Meet The "Butterfly Haircut": The '70s-Inspired Cut That TikTok Is Obsessed With – Women's Health

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If you’re looking to refresh your hairstyle for fall, you don’t have to scroll on Tiktok or Instagram for long to see that 2022 is all about the butterfly haircut. Spotted on stars like Hailee Steinfeld, Sydney SweeneyJennifer Lopez, and social media sensation Addison Rae, this bouncy, face-framing, voluminous layered look has so much movement when styled that with every head toss—or step you take—your tresses resemble the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings. 
Others liken the name to the shorter layers in the cut, which give the style the shape of a butterfly, or just the duality of this versatile cut; the butterfly sits somewhere between short and long hair, depending on how you style it. That metamorphosis calls to mind the caterpillar to butterfly transition. Enough with the metaphors though; everything you really need to know about this haircut is below, from what it looks like to how to style it and whether it’s for you or not. 
Will the butterfly haircut be part of all your fall fit photos? We asked GHD Creative Artist and Stylist Natalie Anne.
While the butterfly haircut term may be new (and is also sometimes referred to as the thousand layer or octopus haircut as well), this cut’s definitely a variation of something the beauty industry has seen before: the shag, which has quickly made a comeback since 2020.
“It’s a really cool rendition / updated version of the Rachel cut loved in the 90’s. A butterfly cut is heavily layered around the face and gives the illusion of length and movement,” says Anne. “It’s the perfect haircut for women or men who want to maintain their length but still have a change. It’s also feminine and sexy and perfect for curly / wavy hair.”
The butterfly haircut is a far softer, more subtle look than, say, beachy waves or pin-straight locks. our longest pieces should, in theory, fall below the shoulders, so you’ll easily be able to wear your hair up in a ponytail or a bun with this cut. You can also leave a few of your shorter pieces out if you want to play up the face-framing strands in this style.
“Traditionally the butterfly haircut is achieved with a round layer around the crown. When you cut the hair pulled at 90 degrees you get layers with lots of texture. I call it the magic haircut as it has shape and personality while maintaining length,” adds Ann. “To style the butterfly cut, it’s ideal for a big blowout. A traditional twisted blowdry with the GHD Helios will reveal all those gorgeous layers. For anyone on the go, using the GHD rise volumising hot brush to work those curls away from the face will give you that bounce.”
If your hairstylist doesn’t speak TikTok, don’t worry. All you have to do its listen to Natalie’s one tip… “Visual reference is your best friend. It can be dangerous to describe, so I always recommended clients bring in pictures of people with your hair type as examples. I also love it when clients share video content as references. Videos show your hairdresser the movement of a cut rather than just one styled image. Keep in mind, you also want to make sure it works for you and your lifestyle, and you feel confident wearing it, rather than it just being a trend right now.”
Though it’s a fairly versatile haircut that almost anyone can try, the butterfly can be better suited for certain hair types.
“Part of its popularity is that it suits everyone! Anyone who has enough hair to have removal of weight because that is essentially what layering is. The Butterfly cut is perfect for anyone who wants healthier hair without killing length,” says Ann.
Because this look hinges on lots of layers, those with thinner or finer hair textures might not get the full butterfly effect with this cut. Of course, volumisers can help in this department, if your locks are on the limper side, and you have your heart set on this style.
“Naturally curly and wavy hair is just beautiful for this. It’s also really good if you have dry/damaged hair, and you don’t want to sacrifice length, it can make your hair look healthier in an instant.”
As far as face shapes go, any layered look will always add contour to more rounder face shapes. The butterfly is no different; it can soften features and counter fullness in the cheeks.
“The love for the 90’s and TikTok obviously is a huge factor but it brought the shape back and renamed it, rather than creating it. It’s also super popular because of its versatility, it has endless styling possibilities and allows you to make a change without having to cut everything off,” she adds.
Nikolina is the web-obsessed Digital Editor at Men's and Women's Health, where she covers news, fitness, health, style, travel and pretty-much everything else. A lover of boxing, she was previously a Digital Editor at GQ and Vogue magazine and has contributed to Vogue Living and The Australian. She specialises in digital marketing, social media and branded and editorial content creation.
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