The International Hair Trends You Won't See On Instagram

Photo: Courtesy of Laura Feliciano.
Instagram may be just seven years old, but it’s near impossible to remember how we got on without it. For beauty lovers, the social media site has given us a steady stream of new celebrity cuts, product leaks, and a surge of of-the-moment hair colour trends. But the app has also made for an influx of homogeneous beauty looks, because we all get bombarded with the same well-liked posts. Feathered brows, Kardashians - you know the ones.
Because the Instagram algorithm is clearly biased, sussing out micro, localised trends feels tougher than ever. Which is why we went analog to nail down the coolest haircuts and styles worn around the world. We asked beauty insiders with major stamps on their passports to key us in to the brightest hair trends hiding beneath the surge of likes. What we found was anything but redundant.
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From Seoul to Sydney, Berlin to Toronto, these are the haircuts and styles that are getting real-life likes in international salons.
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Photo Courtesy: Jenny House
Seoul, South Korea

The Cut: Anyone who’s a fan of K-beauty knows that Seoul dominates when it comes to skin care and makeup innovation. And haircuts? Well, the city kills it there, too. Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho tells Refinery29 that the place to spot Seoul’s latest hair trends is Jenny House. “Many Korean celebrities and entertainers frequent the salon, which has a luxe location in Cheongdam,” Cho says, noting that stars like Tilda Swinton and Kate Bosworth have also made appointments with lead stylist Jung Myoung Sim when in Korea. (Both Cho and Michelle Phan have traveled for the salon’s exclusive cut, too.) Among the styles trending with clients? The Layered Cut Perm or “Ley Perm.”

What to Ask For: Hair permed in the very loosest of waves, then cut in layers that fall softly around the face and neck.
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Photo Courtesy: Jenny House
Many Korean women don't use curling irons or blowdryers for everyday styling, which means a great cut has to do the legwork long after the salon blowout has worn off. Thanks to lots of built-in layers, hair seems plumped up, as if it’s been volumised with styling tools.
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Photo Courtesy: Jenny House
For a more amped up version of the lay perm, clients request the “wolf cut” — so named for its wild waves. To create the edgy look, bangs are cut at eyebrow length, then framed by graduated layers around the face.
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Photo Courtesy: Jenny House
The ultimate goal is to convey hair that is “effortless chic,” according to stylist Jung Myoung Sim. While the wolf cut has been a go-to for South Korean women for a while, wolf cut 2.0 is a more mild and soft version, with light and feathered layers that are sometimes permed for soft, bouncy volume.
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Photo Courtesy: Valonz Haircutters
Sydney, Australia

The Cut: Valonz Haircutters is the Aussie it girl’s destination for a reason. Salon founder and stylist, Renya Xydis, did her first editorial cover starring a BMX Bandits-era Nicole Kidman at just 16 years old. Flash forward a few decades, and Xydis is still creating lust-worthy cuts, like her signature Reversible Layer Cut, which can be styled in a sleek or shaggy look.

Ask For: Layers only near the face that start from cheekbone and travel down to the tips, with the back of the cut kept layer-free.
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The genius of this cut is its have-it-all styling. A blow dry with a round brush gives this cut a bouncy, wholesome feel, but that vibe can turn edgy in an instant. “The important part of all these looks and cuts is that there is a beautiful curve in the hair, which can also become a shag look,” Xydis says.
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Photo Courtesy: Valonz Haircutters
Anyone else see hints of Stephanie Seymour’s signature look in this cut? More importantly, anyone else suddenly checking flights to Sydney?
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Photo Courtesy: Valonz Haircutters
When styled in a more tousled way, the once-sleek cut suddenly feels more like the shaggy styles worn by Goldie Hawn and Sienna Miller. "The individual look comes with the styling — and, if the cut is correct, the look can be styled from a sleek blow dry or a curly shag,” says Xydis.
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Toronto, Canada

The Style: At Braids by Krystal, a boutique salon outside Toronto, clients can’t get enough of stylist Krystal Tash’s impeccable box braids. The protective style isn't anything new, but it feels fresh when the style is customised for each client with fresh details, like metallic cuffs, wrapped accent braids, or Ket braid influences (a style where the hair is braided in a half up, half down look).

