From the wolf cut to boyfriend bob, 2022 has already given us some truly iconic haircut inspo. And this season’s latest trending cut is no exception. We’re talking about the U-shaped haircut—the low key style that’s taken over TikTok. With subtle layering and rounded ends, this ’90s-inspired cool-girl cut gives the effortless energy we’re craving this season. It’s undone in the best possible way. To find out more about this soft-sophisticated look, we consulted Ohio stylist Hannah Jean and NYC-based stylist Sakura Ito. Read on to see our expert breakdown of the U-shaped trend.
About the Experts
Hannah Jean is a balayage and brunette specialist based in Ohio.
Sakura Ito is a dark hair specialist based in New York City.
The U-Shape Haircut, Explained
The U-shaped haircut is simple, as the name suggests. “A U-shaped haircut is named after the soft U-like shape of the perimeter of the cut,” Jean explains. “The back of the hair is a straight line but as there’s some front layers/face frame, the line goes up towards the front part,” Ito says. This trend is all about softness and natural beauty, adding light, simple shape to your natural texture. “This cut has overtaken the V-shaped haircut in popularity because of the softness in the completed look,” Jean continues.
Another benefit to the U-shaped cut? According to Ito, it’s the vintage-inspired combination of volume and movement that’s drawing people toward this cut. A little bit of the ’80s and ’90s never hurt anybody.
Getting the Look
This look is all about those rounded ends. “Work from the sides of the head. Pull to the client’s shoulders and work toward the back,” Jean suggests. “That will naturally round out the corners and create a flowing, seamless connection,” she says. “You can always touch up any sharpness afterward!” Ito recommends this cut only if your hair length falls below the shoulders to allow the stylist enough leeway “to cut it almost straight line in the back and, moving up, connect it to the front layers.”
On the client side, Jean suggests bringing at least three inspo photos to show your stylist. Good reference images are the surest way to get the exact shape you want.
“If you don’t have any layers, such as a one-length style, it might need an adjustment to style the cut as there might be a little flip after the shorter layers in front,” Ito says. Ultimately, the U-shaped haircut is relatively easygoing, but lots of layers may not suit every client. Be sure you’re comfortable with that level of feathered volume before taking the plunge.
“One thing to keep in mind with this cut is that the sides will be a bit shorter than the back,” Jean cautions. “If this is something you don’t want or wouldn’t like, then this cut is not for you.”
U-Shaped Haircuts We Love
Ready to take on the U-shaped aesthetic? We rounded up a few stellar inspo pics below.
Long U-Shaped Haircut
Show off your length in this longer version of a U-shaped cut.
Curly U-Shape Cut
Even those with curls can get in on the haircut trend.
We love the casual layers of this U-shape haircut on long hair. A few soft layers really make all the difference.
Lots of Layers
If you want to really go all out with the layers in this cut, use this video as your reference.