I convinced myself that I would never suit — let alone be able to maintain — any style other than the long hair I could easily straighten, curl, and pin up. But now I’m in my 30s, and a new decade is the right time to ditch the shapeless lengths for something more on trend.
Enter: the “kitty” cut.
What is the kitty cut?
The kitty cut is the wolf cut’s softer, more polished counterpart. Unlike the wolf cut (a modern cross between the shag and the mullet — think mussed-up with lots of texture), the kitty cut is said to be more feline-like, thanks to much finer, face-framing layers and feathered ends, like this cut on model Imogen Rose. The kitty cut is also categorized by a chunkier curtain bang, not too dissimilar to the butterfly haircut (which gives the illusion of shorter hair without losing much length).
According to Google Trends, the kitty cut has become one of the top trending hairstyles recently, while on TikTok, the cut has 120.9 million views and counting. Even celebrities are on board: Laura Harrier, Jenna Ortega, and Billie Eilish have all adopted the cut in one way or another, which is why Samuel Broadbent, hairstylist at Hershesons salon in London, says that the kitty cut is one of the most requested hairstyles right now. Broadbent tells me that the hairstyle is essentially multiple long layers. Like most trending cuts, it has been around for years, but has made a comeback under a different, and arguably much choppier, guise.
How do you achieve the kitty cut?
Luckily, the kitty cut suits all hair lengths, says Broadbent, especially short to mid-length hair. The layers lend shape, add texture, impart extra volume and accentuate the cheekbones and jawline. Admittedly, I have shied away from a bangs, layers and pretty much any form of “style,” as I’ve always been apprehensive that it wouldn’t complement my face shape. What’s more, I have a tendency to swap my parting from the side to the center, which makes finding an adaptable hairstyle substantially difficult. But I was keen to switch up the status quo, so I bit the bullet and headed straight to Hershesons where Broadbent allayed my fears. He promised that he could adapt the kitty cut’s wispy features to fulfill my needs — and that’s the beauty of this versatile hairstyle; it can be tailored to suit all preferences.
After washing my hair, Broadbent began to chop at the ends of my lengths, but when fashioning the textured layers typical of the cut, he went no further than the collarbone to avoid the retro ’70s hair flick. This, of course, has its place in modern hair trends — but not the kitty cut. Broadbent then feathered the ends by cutting just the tips to create a soft finish, much unlike the blunt, one-dimensional style I had been devoted to.
Now for the bangs. I’d been flirting with the idea of curtain bangs for some time, but my parting dilemma (not to mention styling limitations) held me back. Instead of heavy curtains, we settled on a slightly longer length of fringe, which would look just as good worn in the middle or flipped to the side when I fancied a change. Broadbent made sure the fringe sat at the outer corner of my eye, instead of the center of my eyebrows so that the finished result was airy, feminine, and effortless, not blocky like the y2k side bang that once reigned supreme (a trend I vow never to revisit).
How do you style the kitty cut?
After rough-drying with a blowdryer, Broadbent gave each layer a quick tong with a curling wand and the kitty cut was complete. Those with wavy or curly hair can leave their lengths to dry naturally; just add a touch of finishing cream to give hair some extra hold and added shine. If you have curly hair, choose a curl cream like Bumble and Bumble Curl Light Defining Cream or Creme of Nature Pure Honey Avocado Curl Defining Cream and cradle your hair in a diffuser on a low to medium heat to help define your natural curls and layers.
If your hair is on the straighter side and you don’t want to use any heat, simply braid it down the center to encourage an accidentally perfect tousle, and tuck your bangs behind your ears so that it assumes a slight bend. For a more structured look, blow dry your hair using a blow-dry brush. Running a curling wand through is optional, but you could also use a straightener to tuck each layer underneath, which creates a wispy, lived-in finish à la Matilda Djerf.
The kitty cut has certainly added more body to my hair — something that has been lacking for years. The layers are airy but make my hair look more polished than before, and running my fingers through my lengths showcases the new, feathered layers in all their voluminous glory. I’m particularly excited to see how this style transcends the next few months as my hair grows. Broadbent stressed that I may not need a haircut for a good few months because the longer layers will grow out seamlessly. That said, a quick bang trim is a simple and affordable way to continually refresh the style.
Overall, the kitty cut is truly as versatile and easy to maintain as TikTok suggests it is. Somehow, I can create more looks than I could with my long hair, especially when it comes to updos. It feels as though a new haircut trend takes over every week, but if you ask me, the kitty cut is timeless.
This story was originally published on Refinery29UK.
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