If You Want to, You Should Totally Chop Off All Your Hair

pixie haircut

Like many, I’ve got a Pinterest board dedicated to hair and hairstyles. Although I don’t personally have enough to braid, I pin braids and updos. I pin textures and colors I’ll never have.  And I totally get that Pinterest is a place for bookmarking things we actually want to try, and also things that we may never try but like to fantasize about. Really. I get that.

But I’m going to be a little nervy and blunt, here. Because I’d say that around 70% of the hair-related pins I see in my feed are short, spiky, pixie-style cuts with comments like “Someday I’ll work up the nerve” and “Love this look, but just can’t pull it off.” Short hair, wishful thinking. So here it comes:

If you want to, you should totally chop off all your hair. You should. And even though you may already know them, I’ll give you a whole bunch of reasons why.

It grows back

In most cases, the hair you cut off will grow back eventually. This is one of a very small handful of life decisions that is TOTALLY REVERSIBLE. You can play around with short hair now, and in a few years you can play around with long hair again if you want to. And yes, growing out a pixie can be a long and difficult process. But who’s to say you’ll definitely want to grow it out someday? You could become a lifelong short-hair convert. Either way, you can make this change now and it will not permanently alter you. Big picture-wise, it’s low risk.

Short hair won’t make you any less attractive

And anyone who says it will? They can swing by my house later today and I’ll give them a long, stern lecture about the patriarchy and hetero-normativity and controlling the beauty paradigm. Just as women who are short and tall and fat and thin and old and young can all be attractive, so can women with long or short hair. Partners and parents can be pushy and vocal with their opinions about your hair length, but the choice is yours. It may take them a while to get used to the new you. Heck, it’ll probably take YOU a while to get used to the new you. But you’ll be just as gorgeous and lovely and sensual as you were with longer hair. Promise. Your hair is only one aspect of your appearance, which is only one aspect of your self.

You don’t have to have a specific face shape

Those charts showing which face shapes suit short hair and pixie cuts make me want to set things on fire. You know how certain dress styles work fabulously with certain figures? Well, lo and behold, certain short hairstyles work fabulously with certain face shapes. You don’t have to go buzz-cut or pixie short to play around with shorter hairstyles. There are plenty of chin-length or shorter options that can ease you into the world of short hair. If you’re not sure about the style you’d like to try, consult your stylist. If your stylist offers no or crummy advice, tinker around with hair makeover tools like this one. And if you’re still undecided and worried? Try going short in stages. Do shoulder length, a long bob, chin-length. Once you get there, you may be able to move your hair around a bit more to see what it would look like in various super-short configurations.

You don’t have to be thin

This is the one that really gets me. OK, they all do, but I’ve actually had women tell me that they’d love to try my hairstyle but not until they lost a bunch of weight. Will having super short hair make your face look rounder? Maybe. Will it reveal more of your face? Probably. Are these things bad? No, although everyone will have her own comfort level. Faces come in all shapes and sizes, and although balancing your face shape with hair, accessory, and glasses choices can be great, it isn’t actually necessary. If you’re fat or not-thin and want to try short hair, I would encourage you to go for it. Because the whole can’t/shouldn’t-based-on-body-size-or-shape thing? It’s bunk.

Being afraid of “ruining” your looks can be very stifling

Another thing I totally get: Fear of looking weird for a long time. I have a fantastic hairstylist and a magazine-sanctioned face shape, so it’s all well and good for me to say these things. But I do understand that a drastic hair change means a big risk. If it doesn’t work out how you’d like, you may feel “stuck” or “ruined” or like you’ve made a horrible choice. And if that fear is stronger than your desire to take the plunge, please don’t think I’m saying you absolutely must cast that fear aside and chop away. But, again, in the vast majority of cases your hair will grow back. So if you cut it all off and don’t like the end result, you can – over time – change it back. And breaking free of the idea that your looks should be consistent and as close to perfect as possible at all times? That can be freeing. Nothing you do will ruin your looks. Nothing. And you have every right to make active decisions about the aspects of your looks that you can change and control.

Short hair is more expensive to maintain. It can take a while to hone in on the perfect shape and cut for you. And it is risky. But if you’ve wanted to go short for ages and just haven’t been able to muster up the nerve, I hope I’ve furthered the mustering process somewhat. Because lemme tell ya: I love my short hair so very much and can’t imagine ever growing it out. I feel more like myself with short hair than I ever did with long hair, even though everyone in my life fawned over my long curls. And every time I open Pinterest and see a string of darling pixie cut images and accompanying captions of stifled longing, I wish I could project my voice through the computer to that pinner and say, “Go for it.”

This is me whispering to you.

This post first appeared on Huff Post Style

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9 Responses to “If You Want to, You Should Totally Chop Off All Your Hair”

  1. Jocelyn

    I’m an avid Pinterest user as well, and everytime I see those same comments, I just want to yell, “just do it already; it’s hair – it grows back.” I guess I see things differently because I’ve never really had any major attachment to my hair. It’s been really long. It’s been really short and everything in between. And guess what – it continued to grow each day. Plus, I have a very round face and am plus-size. I think hairstyles are really more about the texture of hair than face shape, anyway. There are some really cute hairstyles that I can’t do because my hair is very fine, and a good stylist can tell you that and should be able to guide you through the process.
    Luckily, I’ve never had a partner or parent who pushed one way or the other. The only comments my mom ever made were about my particular color choice of the day. It always infuriates me when I hear women talk about wanting to cut their hair, but their SO likes long hair. Well, tell him to grow out his own if he likes long hair so much.
    So, I’m with you, Sal, cut your hair if you want to. It can be really liberating. Mine is actually long right now, but that’s more about me being too lazy to get it cut than anything else.

