Which of 2023’s biggest hair trends will suit you?

Mullets, The Shag, Curtain Bangs and Rat Tails and Elfin cuts


Description: Business at the front, party at the back, the mullet is often branded the most divisive haircut, despite 99 per cent of people agreeing that it looks horrendous. Somehow it’s back again, though this time it’s better styled and unisex (see Miley Cyrus or Rihanna on the cover of Dazed). While a mullet fan used to be someone to steer clear of in a schlocky horror movie, the androgynous style has gained such popularity on TikTok and among gen Z that GQ recently declared: “everyone’s horny for the mullet again”.

What it says about you: You spend too much time on social media, which has emboldened you to make questionable choices. Probably someone who counts themselves “ahead of the curve”, you know full well you’re gorgeous and can withstand a haircut precision engineered to make a person less attractive. You probably call this “my mullet era”, because you have hair eras. Or you’re a man who rarely makes it to the salon and it’s an accident.

Celeb face: Bowie and Joan Jett started what Paul Mescal, Lil Nas X and Zendaya seem determined to finish.

Maintenance factor: Easy – if you like the messy, youthful look.


Don’t go for this style if ... You’re not famous/hugely attractive/playing a 1970s footballer in a forthcoming biopic.


Description: Choppy, tousled, voluminous and shaggy, this hairstyle encompasses all lengths and apparently animals (it’s also known as the wolf, octopus, jellyfish and butterfly cut, depending on the shape of the layers). Picture every girl you know who wishes she was Stevie Nicks.

What it says about you: You watched Daisy Jones & the Six the night before you went to the hairdresser’s. You probably describe yourself as a free spirit, and definitely run your fingers through your hair while dancing with your eyes closed. But behind the scenes you’re locked to your Dyson Airwrap; all is not as bohemian as it seems.

Celeb face: Stevie Nicks ran so every starlet could walk sultrily. Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Ciara and Natasha Lyonne are fans.

Maintenance factor: A haircut designed to look like you’ve literally been freshly shagged can only mean one thing – it’s actually loads of effort. Case in point: a popular YouTube video on styling a shag (“Super easy!’) is 12 minutes long. We’re talking texturising spray, blow-dries, different brushes and heated appliances to get the look that’s all over your Instagram.

Don’t go for this style if ... You have to do your own hair.

Curtain bangs

Description: A half-grown-out fringe with good PR. The haircut every TikTok girlie loves to peek/pout out from moved into the mainstream when the Princess of Wales sported it a few weeks back. Think a plume‑ish curtain of hair flicking effortlessly out, framing the face and tickling some Charlotte Tilbury-defined cheekbones.

What it says about you: You’re aiming for a shortcut to glam. You’re time-poor, but make time to doomscroll on Instagram (not TikTok, you aren’t a teenager) and have watched a lot of Get Ready With Me videos where at the end the woman stares at her outfit in the mirror while fiddling with her overgrown fringe. You recently Googled “Two bits of hair long fringe hairstyle” and hit “Add to Pinterest board” before falling asleep on the couch.

Celeb face: Farah Fawcett is the blueprint, but it’s been worn by many glossy celebs from Sienna Miller to Halle Berry. Today, Jennifer Lopez is reigning queen of the traditional butterfly bangs, but Kristen Stewart’s new pixie look is a modern twist.

Maintenance factor: You’re going to need kit that includes Velcro rollers and a big round brush, adding a good 15 minutes to your routine.

Don’t go for this style if ... You have an unchangeable side parting. Take it from me – you’ll look like you’ve just got a bit of a side fringe and a random, thin bit of hair on the other side.

90s bob

Description: Think supermodels like Christy Turlington in the 90s: a bit of volume, the perfect amount of barely there wave, short and chic. Casually flipped over to one side like someone has effortlessly run their fingers through it while in deep contemplation. Emphatically not the 90s bob you had as a child that made you look like a Playmobil character in every school photo.

What it says about you: You’re stylish in the way of someone who doesn’t do trends (despite this being a trend). You’re probably gen Z, as anyone older is likely too scarred from the actual 90s and worried about whether their jawline can carry it off. You play with your bob while staring at yourself on Zoom meetings at your “lazy girl job”.

Celeb face: A big favourite of gen Z Hollywood girls like Zendaya, Hailey Bieber and Jenna Ortega.

Maintenance factor: Not too bad – benefits from the odd bit of zhooshing throughout the day with your fingers.

Don’t go for this style if ... You’ve got a very round face.

