While many of us associate getting a haircut with having less hair on our heads after leaving the salon, what if we told you the latest viral haircutting method could give you the appearance of more? Sounds too good to be true, but the calligraphy haircut is making waves in the haircutting industry for doing just that.
“As a professional stylist, I am often asked about the latest trends and techniques in haircutting,” says Jamie Wiley, celebrity hairstylist and Pureology artistic director. “One technique that has gained popularity in recent years is a calligraphy haircut, a cutting technique that involves using a special razor to create feathered and textured layers in the hair.”
Keep scrolling to find out all you need to know about the calligraphy haircut, including how it gives your hair the illusion of fullness and what it has in common with a vase of fresh-cut roses.
What is a calligraphy haircut?
Originating in Germany, the calligraphy cut is more of an intricate haircut technique rather than a style. The method uses a pen-like tool with a blade on the end, which is held like a calligraphy pen, to cut precise lines and shapes into the hair at a 21-degree angle.
“This type of cut can give your hair [the appearance of] 300 percent more fullness,” notes Wiley.
The Pureology artist explains that cutting hair at such an angle exposes more surface area of each strand, adding movement and texture to the hair for a fuller and more voluminous appearance. In fact, this is the same angle florists use to cut flower stems to help maximize their water absorption. Surprisingly, the same logic stands when it’s applied to the hair.
“[The calligraphy cut also] allows product to penetrate easily and moisturize the hair further, allowing for supple, healthy hair,” says Wiley.
Shop Our Favorite Products to Help Style a Calligraphy Haircut
Is a calligraphy haircut the same as a razor cut?
While calligraphy haircuts and razor haircuts sometimes yield similar results, the main distinctions between the two are the tool and angle used.
“The calligraphy cut is different from a razor cut because hair is cut at a precise 21-degree angle,” says Wiley. “Your hairstylist will stroke your hair with the pen in an up-and-down movement on an angle, creating fullness in every strand.”
On the contrary, razor cuts are performed at a 45-degree angle, making for a choppier and more textured cut, while calligraphy cuts are softer and more blended. Shaving hair with a razor can also make certain hair types more prone to frizz, but a calligraphy cut suits all textures.
Before and After a Calligraphy Haircut. Photo credit: @jamiewileyeditorial
What are the benefits of a calligraphy haircut?
As far as the advantages of the calligraphy haircut go, there are plenty.
“One of the many benefits of the calligraphy cut is that it creates a natural flowing look, perfect for those who want to achieve soft feathered layers,” says Wiley.
Another upside? Calligraphy haircuts tend to last longer than scissor or razor cuts. Remember how we mentioned the angle at which the hair is cut allows strands to absorb more water and nutrients from products? This will help keep hair moisturized for longer, so split ends don’t accumulate as quickly as they otherwise would. If you’re not strict about keeping up with trims, it may be another reason to consider the cut (just promise us you won’t give up your appointments altogether!).
Photo credit: @jamiewileyeditorial
Does the calligraphy work on all hair types?
When left in the hands of a skilled professional, the calligraphy haircut can work for anyone.
“The calligraphy cut is particularly beneficial for those with finer thin hair, as it adds volume and texture without sacrificing length. However, it can also be used on thicker hair types to create a more layered and textured look,” says Wiley. “Overall, the calligraphy cut is a highly versatile and innovative cutting technique that is sure to leave you with a stunning, natural-looking hairstyle.”
She also notes that the look is extremely customizable.
“It can be tailored to suit any face shape or hair type, [but the] technique is highly specialized and requires a skilled hairstylist with experience, precision cutting, and a deep understanding of hair texture and structure.”
Photo credit: @jamiewileyeditorial
Is a calligraphy cut good for curly hair?
“The calligraphy cut can be done on any hair type,” Wiley emphasizes again. “[Those] with curly hair may find they like this technique because the ends are cut at a 21-degree angle, enhancing the curls.”
Cutting curls at an angle creates a more tapered look, removing the excess weight that can make ringlets appear puffy or cause them to dry into that dreaded triangular shape.
Are calligraphy cuts more expensive?
Stylists have to go through extensive training to be certified in calligraphy haircuts, so you can expect to shell out a bit more for the look.
“Calligraphy cuts are generally more time-consuming because they are customizable to the client's face shape and hair type,” says Wiley. “Because of this, they are at a higher price point as well, due to the fact the hairstylist is certified in this specific cutting technique.
How do you care for a calligraphy haircut?
Like any haircut, your at-home upkeep routine depends largely on your hair type and the products that are best suited for it. Wiley advises you to “ask your stylist what works best for your hair type during your consultation,” but here are her three basic guidelines to start customizing your hair care routine.
“If you have fine hair, look for volumizing products to create lift and movement,” she says.
Invest in lightweight hair care systems specifically formulated to give locks a boost without weighing them down. We love Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Muroto Volume Shampoo and Conditioner for long-lasting volume. When it’s time to style, prep your hair with a volumizing mousse applied at the roots. We’re big fans of Pureology’s Style + Protect Weightless Volume Mousse For Color-Treated Hair, which doubles as a heat protectant.
It’s no secret that frizzy hair will greatly benefit from smoothing products. Pick up Pureology Smooth Perfection Shampoo and Conditioner to prime frizz-prone hair for styling, then follow it up with a leave in-like Redken’s Spray Smooth Anti-Frizz Hair Spray for a silky, humidity-proof finish.
Curly and Coily Hair
When it comes to curly and coily hair, Wiley says that defining products will be an essential component of your routine. One of our go-to systems is L’Oréal Professionnel’s Serie Expert Curl Expression line, which consists of eight different products to help you curate your ultimate curl-cocktailing routine.
Header Image credits: @jamiewileyeditorial