The Pixie Cut: Why I Went Short (Would You?)

6 years ago

A few weeks ago I went to a salon, pulled my hair back in a ponytail and asked the hairdresser to cut it off. What she placed in my hand was 15 inches of my hair tied neatly in a yellow hairband. That hair is on its way to Locks of Love, an organization that provides hairpieces to economically disadvantaged children suffering from long term medical hair loss. A friend of mine grows her hair out the requisite 12 inches every couple of years and then cuts it off to donate, and I've always admired her for it.

But the truth is, I never seriously considered chopping my perennially long hair off until about a week before I actually did it. I was attached to my long hair. It may have been plauged by split ends, limpness and generally unkemptness, but it was long. And therefore feminine. So I'll be honest, when I finally decided to cut it, my reasons had less to with any kind of altruism (although donating my hair made me feel good about the whole process) and more to do with doing something fun and unexpected and different and daring.

The idea started with the Oscars a few months ago; I happened on a picture of Carey Mulligan, fresh-faced and stunning in her edgy Prada gown. And with fabulous super short blond hair.

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

I had thought I would always have long hair, that only people as stunning as Audrey Hepburn could pull off a short, boyish cut and still look unmistakably feminine. I thought I didn't have the right face shape; I would look, well, like a dude. But after seeing Carey at the Oscars, I started feeling like there was no good reason for me to be attached to my long hair. It was just hair. If I didn't like it, I could grow it out. It would be fun!

Most of all, it would be a change, and a dramatic one at that.

But back to the salon. I showed my stylist a picture of Carey Mulligan, when her hair was brunette and a bit longer, and told her that this was what I wanted.

"An Education" Premiere - 2009 Toronto International Film Festival

I love my new, short do. I love how relatively easy it is to make my hair look good. With long hair, I could always just throw it in a ponytail (and I nearly always did) but it's not as if I actually liked the way I looked that way. It was just practical. Now I actually feel put together, stylish even. And on days when I don't have enough time or energy to make my hair behave? A headband serves as the perfect stand-in for the previously necessary hairband. Even my husband, who really prefers long hair, likes my new 'do. ("I can kiss your neck now," he said a couple days after the cut.)

pixie cut

I don't like the money I have to spend on styling products and future trims, but I'm trying to feel okay about spending this bit of cash on something that makes me feel good. And sometimes, when I wake up in the morning and my hair is pointing in 65 different directions and won't look good no matter how many times I try to tame it with a wet comb, well, that's irritating.

Mostly though, I like the change. Dressing up is more fun now. I put on makeup more frequently now -- not a lot, just the same tinted moisturizer, mascara, lip gloss combo -- but I feel like it helps balance the boyishness of my hair. And I find that though my hair is more boyish, I still look and feel just as feminine (I am one of those super girly-girls after all) as ever. If not more so since my new haircut seems to have inspired me to take better care of my appearance in general (for instance, more frequent showers, yay!) My new hair makes me feel more interesting and confident - I feel like I have to own it in order to pull it off. And I do.

Nina Moon blogs at Sweet Disarray.

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