The Line of a Haircut

The cutting line of the back of long hair
Q: When I look at girls with long hair, some have the back cut in a straight line and some in a V-shape or U-shape. Is the difference strictly a matter of taste or are there other reasons? Which one is the most maintenance friendly? Is trimming a U-shape more time consuming and more expensive?
A: The line of the cut is a matter of taste and the effect that the client wants to achieve, combined with the limitations of the hair-type and hair condition of the client. A V- or U-shape usually complements slightly layered hair, while a straight line works well with someone who wears her hair in a one-length style.
Do you see that the hair on the left is straight-lined and almost one-length? This results in a thicker, more bulky look. The woman on the right has a U-shaped line with slightly layered hair, resulting in a multi-length dimensional look.
If you have your hair cut into a V- Or U-shape at the back, the layers at the front are shorter than the length at the back. This results in an easier manageable style that appears shorter at the front than at the back. The differentiating lengths of the layers give the hair a sense of dimension and movement, while limiting the bulk of the hair; but not losing over-all length of the hairstyle.
If your hair is cut in one length/ straight line, you risk having to battle with thick, bulky, unmanageably hair. Then again, if you have very fine and sparse hair, your stylist may suggest a straight line cut to avoid fly-aways and scraggly-looking layers. Thus, yes, it is a case of personal taste, the opinion of the stylist and the specific desired look.
I would say that a V- or U-shaped line is more maintenance friendly, as the bulk of the hair is controlled by adding subtle or contrasted layers. This means that there is invariably less hair present than a straight line when comparing the longest point back-length of a V- or U-shaped to the singular same length-line of a straight cut. But this difference will probably be so insignificant that it could be rendered as irrelevant.
The time consumed or overall cost of trimming or maintaining a shaped line compared to a straight line-cut is the same. A trim is a trim, irrespective of the line of the hair. Hairstylists often charge by time in contrast to charging per procedure, but comparing the line of a V- or U shaped line to that of a straight line will result in the same amount of time and effort consumed.
Bottom line is; decide on what looks more appealing to you, have a chat with you hairdresser on what he/she thinks will work better with your own hair type, and then make the decision.
Photo: Kamenetskiy Konstantin/Shutterstock
See also:
How to cut hair
Hair cutting angles and elevation