A hime cut is a long structured straight hairstyle featuring three blunt variations in length. The shortest layer consists of straight-cut bangs designed to fall right across the top of the eyelashes, while the sides feature an even cut ending at about jaw length. The remainder of the hair is the longest layer and generally falls well below shoulder level. Variations of the hairstyle do exist, and users need to weigh their desire to wear the style with the maintenance required, their hair type, and styling options.
In Japanese, hime literally means princess, and the haircut has been called elegant, regal, and girly. Variations on the traditional look, however, can be done to give the cut a more contemporary appeal. A short hime cut, for instance, with the back hair cut just slightly longer than the side layers, offers a face-framing look that softens the cut and may be easier to maintain. Cutting the sides shorter or cutting only one side of the hair are variations that can give the hairstyle an edgier look.
The difficulty of maintaining a hime cut will generally depend on the natural hair texture of the wearer, but it is usually a very high-maintenance look. Frequent trims are generally needed as the bangs and side layers grow out to retain the shape of the haircut. Humidity may also be a factor, and those in particularly humid climates may want to consider the difficulties in preventing this style from looking frizzy.
Although the hime cut is intended for straight hair, those with naturally curly hair can get the sleek look using various methods. Regular straightening with a flat iron or blow dryer, for instance, can help smooth out the hair. Using straightening shampoos, wrapping the hair, or doing a wet set can also be used to temporarily provide straightness. The style could also be accomplished with the use of hair extensions.
For longer-lasting straightening results, options such as thermal reconditioning may be considered. Originating in Japan, this method of hair straightening combines chemicals and heat to provide a bone-straight look that advocates claim can leave hair smoother and silkier than other straightening methods. Hair that has been previously chemically treated with other methods, however, and African-American hair may be too fragile for the high heat used in thermal reconditioning. Other chemical straightening processes, however, may be usable on finer hair. As chemically straightened hair will need touch-ups every few months to straighten out new growth, this can make the hime cut more expensive to maintain.
Styling options may be somewhat limited for those who adopt a hime cut. Loose curls or waves can be created, but due to the cut, the wearer may have to make certain the curls are not too big on the sides, which can make the style look oddly shaped. Pinning back the sides when wearing a curly look is an alternative to consider. Additional hairstyles that can work with the cut include side ponytails and teased up-dos with height at the crown.