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Ask a Hairstylist: How to Get Rid of “Triangle Hair” When You Have Wavy or Curly Hair

Layers are key.
Triangle hair

Q: Hi Bill, and greetings from France! Everyone tells me that I should change the look of my hair because it doesn't suit me, but I have absolutely no idea where to start. The style and colour are dull, aging and unflattering.

From The Styling Edit Archives

Triangle hair

Emma has dark brown, shoulder-length hair.

I've always had dark brown, wavy hair—although just how curly it wants to be seems to be constantly changing. I recently grew it out from being very short to just below shoulder-length. 

It's always a bit flat on top and thick at the bottom, creating a triangular effect that I don't like. I find the shape of my hair makes me look plumper and older than I actually am. 

Triangle hair

Emma dislikes how her curly hair takes on a triangle shape.

I also have to use a lot of products and a lot of heat to keep it from becoming frizzy, and the colour washes me out.  

I'm willing to do as much maintenance as possible to keep it looking good, so the sky is the limit. Can you provide any guidance as to what I could do to salvage my hair and make it look more attractive? Thanks! — Emma

A: Emma, thank you for your consultation request. You have amazing facial features. You really can't go wrong with any hairstyle. 

The "triangle hair" that you describe is happening because your hair is all one length.

Adding some long layers, starting from the chin down, will help to take out some of the weight and create a better shape.

Katharine McPhee amfAR New York Gala 2013

Katharine McPhee at the 2013 amfAR New York Gala.

This layered cut will give your natural waves a lot more movement. Using a wand or curling iron will help to enhance and smooth your curls.

I can also see you with your hair a little longer.

Minka Kelly Art of Elysium Heaven Gala 2012

Minka Kelly at the 2012 Art of Elysium Heaven Gala.

With the added length, plus using a styling tool, you'll again diminish the triangle shape that you would like to avoid.

Flip around your part to change up the look. Here is an example of the same long waves but with a middle part.

Nikki Reed Creative Arts Emmy Awards 2014

Nikki Reed at the 2014 Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Here is another favourite style of mine for your pretty face—wearing your hair half-back. Either leave a few curls in front:

Natalie Portman AFI Fest 2010

Natalie Portman at AFI Fest 2010.

Or have your hair completely off your face and behind your shoulders:

Ashley Greene The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2 Los Angeles premiere 2012

Ashley Greene at the 2012 Los Angeles premiere of 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2.'

With this idea, you're reducing the triangle effect by pinning the bulk of your hair back. Your neck is exposed and you will look statuesque.

It's also a great way to add height at your crown. I don't think a cut would do that for you, as from what I am seeing, your hair grows flat on the top. So I would learn to work with this as you consider a new style.

You could also pin your hair to one side for another take on this look.

Cheryl Cole Fox Upfront Presentation 2011

Cheryl Cole at the 2011 Fox Upfront Presentation.

As for your colour, I happen to think the dark brown hair suits you very well. It makes your skin glow and your eyes pop. 

To address the dullness and frizz that you mentioned, you can always ask your hairstylist to give you a clear glaze, which will help to add shine without depositing colour. (At home, try Oribe Glaze for Beautiful Color.)

Oribe Glaze for Beautiful Color

Oribe Glaze for Beautiful Color

A weekly moisturizing hair mask (such as Kérastase Discipline Masque Oléo-Relax) will also go a long way towards reducing the frizz.

Kerastase Discipline Masque Oleo-Relax

Kérastase Discipline Masque Oléo-Relax

If you do fancy experimenting with lighter hair, these tones would work well with your natural colouring:

Katharine McPhee Environmental Media Awards 2015

Katharine McPhee at the 2015 Environmental Media Awards.

I recommend keeping your roots darker. The lighter strands of balayage should be concentrated through your ends for a sun-kissed effect.


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