The Rules To Getting (And Maintaining) Mid-Length Hair


It’s a transitional time, folks. Whether due to seasonal changes, some astrological clusterfuck (that’d be a new moon intersecting with Mercury whilst it's in retrograde, thank you AstrologyZone) or the resurgence of no-nonsense ‘90s dressing (say it with us: Lanvin sweatpants), ladies are currently growing out their summer bobs while others are lobbing off their super long hair. Which is to say there's a lot of mid-lengths going on out there. The new issue of T landed on our doorsteps this weekend with none other than the arbiter of chic, Phoebe Philo, on the cover sporting a collarbone-sweeping ‘do [14], confirming that if it wasn’t already a thing, it is now. We phoned our favorite mid-length distributor, Blackstones' Joey Silvestera, who had some thoughts for those thinking of making the chop or growing it out:

Defining 'Mid-Length' : “There are two camps of mid-length hair: Classic Mid-Length, which is below the jawline and above the collarbone, and Grown-Out Mid-Length, which is between the collarbone and the chest. It's a great look because it's super simple. The blunt cut is a similar 'nothing' look, but that's more a texture; the term 'mid-length' is an overall shape.”

Best For : “Fine-to-medium hair. Super thick hair can be tricky and less minimal; it will involve some back-cutting or channel cutting to create a subtle, uneven texture. But that won't deconstruct the overall line of the shape. You have to be extra careful with curly hair. One uniform mid-length on curly hair is very editorial and cool, but it's specific, and can be too wide on the bottom for a lot of women. We call this the 'lampshade' effect. Most girls freak out if they see that. You have to layer curly hair so it becomes a different look entirely.”

Go Long : “I've been cutting a lot of grown-out mid-length cuts lately for a number of reasons. Usually the scenario is that I have a girl in my chair with long hair who wants a change but doesn't like to get her hair cut very often. She doesn't want layers and she doesn't want bangs, so we take it between the chest and the collarbone. She'll still feel that immediate change, but it's really seamless to grow out. You can pull your hair back into a ponytail, and it will eventually grow back into long hair without you even noticing. It doesn't feel as conservative as a bad, short mid-length haircut can—you know, the kind that politicians and newscasters have. It always looks very cool. You can even leave the back a little shorter, and have the very front points of the hair go past the collarbone. Like that Phoebe Philo photo, if she turned her head forward, her hair will just be below her collarbone in the front. That's as short as I usually recommend going.”

Staying Short : “A classic mid-length cut looks great in the chair, but as a haircut, it's more high-maintenance. We usually call this a red flag, because if you love it right when it's cut, it's going to feel too long after six to eight weeks. Once it goes past the shoulders, there's going to be a period where you just don't like it. If you don't mind getting your hair cut often, I'd suggest experimenting with this length. But once it grows out, it becomes harder to style. Any mid-length haircut lends itself to wearing your hair natural, and blow-drying less. But as soon as your length approaches the shoulder, the heat from and curvature of your shoulder is going to set your hair into an upward flip the same way using a roller would.”

Styling : “This is an easy-peasy hair shape to style. It all depends on your hair texture, but for the most part, the less styled, the better. The less you wash it, the better it will look. It gets the best shape on the second or third day. And it looks great with scarves on, because the hair bunches really well. You can accessorize a mid-length shape really well. I suggest air-drying it with Bumble and bumble Grooming Cream. That will give it an immediate second-day texture, because you want to avoid looking too fluffy. A cream will give it a piece-y soft, natural texture. Then, keep it going with a dry shampoo, like the great one from Klorane.”

Constance & Andreea photographed by Emily Weiss.