Everything you need to know about butterfly bangs

The layered style blends with long hair and opens up the face. EL PAÍS speaks with experts about who the look best suits

Hospital Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton, photographed on October 12 in Marlow.Chris Jackson (Getty Images)

The beauty universe tends to give peculiar names to each new trendy haircut. During a season when bobs, midis and micro bangs are triumphing, the butterfly haircut, as coined by stylist Sunnie Brook, has claimed its place. A retro style halfway between the Farrah Fawcett cut of the 1970s and the long layered styles of the late 1990s, the phenomenon is sweeping TikTok: the hashtag #butterflyhaircuttutorial has more than 135 million views. Matilda Djerf is one of the stars responsible for popularizing this layered look, along with celebrities like Sabrina Carpenter and Kaia Gerber. Kate Middleton is the latest to fall in love with the style: the Princess of Wales now has a gradient haircut brushed into a 1970s style brush with distinct waves.

“It is a cut with two lengths that rejuvenates and softens the face. Without a doubt, it is the least risky option for those who hesitate between the difficult decision of cutting their bangs or not. In this cut with long layers, the star is the butterfly bangs that are combed back and separated from the face. To make sure the result is harmonious and has movement, a point is determined between the tip of the nose and the nasal septum, and a gradient is made towards the sides. The wavy style favors the feeling of movement and fluidity. The short pieces are on the front and look like a bob cut, but with length,” explains Eduardo Sánchez, director of Maison Eduardo Sánchez.

After several seasons with a focus on color, we are witnessing a change. “Right now, healthy hair is triumphing, but this trend is accompanied by the desire to have movement. That is achieved with the butterfly haircut, worn on the front of the face with very open bangs. The idea is that the part of the face looks outlined and clear‚” explains hairstylist Juan Diego Teo. And how is it different from typical layered cuts? “Typical layers go inward and frame the face. In this cut, the layers go back and are away from the face, forming the shape of a butterfly’s wings,” says Juanjo Gabriel, Bigudí’s stylist.

The keys to cutting

The play of uneven layers defines the butterfly cut. “It is called that because it offers the possibility of carrying two cuts in one. This style preserves the length of long hair with the freshness and style of the bob, since it is shorter in the front and longer in the back. If we put the back part in a ponytail, it looks like we have cut our hair,” says Raquel Saiz from Salón Blue.

It’s a sleek, easy-to-maintain style that gives hair plenty of volume at the roots and movement throughout. Although the trend is gaining strength in longer haircuts, it also works on medium-length hair. “The key to achieving a butterfly cut at any length is usually to create many layers around the face, thinning the ends to give a light, feathery feel. By eliminating weight, we create volume and movement in the short strands to achieve the butterfly effect,” explains Juanjo Gabriel.

Can we do this cut at home without having to go to the salon? “To do it, the ponytail method is the best option. Of course, it only works with curly or wavy hair, where errors are not as noticeable. But it is not without risks and can always go wrong. As always, it is best to put yourself in the hands of professionals who define the cut according to the shape of the face and the type of hair,” explains Gabriel.

Does it work on all hair types?

“Personally I think it looks good on straight, thick or wavy hair. I do not recommend it on very fine hair, because we would lose density. But as I always advise, the best thing is to do a personalized study to find the middle point between needs and tastes,” says Juan Diego Teo. “Long bangs look good on straight, thick hair because they add texture and movement. Wavy ones are great because they open out to the sides naturally without requiring a lot of drying work. Fine, frizzy or very curly hair should opt for another type of cut,” says hairdresser David Lorente.

What face shapes should try the style

The experts consulted affirm that this 1970s look highlights the cheekbones and favors, above all, fine facial features. “Long bangs highlight the eyes and cheekbones and look especially good on women with inverted triangular faces, as they hide the wide forehead, and also on long, square faces. It is also a highly recommended option for those who are new to the world of bangs, because it can be easily held and camouflaged among the rest of the hair,” says director María José Llata, from Llata Carrera. “In my opinion, this look flatters oval faces. In cases of wide foreheads, angular faces and very long faces it can also look good, but you have to study the case in particular and take into account other details such as the nose or the type of hair. I do not recommend it on long faces with a prominent nose,” clarifies Eduardo Sánchez.

How to dry and style it well at home

Styling your bangs is not an easy task, especially with a butterfly cut, which requires a hairdryer or other styling tools. “This cut is characterized by marked side bangs and waves in the purest 1970s style. We need a wide, cylindrical brush with which to dry the hair, straightening it at the top without crushing it and drawing waves at the ends to create an effect of extra volume. If they are very marked, you can comb them to reduce the intensity,” adds Juanjo Gabriel. To achieve Kate Middleton’s waves, “it is important to pre-dry and then work with a curling iron,” says Sánchez. On TikTok, fans of the trend use the famous Dyson Airwrap styler to add volume to the crown, curl their bangs back, and curl the ends of their hair in a matter of minutes.

Does it work well on all shades?

Any hair color looks good with this style, say experts. “To make the waves stand out more and look better, they always favor sunlight or balayage reflections. Kate Middleton adds some highlights in caramel tones to her already classic dark brown to provide dimension, contrast and lots of light,” says Eduardo Sánchez.

Among the most popular shades this fall are “illuminated chestnuts or flash lights, a coloring technique that consists of adding light tones to a chestnut base in a hyper-natural way, where the maintenance aims to accentuate and care for the shine of the hair, since being an integrated and subtle color it does not require frequent visits to the hairdresser. With these tones it is possible to bring light to the areas closest to the face to highlight the cheekbones, eyes or even blur those very marked features,” explains Fran Galán, from The Beauty Concept Hair.

Juan Diego Teo is clear: “I am not in favor of having very marked points of light in the front when wearing bangs because it does not look natural. If you opt for highlights, they must be very subtle and perfectly integrated into the hair.”

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