Since becoming the viral haircut sensation from the past year, the butterfly haircut, aptly named because the shorter top layers resemble a butterfly’s wings, has logged nearly 5 billion views on TikTok. It’s also been seen on the manes of A-listers like Shania Twain and Christie Brinkley.
“Though it’s a current TikTok trend, to me, the butterfly haircut should actually be called the Farrah, after Farrah Fawcett’s legendary hairstyle,” says Derrick Keith, hairstylist with Hairstory hair care. A style every young girl, teen and woman coveted in the 70’s.
“The cut gives the illusion of a short haircut in the front, while maintaining long hair with a feathered look in the back. It makes styling hair up super easy since the top layer can be separated from the bottom, which can easily be pinned under.”
Basically, this cut is versatile and adaptable, allowing the wearer to play with the look of having shorter hair without having to chop it all off. And while it’s flattering for women of all ages, it’s an especially great cut for women over 40.
How a butterfly haircut flatters women over 40
Now, we know what you’re probably thinking, viral haircut trends usually aren’t a great fit for women of our generation. But this viral cut is different, as shown by UK TV presenter, Ali Bender, who tested out the trend to see how it will look on women 40 and older — we think she looks great:
“The butterfly haircut is super flattering for women over 40!” says Stella Winkelmann, senior hairstylist at KINHOUSE Hair Studio in New York City. “The shortest layer usually falls right below the cheekbone, which ends up giving a youthful, uplifting effect by opening the space below the eye and corner of the mouth.” Plus, the face-framing layers around the top of the head make tresses appear thicker.
Another perk of this cut? It works for all hair types. “If you have finer hair, it will be somewhat easier for the layers to blend,” explains Keith. “If your hair is more dense, texturizing will help.”
One thing to note: This cut works best on mid-length or longer hair. “Ideally you want to start with hair that’s no shorter than a couple inches below the collarbone,” says Winkelmann.
What to ask your stylist for when getting the haircut
“When requesting this cut at your salon, ask for soft, face-framing layers with the shortest layer starting at or below your cheekbone.” Then you’ll want to be sure you have the longer layers falling below the shoulder.
“The butterfly haircut is different from a basic layered cut,” adds Keith. “The top should be light and airy while the bottom has more density and volume.”
See how a butterfly haircut is done in the video below from hairstylist Justin Toves-Vincilione @ahappyjustin on Instagram.
Celebrity butterfly haircut inspiration photos
These over-50 Hollywood beauties are proof that the trendy style can be age-defying.
Wispy, graduating layers around the face direct focus upward and outward, giving features a youthful, lifted look.
Front layers that sit higher on cheekbones work wonders to mask crow’s feet and any thinning along the temples.
Longer face-framing layers draw attention vertically to visually elongate the face and neck.
Shorter layers up top give finer strands movement and body, creating the illusion of a thicker head of hair.
Blended, cheekbone-skimming layers beautifully frame the face to spotlight gorgeous facial features.
How to style the trendy haircut
The best thing about this cut is that it is wash and go! “Air dry, air dry, air dry,” says Keith. “I’ve found that clients who prefer to air dry their hair love this style since as it dries naturally, it still looks great.”
For a more polished look when styling at home? Add a little mousse to the roots, then flip your head over and dry to 85%, advises Winkelmann. “This creates movement and volume,” she explains. “To finish, take small sections and wrap hair around a large round brush, brushing away from your face. As the brush is pulled from the hair, push it forward.”
Or you also always have the option to style the cut by separating the short layers and pinning the bottom up into a claw clip or bun, so the front pieces loosely frame the face.
To see a butterfly haircut styled in action, check out the below tutorial from YouTuber Liz Carrier.
How to maintain a butterfly haircut
We saved the best news for last! This cut is ultra low maintenance as “it requires minimum to no effort,” says Keith. “Like any good wash-and-go cut, this one encourages the natural texture of the hair to really shine, and you only need to plan on seeing a stylist every six to eight weeks to keep the shape.”
Isn’t that some viral-worthy haircut news that makes you want to float down to the salon and give this viral cut a try? Us too!
Curious about other hair trends that work well for older women ? Check these stories out: