A good haircut can make you feel at home in your own skin and help you discover your own personal brand of self-expression. A good haircut can also help affirm your identity. As society progresses and opens up to the fact that not all people fit into one of two boxes, the lines between masculinity and femininity have blurred in fashion, beauty, hair, and in life.
This beautiful transition towards a more open world has changed the way we look at beauty. It shines a light on what actually makes a person feel beautiful, no matter how they identify. The rise in searches for “non-binary haircuts” or “gender-neutral haircuts” has skyrocketed because so many of our standard, everyday trending styles are rooted in binary traditions. Often, people assume that a non-binary haircut automatically means an androgynous haircut or short hair, when this is simply not the case, and once again pushes a person into a box they didn’t necessarily choose. We spoke to non-binary hairstylist Casey Konstantynowicz of Gay Hair Day in Oakland, CA about the importance of gender-affirming haircuts and how to achieve a look that makes you feel like you.
“We all know self-expression is important…it can save someone’s life, literally.” Konstantynowicz immediately touched on just how important the affirmation of a haircut can be, and for some, it’s literally life and death. “Being trans can kick that up to the next level. More than that, there is a reason transgender people statistically experience more hardship (this is putting it lightly, I’m talking safety here) than people who are cisgender. A gender-affirming haircut can save someone.”
But for some people, deciding on exactly what haircut will affirm their identity can be incredibly difficult for a multitude of reasons. “It could be their home life/relatives, restrictions at work, or not finding a stylist who can make them feel comfortable. Some people also need some kind of guidance and confidence. It’s my job as a stylist to provide that, but also to not necessarily impose what I think might be best for them. It’s a collaboration.”
And collaboration is absolutely key. Unfortunately, many stylists feel the need to tell their clients what’s best for them without listening. In an effort to help non-binary people find the style that fits them best, we asked Konstantynowicz what their typical consultation looks like for someone who is looking for a style that is more fluid.
“Well, first off, make sure you don’t misgender them (or ask for their pronouns right from the start). Second, don’t use language or descriptors tied to gender. Keeping it simple is the safest place to start. 'Short or long?', rather than 'do you want to look like a boy or a girl?' Let us tell you the specifics. Also, if you aren’t queer, avoid certain language terms like 'butch' or 'femme.' They are often used in the wrong context and can not only offend us but make us not trust your vision. There is room for nuance here, but try to get us to use the descriptors. It takes some finesse but that’s just education and practice.”
Konstantynowicz also touched on what is one of the most important things to remember. “Everyone has a different experience with their gender and their gender presentation. One haircut doesn’t fit everyone. I often see people view non-binary people as wanting to always look 'androgynous,' but that alone is making an assumption. A lot of us have varying levels of sensitivity about how we might be perceived, and it’s different from person to person. Ultimately, people can typically tell where you’re coming from, so just approach the consultation with openness, sensitivity, and empathy. If you’re reading this, you’re on the right path.”
For stylists on the path, or anyone searching for a new, affirming haircut, Konstantynowicz's Instagram (@gayhairday) hosts a stockpile of information on gender and expression, as well as a feed full of incredible haircut inspiration.
Non-Binary Haircut Inspiration
Ready to change up your look? If you’re searching for a chop that expresses who you are, look no further. Here are some of our favorite haircuts and styles from Konstantynowicz.
Note: The following haircut ideas are meant to be used as inspiration no matter how you identify. Haircuts are an integral part of personal style, and no matter the length or finish, are for everyone and every gender.
The shullet is a dream cut for anyone looking to try something shorter without losing all their length, or for those looking to remove bulk in the back without going above the neckline.
Sharp and Spiky
For those who prefer a short haircut, reach for the razor. This spiky take looks extra sharp due to the massive amount of texture and angular shape.
Grow It Out
Growing out a buzz cut? You’ve got options. This short, curly mullet proves that growing out your hair can look good at every stage.
Fluffy Pixie Cut
This classic-ish pixie looks fluffy, touchable, and puts all the focus on your face. Perfect for those looking to show off their eyes or define their facial features. While the pixie is typically viewed as a more masculine haircut, there are plenty of ways to change up the finish on a day-to-day basis. Try a middle part, sideswept bang, slick-back style, or let your hair texture do its thing.
Tendrils, More Tendrils
Tendrils are back and not just in that “junior high dance” way. Leaving medium-length tendrils of hair around the face with a shorter fringe or overall short hairstyle is a great way to retain length exactly where you want it—around the face.
The Ultimate Combination
What do you get when you mix an expertly-carved bowl cut, a mullet, and an undercut? The ultimate, versatile haircut combination. Wear it down and show off the length, pin it back to show off that sharp fringe, or flip it any way you want to let the shaved sides steal the show.
We’re all a sucker for a classic shaggy mullet, especially with a micro fringe. Depending on your hair texture, this cut could turn out to be your new favorite low-maintenance hairstyle.
If you have curly hair, you’re gonna want to try this one. A shorter-length hairstyle is often perfect for curls and wavy hair types as it removes unwanted weight and allows your coils to spring back to life.
It’s All in the Details
Details can take your haircut to the next level. What could be your average, everyday mullet becomes something extraordinary with the addition of a carved-out fringe, texture, perfectly shaped sideburns—and that genius little triangle above the ear.
If you prefer long hair, remember that almost everyone looks good in a shag haircut, no matter your gender identity. We can’t explain it. A shag is the ultimate haircut and we’re happy it’s back (and hopefully here to stay).
Carved and Curly
“Carving out shapes” is one of the most fun parts of creating a haircut. From the hair around the ear to the way the fringe grazes the forehead, this short, curly hairstyle would look great on anyone with a curly or wavy hair texture.
You Can’t Go Wrong With a Bob
Bobs are a timeless hairstyle. They never fall out of favor and can be styled in so many different ways. This blunt bob looks extra stylish with razored, face-framing curtain bangs.
A Bowl But Better
A bowl cut or “bowl pixie” looks great, but this textured, shaggy take is even better.
Like a mullet but “smaller,” the baby mullet is just that. One part shag, one part mullet, this choppy crop is great for those who adore choppy fringe and maximum layers but would prefer to keep a bit of length around the hairline and face.
A pixie cut doesn’t have to be a pixie cut or a pixie mullet, for that matter. Try going slightly shorter in the back while retaining length and bulk in the front for the ultimate lived-in and loved short cut.