The 7 Best And 7 Worst Long Hairstyles For Women

Many women find long hairstyles to be the ideal look for them. Women have been obsessing over luscious long manes for centuries, as explained in Time. Kurt Stenn, author of Hair: a Human History, explained to the publication how long hair has sent "messages of health, sexuality, religiosity, [and] power" for years, and long hair is still highly coveted in modern times. In 2018, Stylist reported that 13 percent of women wear hair extensions, while 93 percent of women would consider wearing them in the future. It's clear that long, full hair isn't going out of fashion any time soon.

However, this doesn't mean that all long hairstyles are good. Most of us have seen messy, unkempt hair and had the urge to whip out the scissors! While some long hairstyles look amazing, others end up looking unflattering, untidy, and simply unattractive. That's why The List decided to do a little research into which long hairstyles really work and which do not. Here are the best and worst long hairstyles for women.

Best long hairstyle: Wavy layers are always a win

Let's start off with an age-old classic — long, wavy layers. You really can't go wrong with this style. By adding in subtle long layers to wavy hair, Byrdie claimed that the hair instantly gets back its movement. This is because layers lighten the heaviness of your hair. When your hair is quite long, it's bound to start getting weighed down. This can create a flat look on top and a full look on the bottom. With layers, you won't have to worry about that. Instead, you can enjoy bouncy, lightweight hair!

Into the Gloss spoke to Allen Thomas Wood, a Bumble and bumble hairstylist, about the effect of layers. He suggested that the best way to cut layers into long hair is to keep them "flowing, blended, and seamless," in order to achieve a laid-back, beachy feel. He explained, "By keeping the layers — both face-framing and throughout the back — long and seamless, this effect is achieved." And who wouldn't want luscious waves?

Worst long hairstyle: Not many women can pull off a mullet

In case anyone needed reminding, the mullet has never really been a good look. The style gained popularity in the '80s, as explained by Dazed Digital, with stars like Billy Ray Cyrus and David Bowie rocking the look. Shockingly, the haircut appears to be making a comeback. In February 2020, Glamour reported that the mullet was back in full force as the new "cool-girl" style, citing Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, and Irina Shayk as their inspiration.

Nevertheless, we're convinced that the mullet is one of the worst long hairstyles for women. And it seems that Remington Schulz, a hairdresser and Pantene brand ambassador, agrees. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald about hairstyles like the mullet, she said, "While these styles look great on the runway, they aren't for everyone. You need to consider your face shape and hair texture before you go get a perm or mullet!" 

While the mullet may have been reported as a fashionable, cool-girl look in early 2020, it's certainly not easy to style for everyday life. Plus, unless you're ready to wear this bold look around proudly, you're bound to get some confused looks.

Best long hairstyle: Having long locks with bangs is a must-try look

One of the best long hairstyles for women is long hair with bangs. Bangs have been popular for quite a long time. Vice explored the rich history of the hairstyle, citing Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss, and Zooey Deschanel as prime examples of women who've rocked the style. In 2020, women all over the world have been grabbing the scissors thanks to Normal People character Marianne and her flawless bangs (via Daily Mail). Vogue even did a whole piece on how her bangs "stole the show." Bangs make for a great look as they can completely transform your face and give you a whole new style. If you feel like you need a serious change, bangs might be the answer you've been looking for. 

Jimmy Paul of Bumble and bumble spoke to W magazine about how to approach bangs if you're a first-timer. "Start slow; don't do a lot at first," he said. "See how a few wispy bangs look first. You can always do more if you love it, and if you don't, you can just push them aside." He added that they can keep you looking young, as "they're great to hide behind, and they're gentler on your forehead than Botox."

Worst long hairstyle: The Farrah Fawcett look should stay in the past

Anyone who is old enough to remember the '70s and '80s is sure to remember the Farrah Fawcett look. Her iconic hairstyle gripped the nation and inspired countless women to copy her signature look. The feathered, flipped bangs and the long, layered waves is what gave this style its unique look. Allen Edwards, Fawcett's stylist, described the look to Styleist in 2009, as reported by HuffPost, noting, "The layers around the face are shorter. What made it different was that it wasn't full on top. It was flatter, and the 'Farrah' part was the edges, which went flipping back."

While HuffPost shared that plenty of celebrities have mimicked the style over the years, such as Blake Lively, Jessica Simpson, Beyoncé, and even Paris Hilton, we think that some styles are best left in the past. And we aren't the only ones. Shreeda Tailor, a stylist, spoke to BestLife about how the look can make people look older than they really are. "A dated hairstyle can age a woman," she said, "like feathered bangs from the '80s." While Fawcett may have been an icon in her day, it's probably best to leave this long hairstyle in the past and go for something a little more modern.

