Short Hair Disclaimer: If you’re going to go short, here’s 5 things you need to know

Photo Elisabeth Kate Photography

Not a week goes by when I don’t get a compliment on my short hair. After fantasizing about going short for years (literally), in 2009 I took the plunge and cut my hair and haven’t looked back since.

Short hair is edgy, it’s unique, and it can totally define your personal style. However, short hair isn’t for everyone. If you’re a girl who’s thinking about taking the plunge and going short, here are five things you need to know.

  1. Maintenance: To keep the cut looking maintained, you’re going to need to get it cut every 6-8 weeks. With long hair, it’s not unheard of for women to go half the year without getting a haircut, but with short hair, you can’t afford to. Anything after 8 weeks looks shaggy and sloppy. Be prepared to spend $40-60 on your haircut every 6-8 weeks. **Update: To save up front on your haircut, try going to a hair school for a discounted rate. Sometimes you can even choose a student who is close to graduating and has more experience. Tip via Fleur d’Elise.
    Happy and healthy hair after a cut & style by Mike Kowalis @ Relik Salon
  2. Make sure your bone structure can pull it off. To pull off a short haircut, you need some angularity to your face and features. If you have a round face, a short ‘do can over-emphasize the roundness. **Update: That said, not all short haircuts are created equal, so work with your hairstylist to find a cut that will flatter your face shape. Tip via Citizen Rosebud.

    Cut and style: Sophia Simone
  3. You’re going to have to style it. Everyday. Unlike long hair that you can pull into a bun or a ponytail and not think twice about it for the rest of the day, short hair is going to require daily styling. That will involve blow-drying, product and accessories, and on bad hair days, the occasional hat. All things considered though, on a regular day you’re looking at five minutes to style your hair — tops.

    Sometimes a headband is all you need to brighten a bad hair day.
  4. Short hair requires lots of product. Short hair has required more hair product than any other haircut I’ve ever had. Be prepared to spend money on good quality product to give your hair the texture it requires. On a regular basis I use Curl Interrupted by Brocato to calm the natural curl, HairPlay by KMS California, and Texture Twist by Pureology.

    Gravity-defying hair requires lots of product!
  5. You’re going to have to work on looking feminine. Long wavy hair has a definitive femininity to it, while short hair can look masculine if you’re not careful. Having short hair, I have to make a conscious effort to look more like a girl — wearing more makeup, wearing more jewelry, wearing more feminine colors and styles of clothing.

    Extra makeup and jewelry will make you feel more feminine when you have short hair.

Cutting my hair short has been one of the best style decisions of my life. Whenever I see a woman with kickass short hair, I like to think I played a part in her decision to take the plunge and go short. (And in some cases, I have!) So if you cut your hair, let me know! I’d love to see pictures.

Also, if you are looking for inspiration and photos to take to your hairstylist, check out my Short Hair pinboard on Pinterest. I love collecting photos of short hairstyles and the board has 1100+ followers.

Did I miss anything?

38 thoughts on “Short Hair Disclaimer: If you’re going to go short, here’s 5 things you need to know

  1. Thank you, Emily! I love how easy and fun it is, though sometimes I wish it had a little more romance to it. Maybe I need to try some curls or something. Happy Monday to you! -Sarah

  2. I love your short hair. I cut mine all off every few years or so, but then I don't keep it up. I'm lazy like that. lol.

    As for 80s prom, it's something McMennamin's does and it's frickin' brilliant. Here is a link to it:

    This is the 10th year, my friends and I are on our 3rd year and it gets better every time. It's definitely something I'd recommend making the trip to Portland for. Seriously, so much fun!

    Happy Monday!


  3. Thanks Gracey! It's so fun making massive changes to your hair every couple of years. How do you make it through those awkward phases gracefully?

    80s prom sounds like so much fun! We're in Seattle so Portland is just a hop, skip and a jump. I won't be able to swing it this time around but that would be a total blast. This year, I'll live vicariously. Can't wait to see your photos!