  2. Jennifer

    At this point in my life I’ve had long hair as long as I’ve had short hair. I’ve gone back and forth multiple times over the years. It really doesn’t take that long for hair to grow back out again and I actually enjoy the “awkward” in-between stage while growing it out because it makes you be creative in order to deal with it. I’ve had long hair for quite a few years now and am starting to think about going short again. I’ve kept it long for a while because I discovered as an adult my hair became curly and I liked having it long to show off the curl. My husband much prefers it long (he still hasn’t gotten over my chopping it all off right before our wedding 12 years ago), but I’m getting ready to go short again. I’ve gotten serious about my health and fitness again, so washing my hair 5-6 times per week, with blow drying and styling, is just untenable.

  3. Courtney Landes

    Rock on!

    I would say that if you talk about short hair, and your stylist offers no advice or crummy advice, find a new stylist. Your stylist doesn’t get to decide what style of hair you have. When you ask your stylist about a major change, it is there job to offer options based on things like hair texture, straight vs. wavy vs. curly, etc.

    Regarding the growing out–I’m actually doing that right now. I’ve had a pixie for 2 years, and I’m ready for a change. So far, the grow out process hasn’t been painful. It may seem counterintuitive, but I have actually been getting trims more frequently in the grow out stage. I have regular appointments for adjusting the shape of the whole haircut with in-between quickie appointments to trim the hair at the nape of my neck (I have several cowlicks there, so I’m keeping that short until the rest of my hair catches up enough to cover it.) The best advice I found when I started thinking about growing it out is to shoot for a short, angled bob as an intermediate goal and then figure out what you want from there. I also decided to keep my bangs for now, because it’s easier to keep my look professional if I’m not trying to grow out the rest of my hair AND my bangs.

  4. Andrea

    I’ve had a pixie now for 21 of my 43 years. Not only is it quite short, but much of it is silver, and I get compliments on it from total strangers all the time. It’s become my signature, and I wouldn’t change the length or the color for anything. It utterly *infuriates* me when I hear “I would love to have my hair short like that but my SO wouldn’t like it…”. I would no more try to control my husband’s hair (facial or otherwise) than he would try to control mine. Seriously — it’s on your head, you grew it, you do what you want with it.

    I would add to Sally’s list of considerations above that finding the right stylist is so important when going short; just as some stylists really specialize in dealing with curly hair, some are better than others are short cuts for women. If the stylist isn’t good at taking into consideration face shape, texture, etc., it’s really easy for the cut to venture into masculine territory (which is fine if that’s what you’re going for, but potentially uncomfortable if you’re not). I do have to get mine cut every 3 weeks, though I’d prefer go every 2, just to maintain it’s optimum shortness. Mine could not be any straighter, and while I have a lot of it, it’s actually quite fine. Product is my friend, but styling still only takes around 5 minutes to do — another reason I’ll never go back. 🙂

  5. Celynne

    I had long hair in the same style for years and I’ve drastically changed and shortened my cut twice this year and it’s been SO freeing. My first step was shaving down one side of my head, which was pretty radical to begin with but I still had long hair everywhere else… I rocked that for a while but then wanted to take it further. So I shortened the hair on one side… and shaved the rest of it off. Nothing on the other side or the back of my head, I shaved off nearly two feet of hair. And to be honest? I panicked. I freaked out. I felt like I did a really stupid thing. And then after about a week I started figuring out how to style my new do and now I am absolutely in love with my hair again – except for the days when the hair now growing in decides it wants to stand up straight and spikey despite me best efforts – but I just roll with the bad when it comes and try to have fun. It DOES grow back, and I am still so glad I cut my hair, I’ll back at my myself in decades to come and see what a spunky, brave little thing I was and be happy I took the chance and experimented.

  6. runningstitches

    My routine is to sport a pixie for a year or two and spend a year or two growing it out….rinse and repeat. *GRIN*

    • Heidi/FranticButFab

      My cycle is every 7 years or so. 😉 I’ll get the urge, cut it off, and then look at photos of myself and realize chin length hair is really much more flattering on me. Then I grow it out and wait for the short hair urge to strike again!

  7. Sam M

    Cutting my hair into a pixie was hands-down the best and most liberating choice I’ve ever made. First of all, it’s extremely easy to care for. The only real bug is maintenance (especially now, since I’m sporting a blue undercut that I get shaved and trimmed almost every week.) But I adore it. It’s a look that gets people talking, and most importantly, I feel like the most authentic version of myself with short hair. Also, to those who worry about looking “manly”–a well-cut pixie frames your face and reveals more of your face than a longer cut. If anything, I find that most women who go from long to short cuts end up looking MORE feminine (myself included.)

    – Sam
    http://thelifeandtimesofsam.wordpress.com

  8. contrary kiwi

    I was talking to my friend about how I’m running out of hairstyle ideas and she suggested that I check things like Pinterest for style inspiration. Problem is, all the “short” hairstyles on Pinterest are too long for me! My hair is generally around 2 inches long at most and all the “short” hairstyles on Pinterest (or anywhere, really) are 5 or 6 inches long. It’s really weird having such a big difference between what I think of as short and what everyone else sees it as xD