Best long hairstyle: Putting your hair in a soft updo always looks good

While it's nice to let your long hair flow freely, sometimes getting it up and out of the way is necessary. If you want a romantic, soft look, try a low, gentle updo. While many people assume this look is a little too glamorous for everyday wear, this long hairstyle can actually look pretty relaxed when worn with casual clothes. If you have especially thin hair, this type of updo can be a real saving grace, as it can make your hair look a little fuller. Plus, it'll look sleek and elegant! Byrdie explained how adding braids, twists, and accessories to this hairstyle can help you even better achieve an effortlessly full, voluminous look.

Still need some convincing? Sarah Naslund, an Aveda Updo Educator, explained why she loves an elegant updo. "What I love about updos is that they're a really fun way to change your style without a commitment like a cut or a color," she shared on Aveda's website. "It's fun to get your hair done! [Updos] are a way to escape your daily life ... The energy is more fun."

Worst long hairstyle: Avoid the triangle look at all costs

The triangle look is probably one of the worst long hairstyles for women, and it's one that many of us dread. Yes, for ladies with particularly thick hair, a blunt haircut with no layers and a middle part can result in what looks unmistakably like a triangle. While you may want to keep all of your hair as long as possible, be careful you don't end up with this shapeless, unflattering look.

Naturally Curly dubbed this look the "pyramid head." Yikes. According to Christo, New York's Christo Fifth Avenue salon's global artistic director, this pyramid look is nothing short of an epidemic amongst curly-haired clients — he claimed to see the look on around 80 percent of them!

So, what's the solution? Celebrity stylist Andy Lecompte explained to Byrdie that the answer is razoring the ends of your hair. "Just a little," he noted. "It gives hair a little more shape and helps you avoid that awful triangle look when the ends are too full." While the idea of introducing a razor to your lovely long locks may sound intimidating, it's certainly better than the alternative!

Best long hairstyle: Make a messy top knot a go-to look

The messy bun is certainly a star in the world of hair. The look is a favorite amongst celebrities on their days off, as noted by Hollywood Life, and can help you give off the impression of French cool-girl chic (via Glamour). Not only does the messy bun look great, but it's also super practical. Glamour explained that the style is a perfect "weather-proof option." Plus, it can hide oil for women dealing with second day hair.

Meghan Markle is one celebrity to have worn the look, which is one of the best long hairstyles for women. George Northwood, who styled Markle's hair on her wedding day, explained his love of the style to Elle. "What's cool about a messy bun is it's a classical style but with a twist," he stated. "You're taking it from classic and elegant and giving it a modern undone twist which is what makes it so good."

While some think a messy bun should be thrown together quickly, the truth is that the look can go badly wrong. Although the style should look carefree, it requires a little practice and skill to achieve. Marie Claire explained that you should use texturizing product before you begin pulling your hair up and carefully pull sections of hair out of your bun at the end to achieve the iconic artfully disheveled look.

Worst long hairstyle: Choppy, exaggerated layers look too harsh

While strategic layers can often help a hairstyle, layers aren't always good. For layers to look attractive, they should blend into the hair and be almost invisible to the naked eye. When layers are overly exaggerated or choppy, they become noticeable and can ruin the illusion of waterfall-esque waves cascading down your back. If you decide that you want to go for a jagged, edgy look, you should only ask your stylist for choppy layers if you're absolutely sure you want them. 

Most "It" girls have been veering away from choppy layers. Celebrity stylist Alex Brown explained to Glamour how she gives women "invisible" layers rather than choppy ones: "Blending the layers is very important — they have to be cut properly to look seamless." The key is ensure your layers are perfectly blended — the opposite of harsh and jagged — if you want to perfect invisible layers and, as Glamour promised, "instant cheekbones."

Best long hairstyle: Natural curls will always be a style do

If you're lucky enough to have curly hair, you'll look stunning if you let your long natural curls fly free. While many women choose to straighten their curls (up to 63 percent of "working women" in 2014, according to The Telegraph), letting your hair do its thing can actually look stunning and can feel pretty liberating. Of course, naturally curly hair isn't as easy or maintenance-free as it sounds. Curls require a fair amount of time and care. Shelby Hayes, a woman with naturally tight, curly hair, spoke to Elle about her routine. She explained, in part, "I put mousse in it and pin it with curls to keep it voluminous."

The key to looking fabulous while sporting natural curls is to find the perfect balance between tame and wild. Jenda Alcorn, a celebrity stylist, explained to WhoWhatWear, "If you need to touch up any areas that need a little more direction, you can use a small curling iron and wrap those sections around to organize your curl a bit better." She added, "Just keep in mind curly hair isn't about every hair being in place and 'perfect,' I think the more natural and wild the better!"

