The NYC Spring Haircuts You're About To See Everywhere

Photographed by Jess Farran.
If you've only ever experienced New York City through the lens of Friends reruns or Breakfast at Tiffany's, you've probably picked up some common misconceptions about the Big Apple. So let's fact-check a few really quickly: New Yorkers are some of the friendliest, most talkative people you'll ever meet, provided you aren't walking five to a sidewalk or wearing a huge backpack on a crowded 2 train. The city does not end with Manhattan. Nobody who lives here ever goes to Times Square.
And yes, while there's something to be said for a good head-to-toe black outfit, our penchant for self-expression is like nowhere else in the world. It is coded into a New Yorker's DNA, extending from our careers to our home décor to our makeup — and, of course, to our hair. This spring, the biggest beauty statement we're making comes not in the form of celebrity-inspired trends or looks nabbed off the runway, but owning haircuts that are distinctly us.
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"I think the major hair trend I’ve been noticing has been a move towards really low-maintenance cuts," Hairstory stylist Wes Sharpton, who's beloved citywide for his effortless, "cool-girl" cuts, tells us. "The overall idea is ease. Spring quickly moves into summer, which means you need to think about what you can do that will withstand humidity and what can you do that's going to make your life easier and still be stylish."
We asked the hair pro to work his magic on four NYC girls itching to make a change this season. For some people, that might mean going shorter — but for everyone, Sharpton says, "It’s about making something that’s personal to them." Ahead, the coolest, most low-maintenance cuts you're about to see everywhere this spring...
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Photographed by Jess Farran.
"My hair just doesn't have any real layers or shape to it, so it isn't really doing much for me in terms of style," Jessica, an art director, said of her long, thick waves. "I just tuck the front parts behind my ears and go out for the day." She didn't want to lose a lot of length, but wanted something with more volume and texture to bring out her natural curl.

Sharpton was on the same page. "Jessica really has this perfect wavy texture and has a lot of hair, so I didn’t want to change it super dramatically," he said. So he started by bringing up the "line" of the hair, rather than just trimming the lengths. "I wanted to create a sense of separation so that everything lays together more seamlessly, so I did that by cutting into each piece so that the layers looked like they had just happened."
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Photographed by Jess Farran.
The result? Plenty of extra lift and loose, tousled texture — exactly what Jessica had envisioned going in.

"My favorite thing about my new look is how easy it is to style," Jessica says. "When I air-dry, I get the prettiest curls and texture that I couldn't get before because the length was weighing everything down." The change is a testament to how a haircut doesn't need to be drastically different to have a major impact. Sharpton explains, "It’s a cut that looks really good but could have happened six months ago and just grown out, so it has a little more lived-in feeling to it."
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Photographed by Jess Farran.
"My hair has been natural for the past decade and I love seeing my curls, but during the winter I find it easier to keep my hair straight," Rissa, a video producer, said. But even though frequent blowouts made styling her hair easier, she was also struggling with the inevitable side effects of heat damage: limp, lifeless curls and tons of split ends. Plus, she was eager to ditch some of her length before the heat and humidity of an NYC summer set in.

Believe it or not, this was Rissa's first time getting a cut based on her natural hair texture, without having her curls blown out straight first. "Cutting curly makes it easier to wear when you do decide to wear it curly, and keeps it from looking a little chunky or too thick in some places," Sharpton explained.
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Photographed by Jess Farran.
Of her spring hair goals, Rissa joked, "I not only wanted my curls to bounce back, but I wanted them to have a shape that didn't resemble a mushroom." So Sharpton cut in a triangular shape to bring out her texture and let her natural curl pattern do its thing. "Rissa has this great celebrity vibe," he said. "Her hair creates a lot of volume, and she was owning it."

There's an unexpected benefit of the shorter style: Rissa says she finds her curls easier to comb through in the shower, and because the new cut already gives her hair so much more shape, she's able to use less product — which saves her time and space in her bathroom cabinets. "Long hair, while great for standing in front of a fan pretending you're Beyoncé, can be a literal drag," she says. In fact, she's loving lob life so much, she already wants to go even shorter.
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Photographed by Jess Farran.
The name of the game for Ashley, a model, was to go tighter and tapered with her grown-out buzz. "I’ve had short hair for a while now, and had been growing my hair out for some time," she said. "I decided that it was time for a change, especially with summer coming up."

Sharpton wanted to create a tailored effect that fell into more of the barbering space, relying on clippers, a pick, and a comb to refine the shape. "I went through and loosened up her curls by picking it out and removed the excess bulk first with scissor over comb," he said of his technique.
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Photographed by Jess Farran.
Sharpton finished off the look by going through and creating more definition with a comb and a clipper — but he wasn't done just yet. He and Ashley came up with the idea to shave in a hard part on the fly. "I went through with the edge of the clipper and shaved in a deeper, more exaggerated hard part that’s almost more of a triangle on her, which adds a little unexpectedness and gives her a little edge," Sharpton said.

The new look, while subtle, has made all the difference for Ashley, who says she's been fielding compliments left and right since making the change. "A lot of people who would consider getting a clippered haircut already do have a little edge," Sharpton says, "but I think that when you're living in New York there are so many people taking so many big risks that it was really about her going for it, even further than what was expected."
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Photographed by Jess Farran.
Laura, a creative manager, is no stranger to experimenting with her hair, which Sharpton instantly found inspiring. "She came in and told me that she’s tried everything — she’d even shaved her head before — and was really open," he said. And Laura was more than ready to try a new look: "I was living in a post-pixie cut grow out phase where everything was one length but still not long enough to put in a ponytail," she said. "Nothing about it was chic or stylish; practically a kid-sister look on a 31-year-old woman."

Before Sharpton even picked up the scissors, he already had Laura's '90s style icons, Courtney Love and Drew Barrymore, in mind. "We decided to do a softer graduated bob in the back and brought the line up in the front so it hit in between her chin and her cheek," he said. "We then went through and added a bang to make it a little bit cooler."
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Photographed by Jess Farran.
For Laura, a haircut is more than just a haircut; it's a middle finger to arbitrary beauty rules. "There is a lot of misconception and bad information given to people with round faces and short hair, like they shouldn't be doing it," she says. "As a plus-size woman, my whole haircut life has been in salon chairs fighting with stylists over whether or not I should cut my hair short."

Needless to say, Laura is not here for the "haircut for your face shape" conversation — and neither is Sharpton. "It’s really about tailoring the cut to the individual instead of plopping a haircut on someone, which can make it feel like putting on a wig," he says. Laura says that, while she's gone through a bit of an adjustment period with the change, she's been raking in the compliments from friends and family. "Everyone keeps saying how stylish it is," she says, "while others say it brings out my cheekbones and eyes a lot more than before!"
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