Much like wanting to put together an outfit that looks expensive, when it comes to hair I generally find that most people want to know what styles will help them feel more elevated. But what’s the secret to an expensive-looking haircut and does it mean spending eye-watering amounts in the salon?
Luckily, no. The real key to luxe hair is to keep it in great condition. “No matter your style, if your hair is maintained well with regular trims to avoid split ends and breakage then it will always elevate your look,” says Stéphane Ferraria, Senior Colourist at Live True London.
There are, however, specific cuts and styles that will give you that rich hair look with little effort required on your part. And as someone who is notoriously lazy in the hair-styling department, this is music to my ears.
Ahead, I spoke to five hair experts to get the lowdown on the best expensive-looking haircuts for every hair length and texture. Plus, the products they swear by for recreating that high-gloss, polished finish once you get home from the salon.
One of the biggest styles of 2023, the butterfly haircut was a popular choice amongst our experts for an expensive-looking cut. “I’m a big fan of the butterfly cut to achieve a more upscale look, and it’s very popular at the moment amongst my celebrity clients,” says Bernardo Vasconcelos, Living Proof Celebrity Stylist and Ambassador.
“The butterfly haircut is a combination of short and long layers to create shape and definition around the face, which highlights your facial features and gives a classier look,” explains Vasconcelos. However, the real key is to always keep it styled and shiny.”
It’s as timeless a haircut as they come, but a classic, perfectly cut bob can really do no wrong when it comes to achieving rich-looking hair.
“A one-length, perfectly cut bob in beautiful condition is so expensive-looking,” says Michael Lendon, Creative Director at Aveda. “It suggests that you have spent time and money grooming, but without ‘showing off’. Its understated, perfected, and looks best cut well in just one length above the shoulder.”
This ’90s-inspired layered style has been taking off on TikTok this year, and oozes sophistication. The shape of the layers curve for a really polished finish.
“Concave layering is an expensive-looking cut that helps to add body, especially around the crown, whilst leaving weight through the hair line,” explains Robbie Purves, FFØR expert hair ambassador. “The effect is that hair feels and looks fuller, but it also allows for movement and texture to achieve an effortless finish.”
When it comes to expensive-looking haircuts for shorter styles, micro bobs and blunt crops reign supreme.
“A blunt cut can either be worn straight or with some waves,” says Ferraria. “But, if maintained well, a super-sharp crop looks so sleek and business-like.”
Bouncy, volumised and oh-so-chic, the French bob has dominated so many of our hair trend lists for 2023. “It’s very classy and easy to maintain which gives you that effortless, expensive look,” suggests Limoz Logli, London Colour Specialist.
Logli also points out that if you have coloured hair, then the upkeep of this is essential if you want your hair to look truly polished. “The key to keeping your hair looking expensive is to maintain your hair colour and choose one tone that matches your features,” explains Logli.
Layers are a recurring theme when it comes to expensive-looking haircuts, but its this choppy, face-framing style that varies in length that really fits the brief. “From a mini fringe blended perfectly into a cheek grazing fringe which is then connected to jaw-length pieces… combine this with longer layers throughout the hair and you’ve got yourself an expensive-looking style,” says Lendon.
“The key here is the versatility of being able to blowdry and groom your style, but it looks equally expensive when it’s thrown up too,” explains Lendon.
It was pretty unanimous that long hair is a shortcut for expensive-looking hair—as long as it’s trimmed regularly and conditioned deeply to maintain its condition.
“In terms of specific hair styles, long layers are a great option as they give your hair volume and movement and look effortless yet perfectly styled at the same time,” says Ferraria. “As an added bonus, some long layers will show off the dimension of a balayage as well.”
“I recommend the Living Proof Triple Bond Complex, as it is a bomb of shine and gloss for your hair,” says Vasconcelos. “This leave-in treatment is designed to deliver additional conditioning benefits to the surface of the hair fibre, such as detangling, smoothness, and softness and leaves your hair absolutely shining.”
This honey-infused hair oil is as decadent as it sounds. Smooth a few drops through wet or dry hair to hydrate, repair, smooth and boost shine.
“This cream has all the benefits of a leave-in treatment—damage protection, smoothing, de-fluffing and polishing—but also has a small amount of ‘grip’ which is useful when blow drying to help control and sculpt the hair,” explains Lendon. “Expensive-looking hair needs to be in immaculate condition.”
“To achieve gorgeously glossy hair, always finish with a product like this to add a shine and softness to your look,” advises Purves. “Spray from a distance and then comb through for that luxe, glossy finish, without weighing your hair down.”
According to celebrity hairstylist Sam McKnight, “expensive-looking hair is all about hair looking healthy, shiny and polished”. And this new volumising conditioner helps to achieve exactly that through a blend of fermented rice water, squalane and pro-vitamin B5 for shiny, thick, nourished hair. Up Next: I Asked the Experts—These 7 Hair Trends Will Dominate in 2024.