Beyond the Butterfly

Cue the new! This summer, go beyond the basics of the butterfly trend, and customize the cut, color, and style for any guest and any hair type. The Ulta Beauty Design Team is here to help. Preview exclusive trend education created for stylist peers at 1,400 Ulta Beauty salons. Get inspired to lean in, level up, and learn more from Ulta Beauty. 

What’s Trending Now? 

Layers are in. But what type of layers are right for the guest in your chair? “Not everyone’s hair is represented in a butterfly cut,” says Haley Valadez (@haleyki), senior manager, Ulta Beauty Design Team. But understanding when and how to transition into, say, the sunflower look (for curly or coily hair) or knowing when the wolf cut works better (like with wavy locks and a fringe) is the expertise that sets a stylist apart, she says. That “Hair for All” approach is at the heart of education at Ulta Beauty. 

“Everything we do is about meeting people where they are, embracing all hair types, and knowing how to work with where their hair is now,” Valadez says. A guest who doesn’t have long hair and mentions the butterfly deserves a professional conversation and recommendation for what will work for them.  

This kind of awareness is woven into the DNA of Ulta Beauty’s Six Points of Service, which helps stylists be consistent in each element of the guest experience. Introduced at a Best of U gathering for Ulta Beauty’s network of more than 170 educators, the Six Points of Service is yet another way Ulta Beauty helps stylists build a thriving business. 

Learn More at Ulta Academy 

Also unveiled at the Best of U event? An update on Ulta Academy, the year-round training program tailored for all Ulta Beauty stylists. Artists from every level of Ulta Beauty education—Pro Team to Design Team to Services District Educators—collaborate to deliver best-in-class in-person and virtual education.  

“Trendspiration” training (like this one) features Design Team and Pro Team artists executing trend-worthy techniques highlighted across industry events and consumer campaigns. Texture Excellence classes remain essential, and surging interest in professional makeup and skin care services is supported. 

Meet the Artists 

On these pages, go behind the scenes of a recent training session and photo shoot in New York City, where 20 Design Team members collaborated and learned how to create and share butterfly trendspiration classes and content across their communities. Led by three Design Team Specialists, the session offered tips and must-use tools for: 

  • Cutting—Gilad Goldstein 


  • Color—Beto Sanchez 


  • Style—Justin Toves-Vincilione 


Give your butterfly skills a lift! Learn more in the Beauty Services section at

The Cut: Creating Results 

The butterfly look has been around for decades (think Farrah Fawcett) and is still evolving, driven by social media and new generations of interest, says Design Team specialist Gilad Goldstein. Like other hair fashion trends, it all starts with the cut. 

The butterfly is characterized by feathered, face-framing layers that transition into the length, Goldstein explains. It is achieved through mastering, then customizing, the fundamentals:   

Over-Direction—Creating weight and length in the opposite direction of the natural fall of the hair. 

Elevation—Redistributing weight within a section to create layers. 

The Cutting Line—The artistic signature that can completely change the look. “You can maintain even more length while layering by exaggerating the diagonal cutting line,” Goldstein says. 


Pro Tip: Take it easy on the tension. When cutting the initial guide to begin butterfly layering, cut no shorter than the chin. “If the guide becomes shorter, we create bangs that change the look into more of a wolf cut or shag shape,” Goldstein says. “To prevent [this], cut the guide with little-to-no tension so it doesn’t pop up shorter when the hair dries.” 

The Color: Adding Dimension 

“Introducing dimension to hair provides an elevated look of fullness, movement, and shine,” says Ulta Beauty Design Team specialist Beto Sanchez. And you have plenty of options to process with the butterfly look: 

Lived-In Color—Soft dimension toward the root, with lower maintenance. Create this by using different lightening techniques or depositing depth at the root. 

Color Blocking—Modern and edgy with high contrast between shades or levels. Customize the color placement.  

Quiet Luxury—Softer dimension in a matte color palette. Styling enhances the color for a fuller, face-framing look. 

Building Loyalty: Understanding the hair trends your guests request is a great first step to keeping them coming back, Sanchez says. “When my guests come into the salon with a butterfly cut picture, I always point out the super shiny hair. That’s the perfect opportunity to suggest a gloss or a dimensional color service.” 


Pro Tip: Low maintenance does not mean no-maintenance. Pre-book your guest! Dimensional techniques provide softer outgrowth, but there are many services that can help maintain a look between refreshes, including glosses, root touch-ups, treatments, and cuts. 

The Style: Flawless Finishing 

Styling is the “last but not least” portion of the hair service, says Ulta Beauty Design Team specialist Justin Toves-Vincilione. Customizing the styling technique should be taken as seriously as customizing the cut and color.  

Tool selection and brush size matter. For the best blowouts and styling, switch up your brush sizes (small, medium, and large) to suit hair length and texture. 

Know your professional products and be sure your guests do too. Serums and oils are an essential category, but Toves-Vincilione encourages anyone styling a butterfly cut to think twice. “The goal is volume. Even a moderate amount of oil or serum can deflate the style,” he says.  

Using and understanding the difference between dry shampoo and texture spray helps. “Both are fabulous to recommend to guests to extend blowouts, when used as intended.”  

  • Dry shampoo is great for supplementing washes and reducing or preventing oil. It can give a short-lived boost of volume, but the powderlike consistency falls out of hair more quickly.  
  • Texture spray is a finishing product with more grit and tack. It’s long-lasting and built to enhance shape, movement, and body.  

Extend and evolve your blowouts: 

  • Teach guests how to use dry shampoo and texture spray.  
  • Demo during the service, then send guests home with Velcro rollers.   
  • Use a 2-inch curling iron during the blowout service and recommend guests use the same at home to recreate the look.  


Pro Tip: Hair of any type will lose at least some of its style shape, even in the first hour. “The goal is to defy gravity by creating a shape that’s bouncier and curlier than initially desired,” Toves-Vincilione says. “If we understand that we lose volume and shape over time, we simply need to start with more.” 



  • Haircut, Color, and Styling: Gilad Goldstein (@myguiltycrown), Beto Sanchez (@betoloveshair), Justin Toves-Vincilione (@ahappyjustin) 
  • Design Team Support: Bianca Donahue (, Laura Gunter (@lauragunterhair), Janelle Eyre ( 
  • Makeup: Deney Adam (@deney_adam), Dmitry Potapov (@dmitrymakeup) 
  • Creative Direction: David Lopez (@davidlopezzz) 
  • Wardrobe: Jen Daniels (@beforetheflash) 
  • Photos: ISP Creative (@ispcreative) 

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