Unisex curtains

Description: The haircut that featured in 90% of Just Seventeen posters is back – and this time it’s unisex. Think David Beckham, pre-Victoria. Think peak Leonardo DiCaprio when he still dated women his own age. Think Ben from A1. Don’t think about Dawson from Dawson’s Creek doing that crying face.

What it says about you: You’ve got balls – because you’re going to attract a lot of looks from millennials and gen Xers wondering WTF is going on and volunteering information about their teenage crush.

Celeb face: Timothée Chalamet and Emma Corrin, pre-recent-headshave, but hairstylist Michael Kent from Blue Tit (a London-based group of boutique salons) says it’s being led by a rise in the popularity of Korean fashion too, as modelled by people like BTS’s Jungkook.

Maintenance factor: “It’s tidy and it looks effortless ... But it’s not effortless,” says Kent. “You need a little bit of height on the top, then swooped back to the side, with some pieces on the face. Most men with dead straight hair would have to put some products in it.”

Don’t go for this style if ... You had it the first time round. Let the kids have their fun.


Description: Mermaid waves, princess curls, a curly blow. Everyone from Molly-Mae Hague, the Princess of Wales and Beyoncé to Amal Clooney and Liz Hurley can’t seem to get enough of artificial, usually heat-styled, curls.

What it says about you: Depends – if it’s your everyday look, you’re a woman with either time (at home) or money (at the salon) on your hands. If it’s the odd big night out/wedding, it seems practically expected if you’re over 35. Potentially erring on cheugy (what gen Z call anything “basic” millennials like, such as Uggs or skinny jeans or gin) – check back in on TikTok in three to six months.

Celeb face: Literally every female celebrity over 30.

Maintenance factor: Takes kit (whether your weapon of choice is a Dyson Airwrap, a wand, a tong or straighteners), but gets quicker with practice. Made exponentially easier by the unstoppable rise of the heatless curl kit (though a dressing-gown cord is as good tbh).

Don’t go for this style if ... You haven’t got the upper-arm strength required for endless styling. Or are about to go out in the rain. Complete waste of time.

Super length

Description: The rise of super-length hair, particularly in middle-aged, wealthy women, has become a press preoccupation recently thanks to such glowing over-50s as Gwyneth Paltrow and JLo sporting lustrous natural locks. Long gone are the days when to pass your 40th birthday with anything beyond your shoulders was outrageous. We can have it all now! Even different length hair! Women are so lucky!

What it says about you: The Times recently branded long hair a status symbol, and Kent says there’s something in that: “If you look at someone with really long, luscious locks, you think they have their shit together, because they know how to maintain that look. A lot of people instantly understand it’s expensive to look after long hair.” Also, he says, to have that look without extensions can take seven or eight years of growth.

Celeb face: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Naomi Campbell and Priyanka Chopra.

Maintenance factor: Simple, yes, but costly.

Don’t go for this style if ... You can’t afford to squeeze that conditioner bottle without restraint. Also, it’s not just growing your hair long because you can’t afford to get a haircut – the split ends give you away.

Boho braids

Description: You can’t move for Bohemian braids (AKA boho braids) right now – everyone seems to want that effortless, just-back-from-holiday look. It’s inspired by the pick-and-drop style of the 90s, where hair was braided around an inch from the head and curly or straight hair attached from there to mimic the look of a weave. With boho braids, curly or wavy hair is added to the ends (human or artificial). You can also attach a few extensions of loose curls to the top of the head to give the illusion that all the hair is your own (this variation of the style is known as goddess boho braids).

What it says about you: You like to wear protective styles while still keeping it cute. You’re into brown lipliner and a Y2K aesthetic. You’re imbued with the patience of a saint.

Celeb face: Zoë Kravitz, Ciara, Jordyn Woods, Vick Hope.

Maintenance factor: High. Keeping the curly ends looking fresh requires daily treatment – separating them when they knot together, and moisturising each day with an oil, cream or gel that works with the hair you’ve selected. Hair needs tying in two bunches at night to prevent knotting, and wrapping with a scarf as you would with any other braided style.

Don’t go for this style if ... You’re not committed to the upkeep.

Male perms

Description: Beloved in the 80s and infamous as a key plot point in Legally Blonde, perms are back, but this time they’re for boys. Some seeking out the tight curls are after that fade-meets-curly-top look that features on 74% of footballers. But another driving force is TikTok’s obsession with K-pop stars who have lightly waved tousled locks.

