To Cut Or Not To Cut

Stars like Evan Rachel Wood, Charlize Theron and Ginnifer Goodwin certainly make a chic case for a cropped hairstyle. It can look adorable and get you through the summer heat in style. But are you really ready to chop it all off?

Celebrities with short hair

Thinking about a short hairstyle?

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."


Makeup is a must

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.


Daily hairstyling is key – but, luckily, a breeze

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 "It separates and defines, but the hair stays soft the whole time," Pelusi says.


Think about the shape of your face, neck and shoulders

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.


Highlights are a helper

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.


Make regular salon appointments

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.


Have patience while it's growing out

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.

Tips for growing out your pixie cut >>

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.


Want more on hair care & hairstyles? Check out our guide to finding the best hairstyle and our short hairstyle photo gallery.

More tips for short hair

Cute and easy hairstyles for moms
Get the look: Ginnifer Goodwin's pretty pixie style
Top 4 ways to keep short hair healthy

Photo credits: Adriana M. Barraza/ (Charlize Theron), HRC/ (Evan Rachel Wood), Nikki Nelson/ (Ginnifer Goodwin)


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Comments on "What to consider before going short"

Lorraine April 01, 2013 | 1:31 PM

I've decided to stop dyeing my hair and letting it go to a natural gray and white. I also want to cut it really short to sped up the process. My hair grows down my neck and I hate to have it shaved, but I like the pixie cut. Can they do a pixie but leave the neck hair with a razor cut?

Hannah November 24, 2012 | 10:57 AM

Carey Mulligan looks so good with the short pixie cut. I would love to do this, but my face is more round, and I don't really like how I look if I pull my hair straight back!

richard September 03, 2010 | 2:42 AM

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. The back should look feminine and be cut close to the neck, but not buzzed. --Actually Phillip, is there really anything ier than a hot lady graceful neck with a buzzed nape??

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