Never do we battle with our long, thick hair so much as when it’s hot and sticky all day every day—namely for the three months it’s summer. Not only does the heat turn your hair into a veritable scarf, the humidity makes it all sorts of poofy and frizzy, expanding to its maximum puff. It can be overwhelming, but the solution doesn’t have to be an extreme chop.
If you love your long locks but can’t stand how they just shawl around your neck and shoulders (incubating more sweat than necessary on your body), you can seek refuge with a visit to your hairdresser. Turns out, you don’t even have to necessarily sacrifice length or shape to get a bit of relief from all the bulk of your hair.
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‘Bulk’ is indeed the term to use when communicating to your hairdresser the target—and there are a few ways to “summerize” your haircut without losing length, depending on how daring you are.
Slicing. Layers are the obvious way to free up a very thick base of hair (base, meaning where the ends of your hair fall). Kristen Hetland demonstrated how she does this to us at Sally Hershberger Salon Downtown New York City, by taking small sections of hair and slicing straight back at a 45 to 180 degree angle in the ends to thin them out. This frees them up for a bit more movement.
Texturize. If you’re looking for that perfectly imperfect bedhead look, you’re going to need a bit of texture. Luckily, texturizing your hair has the added benefit of also lightening up the weight. While wavy hair wears this naturally well, you can still texturize straight or curly hair. Your hairdresser will essentially use a razor or thinning shears to cut strategic layers into your hair to give it natural movement. Styling with a pliable mousse or salt spray gives the cut that mussed-up look that can add volume without feeling heavy or too coiffed.
Internal Cutting. Sometimes referred to as the “chipping method,” this is when your hairdresser will snip small sections of hair somewhere in the middle of the shaft, from a section hidden beneath a few layers of hair. Generally, this is done if you already have naturally thick hair. It might feel like a big chop in relation to the rest of your length, but since it’s hidden inside layers, it’s an invisible cut. This calls for more random targeting than precise slicing but can remove quite a bit of bulk without changing the overall shape. Also, there’s a good chance that you won’t even be able to find the “chipped” bits when you hair is done being styled.
Slithering. This is done by dragging open scissors along the hair shaft, opening and closing them gently to create layers. This is best when you want to keep your hair long but lighten it up without concrete visible layers.
Undercutting. Definitely for the bold—or anyone who doesn’t mind an awkward grow-out phase—undercutting has a functional purpose as well as gives you a bit of an edge. Depending on how visible you want it, buzzing sections of your hair at the nape of your neck will remove the most bulk (and offer a nice breezy patch around your neck) and remain invisible as long as you keep your hair down. Throw it up in a pony or bun and you have an edgy detail to flaunt.