not a professional just crazy

I Got the TikTok-Famous Wolf Cut. Now What?

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

Over the years, TikTok has convinced me to do many things: deep-clean my oven with a mysterious pink liquid, aggressively over-organize my fridge, and even lint roll my carpet. But I suppose I never realized just how much influence the app had on me until I accidentally came home with a TikTok-famous haircut.

A few weeks ago I went to the salon with an idea — what if I got lots of shaggy, wavy layers, with especially short bits up top? This, I thought, could give me lots of volume at the crown of my head while cutting out the residual bleach at my ends left over from my stint as a platinum blonde. It was sort of a light mullet meets shag — soft enough that my mom wouldn’t be upset but significant enough to give me that sort of Debbie Harry–esque, perfect bedhead — and I left the salon pleased that my vision had turned out to be such a success.

Later on, I opened up TikTok and started scrolling. Suddenly I noticed nearly every girl on my feed, from the ages of 20 to 35, had nearly the same haircut, from makeup guru Danielle Marcan, to former beauty editor Julie Schott, to straight-up strangers who slipped onto my timeline. And it turned out the haircut had a name, “the wolf cut,” and it had been forecasted by many as one of 2022’s biggest hair trends. Apparently TikTok had done it again — entered my subconscious and persuaded me to do something extravagant.

But it turns out that was only one part of the surprise. Since my hair had been damaged, dry, and, for lack of a better word, poofy for so long, all the hair-care products in my cabinet were meant to reduce frizz and volume — my Gisou oil and K18 conditioner, for example. Right after I got the cut, I realized that without the proper styling, the excess layers look strange, flat, and sad (and more mullet-y than ever). In order to get my hair as voluminous and perfectly messy as it was when I left the salon — or as the hair of the girls on TikTok — I needed texturizing sprays, sea-salt scrubs, and thin curling wands, products I avoided like the plague for the many years when my hair with bleached and delicate.

And thus my hunt for an entirely new hair-care routine began. After weeks of watching styling videos, trials and errors, and even one night of regretful tears, I have finally mastered how to make my hair voluminous and wavy with that perfect done-undone look. Whether you have a wolf cut or you’re just hoping to add some texture to your hair, everything you need is below.

Before I use a hot tool, I always prime my hair with a heat-protecting spray. This particular one from Gisou uses propolis — an ingredient I love in skin care for its deeply hydrating and reparative qualities — to coat and protect the hair from heat. Spray it all over and wait until the dampness dries down, then go in with your hot tools.

GHD styling tools are expensive, there’s no two ways about it. But when I’m buying a curling wand or straightener, I consider it an investment, as I’ve historically held onto them for ten-plus years. So I don’t mind splurging on my hot tools to ensure they’re good quality, especially because my hair is still in recovery from its bleached days. GHD stylers don’t burn my hair to a crisp, even if I’ve used them a few days in a row. I’ve found that this platinum styler is the easiest, quickest, most foolproof way of creating soft waves. At the root, put a small section of hair through in between the claps and close it. Moving downward toward your ends, rock your hand inward and outward. If you’re doing this in a mirror, you’ll notice how this motion creates a wavy effect on your hair. Continue this all over your hair on small sections.

GHD’s platinum styler works wonders when I’m in a pinch, but if I have all the time to spend on styling my hair, I love using the ultra-thin wand. Point the tip downward and wrap a small strand of hair around the barrel, letting it sit for about three seconds, then release. It creates small, wavy curls that really accentuate the layers in the best way, especially the very short bits at the top. Like the straightener, this is an extremely easy method of creating the curls, but since the barrel is so thin and you’re working with smaller pieces of hair, it just takes a bit more time to complete than when you create waves with a straightener. But whenever I do this, I’m so pleased with the result.

Because of how much product I use, sometimes I feel like there’s a strange buildup on my scalp. So every two weeks or so I’ll use this scalp scrub to ensure all of the stuff I use to style is totally out of my hair. This is one of those products that I would have never, ever used with bleached or even colored hair (it can be very drying and make the color fade quickly!) But now that my hair is virgin and extremely oily, I’ve found it to be a really excellent tool for a Sunday-night deep clean.

This is one of my favorite new hair products, namely because of how many different ways you can use it. If you have flyaways at the top of your head, pressing down on them with a little bit of this pomade can help smooth them out. But also, if you put some of the pomade between your fingers, you can go in with your thumb and index fingers and rub it on the ends of curls or pieces of hair and rough it up, making it look more natural. You can use this same method to sculpt curls into shape or make sure they stay in the right position.

From $28

This has been a go-to texturizing spray for a while now. After I’ve used a hot tool, I’ll spray this mist all over the roots of my hair and then shake my hair out with my fingers. This creates that really nice bedhead look and adds a ton of volume. I’ve tried other wave sprays and I’ve just hated the way they make my hair feel, but since this is salt free, I think it doesn’t make the hair feel as strange and gritty.

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I Got the TikTok-Famous Wolf Cut. Now What?