Cutting long hair is always a little nerve-wracking, especially when it's taken some sweet time to grow. But there's also nothing quite like skipping out of a salon feeling fresher, lighter, and with a breeze tickling your neck. It was this vision (and a dire need of a refresh for my dry, frazzled strands) that tempted me to take the leap and give TikTok's 'midi flick' haircut a go.
What is a midi flick?
A chic take on the classic mid-length haircut, this style grazes the collarbone or shoulders and flicks up slightly when styled, hence the name. Not only is it a perfect summer-to-autumn transition look, it's also right on trend. Dreamt up by hairstylist Tom Smith, the midi flick has amassed an enormous 766.3 million views on TikTok. It was recently dubbed "the coastal grandmother trend for your hair" while Tom says it's "so uncool, it's cool again." Get your head around that one.
Kaia Gerber, Jodie Comer, and Selena Gomez are just some of the celebrities to have rocked the midi flick lately. Once thought of as old-fashioned due to its nod towards a Desperate Housewives-esque blow-dry, Tom thinks there's been a shift, with fans drawn to the coziness and luxuriousness of the look as we head into the cooler months. In fact, Tom says it's "probably the biggest hair trend for this autumn."
While it's definitely in style, the midi flick is nothing new, says hairstylist Joey Wheeler at Richard Ward Salon in southwest London. It's a cut he's done hundreds of times, in various iterations. "It's all about a mid-length cut with a little bit of a grown-out fringe," says Joey. What makes it such a popular and enduring cut, he adds, is that it can be adapted to suit your lifestyle, hair type, and fashion aesthetic — consider Jodie Comer's beachy midi flick with a tousled edge, or the fluffiness of influencer Matilda Djerf's supermodel blowout take on the trend. It's also pretty versatile when it comes to styling at home, post-salon.
How is a midi flick cut?
For that reason, I had to try it. My long hair has a medium thickness to it but as Joey pointed out, that's thanks to a lot of fine hairs. I also have an oval face shape, which naturally suits a more layered look. According to Joey, the midi flick works for most face shapes (although square face shapes might prefer a cut that is more one length) and can be adapted to lots of hair types. He stresses the importance of chatting it through first with your hairstylist to get the cut personalized to you.
During our pre-cut chat we decided to keep the grown-out fringe that will frame the face on the longer side. I was scared that going shorter would make it look frumpy and Joey agreed (he's been my hairdresser for over a decade and knows the temperament of my hair and any attempt at a fringe; on any given day it will flick out whichever way it so wishes).
Joey started by taking some six inches off the length. It was a noticeable chunk, but we didn't go as short as I thought we might. There's a good reason for this: once the hair is blow-dried or left to dry naturally it will bounce up, creating a shorter, flickier appearance.
"This also makes a huge difference to the level of maintenance required," said Joey. "If you go an extra inch or two inches off, then you really head into bob length." Again, with the fringe part of this cut, you have to get the length just right — and take into consideration your hair's idiosyncrasies. If you've got little kinks, a cowlick, anything like that, you've got to be careful about how short you go with the fringe, said Joey. "If it's shorter, you're going to have to get up every day and style it. But if it's a bit longer, then you'll still be able to tie it up and get it off the face yet have a little bit floating down."
Once Joey was happy with the length and worked his way around, creating some soft, subtle layers in the main body of the hair, he spritzed in L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Volumetry Spray, and began to rough-dry my hair with a hairdryer. He cut the grown-out fringe at a slightly longer length while my hair was damp; once it began to dry, he reassessed how it sat and gave it a finishing tweak.
How do I style a midi flick?
For a salon finish (apparent in most of the celeb images I've shown Joey), a medium barrel brush and hairdryer are needed (not to mention skill, which I'm severely lacking). Once blow-dried, Joey spritzed each section of hair with L'Oréal Professionnel TECNI.ART Beach Waves Texturizing Salt Spray, and pinned it up with big rollers to create volume.
Random sections were then curled using a curling wand. Jodie Comer's midi flick is more beachy and tousled so after all that, my head was tipped upside down and the hair mussed up for a more casual look. Honestly, it takes a lot of effort to look like you haven't tried hard...
As if seeing the fear in my eyes, Joey reassured me that when it comes to styling at home, I can opt for a low-maintenance approach. A texturizing spray is a must to get that wavy, scrunched up movement. He recommended at least blow-drying the grown-out fringe section, and if I want to make a bit more effort, I could curl sections and then lightly run my fingers through for a subtle look, like the above cut by Hair By Somi.
The final result
Left to my own devices, a couple of days later I washed my hair with shampoo and conditioner. After leaving it to dry naturally, I spritzed over some texture spray before hand-scrunching it with my head tipped upside down. You can see how the hair sits naturally after the cut: the layers visible but subtle, and the texture tousled and modern, rather than too polished.
The midi flick is taking over salons everywhere right now. My honest verdict? If my aim was to leave the salon with a bounce in my hair and a spring in my step, with an autumn-ready style to sit neatly over my cozy cardigans and turtlenecks, then consider it mission complete, my friend.
This story was originally published on Refinery29UK.
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