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

Best Styling Strategy
To create this look, Nunzio says to first apply shine serum all over damp hair; this seals your strands’ cuticles and allows them to form perfect spirals. The serum he used on Weez: Kerastase Cristal Sculpt ($42; kerastase-usa.com). Next, dry your hair with a diffuser or allow it to air-dry. If your hair is naturally very curly, you need only apply a curl-enhancing balm, twirl sections around your finger to create defined curls, then let air-dry. If your curl patternis uneven or if, like Weez, you have ends that have been chemically relaxed, Nunzio says to feign flawless curls by wrapping one-inch sections of hair around a small, half-inch curling iron. Repeat wherever curls need a boost. Finish by finger tousling and misting with a shine spray such as John Frieda Frizz-Ease 100% Shine Glossing Mist ($6; drugstores).

Color Cues
To make Weez’s silver strands sparkle, John used a strong clarifying shampoo to remove both dulling product buildup and a blue tint caused by overuse of purple shampoo.He finished with a clear semipermanent glaze that boosted shine. When adding highlights, John says to consider the shape of your curls. “If you have a thick curl, go for a chunkier highlight so it shows up,” he advises. “Fine highlights can easily disappear in curly hair.”

SHORT & SWEET
Hilary Hayes (bottom row), 45, cofounder of interior design company Hayes & Howells, contemplated going short for a year, tacking pictures of cropped cuts on her Pinterest board as inspiration. So she was game when Nunzio pulled out his shears. “I was noticing all of these middle- aged women walking around with long, stringy ponytails,” says Hilary, “and suddenly realized I was one of them! I was keeping my hair long to look younger, but it was doing me no favors.”

The Cut
With inspiration from Twiggy circa 1966, Nunzio cut six inches off Hilary’s hair, shaping it into a pixie-bob hybrid: short on the sides, with long layers on top and in front. The length on top adds versatility, allowing Hilary to wear her hair sleek and tucked behind the ears or tousled and spiky.

Who Can Sport This Style?
If you often scrape your hair back into a tight ponytail or chignon, you’re already comfortable exposing your face and neck, says Nunzio, so the transition to a short cut ought to be a cinch. Should anyone avoid it? “If you have curly hair, you will have to go very short to cut off all those spirals. Plus, it will be a challenge to keep curls from becoming puffy in humidity,” he warns.

Best Styling Strategy
To wear this cut smooth, Nunzio suggests spritzing a volumizing spray, like Kerastase Lift Vertige Root Uplifting Hair Gel ($36; kerastase-usa.com), onto damp hair, then using a medium round brush as you blow-dry. To wear it tousled and textured, apply the same volumizer but use your fingers or a small round brush to lift the hair at the roots off the scalp; then twirl small sections to create definition as you blow-dry. For a tousled finish, pinch ends with a pomade such as Bumble and Bumble Semisumo ($28; bumbleandbumble.com).

Color Cues
John used an all-over buttery-blonde shade, then wove in platinum highlights. Contrast is crucial, says John, because it plays up the lines of this cut. Skip this tip, and an all-one-color short style may look like a hat. 

Related: Celebs Who've Made the Cut
Next: Get Your Best Hair at 30, 40, 50, 60

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First published in the April 2014 issue

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