The ‘Oval Layer’ Haircut Is Going Viral For Making Hair Look Luxe

2022 served up more beautiful haircut trends than it was humanly possible to try in 12 short months. We brought you the U-shape haircut (a rounded style, which makes hair appear fuller), the 'Sachel' (a shag haircut meets '90s layers, à la Rachel in Friends) and C-shape layers (hair which is so finely layered, the strands cup the face in a C-shape). But with another year comes another haircut set to take salons by storm, and like most big beauty movements these days, TikTok is the driving force behind this one, too.
Enter: the 'oval layer' haircut.
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@rzfany_ Reply to @indahhmm monthly hairstyle vids 👍🏼🥲 its getting longer soo fast #hairstyle #hairinspo #haircut #fypシ ♬ luxurious - milo

What is the oval layer haircut?

The oval layer haircut is an extension of the '90s-inspired, layered styles we've been seeing everywhere lately, but the layers are much less 'flicky'. Instead, they're slightly more uniform and polished. As the name suggests, each section is cut and styled in a way which resembles oval shapes cupping the face from the mid-lengths to the ends. TikToker @rzfany_ recommends adding face-framing curtain bangs and says that the ends can be blunt and straight across, or slightly curved to lend the illusion of even thicker hair.
Stephen Buller, director at Buller and Rice hair salon, says that the oval haircut is essentially face-framing layers but without extra internal layering. "Instead, it's a sharp, one length at the back," explains Stephen. "This particular trend is styled with the layering blow-dried underneath [rather than flicked outwards], so the hair points towards the face in oval shapes." Take inspiration from this cut by Ryenne Snow on Instagram.
Stephen says that the style has previously been spotted on Jennifer Aniston and Amanda Seyfried but more recently on Meghann Fahy in The White Lotus, which is sure to explain its burgeoning popularity.

What are the benefits of the oval layer haircut?

The oval layer haircut can be adapted to different lengths, face shapes and hair textures, says Stephen, which is why you'll spot it on curly hair as well as poker-straight strands. "The most popular TikTok videos seem to have no layering at all at the back of the hair — just at the front," says Stephen, like this style on TikToker @septianaayu16. As a result, it lends hair both soft movement and texture, and gives long hair in particular that special something.
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"The face-framing layers will remove weight from the front area," explains Stephen, so it's great for those with thick hair density. But Stephen suggests being cautious if your hair is on the finer side. It's a must to discuss things with your chosen stylist first. Look to TikToker @fionathaniel for inspiration.
@fionathaniel it’s your sign to get a new haircut🤍 tbh i never cut my hair in the salon, I have my mom cut it for me 😳 so it’s a big deal for me #haircut #hairstyles ♬ Dragonball Durag - Thundercat

How do you style the oval layer haircut?

To show off the layers, a cut like this looks great worn smooth. "To achieve this style, I'd recommend applying the OWAY Smoothing Fluid, £39.50, to towel-dried hair," says Stephen. "This product speeds up blow-drying and helps smooth over the hair, creating that sleek finish and control." Also try ARKIVE The New Form Blow Dry Spray, £13, if you have less to spend. 
Stephen says that if you're a dab hand with a hairdryer, you could use a classic round brush to create the shape, blow-drying the hair under and towards the face, by wrapping the hair around the brush. If your hair is wavy, curly or very thick and you'd like to wear it smooth, invest in a hot brush says Stephen.
"Heated brushes are a quick trick to achieve this style," he says, and recommends the Dyson Airwrap, £479.99, which has a round brush attachment. If you'd rather spend less, he says the BaByliss Flawless Volume Hot Air Styler, £35, is a great shout.
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If your hair is curly and your stylist has cut in face-framing layers, enlist a diffuser to ensure your curls dry defined and glossy, like this cut by award-winning afro and textured hair specialist Michelle Thompson on Instagram. Try Panasonic Nanoe EH-NA65 Hair Dryer, £109.99, which dries lengths quickly, or BaByliss Platinum Diamond 2300 AC Hair Dryer, £60. "This hairstyle can be left to dry naturally, too," says Stephen, "especially if your hair is wavy or curly and textured." Simply add some OWAY Sea Salt Spray, £36.75, to towel-dried hair and leave to dry naturally, or use a diffuser for more volume and definition.
To keep your layers in tip-top condition, Stephen recommends making time for a deep conditioning hair treatment at least every two weeks, especially if you're using any kind of heated tool. Yes, even a simple hairdryer. Stephen rates OWAY Moisturising Mask, £26. Also try R29 favourite Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask, £28, or Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Banana 3-in-1 Dry Hair Mask Treatment, £6.99.
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"Adding moisture and shine and enhancing all those face-framing layers," says Stephen, who suggests a finisher like OWAY Glossy Nectar Serum, £18, for adding a 'glaze' to the hair. R29 also rates ARKIVE The Good Habit Hybrid Oil, £14.

How do you maintain the oval layer haircut?

Stephen says that all layered haircuts need regular maintenance (unless you're growing out the look entirely). "Keeping your hair in this style will require trimming every six to eight weeks," explains Stephen. "We always recommend booking your next appointment as you leave the salon. That way, it keeps you on track to fresh, healthy-looking hair, as well as maintaining your chosen cut."
The oval layer haircut in particular will grow out nicely, says Stephen. In fact, it could last a little longer than many other layered hairstyles as Stephen explains it's more of an "external shape", so it shines a light on the outline of the hair rather than layering internally.

How should you ask your stylist for the oval layer haircut?

Providing you've already been along for a consultation, ask your stylist for face-framing layers at the front of the face, which continue down towards the ends. Depending on whether you want more volume, you could ask that the back is shaped like a U (this will make hair appear thicker, such as in this TikTok video by @latasia_salon) or all one length. To finish, ask that the style is blow-dried towards your face, rather than outwards. It always helps to bring along some pictures — or even videos — for reference, too.
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