Ask For: Box braids, in which hair is parted into square or triangular sections, then braided with extensions added from the root.
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These box braids are fit for a queen, thanks to metallic gold crown cuffs added at lengths along the braids framing the face.
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Jumbo box braids that taper to micro-width tips minimises the amount of hair and the weight of the braids.
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Looking for a waist-length look? Consult with your stylist ahead of time. “When asking for box braids, a stylist needs to know the size and length of the braids to determine the price,” Tash says.
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Photo Courtesy: ESHK Berlin
Berlin, Germany

The Cut: Blunt cuts are making a major comeback all over the globe. But at ESHK Berlin, the style is given extra edge, thanks to added elements like undercuts and baby bangs.

Ask For: One-length blunt bob with an undercut and/or fringe.
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Photo Courtesy: ESHK Berlin
Not all blunt styles follow the single-length rule. This version adds a tapered edge toward the back, which gives a bowl-like effect without the severity.
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If shorn hair isn’t for you, try a more textbook version of the blunt cut. The single-length style makes longer hair look precise, even with minimal styling.
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Photo Courtesy: ESHK Berlin
The classic, blunt cut gets a twist, thanks to an undercut at the sides and back of the head, created with clippers after the overall chop was made.
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Photo Courtesy: Laura T Feliciano
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Cut: Om Studio Salon founder Laura Feliciano hasn’t become known as La Reina de los Rizos (or “The Queen of Curls”) by playing it safe. After experimenting with volume and asymmetry on her curly-haired clients, she landed on a cut she calls the “fullylicious.” The style is layered from the top down, creating an illusion of cascading curls.

Ask For: Fluid layers that maximise movement and volume.
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Photo Courtesy: Laura T Feliciano
When you think “bangs,” versatility isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But cutting curls to meet the length of the eyebrows means they can be worn as bangs or pushed away for a different look.
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Photo Courtesy: Laura T Feliciano
After cutting bangs, Feliciano creates short layers that frame the face to create maximum volume for curls. Face-framing layers not only help curls hold their springy shape, they also help create a uniform silhouette throughout the hair.
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Mexico City, Mexico

The Cut: Bowl cuts often get a bad reputation for being too severe. But the trending cut at Paprika Hair Salon in Mexico City gets props for its softer look, thanks to layers that minimise a hard-edged line. Stylists use the point cutting method, a technique used to to reduce volume, to also preempt the mushroom head effect.

Ask For: A bowl cut with softer lines.
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This cropped cut may look like a piec-y pixie, but it’s a bowl cut 2.0. The secret to keeping the style from looking Dumb and Dumber? Little layers for cool-girl texture.
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When going for a modern bowl cut, stylist Andrea Galván stresses the importance of balancing the proportions of the hair with the head. “For thick and straight hair, the bowl should be point cut when the hair’s dry to take some volume away,” she says.
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Photo Courtesy: Paprika Hair Salon
Thanks to face-framing layers, this brow-skimming bowl cut contains movement without looking like an '80s mop top.
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Photo Courtesy: Paprika Hair Salon
The key to getting a textured, voluminous look with thinner hair? Ask the stylist to go easy on the layers, notes Galván.
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Photo Courtesy: Pekela Riley
Johannesburg, South Africa

The Cut: The defining characteristic of the cuts happening in South Africa has less to do with the length of the hair and more to do with the styling. According to stylist Pekela Riley, the look de jour is all about texture stretching and shaping. Riley is the creative director for the 2019 Mizani global images, which she created in Johannesburg with a team of South African artists. "I'm seeing a lot of women in South Africa creatively exploring shapes and techniques to stretch their natural hair," says Riley. "This trend of stretching is so gorgeous because it showcases versatility of textured hair." Meaning a mid-length cut can be worn long and full, or short and natural, depending on the styling.

