Tuesday, 1 August 2017

5 things to consider before a drastic hair cut

Will short hair suit your face, body and style?  How can you know in advance if having a drastic hair cut is a good idea for you? 

As usual, I speak from the heart and from personal experience, and when I did this huge change, I had reached the point where I really needed to get rid of my long hair and start again with the colour, and with the health of my hair, which was fragile from wear and tear, dyeing and illness.  

These pictures were taken around three weeks apart. My hair got even shorter than this before I eventually decided to start on the long road of growing it long again.  If I had had my way, I would have gone from long to pixie crop straight away, but my stylist wouldn't do it.  Her reasons were understandable and probably part of her training, after all you can easily cut more hair off, but you can't stick it back on again (unless you count extensions and wigs of course)  My reasons for wanting to go straight to a pixie were that:I've had a pixie before, and it's the best way to control my thick hair.  My hair needs to be either very long so that the weight of it controls it's tendency to stick out, or very short, partly because it is so thick and uncontrollable, and partly because I have a huge head, and quite a small boned face and petite frame.

1. Will A Pixie Crop Suit My Face?

When I was preparing to go short, I did what we all do when obsessing on a thought...I turned to Pinterest, and created a board which I will link here  It was great to indulge in fantasising about having some of those styles myself, but of course the cut is only one facet of the result. One thing I noticed was that the hair cut worked best when the stylist had been mindful of the person's face shape and features, and we are all different. One of the first things to do to work out if a pixie crop will suit your face, is to measure the distance between the bottom of your earlobe and the tip of your chin.  This is called the 2.5 inch rule, and it works!
John Frieda discovered that if the distance between your earlobe and chin is more that 2.5 inches then you will look better with longer hair.  It sounds a bit simplistic, but is based on angles of the face, and the fact that personal style, body shape and size all come into the equation. Just lay a pencil horizontally across the bottom of your chin, and place a ruler under your earlobe vertically...a mirror will help here!  Where the pencil and ruler meet is the measurement of your jaw depth.  If it is less than 2.5 inches, then we're good to go on considering the pixie crop.  If it's more than 2.5 inches then you might want to consider a different short style...a chin length bob for instance, just not a pixie crop. 

2. Will A Pixie Crop Suit My Style?

So I am presupposing that you already know your style...although I certainly didn't when I had my hair cropped! It was one steep learning curve to me to have to start from the beginning again and work out why clothes I had happily worn with long curly hair looked 'wrong' with short hair.  I suddenly understood what it meant when people talked about 'hiding' behind long hair. Many a Friday night I had sorted out my long curly hair and if it looked good then I could throw on heels, jeans and a plaid shirt and still look dressed up.  When I had my hair cropped it was a different story...I actually looked like a bloke unless I paid attention to my clothes and makeup.  I suddenly felt mannish-looking, and confused as to what I wanted wear and how I wanted to look. 

I hadn't understood that I was a petite body type (despite being a bit overweight, the petite type is distinguished by being under around 5'5/5'4) and that was why short neat hair suited me. I began to buy shorter tops, with smaller patterns, and to wear fewer pieces of jewellery, and smaller more delicate rings and earrings.  You would have thought that being in my 50's I would have known all this by now, but I didn't!  Researching style was a minefield of different definitions, but here's a few helpful links to how to determine what suits you. My Pinterest

Woman Wearing Red Sleeveless Top

3. I Will Have To Style It EVERY Morning???

Yup, you heard that right. Every. Single. Morning.  Thinking that short hair is 'easy' is perhaps the commonest misconception about short hair out there.  Yes it's easy to wash and you use a fraction of the amount of shampoo and conditioner that you used to. Yes it's quick to dry. But if you have thick, unruly, fine, flyaway, generally badly behaved hair, then you will probably have to pay it some attention and use several products before you leave the house.  I needed serum on some of it and a strong hold wax on other parts.  Depending on the style I wanted I also used Edge Control which is a great product for Afro Caribbean hair, and hair putty. I would blow dry, wet again, blow, straightening cream, straighten, fluff, mess up, pinch and twist bits, bring it forward over my face or slick it back with good old fashioned 99p sold-in-vats in the pound shop gel. I used to wear a hat to flatten it, and dread looking in the mirror when I woke up as it was literally sticking up like I'd stuck my fingers in a socket.  That part of short hair remains at the front of  mind as one of  the worst things about it. Heaven forbid a misty or wet morning. Now my hair is long again, one of the best parts of it is that it doesn't matter how bloody awful it looks in the morning, I just scrape it up into a bun...done.  Worth thinking about!

4. Do I Like/Can I Afford To Visit The Salon VERY Regularly?

 My pixie needed cutting every 3 weeks to stay in shape.  Even if I could have afforded this, I'm just not the sort of person who likes going to the salon every few weeks. I love it for a treat every so often, but I just can't be arsed with making and keeping appointments as regularly as breathing in and out, so the deal-breaker for me was could I cut it myself?  When I found that I could, and that I quite enjoyed it, it made having short hair possible for me. You realise when you have short hair, just how quickly hair actually grows, and how fast it can get out of shape, especially if your particular style relies on precision neatness.

5. If you don't like it, don't worry it will grow back. In like, 18 months minimum.

I'm being honest with you here. I didn't exactly hate growing my hair out, and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to explore several looks and styles on it's journey back to long. But oh my weren't there times when I just wanted to wave a magic wand and have it back to a reasonable length.  For me, that means a length where I can just grasp it in my hands and tie it all up with one elastic.  19 months on, and I am certainly at that point.  But do I consider it to have 'grown back'?  Not yet.  It probably has another 6-9 months of growing to do before I can say that I have my long hair back, and that will be more like a year if I succumb to my wish to have it trimmed so that the ends are all one length again.  So be very, very aware that it takes just one visit to the salon to get a pixie crop, but a lot longer to transform short hair to long.  

I hope this has been helpful...let me know in the comments below!


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