The C-shape haircut is the new 'Rachel' and you're going to see it everywhere this spring

The layered C-shape haircut is trending again – experts explain how it'll help you fake fuller, thicker hair

Jennifer Aniston with a C-shape haircut on the red carpet
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

The C-shape haircut is the latest style to sweep social media. We've probably got Jennifer Aniston to thank for that, as our forever hair icon has been spotted with a bouncy layered 'do that'll feel thrillingly familiar to fans of her work (both screen and style-based)

Combining '90s hair nostalgia with the popular shag cut, the C-shape ticks off plenty of the hair trends 2023 has in store, and is especially suited to fine or thinning hair due to its volume-boosting powers. "The C-shape haircut is all about the layers," says Suzie McGill, Artistic Director at Rainbow Room International Salons. "Layers are cut throughout the hair to give the style instant volume, body, and movement, but are more concentrated at the face, as well as graduated. The layers give softness to the face that makes facial features, such as the eyes, really pop."

Sometimes also referred to as concave layers (and not to be confused with the popular U-shape haircut) the C-shape focuses more on face-framing pieces and on-trend 90s blowout styling. Interested? From the benefits of this viral cut to how to style it, here is everything you need to know.

The C-shape haircut, explained by pro stylists

What is the C-shape haircut?

"The C-shape cut is a take on the '90s Rachel Green cut, but a looser version," explains Jake Davis, Senior Stylist at John Frieda Salons. Nostalgic hairstyles have seen a resurgence this year, and this latest iteration focuses on multiple graduated layers that sweep inwards. 

This style is an alternative to the also-layered butterfly haircut, but the C-shape focuses more on structured, defined layering that works to flatter the bone structure. "It's meant to frame the face with layers coming towards the front of the face creating a soft C shape," says Davis. "The cut is made of three main layers in a C shape: the fringe, the middle layer to the jawline, and a longer one below the collar bone all blending together."

Who does the C-shape haircut suit?

Gabrielle Union with a C shape haircut

(Image credit: Getty images)

The best part about the C-shape haircut is that it can suit absolutely anyone, but it will appeal most to "someone who wants to add movement to their hairstyle and get away from a one-length haircut," says Davis, who agrees it's one of the best hairstyles for fine hair if you don't fancy a super structured chop, like the trending slob haircut and box bob. Although McGill also recommends the C-shape for those with thick hair, "as it can be used to take out excess weight within the hair."

There are certain face shapes that may gravitate towards the C-shape cut more. "For those with more prominent jaw lines, like square face shapes, this cut is ideal as it works to give softness to the face whilst elongating the facial features," says McGill. 

What are the benefits of a C-shape haircut?

"One of my favorite benefits of this cut is that, if you prefer, it can be carried off with little to no styling," says McGill. "The layers add instant volume to the hair and look naturally beautiful without the need to use heated styling tools or styling products. With that in mind, this haircut is great for those who are always on the go and are looking for something low maintenance," McGill explains.  

How to style the C-shape haircut

As we know, one of the key benefits of the C-shape haircut is the minimal styling it requires to look good. However, when it comes to how to style layered hair, a few key products will always work to enhance your look. 

"I like to scrunch some mousse into the hair, before blow-drying using a round brush, directing each section in different directions for a 90s finish that enhances the look of the layers," says McGill. "You can also style this look with a styling iron, directing the plates in different directions as you get towards the end of the hair to give it that ‘flicked’ appearance."

If you've never quite got the hang of using a round brush and hairdryer (us neither) consider learning how to use a blow dryer brush for a quick one-step drying and styling session that will enhance those bouncy layers.

Our beauty writer recommends...


OGX Texturizing Leave in Moroccan Sea Salt Spray | RRP: $8 / £8.55

"If you are someone who likes a natural look, spritz a salt spray through your hair when it’s damp. Scrunch in and leave to air dry for a more textured and effortless finish," McGill recommends. 

Virtue 6-in-1 Styler | RRP: $34 / £32
"This product hydrates the hair, defrizzes, and adds shine. On wet hair apply a small amount and dry into the hair, and with your fingers define the flicks around the face," says Davis. 

Virtue 6-in-1 Styler | RRP: $34 / £32

"This product hydrates the hair, defrizzes, and adds shine. On wet hair apply a small amount and dry into the hair, and with your fingers define the flicks around the face," says Davis. 


Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil | RRP: $30 / £28

To finish off the look, McGill recommends hair oil. "I always distribute it into the palm of my hands and then scrunch through the mid-lengths and ends of the hair for body and volume, as well as shine." We love Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil as it won't weigh hair down. 

C-shape haircuts to inspire your next appointment

The relaxed c-shape haircut

sienna miller c shape haircut

Sienna Miller

(Image credit: Getty)

Sienna Miller always gives us hair envy, and we love her relaxed take on the C-shape haircut that's not unlike a shaggy bob, with a bit more length. If your hair usually sits flat, try using the best hot rollers to create shape and brush out to get a beautifully relaxed yet defined cut like this. 

The curly C-shape haircut

maggie gyllenhall c shape haircut

Maggie Gyllenhaal

(Image credit: Getty)

Curly hair does not have to be excluded from the C-shape trend. In fact, we think curly layers are one of the best styles when it comes to achieving a voluminous and naturally bouncy look. If your hair has some wave but could do with a little help, try out the best diffusers for curly hair to encourage your layers to flick beautifully toward the face. 

The up-do C-shape haircut

rihanna c shape haircut


(Image credit: Getty)

Hair up styles can be tricky to master when dealing with layers, but with the C-shape haircut, an updo contrasts beautifully with those longer face-framing pieces. To really show off your new chop, slick the longest parts of your hair back and allow the shortest sections to speak for themselves. 

The soft c-shape haircut

dakota johnson c shape haircut

Dakota Johnson

(Image credit: Getty)

If flicky styles aren't really your thing, fear not. This soft take on the C-shape haircut works perfectly for medium hairstyles that only need a little bit of shaping. Treat your hair with the best hair masks and then allow it to fall naturally to get a subtly C-shaped look.

The bob c-shape haircut

Kerry washington with a c shape bob haircut

Kerry Washington

(Image credit: Getty images)

Bobs are a timeless and chic style, but if you want a bit more definition consider combining a classic bob with some subtle c-shape layers around the face. This style, which can also be referred to as a chopped bob, adds a bit more interest to both cuts. Use the best dry shampoo for oily hair to keep your look matte and structured.

How to maintain a C-shape haircut

To ensure that you get the most from your C-shape haircut, follow McGill's handy tips:

  • Try to visit the salon every 6-8 weeks to keep your cut looking fresh, free from split ends, and the layers in shape 
  • Ensure to have a consultation with your stylist before going ahead with the haircut and chat with them about making the cut work for you, taking into account your face shape and hair type 
  • Never try creating this cut at home! Always visit a reputable hairstylist. If layers go wrong and they are too short or too choppy, they can end up looking very unflattering
Amelia Yeomans
Senior writer

Amelia joined woman&home in 2022 after graduating with an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University and is now a senior writer. She began building her career as a lifestyle journalist after completing a fashion journalism course at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design in 2019, writing for a variety of titles including OK! magazine, New! magazine and Notion on topics such as sustainable fashion and entertainment. She specialises in fashion and beauty content, covering everything from product reviews and nail art trends to reporting on fashion weeks and the best-dressed celebrities at red carpet events. With a keen eye for lifestyle trends, she is always on the lookout for the latest products and brands to hit the market.

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