We asked hairstylist-to-the-stars Philip Pelusi for a checklist of things to consider before going short.
Pelusi, who owns Philip Pelusi Salons in Pittsburgh and Tela Design Studio in New York City, loves a cropped cut because it makes the nape of the neck so alluring.
"Short hair can be very sexy," says Pelusi, who says stars like Halle Berry and Annette Bening get the look just right."
When you cut your hair short, the visual interest is going to go immediately to your eyes and your face," Pelusi says. "You're going to need a little bit of makeup. If you don't do that, you're going to look too unisex." Keep your look soft and feminine with a bit of blush to bring out cheekbones and eyeliner to make eyes pop.
The drawback is that you can't pull your hair into a ponytail if you're in a rush. The upshot is that styling short hair is a snap – really. Just blow-dry, then run a styling paste or cream through your hair. "You're talking five minutes max to style in the morning," Pelusi says. "You save a boatload of time and you can look great at a moment's notice."
Pelusi recommends a product called Composer, from his Tela Beauty Organics line, to add texture, volume and shine (for store locations, visit telabeautyorganics.com). "It separates and defines, but the hair stays soft the whole time," Pelusi says.
The shorter the hairstyle, the more it will emphasize all of these features. To quickly test whether a cropped cut will flatter, pull your hair back into a ponytail. Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror straight on? Ultra short pixie cuts work best on a woman with a petite frame, a slender neck and an oval face.
For a short hairstyle that's more universally flattering, leave a bit of length on the top – about 2 to 3 inches – and style it with a bit of lift and texture. The back should look feminine and be cut close to the neck, but not buzzed. "Almost anybody can wear that because it comes up and off the face," Pelusi says.
Keep in mind that your stylist might suggest highlights to give your cropped cut dimension. It's an added expense – but a worthwhile one – and you'll have to keep them up along with regular trims. Pelusi says to go 1 or 2 shades lighter throughout. Or, try Rihanna's eye-catching splash of color front and center, if you've got the bold personality to pull it off.
To keep your style looking chic, return to the salon about every 6 weeks for a cut and color, Pelusi says. You might be able to hold off longer on color, he adds, because a little growth at the roots isn't really all that taboo anymore.
Hair grows about a 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch per month, Pelusi says. In about six months, you could have bob-length hair again. Think about what you've got coming up in the next year – say, a wedding or a career change – and plan accordingly.
If time is a concern, try a cropped cut that's a little longer on top, about 2 to 3 inches, Pelusi says. It will grow out more evenly than a pixie haircut. And, it lets you try a short style while giving you a head start in getting back to a longer length.
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