Worst long hairstyle: Harsh DIY ombre isn't a good look on anyone

The ombré trend soared into popularity back in the late '90s, according to Marie Claire, and it was quickly adopted by celebrity A-listers. This style involves dip-dyeing the tips of your hair so that it looks as though your hair has started to grow out after being dyed. While the classic ombré look usually involved blonde ends, as noted by Byrdie, plenty of trendsetters have experimented with a range of other bold colors (via Harper's Bazaar).

While the ombré hair trend was common for some time, ombré hair doesn't always look good. In fact, we'd say it may now be considered one of the worst long hairstyles for women. Because the style involves dipping the ends of your hair in dye, many people end up with a line that's pretty noticeable and unattractive. Harper's Bazaar explained how more and more DIY-ers ended up with accidentally harsh lines.

Modern Salon reported where people are going wrong: "When creating an ombre, always strive to create a shift from lighter shades of the same hue, rather than shifting from a dark hue to a light color abruptly. Allow the color change to come gradually and subtly because a harsh line of demarcation from one color to the next is hardly flattering and will clash heavily." Yikes — no one wants that!

Best long hairstyle: Sleek and straight ponytails will forever be in style

This is the style that many runway models and It girls have sported for years — the slicked back, no nonsense ponytail. This look is perfect for fierce, modern women who want a neat, shiny style that looks good but doesn't get in the way. While you may think that ponytails can be boring, L'Oreal Paris explained how the sleek ponytail is actually anything but dull and can give you an instantly glamorous look.

Ideal for the office, after-work drinks, or even the red carpet, this type of ponytail is deceptively difficult to pull off. Luckily, celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko spilled the beans to Women's Healthexplaining that it's all about securing your ponytail tightly. "You have to make sure you hold the pony super tight with your hand while wrapping the elastics around," she shared. "If you let the pony go loose for even a second, it can lose the shape you've been building." She noted that clear hair ties often work best.

Worst long hairstyle: The half-shaved look should be retired

The extremely bold half-shaved look, otherwise known as an undercut, has made a few notable appearances throughout the years, with Rihanna, Rosario Dawson, and Miley Cyrus sporting the style. It goes without saying that this style is a daring one that certainly makes a statement. And while we would never tell anyone not to go for a bold look, this is one that probably isn't worth it.

Judy McGuinness, Mizu New York salon senior hairstylist, warned against the look when speaking to StyleCaster, saying, "Be aware that, typically, cuts that are made in the nape of your head are much easier to grow out than ones that are on either side of the head. It's much easier to hide than a big panel right next to your face."

She has a point. While you may feel brave enough to shave off half of your hair today, if you regret the decision, you'll have to stick out the hairstyle for months and months before your hair is back to normal, which makes this one of the worst long hairstyles for women in our book.

Best long hairstyle: The romantic side part is a real head-turner

One of the best long hairstyles for women is one with a romantic, deep side part that falls into long, cascading waves down one side of the face. This ultra luscious look dates back to the height of old Hollywood. Think Veronica Lake and her iconic style. This vintage style is flattering on everyone. Parting the hair on one side "highlights your best features — especially the eyes and cheekbones," noted InStyle.

Top celebrity stylists agree that this style is a great one to try if you have long hair. Ken Paves, who has styled Victoria Beckham's hair, told StyleCaster, "A side part with glamorous cascading waves is timeless and looks great on everyone," adding, "It is a great look for women who want to have a romantic look or show off their long locks."

Hairstylist Mika Fowler told Byrdie that the deep side part is especially flattering on women with round face shapes as it can "give the illusion of length and create symmetry around your face." A feminine, romantic look that highlights your best features? Sign us up!

Worst long hairstyle: Rapunzel locks are just too long and messy

One of the worst long hairstyles for women is too-long hair. While long, healthy locks can look stunning, when your hair extends beyond your waistline or, in rare cases, your knees, your hair starts to look a little messy. While you may covet Rapunzel's locks, in real life, long hair needs to be trimmed and styled, so you should steer clear of extreme lengths.

How often should you give your long hair a trim? Celebrity hairstylist Tanya Abriol told Byrdie, "When you like to have your hair longer than your shoulders, layered or not, and it's been longer than three months, your shape has completely grown out, and you're ready for a new one." Remember that after three months, your hair may look longer, but it might not look better.

If you let your hair grow and avoid frequent hair cuts, your split ends might start to break off by themselves, making the hair appear thinner (via Allure). To keep your hair healthy and full, remember to visit the salon every few months.