Everything You Need to Know About The Leo

Published 14th Nov 2023 by Josie Jackson
The Leo, also commonly referred to as Curtains, has been a popular style since the 90s, largely due to the success of Leonardo DiCaprio and his early roles in Titanic and Romeo & Juliet. However, over the past few years the eponymous style has been making a resurgence, so we decided to catch up with Carl Taylor, owner of Taylor Male Image, and Ainsley Walton, winner of Best Photographic Image at the Modern Barber Awards 2023, to discuss why this might be.

So, what is The Leo?

"Leo's hair from Titanic is iconic," says Ainsley. "Technically speaking, it's graduated on the sides, using a large connection on top. This style is also often referred to as Curtains, but the amount of times I've specifically been shown a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio from clients looking to achieve this style is a lot, so it's understandable that it's also referred to as The Leo."

Discussing the hair types this style would work well for, Ainsley notes: "This style is going to suit somebody who has Caucasian hair quite well, but on someone who has a slightly shorter, rounder face, we don't want too much disconnection. However, someone who has a strong facial structure like Leo will suit a slightly larger disconnection.

"I think The Leo could also work on Asian hair, but as this hair type tends to be quite reactive, what we’d have to do is maybe look at making more of a disconnection and a tighter graduation through the sides and implement some more texturising techniques on the top to get it to sit as light and broken as it does in the images of Leo in the 90s."

Meanwhile, Carl adds: "I think this style works amazing for those with straight or wavy hair, however I think it works best on the latter, as it adds a lot of natural movement."

How to Cut The Leo

Carl also shares his simple steps for recreating The Leo:

  1. Box section

  2. Diagonal back sections horizontally diagonal to build graduation and maintain weight

  3. Keeping the shape rounded horizontally and vertically triangular around the head for that soft graduation

  4. Cutting the top vertically triangular (gradually shorter at the back longer towards the front) horizontally square to keep some form of disconnection

  5. Then a triangular section through the apex to the recession and connect behind the ears and gradually increasing the length towards the recession to integrate the disconnection on the top

  6. Then blow dry with a sea salt spray and point cut to enhance texture to your client's desire, before finishing with a clay based product and running a wide tooth comb through to encourage separating

How to Style The Leo

Ainsley explains how to style the cut on different hair types in more detail, sharing: "It all comes down to how the hair is reacting. If the client has Asian or East Asian hair, we would need to saturate the hair with something a little bit stronger than a salt spray, whereas on Caucasian hair, I think a salt spray would be enough.

"You can also use a little bit of matte paste just to emphasise the sides and make sure they tuck behind the ear, revealing the disconnection towards the front."

Discussing the resurgence of The Leo, Ainsley notes: "For the last five years we've seen a lot of precision haircuts – very short fades, every hair on the head has a place to be – and now we're starting to see more of these undone looks, so I've enjoyed seeing this cut return to popularity."

Another cut that has been making a return to mainstream style is the Mullet – and here's everything you need to know about it.
Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 14th Nov 2023

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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