What it says about you: You’re into your hair enough to go the extra mile. We know it’s 2023, but it still takes something to walk into the salon and ask them to perm your hair. You are likely to be an aspiring influencer.

Celeb face: Tom Grennan and Bukayo Saka have got the fade look naturally. Gong Yoo typifies the light waves.

Maintenance factor: After the initial time commitment in the salon, you’re kind of done ... Till next time.

Don’t go for this style if ... You’re planning on murdering your rich father and using a shower as your alibi (Elle Woods fans, amirite?).

Perfect fringe

Description: You’ve seen it, you’ve wanted it, you’ve gone to the hairdresser’s incorrectly believing you can have it. The perfect fringe is a sight to behold – the perfect weight, length, all sitting in the right direction and none of it sweatily sticking to your forehead is a thing coveted by all women at some point in their lives. Still in. Always in.

What it says about you: Chic, never out of style, and have worked so hard on your fringe you’re liable to make it a conversation piece. Possibly a little bit uptight and, dare we say, prissy – sorry, but how much fun can you have without getting a sweaty, kinked fringe?

Celeb face: Zooey Deschanel, Dakota Johnson, Taylor Swift.

Maintenance factor: Regular trims and blow-drying needed, but it’s the long game with this one. “Hair has memory, so it has the ability to be trained,” says Kent. That works both ways: “If you’ve had your hair in a side parting for 25 years and decide you want a fringe, your fringe might not want to sit ‘correctly’ at the beginning ... but if you persist it’ll remember where it needs to go.”

Don’t go for this style if ... You can’t play the long game. It’ll take a few cuts. “I’d say 50% of my clients who are getting one cut in for the first time grow it out,” says Kent.

Shaved head

Description: It’s, well, a shaved head.

What it says about you: Depends if it’s a choice or not. It could say brave, exciting, no time to mess around with hair, just here for full-throttle life! It could say male-pattern baldness in your maternal line. Celebrities including Florence Pugh, Jodie Turner-Smith and Emma Corrin walking the red carpet have given it fresh kudos for all genders. The cost of living crisis may also be encouraging at-home dos.

Celeb face: Jason Statham, Emma Corrin, Florence Pugh, Jodie Turner-Smith.

Maintenance factor: While more shavees are hitting the hairdresser’s to play with cool colours, the upkeep is low as it gets. You do need to keep on top of things so you don’t reach the fuzzy stage, but it can be done at home.

Don’t go for this style if ... You’re not committed. It’s a long way back ... and a rocky road. See Florence Pugh admitting she looks like Guy Fieri ...

Rat tail

Description: A tester mullet? Not sure if you want the whole party in the back? Why not painstakingly grow one small section of long hair right at the back of your head? Especially one that looks like everyone’s least favourite part of animal anatomy – a rat’s tail!

What it says about you: An individual who likes to stand out – or have people point behind your back when they spot it. “I have had less than one per cent of all my clientele get it done,” says Kent, who very politely adds: “It’s something that adds a unique twist that you might not have thought about before.”

Shia LaBeouf. Photograph: Getty Images

Celeb face: It’s a field of one, and that one is Shia LaBeouf.

Maintenance factor: Maybe not as easy as it looks. “One of my clients has been trying to grow one,” says Kent. “Last time I saw her, I put an extension in.”

Don’t go for this style if ... You don’t like being pointed at.

Elfin cut

Description: AKA the Pixie, the Fairy – a mythical cut for a magical percentage of women who can pull it off. See also every woman who went to the hairdresser’s with a picture of Posh Spice in the 90s and Frankie Bridge in the 00s. Or watched Sliding Doors. It’s bang on trend with the current 90s/00s revivals in fashion. It can look so gorgeous on the right person (usually a Hollywood actor).

What it says about you: There’s Venn diagram crossover with Manic Pixie Dream Girls (the flighty romcom trope from the 00s). There’s a confidence/ having a crisis of confidence dichotomy with the crop. You may have recently gone through a break-up. Or watched the new Netflix Beckham doc and wannabe Posh Spice.

Celeb face: Loads (from Katy Perry to Kate Hudson) have tried it. Scarlett Johansson was a long-term adherent. But we lust after Zoë Kravitz’s, Michelle Williams’s and, back in the day, Halle Berry’s. Kelly Rowland and Kristen Stewart have debuted new crops in the past month.

Maintenance factor: Deceptively tricky to style because there’s nowhere to hide a bad hair day. You’ll need product.

Don’t go for this style if ... You’ve completely coincidentally just made a huge life decision. Give it a minute. – Guardian