Ask For: A cut that allows for versatility of stretching out curls to create different shapes and styles. Riley tells us it's important to keep in mind that the cut will be shorter when it's worn in its shrunken, curly state, so it's important to work with your stylist to find a shape that will work in both situations.
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Photo Courtesy: Pekela Riley
A common trend that Riley has been seeing is a pin-up style coupled with stretching, which adds even more shape around the face.
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Photo Courtesy: Pekela Riley
"Shaping and stretching creates a 'wow' moment for expanded volume, and the perception of longer hair," says Riley. "It's a great way for women with textured hair to experience these beautiful moments of length and volume with a blowout, instead of using extensions."
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Photo Courtesy: Ena Salon
London, UK

The Cut: Blunt cuts have had a major comeback as of late. In London, clients at Ena Salon can’t stop asking for this “various length line” style. The precise style may appear impeccably straight-laced at first, but beneath the cut’s precise shell is a world of fine-cut layers that help keep the style from falling completely flat, an effect that makes the hair seem suspended away from the neckline and skin. “We teach every stylist how to control shape, because if you can control shape, you can create any haircut you want,” says Ausra Bandarenkaite, marketing manager for Ena Salon.

Ask For: Baby-fine layers created beneath a clean, straight-lined cut.
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A great way to go blunt without the bulk? Building in ultra-fine hidden layers underneath, an effect that makes hair fall perfectly even.
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When created on curly hair, blunt cuts can take a more triangular shape (think Solange circa A Seat At The Table). By creating teeny, wispy layers near the neckline, the curls seem to float in air.
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Want to step away from the classic editrix look for a day? Apply a bit of texturising paste to ends and expose the texture that lies beneath.
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Mumbai, India

The Cut: According to the pros at Jean-Claude Biguine India salons in Mumbai and Bangalore, Indian hair tends to be strong and thick. No wonder clients often focus on maintaining long and healthy hair when going for a cut. The salon often turns out layered cuts that keep length in tact and decrease density for swingy movement.

Ask For: A blunt cut that emphasises strong and thick ends with lightly contoured layers near the face and the crown. “This helps in increasing volume and removes the static effect, giving life and movement around the long hair,” says Michel Baltazar, the salon’s creative director of training and education.
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The best way to maximise swingy movement is to add a slight wave to the layered cut.
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Volume, length, and shine? Thanks to incognito layers, this look hits the hair trifecta.
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Thanks to this cut’s concentration on hair health, curl pattern and hair strength are uniform from root to tip.
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Paris, France

The Cut: The Internet loves to call out differences between French girl and American girl styles, so here’s one more: According to stylist David Mallett, Parisian and Americans tend to differ when defining hair length. “Despite the 'short' hair trend, most women in the US request hair that falls at or past the breastbone,” Mallett says. On the other hand, Parisians like their short hair to graze the shoulders. At David Mallett Paris, the short, french-girl cut with fringe is boss.

Ask For: A chop made near the collarbone with gradient layers that get longer from back to front. And bangs, of course.
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Hate wasting hours per week styling your hair? Then this cut is for you. “At its best, this cut is minimalist, with very little styling needed,” Mallett says.
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To keep hair from settling into a more straight, precise look, Mallett suggests applying a bit of serum into damp hair before a quick, messy blowout. “This will let the cut swing freely,” he says. For a second-day look, try styling the cut with a few pumps of volumising powder and a quick tousle of the head.
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A post shared by David Mallett (@davidmallett) on

If opting for a lob or bob-length cut, Mallett offers this advice: “Be sure to ask your stylist to blend your bangs properly with the rest of the cut through some light and subtle point cutting.”
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