Tapered Haircuts & Styles for Women

Tapering always refers to changes in hair length or width.

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Beauty has many faces, especially where hair is concerned. One trend in contemporary hairstyles for women, though, is tapering of the hair. Stylists use tapering for a variety of reasons, including softening your cut or even making you look a little slimmer. Because stylists can use tapering in so many cuts, the odds are pretty good that the average fashionista will have at least one tapered cut over her hair lifetime.

Tapering Is What, Exactly?

Tapering can mean a few different things. It often means your stylist leaves your locks shorter on the bottom than on the top. It also can mean that the cut angles on the sides to make the center of your hair look narrower, or extremely generally, just that your stylist has angled your cut. Generally, when you say "tapered cut," your stylist will assume you mean the first style and want a shorter cut, but tapering is better seen as a technique instead of a specific cut. It thus isn't necessarily married to any particular length.

How Women Stole the Look From Guys

Stylists have picked up their scissors and clippers to taper men's hair for decades. When guys went off to war and women took their place in businesses, asserting newfound feminist independence, they lopped off their locks for more practical -- but still chic -- cuts. Styles went shorter and shorter until finally they reached the nape of the neck. The difference between contemporary tapered cuts for men and those for women is that cosmetologists usually leave hair a little longer for women. They keep wisps around the face and bottom of the hair that make the cut look softer overall.

Getting the Look

The first step in getting a tapered haircut or style is to think about what your face shape is, as well as the type and amount of hair you have. For example, round faces can look good with pixies with a lot of lift at the root that add height. Fine-haired gals can look stunning in a trendy, sleek A-line bob that tapers down to the front of the face. If your stylist is cutting your hair short, he'll layer your hair and then blend it until you can't tell where the layers were put in. If you are keeping some length and are just angling the cut, the main goals your stylist has is to decide how dramatic the angle should be and to find the two imaginary points between which he'll need to angle. After that you can do any additional work such as dyeing your hair or styling it with some spray or gel.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Tapered cuts are extremely practical in most cases, letting you quickly style and go. However, you need to trim them more often. The fact your hair isn't all the same length definitely creates some interest and even can impact how voluminous your strands look. On the other hand, you might have some trouble swapping out your look for something else. If you've got a cute cropped cut, for instance, you can't magically pull out extra length to try a more elegant look. Even though lots of ladies sport shorter cuts, especially in professional settings, some guys don't dig them as much as longer styles they can run their hands through, so these cuts might not score you any romance points.

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