    Happy Monday :)

  4. All very good points! The only one that is different for me, as a girl with short hair, is the 1st one: I have to get mine cut every 4 to 6 weeks!
    I save money by going to the Tony&Guy Academy up in Shoreline. Haircuts there are only $13! The Aveda School on Capitol Hill is good, too.

    I've had a few people remark "Oh I bet you can just wash it and go!" And I'm like "No, I'm not a boy. This took like 30 minutes." Which brings me to #5: You really do have to work at looking feminine! I've found the right hair color can help. Really dark shades, like yours, work well or going really, really blond. When I was a light brunette for like a month I got called a boy twice!! I had never been called that when my hair was blond, so yeah, now I'm back to blond.

  5. Such a good point, Catie! What a great way to save on your hair — do you have someone you go to that consistently delivers good results? Up until moving to Seattle this winter, I had had a monogamous relationship with my hairstylist. It's really nice to go to someone who knows what you want.

    Unless you want to be mistaken for a boy, it's true — you cannot just wash and go! When I was in seventh grade, I had my hair cut short like this and got mistaken for a boy once by a substitute teacher in class. It was so mortifying! Makeup goes a long way. And hair color definitely makes a big difference! I'm sure having highlights goes a long way as well. Thanks for sharing, Catie! -Sarah

  6. I love my short hair which I've had for over a decade. Been growing it out a decade, lol, since I shaved it 10 years ago. That said- when I first talked about cutting it super short I was told point blank, that I didn't have the face for it as my face is round. VERY round. I did it anyway and now people tell me all the time "Oh you have the face for it you can get away with short short hair, but I can't, I don't have the face for it." And I reply: bullshit. A good stylist can help you find the short hair cut that works for your face. So I beg to differ with the round face = no short cut advice. But everything else is on the mark.

  7. CitizenRosebud, great point — when there's a will, there's a way. Having a skilled stylist really can do wonders in making the most with what you've got. Having looked at your photos though, it looks to me that you have more of an oval shaped face with roundness in your cheeks. I will make sure to edit #2 to say that working with a stylist can help make it work for you. -Sarah

  8. I absolutely agree with #5, I had to dress a little girlier to feel feminine when my hair was short, but I disagree with #3 and #4 because it literally took my one minute to blow dry my hair and get it decent enough to go outside, but now that it's long, it takes ten times longer! But I think your hair is probably cooler than mine was on a daily basis! Your hair is great! It's so nice when women gather the courage to just do it!

  9. Thanks for chiming in, Thrifted Shift! That's awesome that you were able to maintain your hair with so much ease when it was short. I agree — in comparison, my long mane took WAY longer to maintain! Thanks for your fab compliment :) Agreed, I love seeing women with short hair. You know that she has a lot of confidence in who she is in able to wear it well. -Sarah

  10. Fun post! I'm rethinking my decision to grow out my hair. I've had long and short hair off and on my whole life and I feel fresh and modern with shorter hair. I get compliments when my hair is short. I agree with #1 and #5 especially. I trim it often (but often myself – not that I recommend it, but I've been cutting my own hair for years. I go to a stylist a couple of times a year and then follow her lines in between visits). Jewelry changes a look immensely! I have loads of long, dangly earrings that make any short cut not seem boyish.

  11. I absolutely love short hair on women. I envy how well you pull off this pixie cut, and you look so lovely and classy in every photo!!

    I used to keep my hair long, and a few years ago I cut it and have never looked back. Since it's curly I can't go quite as short as you (though I'd love to!).

  12. Thanks, Jean! I know that feeling — the few times I've tried to grow out my hair, it never gets far until I give my head a shake and go short all over again. It's true — short hair does feel so short and modern! You are a brave woman to trim your own hair in between cuts. I have a friend with a short pixie cut and her creative husband is the one who has cut her hair for years. How nice that must be to have quick and easy access to a trim. Look forward to meeting you at the next Seattle style blogger meetup! -Sarah

  13. Thank you, for your lovely compliment, Megan! Your red curls are absolutely delightful and so beautifully maintained. I think the shortest haircut I've ever seen on a gal with curls like yours was on Keri Russel in Felicity all those years ago which somehow wasn't very flattering. While I have a hard time with my hair at your length, you make it look terrific! -Sarah

  14. Love your hair, short hair is so lovely! I've always felt that the people that can pull of short well have it made = no tangles, no dry ends and quick(ish) styling! I had short hair when I was a kid and I don't think I'd try it out again just because my head is fairly round and so it did look very nice.

