I’m restless when it comes to my hair. Never one to hang on to a style or color for too long, I’m in the salon chair asking for a switch-up at least four times a year. Over the last 12 months I’ve been on a dramatic journey in terms of trying out color, including red and copper, but the cut and style has remained largely the same — and I was becoming bored of it.
As a teenager I was prone to cutting my own layers and found it difficult to locate a hairdresser who would be willing to give me the shag cut that I wanted. Eventually, I opted for something a little more sophisticated and on-trend, but you can imagine my delight when I started seeing the "wolf cut" making the rounds on TikTok. The app is bursting with videos of people in bathrooms using scissors to cut, sometimes rather haphazardly, their own shaggy styles. As a longtime fan of the ruffled finish, I was thrilled.
Essentially, the wolf cut is a more modern take on the shag or mullet haircut, both of which have also seen a resurgence in the last year or so thanks to Instagram stars like Florence Given. The main difference between those and the wolf cut is that, with the wolf cut, the focus isn't on extremely short layers to create heaps of volume at the back of the head but rather on using the short layers to frame the face. It's why you’ll often see the cut accompanied by longer curtain bangs.
Videos of people styling their own wolf cuts started circulating on TikTok a few months ago and since then the tag #wolfcut has been viewed over 423 million times. App users like @noordabashh and @coolmadsgames have inspired thousands, but the trend was solidified in the mainstream when Billie Eilish revealed her white-blonde wolf cut to the world earlier this year. The great thing about the wolf cut is that it can be as extreme or as subtle as you’d like and, as the name suggests, it's meant to occupy a space between wild and relaxed.
Not brave enough to take my wolf cut into my own hands, I visited Buller + Rice — the trendy, eco-friendly hair salon in London's Newington Green — where I left my hair transformation in the expert hands of Anita Rice, the salon's cofounder and director. I knew that the extreme layers would work well with my hair type, which is a mix of curly and wavy strands, but I was conscious that I didn’t want the top layers to ruin the way my natural curl pattern falls. Rice assured me that this style is versatile and can be tailored to individual hair types. Some of the cut is done while hair is wet and the rest partially dry, so stylists get a feel for where your hair would sit when left in its natural state.
"The key to a wolf cut is the amount of volume around the roots and in the top half of the hair," Rice told me. "This is created by shorter layers leading to more tapered ends, and the face-framing layering with curtain bangs that you want to have a bit of movement in." She started by trimming inches off the ends of my hair, then moved on to cutting in perfect layers. As my hair started to dry, Rice moved to cutting in a slightly more "random" (but still very considered) way, removing length where she saw fit to best create the relaxed and undone style.
I already had curtain bangs so the change around my face didn’t feel too drastic, but as my hair started to dry, I could really see the style take shape. Once Rice finished the cut, she applied some OWAY Smoothing Fluid before blow-drying and then styling my hair, adding in gentle waves using straighteners. She then lifted sections of my hair and sprayed the roots with Davines This Is A Dry Texturizer Spray to add volume and undone texture. Looking in the mirror, I already felt like a much cooler version of myself.
Styling my wolf cut at home has been surprisingly easy. When I want to leave my hair naturally curly, I apply Davines This Is A Curl Building Serum to sopping wet lengths and use the plopping method to soak up excess moisture. Then I scrunch in Noughty Hello Curls Primer before letting my hair air-dry naturally — it's that simple. The number of layers in this cut means that the weight of my hair isn’t pulling the curls down at the roots so it really allows my natural curl pattern to take shape.
When I want my hair to look a little more "done," I apply Living Proof Smooth Blowout Concentrate to the lengths and then blow-dry as straight as possible, before copying Rice's technique of adding in gentle waves. I use the new Cloud Nine Cordless Iron Pro to curl the mid-section of each piece of hair, spraying sections of my roots with the texturizer. This straightener's smaller plates are great for achieving the perfect level of messy-yet-manicured waves, as the key to this style is adding the wave to smaller sections of hair rather than bigger chunks. To keep frizz at bay, I then apply Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil. I also make sure to pack the straighteners in my bag just in case I need to restyle at any point during the day, especially when it’s humid, as they're brilliant for on-the-go use.
My verdict? Revisiting one of my favorite haircuts of my younger years has definitely paid off — and though I'm a real hair chameleon, I think I may keep this style for a good while.
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