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What is a Wedge Haircut?

By Karen E. Spaeder
Updated May 21, 2024
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Those who are familiar with figure skater Dorothy Hamill will have a good idea of what a wedge haircut looks like, although this classic short hairstyle has evolved over time. Originally popularized during the 1970s, the wedge haircut began as more of a bowl cut on Hamill and now features various short, angled layers that hang above the shoulders. It is a look that appeals to both young and old, men and women alike, making it one of the most versatile of styles.

With a wedge haircut, the hair at the nape of the neck is cut the shortest, with the layers growing increasingly longer as they reach the crown of the head. Instead of being cut bluntly – as with a bob cut – the ends of the hair are cut at a variety of angles, creating volume and movement in the hair. This style also lends itself to bright colors for those who desire a bolder look.

The wedge haircut works best for those with straight hair, as it is difficult to style curly or kinky hair into straight layers. Wavy-haired women and men might be able to get away with a wedge, but it will require a great deal of extra styling daily. While the wedge haircut can be styled into a messy look by tousling the hair, it also can be tamed for older individuals or for professional settings. The versatility of the wedge haircut may be one reason it spans the generations.

Anyone seeking to make a change from a longer style to the wedge haircut will want to ensure that his or her stylist knows what he or she is doing, as it takes extreme precision to create the right combination of layers, definition, and movement. Every hair salon and even individual stylists will have different ideas about what it means to create this style. Pictures clipped from magazines or printed out from the Internet can make it easy for the stylist to visualize the cut the way the customer wants it to be.

Perhaps a drawback to the wedge cut is that it requires regular maintenance to keep its shape – calling for regular visits to the hair salon approximately every six to eight weeks. In addition, although this cut is short and would seem to lend itself to manageability, it must be styled daily to keep from looking unkempt. Those seeking a low-maintenance option might do better with a hairstyle that is cut in longer layers closer to the shoulders, so that the hair can be swept easily into a ponytail.

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Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Sep 16, 2012

@literally45-- That's a good question. I'm not really sure but I have a friend who has a wedge haircut and she has a long oval face. It looks good on her.

By the way, I think short, wedge haircuts look best on women over forty. We're in that age group, and I think it suits us well. When a twenty-year-old has a wedge haircut, I feel like it makes her look a lot older than she is.

By literally45 — On Sep 15, 2012

What kind of a face shape looks best with a wedge style haircut? Will it look okay on someone with a round face?

By burcidi — On Sep 14, 2012

I think layered wedge haircuts are really cute but I'm not talking about the haircut that Dorothy Hamill sported. I don't find that cute at all.

The newer versions of wedge haircuts are so much

better. I especially love the ones where the hair is styled to one side where it sort of looks like half-bangs with lots and lots of layers. I also like the type of wedge cut that Victoria Beckham has, it's very nice.

I wish I had straight hair so I could get this haircut. But I have wavy hair so it will look bad on me unless I straighten my hair every day and I don't have the energy to do that.

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