Whether it’s a wolf cut, a shag, a butterfly cut or the Rachel Green, 2022 has been the year of feathery, layered hairstyles and cuts. TikTok has become the go-to platform for all things trending, and—as an avid TikTok user myself—I cannot remember the last time I went a full day without seeing at least one viral hair transformation video on my For You Page.
What Is the Butterfly Haircut?
As it turns out, the hair makeover videos aren’t just blowing up my explore page; Spate NYC revealed that searches for “butterfly haircut” are up 368.9 percent since last year, proving that the demand for information on these trending cuts is at an all-time high. For those less familiar, “the Butterfly Cut is all about elevation,” says master stylist, hair colorist and creative director of Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa, Paul Labrecque. “The cut lifts the hair high to maintain length and while letting all of its weight get lost in the internal layers, and the butterfly style looks great when it utilizes a diagonal cut and works off of a curtain bang.”
One Butterfly Size Does Not Fit All
As someone who is always looking for a style change and is not afraid of trying new hairstyles, it didn’t take long for me to book an appointment with my hairdresser to get the viral butterfly cut. But, after struggling to get my thick, short hair–full of irregular waves, too, I might add–to cooperate with the butterfly style and returning more than once for some touch ups and trims on my ends, I realized that getting a viral hair do may not be as easy as showing my stylist a TikTok, and hairstylist for the stars, Johnny Lavoy, can confirm. “As a hairstylist, I love when a client wants to make a change with a cut,” he says. “It’s fun for them and fun for us as a stylist. But before you dive into any big, trending cuts, there are a few things to consider to help guide you to making a decision.”
The Butterfly Cut Consultation
“I think it’s very important for you to have a detailed conversation with your hairdresser. Communication is key for both of you,” says Lavoy. “This conversation should include your ideas and listening to your hairstylist’s recommendations. Some things your stylist should also take note of during the consultation for a butterfly cut are the texture of your hair–like curls or waves–cowlicks, ends, hair density, your hairline growth pattern and previous chemical treatments you might have had.” Lavoy also recommends bringing in specific reference photos that show the cut, shape, texture and color of the look you want to achieve, especially with the butterfly style.
When Going for the Butterfly Style and Cut, Consider Your Face Shape
“When choosing your new cut it’s important to know if the style will work for your face shape,” Lavoy explains (something I wish I had considered when transitioning to the butterfly look.) If you want a butterfly transformation but don’t know where your face falls on the face shape gradient, there’s no need to worry, that’s what the professionals are for, Lavoy assures. “A seasoned hairdresser will not only be able to identify your face shape but also give you suggestions on what will work best for it, butterfly or not.”
Hair Texture: How Factors Like Ends, Lengths and Waves Effect the Butterfly Look
“It’s very important to consider your hair texture when choosing a style,” Lavoy asserts. “For example if you want a new look that has lots of movement and volume, like the butterfly, but you have fine thin hair you are setting yourself up for disappointment when it comes to styling. The same goes for someone with thick curly hair that wants something sleek and smooth.”
Labrecque agrees. “Hair type, texture and most importantly your hair thickness is what matters when thinking about a trendy cut or any cut,” Labrecque says. “For example, for the butterfly cut to be done well on someone with curls, I would first blow the hair out straight and then do a dry cut,” he explains, “I would tell this client that this look is best for those with straighter hair, so they would really need to commit to styling, like blow drying their hair after each wash, to truly wear this look. If the butterfly look is left curly, the top shorter layers would become too round. Similarly, those with very fine hair would have a hard time styling this cut as it would likely look stringy. I would talk this client into a more modern bob shape that keeps its weight and makes styling less of a hassle.”
Cut Maintenance and Butterfly Style Support
“Some people don’t consider maintenance when choosing a new style,” says Lavoy. “A new trendy hairstyle, like the butterfly look, might require more work for some, whether it’s via blow drying, introducing hot tools to your routine, or using styling products that might be new to you.” Lavoy also explains that if a client is really interested in trying a new look, like the butterfly cut, but doesn’t think it will work on their hair, there are other options for achieving the look they want. “Ask a professional if there is a chemical treatment that would make your dream hair more obtainable,” he says. “For example, if you have curls but want something with a smoother look, a chemical smoothing treatment might be the way to go. You can also get a texture wave for more movement in straighter hair.”
If you’re often impulsive and excited to try something new, like myself, it can be easy to throw yourself at an idea like the butterfly cut without weighing all the pros and cons. When it comes to hair, we often have to remind ourselves that no two people are exactly alike, so what works for one person may not work the same for another. Like Lavoy said, making a big change is fun and exciting, but next time you’re looking to change up your do, butterfly or not, don’t forget to do your research so your hair trends journey doesn’t end up with a bad hair day.