The "Butterfly Cut" Is TikTok's Favorite Throwback Hairstyle

Getty Images

If you're doing your daily TikTok scroll and come across a creator with ridiculously bouncy layers, chances are high that they have a butterfly cut. "More and more clients are asking for a butterfly haircut, and they're all learning about it on TikTok," says Drea Dettmers, a hairstylist at Tallulah East Collective in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Like most “trends” circulating the internet, the style isn't new. Hairstylist Sunnie Brook, coined the cut 15 years ago when she had an influx of clients wanting to switch up their hairstyle without chopping off all their length. “The name 'Butterfly' embodies transformation,” says Brook.

If you look back to '90s glam — with Rachel from Friends as the prime example — you’ll see the face-framing, voluminous layers that make the butterfly cut what it is, says Teryn Tucker, a hairstylist at Alchemy Salon in Orlando, Florida. While the cut takes inspiration from shaggy ‘70s and ’90s haircuts, influencers like Matilda Djerf and celebrities like Sydney Sweeny and Kaia Gerber have brought the style back into the spotlight.

Below, experts share everything you need to know about the butterfly cut and why it might be time to book your next appointment at the salon.

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What is a butterfly cut?

A butterfly cut (also known as an octopus haircut) is a haircut that falls between a shag and long layers. What makes this style different from every other layered cut is that the butterfly cut has two distinct sections: long layers that fall below the shoulders for length, and short layers that hit two to three inches below the chin to frame the face and add volume. “It allows for an illusion of short hair while maintaining length, offering a safe space for change,” says Brook.

<h1 class="title">Sydnie Sweeney Butterfly Haircut</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

Sydnie Sweeney Butterfly Haircut

Getty Images

Who should get a butterfly cut?

The style is ideal for people wanting to create the illusion of fuller, healthier hair without sacrificing length. Hairstylist Ashley Lynn, in Charlotte, North Carolina notes that the butterfly cut also "creates volume and shape, while removing damage from every level."

You don’t need thick hair to wear a butterfly cut, but "there are so many layers, you need full density to get the full effect," explains Dettmer. If you have thin hair, less layers are typically added. That said, a spritz of texturizing spray can always help add more volume. Allure suggests the Best of Beauty-winning Verb Volume Dry Texture Spray or Kristin Ess Dry Finish Working Texture Spray.

And if you're growing out your curtain bangs or a hime haircut, the butterfly haircut is a "natural next step," says Tucker. With less styling needed, a butterfly haircut can give you and your hair a break.

Verb Volume Dry Texture Spray


Kristin Ess Dry Finish Working Texture Spray

$15.00, Target

How do you style a butterfly haircut?

The layers add movement that makes for low-maintenance styling. After washing and conditioning your hair, reach for a blow-drying brush, which will add bouncy volume to your layered look. Allure recommends Revlon Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer or Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold One-Step Pro Blowout Styler. Be sure to use a heat protectant to prevent damage (we love the ColorWow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray Anti-Frizz Treatment). You can achieve the same effect with a round brush and blow dryer.

If you don't want to use a hot tool, Brook recommends partially air drying the hair, then “when it’s about 75% dry, I like to divide the hair into two sections and take a small to medium size round brush, using a wrapping and twisting motion to create movement in the hair,” says Brook. Finish off your style by locking in the volume with hairspray — Brook likes the Biolage Complete Control Hairspray (she's an ambassador for the brand).

Revlon Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer

$38.00, Amazon

Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold One-Step Pro Blowout Styler

$95.00, Amazon

Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray

$28.00, Amazon

Oribe Medium Round Brush

$125.00, Dermstore

Prefer to style your hair up? Pamela Anderson's messy bun is a good point of reference. IGK Big Time Volume and Thickening Mousse adds volume, Fekkai Shea Butter Intense Oil helps smooth down flyaways, and R+Co Bleu Featherlight Hairspray will lock it all in. All three are Allure Best of Beauty-winning favorites. The same goes for a ponytail: Pull back the long layers and let the shorter layers fall to frame the face. This makes it easy to achieve a "voluminous, cascading ponytail with little-to-no styling needed," says Dettmer.

IGK Big Time Volume and Thickening Mousse

$31.00, Ulta Beauty

Fekkai Shea Butter Intense Oil

$21.00, Dermstore

R+Co Bleu Featherlight Hairspray

$46.00, Dermstore

Butterfly Haircut Ideas

Keep your length and maximize volume. Here, are a few of our favorite ways to wear the versatile cut.

<h1 class="title">Blonde Butterfly Haircut</h1><cite class="credit">Instagram / @modestspotcarrillo</cite>

Blonde Butterfly Haircut

Instagram / @modestspotcarrillo

This fluffy butterfly cut — with wispy face-framing layers — is a great example of how this cut can be styled on medium-length hair.

Loose waves like Hailee Steinfeld's show off her layers.

<h1 class="title">Butterfly Cut With Highlights</h1><cite class="credit">Instagram / @quecolour</cite>

Butterfly Cut With Highlights

Instagram / @quecolour

This flowy butterfly cut makes highlights pop, especially when styled in bouncy waves.

<h1 class="title">Balayage Butterfly Cut</h1><cite class="credit">Instagram / @alisoncampbellhair</cite>

Balayage Butterfly Cut

Instagram / @alisoncampbellhair

This blend of blonde and brown balayage adds extra dimension to the butterfly cut. Use a blowout brush to curl the ends outward.

<h1 class="title">Kelly Rowland</h1><cite class="credit">Getty Images</cite>

Kelly Rowland

Getty Images

Kelly Rowland's is proof the butterfly cut wears just as well with a side part.

<h1 class="title">Blue Butterfly Cut</h1><cite class="credit">Instagram / @finedaytodye</cite>

Blue Butterfly Cut

Instagram / @finedaytodye

These blue streaks add even more edge to the style.

<h1 class="title">Mid Length Butterfly cut </h1><cite class="credit">Instagram /</cite>

Mid Length Butterfly cut

Instagram /

Is it a shag? Is it a wolf cut? It may not look like a butterfly cut at first glance but the distinct short layers at the top and longer layers toward the bottom qualify this look as a butterfly cut.

<h1 class="title">Butterfly Cut With Curls </h1><cite class="credit">Instagram / @garagehairrepairstudio</cite>

Butterfly Cut With Curls

Instagram / @garagehairrepairstudio

Curling the front pieces of your hair away from the face gives this cut a nostalgic '90s vibe.

Additional reporting by Annie Blay.

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Originally Appeared on Allure