Find Your Best Short Haircut

Hollywood has embraced the short-cut trend, with celebs such as Robin Wright, Jennifer Hudson, Reese Witherspoon and even Beyoncé rocking above-the-shoulder styles. Is the look right for you? We asked three real women to lop off their locks. The results will show you which way to go

by Rachel Hayes
Photograph: Ari Michelson

BANG-UP JOB
Jennifer Saviano (top row), 37, wife of Nunzio Saviano, a celebrity stylist, a New York City salon owner and the man behind all the cuts in this article, said her hair did not bounce back as quickly as her body did after the birth of their third child four years ago. “My natural waves are no longer as bouncy, my hair seems thinner, and it’s definitely drier,” says Jennifer. “I’ve been wanting to cut it off and start over for a while.”

The Cut
Nunzio sliced seven inches off Jennifer’s hair and chiseled it into a choppy bob with heavy fringe. The subtle layers were a must, because a very blunt bob can be “too severe and aging,” says Nunzio. On the other hand, he warns, if you add too many layers, the cut will look very round, in that stiff, soccer mom way. To avoid this, Nunzio used a technique he calls undercutting: He removed puffiness by cutting into the hair’s underlayers while leaving the outer layers nearly one length. The finishing touch? Eyebrow-skimming bangs for sex appeal.

Who Can Sport This Style?
Virtually anyone can rock a bob, says Nunzio. But hair type and face shape dictate length. Those with curly-to-wavy hair and a round, square or wide face will find a shoulder-skimming length most flattering. If you have a long face and straight hair, you have more leeway to go chin length.

Best Styling Strategy
To wear this cut straight, Nunzio suggests applying a lightweight styling cream (preferably with heat-protectant ingredients) to damp hair. Try Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Smoothing Milk ($4; drugstores). Blow-dry hair until it’s about 80 percent there, then use a paddle brush to pull strands taut and smooth. If it looks too round when you’re finished (think 1995 news-anchor hair), run a flatiron over just the ends. To wear the style wavy, apply the same styling cream, then let your hair dry naturally or blow-dry with a diffuser. Once the hair is dry, enhance its natural texture by twirling sections around a one-inch curling iron.

Color Cues
To play up the simple elegance of the bob’s shape, John Whelan, a colorist at Nunzio’s eponymous Manhattan salon, used a rich brown color all over, followed by a clear glaze to bump up the shine. He also wove in a few subtle caramel highlights to add softness and dimension.

CURLY GIRL
Weez Tomlinson (middle row), 52, an educational consultant and actor, had been relaxing her midback-length hair every six weeks for 15 years. “It’s very time consuming—and damaging. I wanted to grow in my naturally curly texture, but I knew it would require a transition strategy, and I just didn’t know where to begin,” says Weez. Enter Nunzio.

The Cut
After snipping five inches off the bottom of Weez’s hair, Nunzio added layers all over; the shortest are four inches long. Heavy layering will allow the curly new growth to spring into shape (longer hair weighs down spirals). “I think of this style as a very curly version of a shag, where there are short layers all over. And with hair like Weez’s, this cut prevents the hair from looking bushy,” explains Nunzio.

Who Can Sport This Style?
“Weez has a long neck and lovely, defined shoulders. The second I pulled her hair back and exposed that area, she looked 10 years younger, something I think many women would discover if they lost some length,” says Nunzio. This cut is ideal for coarse, naturally curly and wavy hair. You can still go for it if you have straight or fine hair, but the result will not be as full as Weez’s.

First published in the April 2014 issue

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