    The Urban Umbrella

  15. this is a great post! I have always wanted to venture off and try a super short do like this…but as you mentioned, for folks with less angularity on the face, it's tricky to pull off. I'm definitely one of those…too bad!! Maybe one day, I'll figure out something! =)


  16. Thanks for your feedback, Nancy! Back when I had long hair, I would do things like add blunt bangs to take the edge off of wanting to go short. It helped for a while. The next step was to have an a-line bob, and once you're there, it's not too far to go short. You could totally rock a chin-length bob if that's short enough for you!


  17. I think you need to make up your mind. In a previous post titled "Benefit of Short Hair" (… ) talked about how you save all this money on products, how you never need to blow dry your hair, how it hardly takes any time to style it, etc.

    "Benefit of Short Hair #2:
    With short hair, think of all the money you’d save on shampoo, conditioner and hair products
    Benefit of Short Hair #3:
    No more blow drying! Plus, short hair takes a lot less time to style and maintain"

  18. Just had a quick read on your lovely blog… your "do" is gorgeous and makes me want to chop mine off…again! I'd love to see you post some hair "how-to's" or just tell us all what sort of products you use. The thing I've always found when I go short, is that I get bored with the same look day in, day out…and no stylist I visit seems to be able to give me options with a pixie or shorter cut. Inevitably I end up growing it out.

  19. You have a very cute site Sarah. I love your "do" as well. I've been on bit of a hair roller coaster most of my adult life, cutting my hair super short and then growing it out a couple of months later. I don't ever seem to be able to stick to it. I'm not sure if it's a peer pressure thing or I just get bored quickly and need a change. Whatever the case, I would love to see you post some hair styling tips or how-to's as your fashion posts are awesome.

  20. I\’m amazed that you are able to grow out your hair consistently over such a short period of time! I can definitely understand wanting to change things up all the time. The nice thing I find with short hair is that you have a brand new cut every six weeks. Things change fast! I will continue to do hair tips, some excellent stuff is in the works that I think you\’ll really appreciate!

  21. Kylie, that\’s an excellent idea. I\’m going to get something up about products soon. I actually have a really great resource that I\’ll be publishing soon showcasing all sorts of way to style a short \’do. You\’ll love it!

  22. I am thinking about cutting my long hair short but I am afraid of looking to masculine. I really love short styles though. My friend told me that men aren't as attracted to women with short hair as they are with women long hair. I don't know if that's true or not.

  23. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel. That\’s a totally legitimate concern. On the spectrum of short hair there are more feminine options if you\’re concerned about looking masculine. You could do something with longer bangs and layers that would be more feminine, rather than something shorter and spikier which could have the appearance of being more masculine. I\’d recommend checking out my short hair pinterest board for ideas and then take them to your stylist and talk them through. As for whether or not men are attracted to women with short hair, that definitely is a personal preference. Traditionally men love long hair because it\’s so feminine, but I know plenty of men that are totally into short hair as well. Good luck! If you ever want to talk it through further, check out my eStyling Virtual Styling options!

  24. Just chopped mine off yesterday and I. Love. It. I’ve never had short hair in my life, so it was kind of a shock at first, but I’m loving it more and more every minute! I’ve never had hair this easy. Short haired girls rock!

  25. I agree with this, however: There are pixie cuts/short hairstyles for every face shape- so there is a very short hairstyle that will fit a round face (keep it longer on top and make the sides shorter to create a 'balanced' look).. Think Ginnifer Goodwin's short hair.
    Another tip is one must look at facial features if you want to go SUPER short. You can do femme short hair by keeping long bangs that sweep your forehead. If you have very soft and feminine features, a good sized/shaped head you can usually pull off realllly short.
    Short hair also takes a good amount of confidence; number one rule is if you don't like your hair, no one will. It starts with yourself. I have found after having short hair for almost 9 years (everything from pixie to mohawk to buzz cut) that its all how you wear it.

