Wondering how to pull off short hair — or if you even can? The answer is: Yes, you absolutely can – all you need is confidence. That, and some insight into which of the many gorgeous short hairstyles will work with your particular face shape, hair texture, and personality.
Of course, it’s always smart to consult a professional stylist before going in for the cut. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own research on all the different short hair looks — from how they frame the face to how easily you’ll be able to style and maintain it yourself once you leave the salon.
Remember, it’s all too common — perhaps even a universal experience — for women to regret chopping off their long locks.1 And while it’s easy enough to make work as you grow it out, why not make an informed decision before making such a big change? In short (pun intended), make sure your head’s in the right place before cutting off all the hair that’s on it.
So, to help put your mind at ease, here are some tips on how to pull off short hair, along with some fresh ideas you can discuss with your stylist. Read on before going in for the big chop.
Know Which Short Hairstyles Work With Your Face Shape
Before you cut your hair off, pull it all back away from your face and spend some time in front of a mirror. Knowing your face shape is key for many beauty decisions. Everything from your most flattering haircut and color to your ideal eyebrow shape can be determined by whether your face leans more square, round, oval, or heart-shaped.
Square Face Short Hairstyles
With all the strong and angular planes of your facial structure, you might feel like you want to balance it out with something soft and breezy. If this is the case, visualize a casual chop with jagged ends for more texture, or beachy waves ala Olivia Wilde’s more classic red-carpet looks.
You might also stick to a cut where your hair falls a few inches past your chin.2
Round Face Short Hairstyles
Think Chrissy Teigen: A short bob that looks like it’s grown out a little, accentuated by wispy bangs that add volume and texture at the crown. As with square faces, avoid cuts that are too structured or too short.3
Oval Face Short Hairstyles
Thank your lucky stars if you’ve ever wanted a classic pixie cut — this is the ideal face shape for it. You can get away with a cropped ‘do with many subtle variations to suit your personality: soft bangs or a blunt fringe, or more layers at the crown for volume.4
If you’ve opted for a short pixie cut, let your stylist show you ways to dress it up a little and add more texture. Pull up images of women like Zoe Kravitz, Michelle Williams, and Carey Mulligan to see the perfect pixie cut in action.
Heart-Shaped Face Short Hairstyles
A well-cut set of bangs will be the cherry on top of your lob (long bob). Pick a blunt or shaggy cut that falls right at your collarbone or shoulders, then accentuate with dramatic side-swept fringe to really let your heart-shaped face shine.
Let your inner Kerry Washington shine and exude confidence with this wavy hair version of the long bob.5
Work With Your Hair’s Natural Texture
You can always make the most of what you’ve naturally been blessed with. Whether your natural hair texture leans more on the fine or thick side, or if you’ve got straight or wavy hair, there are lots of ways you can rock short locks.
If you have…
Fine Hair: Add volume using wispy layers, or consider an undercut to give the illusion of fullness. This hair type works great with very short styles or a pixie cut. Another tip: Consider highlights or a blonde balayage to add dimension and interest.6
Thick Hair: Short hairstyles are actually a godsend for thick hair since that means there will be less hair to maintain. Ask your stylist to consider adding layers to break up your thick strands and add texture. Consider getting a long bob with side-swept bangs, or even a deconstructed pixie cut with shaved or undercut sides.7
Curly or Wavy Hair: You know better than to fight with your natural coils and ringlets. Let all that texture work to your advantage and style accordingly. Consider a grown-out bob with soft natural beachy waves or a closely-cropped look that shows off your curl pattern. Play around with a deep side part to channel Old Hollywood glamor. Feeling extra brave? Pull a Lupita Nyong’o and go for the ultimate fade.8
Think About How Much You’re Willing To Style It
When you look up images of celebrities with short hair, you’ll notice they hardly wear the same look for long. Even with short hair, they can wear their hair sleek and straight one day, only to go wavy the next. Of course, having pro hairstylists on call and an arsenal of products on hand makes it much easier to pull off short hair, but the point is — you can and should feel free to experiment with your new short hair, and half the fun is making it look fresh and different.
But only if you’re willing and able to.
When going short, it’s best to consider how much time and effort you’re willing to spend on it. No one wants to have to blow dry their hair every day, and a lot of women think having short hair means having a wash-and-wear hairstyle, only to leave the salon with a short ‘do they already know they can’t maintain after the first wash.
Come clean with your hairstylist, and ask about maintenance. If you don’t want to fuss around with heat styling and barely have time to run product through your hair most days, then make sure your stylist cuts your hair in a way that requires the least amount of maintenance.
Here are some tips to let your short hairstyle shine with minimal effort:
- Consider an interesting dye job. A quirky color, highlights, or a blonde balayage can really add interest to your hair without you having to do much on a daily basis.
- Master the art of dry shampoo. Many short hairstyles rely on adding a little volume or lift on the roots to really take off. If you don’t wash your hair daily, think about applying some dry shampoo to achieve this effect.
- Make sure you start with a great cut. Really take the time to discuss what you want with your stylist and assess what you’re working with.
Going Short: Always Trust A Professional
Much like cutting your bangs, you’re going to want to go to an expert if you’re considering chopping a sizeable amount of hair off. This applies whether you’re going for a pixie cut or some other short layered look. Make sure you go to a stylist you trust. You can definitely look awesome with short hair — but make sure it’s a cut that works for you.