce, allowing those layers to build on each other," explains Stephen. "Use the OWAY Curly Potion, $70.80, for seamless curls and effortless volume."
How do you maintain the C-shape haircut?
Stephen hits home that the C-shape haircut is definitely a style you would need to chat to your hairdresser about. He doesn't recommend ever doing it at home with a pair of kitchen scissors. Layers like this grow out pretty seamlessly, but to keep the style, it's advised that you book in for a regular trim every 6-8 weeks especially if you like to style your hair using heat, which can lead to split ends.
How should you ask your stylist for the C-shape haircut?
Hairstylists will always appreciate you bringing in pictures of trends you're keen to try, but Stephen says that the C-shape cut is a more personalised style to suit your needs, preferences and facial features. He advises booking a consultation first to really nail it. When it comes to what to ask for, face-framing layers around your jaw and longer layers throughout will do the trick.