  26. You bring up some excellent points, Megan. Certain face shapes look much better with longer short hair styles rather than the shorter, exposing ones. When you go way short, it illuminates everything! We can definitely hide behind our hair. I have more angular features, but it works for going super short too.

    You\’ve got it — if you\’re going to go short you really have to believe in it. Another blogger was just bemoaning how she shouldn\’t have taken the plunge (she cut off a whole foot) and I can understand that it\’s a big change all at once. I literally warmed myself up by going from long to shoulder length to chin length to short.

    Would love to see photos of how you\’ve styled your hair over the years!

  27. I am very petite with angular features and have worn mine like yours a very long time but always wish I could carry off long hair. I think men prefer long hair

  28. Hi Katie, I bet with the help of a good stylist you could find a long hair cut that works for your face shape and personality. Some men do prefer long hair, but I know several men who prefer short hair. And the best men love us no matter how our hair is.

  29. Hai..I am a shorty with small bone structure and just cut my hair short. all kind of comments I get especially that I'm looking like a guy. that really make me upset and some even thought I'm a les. but after reading this and search in net I get more confidence and I find what fault in my style. make up of course!!

  30. I’ve had short hair for years, but I always had more length around my ears. Two weeks ago I decided to the plunge and go for the pixie. Best decision made! In a way I find it quite empowering and love the idea of looking a little “boyish”. – to balance it out I consciously wear makeup more carefully and wear skirts and dresses now! I had two comments from different camps though: my male friends asked me why I cut it so short (because they think it’s too short) but my girlfriends tell me how it brings out my eyes (lucky to be blessed with big ones) and how brave I was to chop off so much hair! Don’t be scared of change. When I first walked into the office with the new hairstyle even my boss came up to me and complimented on it!

  31. My hair is down to my tooshy and I’m about 5 feet tall. I want to cut off my hair and pull off a pixie cut but I don’t know if I can :( I have a round face and I don’t think short hair will look good on me. Plus when I was younger I did cut off my hair to look like Olivia Benson off of Law and Order SVU and I was bullied immediately everyday. After that, I was devoted to grow out my hair long and I did! Now I’m afraid to cut it off. :( help!

  32. I agree with everything but the facial structure rule, which I have never obeyed, being a girl with the roundest face I know and also one with a great pixie. It’s quite possible me and my round face look better with short hair. If you love it, want to have it, and are ready to go for it, then you meet the requirements, in my book. The regular upkeep rule is a must, though– it’s easy to get into mullet territory.

  33. Hi, I love all the tips and pictures. I have been thinking about cutting my hair short for a while already but my only concern is that I am tall and have pretty long neck, short hair would elongate it even more, wouldn't? What do you think?

  34. I just found this article on Pinterest so I'm not sure how old it is now, but other than the comments about upkeep I find it really misleading. Sorry to be so negative but I've had short hair all my life other than the last two years and I couldn't disagree more with the points made in the article. Short hair is possibly the best look for a round face in my view. As long as its the right cut, its so flattering! If anything it brings out angles and lengthens the face. Also, very little effort or products are required in my experience. I've spent the last two years growing out my hair, which is now shoulder length and I'm at my wits end with the upkeep. When my hair was short, as pointed out in the article, it was so quick and easy to get it to look good. Now I have to faf about with conditioning and styling products (my hair is naturally wavy/ has loose curls). I have to allow for drying time if going out which is also new to me. Also, short hair has instant volume due to the layers. But the part I find the most inaccurate here is the point about femininity. If you're feminine, you're still going to be feminine with short hair. I have found that pixie cuts make women look even more feminine because those cuts usually draw attention to the eyes, giving that really girly doll like elfin appearance. I'm planning on getting my hair cut short soon because I don't feel feminine with longer hair. It hides my face and makes me blend in. This is just my take on it and I don't wish to cause offence but I had to comment as I disagree so strongly with the article. And for the pretty round faced girls…keep volume on the crown, get a chunky side swept fringe, keep some softness and length over the ears but make sure there's no volume at the sides. Job done!

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