How to Make Hair Look Longer

Bob cut and a turtleneck to make the hair look longer
Photo: Shutterstock
Q: I got a new bob haircut this week, and it is shorter than what I wanted. Straightening to make my hair appear longer is not an option because I already have pin-straight hair. How can I make my hair look longer than it really is? Hair extensions are not an option for me.
A: An efficient way to create an illusion of longer hair is to make it as straight as possible. You can achieve this with a hair straightener or with a hair dryer and brush. Make sure you protect your hair sufficiently with a product before using heat to style it. The last thing we want is for you to damage your hair, because then it definitely won't look any longer! Also keep in mind that very straight styling will emphasize the ends of your hair. So make sure you don't have split ends.
Adding shine to your smoothed hair can make it look a little longer. The more your straightened hair shines, the longer it appears. It's an optical illusion, but the shine really does help make your hair look a little longer.
Since your hair is already pin-straight, you have nowhere to go with hair straightening. Your only real solution is a bit of legerdemain in order to make the hair appear longer. A quick and easy way to make your hair look longer is with the clothes you wear!
To do this, you want to break up those lines that emphasize your hair's length. Typically, this means shortening the look of the neck. To achieve this, you want to wear things that will break up the neck's length. Turtleneck shirts and turtlenecked sweaters, high-necked garments, scarfs and even upturned blouse, polo and jacket collars make for wonderful ways to make the neck look shorter and the hair appear longer.
Woman wearing her shirt with the collar turned up for a longer hair illusion
Photo: Marcoventuriniautieri/Canva
Of course, these tricks work even better when slightly layered, so wearing a turtleneck under a blouse with an upturned collar will reinforce the effect and be doubly flattering. Just remember that the reverse is equally true. If you don't want to reinforce the look of short hair, avoid things like scoop neck and boat-necked tops, as they elongate the appearance of the neck and cause the hair looking shorter than ever.
The color of the clothes you wear also affects how long your hair appears. The turtleneck, shirt, scarf or dress you wear should be a completely different color from your hair. If the color of your hair and your clothes is not sufficiently contrasting, your hair will visually blend into your clothes and look shorter. Therefore wear contrasting clothes to make your hair look longer! Light colors with dark hair and dark colors with light hair colors.
There's also another quick and inexpensive way to make your hair look longer: go for a center part. Place the part of your hair in the middle, and your hair will instantly look longer! A side parting takes away a little length on one side and makes your hair look shorter. A center parting does the opposite and creates an illusion of longer hair.
This may be the last thing you want to do if your hair is already shorter than you initially wanted, but an extra haircut can help make your hair appear longer. Ask your hairdresser to cut layers. Long layers of course and not the choppy short type of layers! Hair cut blunt to one length emphasizes its actual length. By cutting it in layers – because of the movement in the hair – you can't see exactly where it ends. This makes your hair look a bit longer.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can get an asymmetrical haircut. By cutting one side of your hair significantly shorter than the other, you create an optical effect that makes your hair look longer as a whole. I know that there is little chance that you will choose this option, but I wanted to mention it anyway.
Good luck experimenting!
See also:
What color will make my hair look longer?
What are the positive and negative effects of turtlenecks?
Is there a way to make the bangs look longer?
How fast does hair grow?