Popular hairstyles come and go, but today's trendiest styles are often variations on more traditional cuts. When looking for a new style, begin by checking out classic styles. Look in hair magazines, style books at your salon, search online, or talk to a stylist.
Classic haircuts may go by slightly different names and sometimes the line may blur between similar styles, however knowing the names of common cuts and hairstyles make it easier to search for photos or discuss ideas with a stylist.
Bob Cut - A short hairstyle where the length falls between the ears and chin. Not all bobs look the same. They can be worn with or without bangs (fringe) and the hair can be cut evenly or angled to be longer in the front. An angled cut is sometimes called a "Pob" or "Posh Bob" after Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) who famously sported the style.
Pageboy - A longer form of the bob cut. Pageboys fall below the chin but above the shoulder. They may be long enough to graze the shoulder tops, but short enough to see the shape as the hair hangs free.
Flip - Similar to a bob cut or pageboy, a flip is worn straight with just the ends of the hair curled or "flipped" up. The flip can be worn short, shoulder-length, or even below the shoulders. Women with a classic bob or pageboy can style to look like a flip, however a flip cut is often cut with the ends angled in a way that makes them flip up more easily.
Crop or Pixie Cut - A very short hairstyle for women where the hair is cut very close to the head. Men wear similar haircuts, but it's usually only called a "crop" for women. More jagged, razor cut styles may be called crop cuts, while softer scissor-cut versions are called pixie cuts. However, the terms are often interchangeable.
Shag - With variations for both women and men, the shag is a choppy haircut with lots of layers giving it extra fullness. In the 1960s, The Beatles popularized men's shag cuts. While in the 1990s, Jennifer Aniston's famous long shag was known as the "Rachael", named for her character on the TV show Friends.
Skater Cut - Worn by boys and men, the skater cut is like a shag with longer layers. Typically the front layers fall just below the eyebrows, the sides hang below the ears, and the back hits the nape of the neck.
Bowl Cut - Typically worn by kids, a bowl cut basically looks like a bowl worn on the head. It was famously worn by Moe from the Three Stooges. Some adults still wear the bowl cut, but it is more often worn by young boys and girls.
Buzz Cut - Named for the sound of electric clippers, a buzz cut is a clipper cut where the hair is clipped evenly all over. It can be cut in different lengths depending on which guard is used on the clippers.
Fade or Flattop - A clipper cut where the hair is cut down to the scalp at the bottom (near the neck) but is gradually longer as is reaches the top of the head. The look can be changed depending on how much hair is left on top and how it is styled.
Caesar Cut - Named for Julius Caesar, the Caesar cut is a short hairstyle for men with chunky layers and very short bangs. In the 1990s, it was sometimes called a Clooney Cut because George Clooney wore the style on the TV show ER.
Hair lengths that reach well below the shoulders are generally referred to as simply "long hair". Long hair is fashionable for both men and women and works well for many types of hair. Bangs (fringe), tapered sides, or long layers can be used to shape long hair.
Long hair can easily be worn in many different hairstyles. These popular hairstyles can also be achieved with medium length hair, although bobby pins or clips may be required to keep some styles in place, especially with layered hair.
Ponytail - A simple style where hair is gathered together and held in place with an elastic band. Ponytails can be high on the head or low near the neck. They can also be worn on each side of the head, or in any other variations.
French Braid - A form of braid that appears to be woven into the head. French braids are made by braiding a small section of hair and gradually adding in more hair as the braid is formed. This style can be worn for formal events, but it is commonly worn in sports such as gymnastics or horseback riding because it holds the hair firmly in place.
Corn Rows - A special kind of braids where the hair is divided into small sections and braided close to the head leaving thin strips of scalp showing between each braid. Corn rows are worn by men, women, and children.
Ballerina Bun - A style where hair is pulled in to a ponytail and wrapped into a round shape and pinned into place. Buns are often worn by ballerinas or gymnasts, but they can be a lovely, classic updo for anyone.
French Twist - A style where the hair is gathered, rolled onto the back of the head, and held in place with pins or a special comb. French twists are an elegant look for evening.
Use these terms to discuss options with a stylist or search for hairstyles online. Remember that while these classic styles have timeless appeal, they can be easily modified to create a hip signature style.