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U-Shaped Cuts vs. V-Shaped Cuts: What’s the Difference?

If you’re tired of your blunt cut, consider adding interest with a U-cut or a V-cut. Keep reading for everything you need to know before hitting the salon.
U-Shaped Cuts vs. V-Shaped Cuts: What’s the Difference?

When your stylist asks what type of haircut you’re after, chances are good the first thing you mention is how much length you’d like removed (or not removed, as the case may be). But length is just one factor to consider when getting a haircut. It’s also important to discuss shape with your stylist. The reason being, the shape of your cut can dramatically affect the final result. In fact, we’d argue it can make even more of an impact than the length. Take the U-cut, for example. This angled haircut utilizes face-framing layers to create a voluminous style with body and bounce.

Ahead, we’ll give you an in-depth rundown on the U-shaped haircut and why it’s one style we expect to see everywhere in 2024. Plus, we’re sharing 15 inspiration photos to get you excited for your next salon visit.

What is a U-shaped haircut?

According to L’Oreal Professionnel artist Madison Sullivan, a U-shaped haircut is an angled haircut in which the back of the hair is cut bluntly and the sides are gradually cut shorter to create a rounded “U” shape. The key here is subtlety: The angles and layers should be seamlessly blended together to create a gentle, graceful curve. Done properly, she says, a U-shaped cut creates a “very soft, flowy look” with lots of body and bounce.

Good hair day by @hairbysarmad

What is a V-shaped haircut?

We like to think of the V-cut as the U-cut’s edgier younger sister. Whereas the U-cut features soft curves and blended layers, the V-cut has hair cut at a “steep diagonal” around the face. The angles then continue to taper until they reach the back of the head, where they meet to create a sharp, defined “V” shape. The effect, Sullivan says, creates “tons of movement and body around the face.” Highly-textured cuts like the classic shag, she adds pair well with the angular shape of the V-cut.

If you’re tired of your blunt cut, consider adding interest with a U-cut or a V-cut. Keep reading for everything you need to know before hitting the salon.

Good hair day by @madisonsullivanhair

Which is better: a U-cut or a V-cut?

When it comes to haircuts, there is no “better” or “worse”: It’s all subjective. That being said, the U-cut is definitely the softer option of the two, which may make it preferable for those who want a more natural-looking style. Another upside is that U-cuts require a bit less maintenance than V-shaped haircuts, which require regular trims to keep the lines sharp. But at the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is your own, and you should feel free to wear your hair however you choose.

15 Versatile Ways to Rock an Angled Haircut

Whether you prefer to wear your hair long, short, or somewhere in the middle, an angled haircut is a great way to update your look without committing to a major change. Find 15 of our favorite ways to rock an angled cut, below.

Good hair day by @matrix

Subtle U-Cut

Dip your toes into the (very) versatile world of angled haircuts with a subtle U-cut. Your stylist will start by trimming your hair all around to eliminate split ends, then cutting the sides at a shallow angle to create a soft curve. This cut works well with any hair texture, but the soft U-shape is most noticeable when paired with pin-straight strands, as seen above.

Good hair day by @hairby_gloria

Long Layered U-Cut

U-shaped haircuts are often “paired with some soft, long layers,” Sullivan says—and it’s easy to see why. Flowing layers add body and movement to the tapered style and help emphasize the subtle curve of the chic cut.

Good hair day by @hairsoakedinbleach

Calligraphy Cut

The calligraphy cut was one of 2023’s hottest hair trends, and the volume-boosting technique isn’t fading from our radar anytime soon. To achieve this layered haircut, your stylist will use a specialized tool to cut your strands at a 21-degree angle. Ask for face-framing layers to play up the cut’s soft, flowy feel.

Good hair day by @slaybar.mani

Steep U-Cut

The difference between a steep U-cut and a V-cut lies in the edges: The former features rounded edges, while the latter is more angular. Both are head-turning looks, but we recommend opting for a steep (but still rounded) U-cut if you’d prefer a slightly lower-maintenance look.

Good hair day by @hairbylaquitaburnett

Coily U-Cut

Coily hair is voluminous, and sometimes all that volume can read as bulky. Adding layers throughout helps eliminate unwanted bulk without sacrificing your gorgeous volume—or disrupting your curl pattern.

Good hair day by @lisafarrall

Coily U-Cut With Fringe

Level up your coily U-cut with brow-grazing bottleneck bangs that seamlessly blend into long, face-framing layers. If you’re prone to frizz, mist a smoothing treatment like Mizani Thermasmooth Shine Extend onto your mane after styling.

Good hair day by @marine.ballin.haircolorist

Long Razor Cut

There are many different ways to rock a razor cut, but the shaggy-chic style lends itself especially well to a longer cut that tapers into a sharp V shape in the back.

Good hair day by @_serinarenee

Dramatic V-Cut

We love the versatility of a classic U-cut, but sometimes, we’re in the mood for more drama. Enter: the V-cut. Shorter strands in front steeply taper to meet the longer strands in back, creating an unmistakable (and unforgettable) sharp V. Pair the head-turning cut with a fantasy hue, as seen above, for extra oomph.

Good hair day by @jaymz.marsters

Rounded Bob

Give your classic bob a modern twist by having your stylist add a soft gradient of rounded layers around your face.

Good hair day by @evgeniyabanyk

U-Cut With Curtain Bangs

Curtain bangs already have a rounded shape, so it only makes sense to mirror that shape with a U-cut. Use a round brush while blowdrying to give your hair a soft curl and play up the cut’s natural curve.

Good hair day by @coryhoffmanhair

Mid-Length U-Cut

If you’re torn between short and long hair, consider a mid-length U-shaped haircut. The shorter pieces in front will give it the appearance of a lob—but the longer rounded back ensures you still have enough length for braids and updos.

Good hair day by @arrels.perruqueria

Reverse V-Cut

The classic V-cut is significantly shorter in the front than it is in the back. The reverse version of this cut, however, turns the concept on its head, with a shorter back and longer front pieces. Adjusting the depth of the angle determines how bold this look is: A steeper cut will yield a more angular result, while a softer transition makes for a subtler look.

Good hair day by @maria_luciani_pro

Graphic V-Cut Pixie

Amplify the rock-and-roll vibes of your angled bob haircut by having your stylist trim a sharp V-shape into the very back of your mane at the nape of your neck, leaving the layers above short to expose the graphic cut. It’s an edgy, unexpected look—and a great way to experiment with an undercut without breaking out the clippers.

Good hair day by @josscollective

Soft Shag

Shags are traditionally worn a bit messy, but they don’t have to be. Have your stylist cut your layers on a shallow angle for a softer, sleeker take on the classic ‘70s style.

Good hair day by @thebangsbabe

Layered Bob

Add long, face-framing fringe and barely-there layers to your bob to give it a curved shape reminiscent of a classic U-shaped haircut.

Next Up: Want Thicker-Looking Hair ASAP? Try These 15 Editor-Approved Tips

Header image credits (left to right): @madisonsullivanhair and @hairbysarmad

Interested in trying a U-cut for yourself? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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