7 Hairstyles That Make Your Hair Look Longer Than It Actually Is
Whether you’re growing out your big chop or suffering from hair loss, sometimes you just need to fake it – and make your hair look longer than it actually is.
From applying extensions to adding layers in your natural hair, there are plenty of styling tricks to make your hair look longer, fuller, and healthier.
We collected our favorite insider knowledge about how the right cut – and the right strategy – can give you confidence in the form of longer locks. Here are 7 expert styling tips on hairstyles that make your hair look longer:
1. Rock Extensions
Extensions are the ultimate shortcut for making your hair look instantly longer than it is – but it comes with a hefty price tag.
“Quality extensions can vary in price depending on the desired end result, but adding a few pieces for fullness (usually a half head) should start at $500 and go up to $1,500 at a high-end salon,” Kristina Noto, an extensions specialist at the Warren-Tricomi Salon, explained to Glamour. “The price for a full head can range from $1,500 to $4,000.”
Although the treatments can be expensive, especially when it comes to upkeep, extensions are a great option for women waiting patiently for their natural hair to grow out. They work great for ladies who want to experiment with a new style or color without committing to a cut, too.
Before heading to the salon, stylist Ryan Nickulas suggests you do your research about which kind of extensions will work with your hair type.
For example, says Nickulas, Keratin bond or glue-in extensions might be too intense for women with fine hair.
“Glue-ins often work better on African-American hair because their strands are naturally thicker,” Nickulas explained to Cosmopolitan.
Women with medium or fine hair might have an easier time with tape-in or clip-in extensions, which have improved by leaps and bounds in the past few years.
In case you needed more convincing, women who opt for extensions also tend to feel more confident about their appearance afterwards.
“I can’t speak much to inner beauty…but something as simple as hair extensions has had a real and positive impact on the way I see myself—and the way I see other people seeing me,” writes Rachel Krause at StyleCaster.
Get it, girl.
2. Add Layers
When it comes to adding the illusion of length to your hair, the right cut can go a long way, says stylist Michael Van Clarke.
“Hair is very much an illusion,” Van Clarke told Refinery29. “The job of the hairdresser is to guide the eye to see what he wants it to see.”
By adding face-framing layers, your stylist can give you more volume and movement, which helps your hair appear longer.
“Stay away from the blunt cut as this truly defines the actual length of your hair,” stylist David Babaii explained to StyleCaster.
Pair your new ‘do with a deep neck tee, and everyone around you will be seeing the vertical lines that add up to the illusion of longer hair.
3. Straighten (with caution)
Every curly-haired woman knows what a hassle straightening your hair can be. If your heated styling tools are too hot, sometimes it’s even downright dangerous.
But ditching your curls can add length, if it’s length you’re after.
“If you want your hair to be pin-straight, divide it into small sections and begin straightening from the bottom layers to the top,” suggests beauty editor Vanesa Pacheco at Bustle. “Glide the straightener only a few times over each section before moving along.”
Because straightening with a flat iron or blow dryer can damage the outer layer of the cuticle, it’s important that you take the time to add a nourishing moisture-rich treatment to your routine.
And, according to beauty editor Jessica Prince Erlich, repair treatments can make your hair look healthier, too, adding to the overall effect of length.
“When your hair is well hydrated, it is less likely to dry out and split, so use a conditioner even on the days when you skip shampoo,” advises Erlich at Harper’s Bazaar.
Split ends will only weigh the eye down – and highlight damage rather than length. Not exactly the look you’re going for! Use a leave in conditioner that protects hair from heat damage up to 450 degrees and improves split ends!
4. Create a Center Part
Looking for a simple styling fix to add length? Try a center part, suggests Van Clarke.
“It directs the eye to give a slightly narrower effect,” Van Clarke explained to Refinery29, “whereas a side-part, while very flattering, gives you width on the side, as opposed to adding length.”
This trick works particularly well on women with round and oblong-shaped faces, since it can give each shape the illusion of length.
Worried that a center part will make you relive your middle school yearbook photo? Never fear.
According to stylist Nathaniel Hawkins, it’s okay to start your part ever-so-slightly off-center.
“Make a part about a ¼ inch off center on the side of your smaller eye – we all have one – to balance your face,” suggests Hawkins at Harper’s Bazaar.
Voilá! Instant length.
5. Don a Double Ponytail
Nothing helps you achieve faux Rapunzel locks quite like this popular double ponytail trick.
According to the editors of Look Magazine, the double ponytail adds both volume and length.
“It’s the oldest trick in the book, but also the most effective. Create the illusion of a longer tail when you add a second, hidden pony underneath,” the editors write.
To get this look – and make everyone think your hair is much longer than it actually is – divide your hair into two sections, top and bottom.
Pull the top section into a high ponytail, leaving the second section loose. Add bobby pins if necessary to hold the first ponytail in place.
Then, pull your second section into a ponytail directly beneath the first. The first ponytail should cover the elastic band of the second, making your hair appear fuller and longer.
6. Become a Half-Up Topknot Hero
If you have enough length to sweep part of your hair into a topknot, this style will only add to the effect.
“Pulling back the top layer of your hair instantly makes those bottom layers look about 10 times longer,” explain the editors of Look. “Just separate your hair into two sections and twist the top layer into a topknot, and you’re done!”
Need some half-up topknot hairspiration? Get a tutorial from the masterminds at Birchbox.
7. Go for Va-Va Volume
We know, we know. You’re focused on adding length, not volume.
But, says Van Clarke, lifting your hair at the roots with a bit of product can help breathe life into limp or fine hair.
“When hair is layered correctly, having a little bit of lift in the roots and mid-lengths takes the heaviness and the weight away from the width and makes it appear like there’s more hair overall — it gives you a leaner, longer, more fluid look,” Van Clarke told Refinery29.
To give your hair a bit of oomph without going overboard, try a mousse or root lifter, suggests celebrity stylist Harry Josh.
“You want things that contain zero moisture that promote stiffness and hardness,” Josh explained to InStyle. “That’s what makes it pliable and what keeps the volume going all day long.”
Simply add the mousse to wet or damp hair, then use a diffuser to dry, lifting hair at roots to lengthen.
You should notice more movement, texture, and – yes – length, too.
Let’s face it: waiting for hair to grow can be an agonizing process. If you’re tired of worrying about length, then it’s time to take matters into your own hands.
Whether you opt for a new cut, handy styling trick, or volumizing mousse, one of these is bound to make your hair look longer than it actually is – finally.