When it comes to beauty, there’s nothing we love more than a product that works for everyone like Nars Blush in Orgasm, MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, or any of our other favorite universally flattering lipstick shades. We equip ourselves with these foolproof picks, knowing they’ll come through for us each time with their magical ability to flatter all skin tones. Haircuts, on the other hand, are a completely different story. There’s a reason we obsess and Pinterest-scroll for days before an appointment with our hairstylist and have slowly realized (through trial and error—lots of error) that just because Emma Watson can pull off a pixie cut doesn’t mean that we necessarily can, too.
But we couldn’t help but wonder, is there a one-size-fits-all cut? Is there a wondrous style that we can count on flattering round and thin faces, curly and stick-straight strands alike? For our answer, we went straight to an industry pro: veteran hairstylist Leanne Citrone, who also happens to be the co-owner of celeb-favorite Andy Lecompte Salon in Los Angeles. Citrone surprised us by claiming that yes, such a mystical haircut exists—and let’s just say it was definitely not what we were expecting.
The Universally Flattering Haircut
The one haircut Citrone swears looks good on everyone? The bob. Yes, the cut you’ve been eyeing from afar with curiosity and perhaps a tinge of fear. “The bob is such a great, versatile haircut that really suits everyone,” Citrone tells us. “It can easily be customized to anyone’s hair length and texture.” Can it really, though? Haven’t we been told that those with round faces or super-thick strands should veer away from bobs to avoid looking vaguely mushroom-like? According to Citrone, it’s all about how you personalize it. Discover her advice for each different hair type ahead.
“If your hair is thin, you can keep this haircut short and clean, with no layers,” Citrone says. “This gives it a thicker, fuller feel.” Or she suggests going the lob route and having the cut skim right above your shoulders.
If your strands veer on the mousy side, Citrone says you can add some layers to soften the ends and add texture. The final effect should be slightly choppy, messy, and modern. Also, a texturizing dry shampoo will be your best friend. “I absolutely love Serge Normant’s Meta Revive Dry Shampoo ($25),” she says. “It gives the most incredible texture, adds volume, and really holds any style. It’s my go-to product for adding a bit of grit to a hairstyle and adds a beachy, thick, slightly dirty feel.”
For a straight and sleek style like Taraji P. Henson's, Citrone applies Davines OI Oil ($45) and then blow-dries the hair using a large boar-bristle brush. Then, she goes over the whole head with a flat iron—simple and straightforward. She blow-dries the hair for texture and twists each section around a brush to give a slight wave. “When that’s finished, I get the one- or one-and-a-half-inch curling iron and wave each section going backward, breaking it up with the Kevin Murphy Hair Resort Spray ($35) to add texture when I’m done,” she says.
So you’ve got thick hair with a mind of its own, and no way is it going to cooperate and fall into a sleek, cool-girl bob? Don’t give up so fast. “Thinning out the layers but leaving them long—especially in the back—while leaving the front corners with fewer layers can really work to take out the bulk,” she says.
When it comes to styling thick hair into a bob or lob, Citrone says it’s all about the pre-heat prep. “I use Kevin Murphy’s Easy Rider Anti-Frizz Crème ($34) if I’m going to blow thick hair straight, or want it just to have a gentle wave,” she shares.
If you have long strands and aren’t sure if you’re ready for a bob, consider a lob instead. “This cut gets rid of all that long hair, but having your hair below your shoulders and skimming your collarbone adds the illusion of length,” Citrone says.
Curly hair cut short can easily go wrong (namely, a final effect that’s vaguely broccoli-esque), but Citrone swears it can be done. “Curly hair actually has the most potential to have fun with this cut,” she says. “You can add more layers to create a great shape, even potentially leaning more toward a shag vibe.”
To style your curly strands into a lob, Citrone says to towel-dry your hair gently by squeezing it with a towel (to avoid frizz, try not to break up the curls). Then, she follows by blow-drying on a lower speed with no brush; after that, she takes a curling iron to random sections of the hair to even everything out and blends it all together.
In the end, it’s all about communication—visual communication, preferably. Bring photos of what you want when you go into the salon; the more open the discussion, the better. And next time you're in doubt, why not consider a bob or lob? “The cut translates for beautifully for all hair types,” Citrone says. “You can easily tailor it to each individual to achieve whatever it is they are looking for."