Just in time for summer!
It’s no wonder so many celebrities—from Emma Stone to Kim Kardashian—are sporting this collarbone-grazing style. Here are five good reasons you’ll want to ask your stylist to chop your locks to this universally flattering length.
1. It’s Versatile
Named after the delicate body part it skims (Anatomy 101: clavicle = collarbone), the clavicut can be worn up or down and won’t send those with long locks into haircut PTSD. “I call it the short cut for long-haired girls,” says Travis Speck, a hairstylist at the Sally Hershberger Downtown salon in New York City. No wonder this style is literally trending. When Kim Kardashian chopped her locks? Twitter. Blew. Up. “My clients come armed with pictures from Instagram,” says Steven DeCarlo, a hairstylist at Mizu Salon in NYC. “There’s this whole new lob community online.” (For the uninitiated, a lob is a long bob.)
2. It’s Got Just Enough Edge
The newest spin is to wear the front slightly longer for a graduated angle that “adds a cool-girl kick,” says DeCarlo. The back pieces should rest on the nape of the neck, with the face-framing strands dipping an extra inch until they kiss the collarbone. Play around with this benchmark for an optical illusion of sorts. If you have a long neck or are tall, go an inch below your clavicle (see: Nicole Kidman) to keep things in proportion. Or rock it an inch above the collarbone, à la Emma Stone, for “an elongating effect on your whole body,” says Speck.
3. It Hasn’t Met a Texture It Didn’t Love
The clavicut is a miracle length, stylists insist. “It helps maintain volume and thickness in fine, straight hair,” says Speck. “But it’s long enough so curly hair won’t puff out as it would with a more traditional-length bob.” And—from your lips to the hair gods’ ears—it’s not one of those cuts that requires a blowout to look hot. It’s just as flattering tousled as it is smooth.
4. Color? Couldn’t Be More Low-Maintenance
A few strategically placed streaks are all this cut needs. “I hate to use the word ombré, but I love the technique on this cut,” says Angela Haight, a colorist at the Marie Robinson Salon in NYC. “The bottom front pieces should be the brightest and have the most pop.” Ask your colorist to paint only the front and sides (skip your underlayers; the darkness adds richness and depth), making the clavicle-grazing strands a touch lighter than the rest. Or copy this technique at home by using a lightening kit, like Revlon Color Effects Ombré ($10, at drugstores). Go for caramel if you’re brunette, pale gold if you’re blonde, or copper if hair’s red or auburn.
5. It Makes Hair Look Healthier
As with any cut, you’ll be lopping off at least a few inches of ratty ends. But the clavi is especially clutch when you’re trying to grow out damaged front layers. As hair gets longer (a.k.a. older), the pieces around your face tend to look thinner and wispier than the rest of your head. Almost seems like they’re never as long as the back, right? That’s because front strands are “most susceptible to wear and tear,” says Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in NYC. “They can get caught between your shoulder and bag strap, you touch them more, and they’re hit hardest by tightly wound hair elastics.” The clavicut means there will be less of a stark contrast in length between the back and the front, so any scrawny, thin stragglers there will look thicker and healthier. Magic!
For an in-depth guide to customizing your clavicut for every particular hair texture, pick up the May 2015 issue of Women’s Health, on newsstands now.