After a long winter, you may be getting the urge to start fresh with an exciting short hairstyle. Whether you’re thinking bob, pixie or even a chic Charlize Theron-inspired buzzcut, a short haircut for spring just feels fantastically fresh.
If you’ve never had short hair before, though, it can be a big adjustment. Luckily there are several things you can do to make the transition easier and reduce the chance of ending up with a cut you don’t love. Here are five steps that you must take before cutting your hair short.
1. Gather inspirational photos.
This is the very first step when getting a drastic haircut (and just so happens to be our favorite thing to do). Whether it’s a picture of a friend whose haircut you’ve always admired or a Pinterest board full of your favorite celebrity hairstyles, you need to have something that you can show your stylist. Words can be misinterpreted, whereas a picture will show exactly what you want.
Remember to be flexible and realistic: your hair may be very different from the celebrity whose crop you admire, and even if you do get the exact same cut, you still won’t look like Halle Berry. So when gathering inspirational photos, try to picture each haircut on yourself and think about how it will work with your lifestyle and hair type.
2. Try it out.
There are three ways to try out a short hairstyle before committing to it: a wig, faking it with an updo, and a virtual makeover.
Check Amazon, eBay, and Etsy for short wigs. Since you only need it to get a basic idea of how the style will look on you, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a high-quality wig. A synthetic wig under $20 will get the job done.
If you just want a bob, pin your hair up in a faux bob so you can wear the style for a day to see if you like it. Not only does this require no scissor commitment, but it’s also really easy to do.
And if you want to try out a virtual makeover for a good idea of how your dream style will look, you’re already in the right place!
3. Talk it out with your stylist.
Once you’ve armed yourself with photos of cuts that you like and you’ve given it a trial run of some sort, you’re ready to make an appointment with a stylist you trust. Many salons offer pre-cut consultations, which are fantastic if you’re a feeling a little reticent about making the chop.
Be clear and specific about what you want (those pictures will come in handy at this point) but also be open to professional suggestions from the stylist; after all, your dream cut has to work with your hair type and lifestyle. Tell them if you have don’t have a lot of time to wash and style your hair every day, or if your hair has a lot of natural curl, or if you want a cut that will grow out gracefully. If your stylist isn’t willing to talk about your concerns beforehand, feel free to go to a different salon where you feel heard.
4. Stock up on the right products and tools.
This is something you can talk about with your stylist when you get your hair cut, but it might also help to do some research beforehand. When your hair is short, you’ll need to use different products and tools than when it’s long. For example, a mini-straightener will probably be a godsend. You can use it to tame flyways, straighten your newly shortened hair, and even create waves and texture.
As for products, you’ll need dry shampoo if you don’t want to wash and style your cut every day. If you have fine hair, you should get some kind of pomade to give your pixie some texture, and if your hair is coarse or frizzy, consider getting a hair oil or serum to smooth it out.
You’ll probably also want to stock up on cute headbands, scarves and hats for the inevitable bad hair day. The bedhead struggle is real with short hair.
5. Go in stages.
No matter how much you want short hair, it’s understandable if you also feel slightly hesitant about making such a huge change. If you’ve never had short hair before, it may be best to do it in stages. Going from long hair to a long bob to a bob to a long pixie is a pretty safe strategy. It will be less of a transition, and you can get used to shorter and shorter hair at your own pace (instead of silently freaking out in the salon chair while it all gets cut off at once).
And don’t worry if your end goal is a pixie but you dislike the intermediate bob stage. It doesn’t mean you look bad with short hair; it just means that stage isn’t for you and it’s time to try the next one. Everyone can look good with short hair; it’s just a matter of finding the right cut. And in the end, remember the golden rule: It’s just hair, and hair always grows back.
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