If you have long hair but you're bored with your look, you may be tempted to go for a chop. And while that may very well be an option, it's not the only option. As beauty editors, we've learned you can transform your look without sacrificing your length.
So how is it possible to achieve this? Well, thanks to stylists Vernon Francois and Rena Calhoun, we've identified a few options, whether that's adding in fresh new layers to your style, opting for a blunt or side fringe, or even going for the "invisible haircut" (that's a real thing, we promise). As always, we've gathered examples as seen on our favorite A-listers to give you plenty of hairstyle inspiration before you sit down in your stylist's chair.
Click through our gallery for 20 of the best long haircuts to transform your look.
If you've got mega-long hair, why not switch it up by adding some different lengths at the bottom? It will give a cool, hippie vibe. Groovy, right? Francois recommends "slicing the ends of your hair, which creates a softer, more contemporary appearance and tends to work very well with thicker hair. This is also great for those who don’t want to cut their hair often."
Natural Air-Dried Waves
Rosalía makes an argument for stepping away from heat styling and embracing your hair in its natural state. However, as Calhoun points out, "Regardless of whether your hair is thick or not, air-dried hair can be most flattering when your hair has plenty of natural wave and texture in it. I recommend a different styling method if you have stick-straight hair."
"Always be sure to prep before air drying by using a curl-enhancing product to tame frizz and bring hair to life. Virtue Lab’s Moisture Defining Whip ($36) is my go-to for bringing bouncy textures out of hair. It’s highly effective, super lightweight, and virtually undetectable to the touch."
To give your long hair definition, consider incorporating a few simple shorter pieces at the front. Not only will it mean you can style your 'do similarly to Cara Delevingne's look here, but it won't take long to grow out if you don't like it. We love using GHD Gold Styler ($199) to create soft, loose curls.
Really stuck in a hair rut but happy with the length? Then perhaps a fringe is for you. Before deciding if it will suit you and your hair type, "it’s always best to have a consultation with an experienced hairstylist beforehand," says Francois. "Also, fringes for long hair often change your look and give you more options for wearing your hair up." If you’re still not sure, "opt for a side fringe that way you can have the best of both," he advises.
Layered With Bangs
J.Lo has got it all, from flawless skin to the perfect bum to long, luscious locks. The secret to her beautiful mane? Layers. Calhoun says they "create dimension and texture. They’re great for anyone with medium to thick hair. For finer hair, I recommend sticking to one-length haircuts."
As for her bangs, "[They] work for most people if they are cut to frame your face in the most flattering way. You also have to be committed to styling them every day. Bangs are never great for clients who are 'wash and go' types." Try prepping with Gisou Propolis Infused Polishing Primer ($34) and refreshing with Psssst! Instant Dry Shampoo Spray ($7) as needed.
To ensure your bangs look their best, styling is key. Since they tend to get oily and flat by the end of the day, Calhoun recommends prepping with a volumizing product and carrying a travel-sized dry shampoo in your bag to refresh throughout the day as needed.
Vanessa Hudgens's mermaid waves add texture and movement to her long, thick mane. If you have naturally curly or wavy strands, simply air-dry hair, and when still damp, apply a sea salt spray to create texture. Those with straighter strands might need some help from a tool such as the Bed Head A-Wave-We-Go Adjustable Waver ($40), which creates the perfect siren-esque waves and other customizable curls to fit any mood or occasion.
While there are pros to getting a layered haircut—layers offer movement, break up weight, and make hair look bouncier—just be wary if you're not blessed with super-thick tresses since layers can make fine hair appear flat. The trick to keeping hair looking healthy at all times is maintaining thickness at hair's ends. To do so, ask your stylist to take out your layers (that means cutting off some length).
Invisible or Interior Layers
The term "invisible haircut" was created by the clever folk over at Hershesons to give movement to hair in order to make the best of its natural style without adding obvious layers. Anyone, whatever texture (or length), can go for this, and it will give your hair a boost without compromising on length.
To ensure you make the most of your curls, consider blending long layers throughout to remove some weight and instantly lift hair. Invest in a pair of curling tongs to help enhance your style, too.
Extra Long and Straight
There's long hair and then there's Naomi Campbell length. If you're considering growing out hair—and then growing it out some more—it's best to have thicker hair, according to Calhoun. "Extreme lengths work best on thicker hair types. Finer hair can tend to look straggly and flat at lengths that go further and further beyond the collar bone."
"To grow the healthiest possible hair, it starts with the foundation. Scalp health is a crucial part of maintaining healthy hair, and only healthy hair grows," says Calhoun. "I’m obsessed with Virtue’s Scalp Collection. On a weekly basis, I use the exfoliant ($46) to cleanse and reset, and I follow by massaging in the topical treatment to give my scalp extra nutrients."
You don't have to commit to a blunt fringe to give yourself a dramatic makeover. Try a softer approach with a side-swept version à la Bella Thorne. To style, part hair to one side, then curl bangs toward the back of your head using a round brush and blow-dryer. Spritz with Kristin Ess Ultra Fine Workable Hairspray ($14) to finish.
Soft and Texturized
Shay Mitchell has always been a major source of hair envy, but also hair inspiration. And this long texturized cut and style of hers is another winner. As to what texturized actually means, Calhoun explains, "Texture doesn’t equal layers. It means that the ends of your hair are soft and point-cut into. This is a great cut to keep your hair versatile when styling. It can be worn smooth and sleek or simply styled with a curling iron and enhanced with texture spray."
Texturizing works on most hair types, and the thicker your hair, the more texturizing you can afford to cut into it, according to Calhoun. However, ask your stylist to use their best judgment based on your hair’s density.
Selena Gomez enhances her long waves with ombré, a coloring technique that achieves a gradient of dark to light dimensional highlights. Make sure to invest in a cleansing routine to keep color-treated hair healthy. And in case you're looking for more ombré hair inspo, we've got you covered.
Curtain bangs are one of the most trending bang options out there, and for good reason. If you're low-commitment when it comes to maintaining your mane, curtain bangs are a stylish, flexible, and low-maintenance option. A triple win, if you ask us.
From voluminous bobs to closely cropped pixies, it feels like Solange is always finding new ways to wear her natural hair, and we're loving this long, braided take. "Braids are an amazing and versatile way to protect your natural hair from heat and other environmental stresses, and they work best on curly and coily hair. Having texture in your hair prevents the braids from slipping out over time and will give you a longer-lasting result," says Calhoun.
Once braids are removed—typically after several weeks—she recommends using "Virtue’s Purifying Shampoo ($28) to deep-clean and reset. A reset will help you maintain the overall health of your hair, especially after keeping it in a protective style for an extended period of time."
Straight and Sleek
There's something about Ciara's long, thick mane that makes you want to wrap yourself up in its warm embrace like a comforting blanket (what, just us?). She adds subtle angles at hair's ends to remove some weight, which helps thick tresses from feeling too heavy.
Side-Parted Voluminous Curls
Kate Hudson's golden curls deliver like a ray of sunshine. To ensure you make the most of your curls, incorporate layers to lift and volumize. Invest in a pair of curling tongs to help enhance your style too. We're fans of Amika The Autopilot 3-in-1 Rotating Curling Iron ($120).
How many times have we bowed down to worship KKW's hair? The secret to this lived-in look is texture. Just apply a medium-hold mousse then blow-dry hair. Once hair is dry, create loose waves using Ghd Platinum+ Professional Performance 1-Inch Styler ($249). The effect is kinda casual and kinda sexy, which makes it kinda perfect.