How to Cut and Style the Viral Octopus Haircut
How to Cut and Style the Viral Octopus Haircut

After two-plus years of low-maintenance styles—thanks, pandemic—people are ready to be a bit more adventurous with their hair moving into 2022. 

Pinterest predicts that “rebel cuts”—like mullets and mohawks—will be highly requested, especially by Gen Z, in the new year. But move over, wolf cut: The octopus haircut is set to be this year's prime-time player.

What is an Octopus Haircut?

We’re glad you asked! It mirrors the shape of an octopus—weight via short layers at the top, then thinner, longer layers coming out on the bottom.

“It’s similar to a shag shape, but instead of removing a lot of weight like is required of a shag, you leave it,” says Toni Jennings, stylist and owner of Hair House ATX in Austin, TX. “In order to achieve the shape of the ‘octopus’ it requires a bit of weight. We like the disconnect between the heavily layered top section, and the length. Don’t be scared of the disconnection or the weight.”

This cut is great for straight or wavy hair, and the grow-out period should be fairly easy. Styling is key for this cut to achieve its maximum potential, so make sure your client is aware. 

How to Cut and Style an Octopus Haircut

Achieving the octopus haircut requires a bit of finesse. Below, two stylists share their technique. 

Jennings used this approach to cut and style this client's octopus haircut:

  1. I started first by creating a fringe. 
  2. Once I had the fringe, I used it as my guide, and over directed everything forward to meet at the guide.
  3. I left some weight, creating a disconnect between the heavily layered top section and the length.
  4. I used a really starchy mousse to create volume, and add a bit of a texture to the base. 
  5. A spray wax was used to finish it out, and then I diffused the hair once dry, after I sprayed the wax, to help undo it.

Matthew McDonald, independent stylist at Anthem Hair Co. in Minneapolis, MN, gave this client a hair makeover with an octopus cut. Here's how he did it:

  1. I created a long curtain fringe to highlight her cheekbones, then I used the longest piece of her fringe to establish my starting point for her framing. 
  2. Using 1-inch sections I pulled everything from the back of her ear forward to create her framing because she has a lot of hair and I wanted a really exaggerated frame with lots of movement. 
  3. Then I cut a square layer in the back using a traveling guide to give her fullness in the crown and remove as much weight from the bottom as possible. 
  4. After finishing my layering in the crown, I noticed the bottom was still looking a little too square, so I took a diagonal section from just above the occipital bone to the back of the ears and clipped it up and out of the way. 
  5. Then I took the hair in that bottom section and pulled it out vertically, cutting short to long to create a small disconnection to remove more weight in the perimeter and give it an extra bit of movement.
  6. After I was finished cutting the shape wet I used R+CO’s Chiffon Styling Mousse to blow her hair out with a large round brush, alternating directions to create movement. Then once I got to her framing I styled everything back and away from her face to show off all the layering we put in. 
  7. Once it was dry, I did some point cutting to soften all the edges and I pulled the layering up and carved out some weight in an upward motion from below to help push the hair up, giving it more volume and softening the weight so it doesn’t look too boxy in her crown. This way her layers will grow out softly and she can wear this haircut for a much longer time.

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