There was a time when getting bangs was a very big deal, but in the TikTok era, we're seeing bolder, more experimental haircuts (with the most memorable names, might we add). From butterfly to octopus cuts, there are plenty of styles to choose from. One that caught our eye recently? The jellyfish haircut, which looks exactly how you’d picture it—a bulbous fullness on the top with longer, tentacle-like tresses on the bottom. To help explain the eccentric cut, we tapped three hairstylists, who offered some tips for getting (and maintaining) the cut, should you choose to make the chop yourself.
A Year Later, the Jellyfish Haircut Is *Still* Trending. Here's Why It's So Popular
Nay or slay?
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Meet the Experts
- Dayna Gamba is a barber and groomer at Rectify in Massachusetts. She also is a brand ambassador for BaByliss Pro and STMNT. She has a decade of experience in styling, cutting and educating others on hair.
- Brittany Guzman Dion is a hairstylist and artistic director for Aveda. She's also director of education for the Dolce Lusso Salon in North and South Carolina. She has two decades of experience styling and educating others on haircare.
- Juli Akaneya is a New York-based hairstylist who specializes in editorial, advertising and high fashion looks. She has previously worked with brands like Something Navy, Verb and Veronica Beard.
What Is a Jellyfish Haircut?
Inspired by the traditional Japanese hime cut, the jellyfish combines two classic styles: a blunt bob and a mullet. "[With a] jellyfish haircut, the hair on top is cut short and blunt (resembling a bob) and the hair underneath is left long and textured. This cut [resembles] a jellyfish, hence its name!" says Akaneya. "It's similar to a mullet or shag in the sense that the hair on top is much shorter than the hair underneath, but the sections are [even] more drastic and disconnected."
What Is a Hime Cut?
Also referred to as the "princess cut," this style originated in Japan. According to our friends at Hair.com, it was part of a coming-of-age ceremony (known as binsogi) that women from the royal family would receive during the Heian period.
Today, it's a popular style among many top K-Pop idols—like TWICE member Momo above—are rocking the look. "It has come back strong as a popular TikTok trend, which consists of two cheekbone-length tendrils cut very bluntly, while the rest of the hair is left long and usually straight," says Akaneya.
What's the Difference Between a Hime and Jellyfish Haircut?
The main difference between a hime and jellyfish cut comes down to how drastic you make the top layers. "They're very similar styles. However, [with a hime cut], the dramatic short layers are only in the front and don't work all the way around [your head] as they do with the jellyfish cut," Dion adds. "The jellyfish haircut [features] a short layered effect all the way around from front to back, which makes it look more like a bowl cut or a full bob on top."
Texture also plays a big part in distinguishing between the two trendy cuts. "The jellyfish haircut is often worn with natural, wavy ends and with the top section left straight and polished, whereas the hime haircut is usually worn very straight in its entirety," says Akaneya.
Why Is the Jellyfish Haircut So Popular?
Like many other hair trends these days, the style took off on TikTok. Similar to the mixie and shullet before it, the jellyfish haircut allows you to rock a short and long ‘do at the same time. It also lets you play with texture, shape and length, so you can customize the cut to your liking (as seen on celebs like Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington and Joan Smalls, who have sported the edgy cut in some variation).
How to Ask a Stylist for a Jellyfish Haircut
Whether you want to go subtle like Smalls or give your best Mai straight out of Avatar: The Last Airbender, it’s best to bring a few reference pictures to ensure you get the jellyfish haircut to your liking. Our experts also note that you should look for examples of people who match your hair type or texture, so you'll get a better idea of how your new 'do would look on your locks.
Once you're on the same page, a stylist will begin working on the top layer, which is cut shorter and evenly all around the head like a bowl cut to mimic the sea creature’s body. Then, the bottom layer is kept long, so it resembles the jellyfish’s tentacles. “Literally imagine a jellyfish on top of a bald mannequin. Now, imagine turning that into a haircut,” says Gamba. “The distribution of length and weight play a major factor in the outcome. The shorter and rounder the shape of the crown, the more extreme the haircut will be,” she adds.
Does the Jellyfish Haircut Work on Everyone?
Short answer: Yes. To achieve the jellyfish haircut, book an appointment with a stylist who can tailor the style based on your hair type, hair density and face shape. For example, if you have a round face shape, you want the top layer to lay right above or right below your chin. This step will ensure the bob looks fuller and sharper. Meanwhile, those with a square face shape should consider keeping the top layers slightly below or at the jawline to frame your features. As for the bottom layer, that comes down to your hair texture. You can rock them long or short, but movement is key to getting the “tentacles” to flow seamlessly.
How to Style a Jellyfish Haircut
Believe it or not, the jellyfish haircut is actually a low-maintenance look. Once you get the chop, you don’t have to do much to turn heads. However, if you want to add more body to your locks, grab a few styling products that will accentuate the layers. Gamba recommends adding a dollop of shine paste to the top (focusing it on the mid-shaft and ends) before adding a wax powder to the “tentacles” for extra shine and bounce.
Our experts also recommend using heat tools to add volume and shape to your jellyfish cut. Dion recommends using a blow dryer to get more movement and body on top before running a flat iron through the ends to define the shape. And if you want to take things up another notch, we've also seen some creators add braids and contrasting colors to really highlight the dramatic layers of this hybrid cut.
At the end of the day, the jellyfish haircut is popular because it can fit anyone’s aesthetic. “Making it your own statement style is what this look is all about,” adds Gamba.
So, are you ready to make everyone jelly with your new cut?
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