Less Is More: 6 Sexy Haircut Makeovers

Master stylist Frederic Fekkai gives six women new, shorter haircuts — and a whole new attitude.
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After: Layered Bob

"I was caught in a Jane Seymour time warp and couldn’t get rid of my hair. I’d stopped wearing it down, so what was the point? Now I have a real, grown-up haircut."

The cut: Layered bob

Why it works: "Kim’s face has strong architecture, so I gave her a modern, layered bob with crisp angles that highlight her eyes, cheekbones, and forehead," says Fekkai, who has wielded his scissors on Sharon Stone, Debra Messing, and Elle Macpherson, to name a few. "Long hair often falls limp and frames the face vertically. This cut makes her hair more fluffy, free, and full."

What it takes: Start with a volumizing mousse, like Fekkai More All-Day Density Styling Whip ($25), at the roots around the crown. Then, for sexy movement and touchable texture, spritz a texturizing spray all over and run your fingers through while you blow-dry. We like Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray ($20). For extra body and hold, follow with hot rollers.

Before: Long Layers

Kim Thrasher, 46 Model

Before: Long and Straight

Marie Mulder, 41 Entrepreneur and mother of five

After: Layers and Bangs

"I feel edgier, sexier, more youthful — and my husband loves the way I look with shorter hair."

The cut: Edgy layers and bangs

Why it works: "Marie is a tall, voluptuous woman with a sexy Angelina Jolie look, so keeping some length agrees with her," Fekkai says. "Choppy bangs bring out her cheekbones and give a softness to her overall style. Lots of layers show off her eyes and add lift and texture to her thick hair."

What it takes: Mulder wears extensions, which require extra care when styling. Defrizz with a lightweight cream, like Tresemme Anti-Frizz Secret Smoothing Creme ($4), then add volume at the crown with Fekkai Coiff Bouffant Lifting & Texturizing Spray Gel ($23). Accentuate layers with a dab of Pantene Pro-V Texturize! Texture & Shine Defining Pomade ($4) on the ends.

Before: Medium-Length Layers

Kim Anderson, 45 Actress

After: Geometric Bob

"He pulled me out of my midlife no-look cut. This feels polished and powerful. I think I’ll be cast in different roles now. No more moms; I’m going for sexy babe."

The cut: Sleek geometric bob

Why it works: "Kim is curvy and womanly, and this cut emphasizes her long neck, shoulders, and bone structure," Fekkai says. "I replaced her layers with smooth, sleek angles. This eliminates frizz, adds a ton of body, and elongates everything."

What it takes: Apply Fekkai Coiff Controle Ironless Straightening Balm ($25) from roots to ends, and blow-dry with a large round brush. To up the sleekness, finish with a flatiron and a shine spray; try Citre Shine Shine Miracle Anti-Frizz Spray Laminator ($4).

Before: Tons of Frizz

Helen Powers, 53 Boutique owner and handbag designer

After: Cheekbone-Skimming Layers

"I can’t hide behind my hair anymore. My neck is exposed, and the frizz is gone. I wanted to break out this year, and this is breaking out!"

The cut: Imperfect layers

Why it works: "I wanted Helen’s beautiful features to stand out, which meant getting her thick, long hair up and off her shoulders," Fekkai says. "Unconstructed layers give her a tousled, easygoing look. This cut has virtually no part, which adds volume. The bangs can be worn off her face or swooped to the side, and her bright eyes and glowing skin really shine through."

What it takes: For a curlier look, use a curl lotion, like Fekkai Luscious Curls Cream ($20), to polish and control frizz, then let hair air-dry. For a sleeker, shaggier look, apply a straightening balm, like L’Oreal Professionnel Texture Expert Smooth Velours ($22), then blow-dry.

Before: Chin-Length Layers

Stephanie Silk, 43 Writer

After: Supershort

"I can get rid of my blow-dryer. And I may have more dates in my near future: I find men respond to short hair."

The cut: Supershort

Why it works: "Stephanie has amazing bone structure and strong, beautiful eyes," Fekkai says. "Soft, wispy layers around the nape of her neck, ears, and forehead play up her profile. This is the ideal cut for her cowlick and thick, slightly wavy texture. In French we call it meche a meche, which means, literally, ‘section by section.’ Every way it falls, it works."

What it takes: This cut is very low maintenance. Simply apply a quarter-size dollop of a defining wax for an undone look with touchable hold. Try Fekkai Coiff Nonchalant Piecing & Forming Wax ($23).

Before: Long and Flat

Lois Palguta, 43 Architect

After: Loose and Curly

"This is a new beginning. The playful style is more me, and my face looks more awake. I was a little nervous, but I love it!"

The cut: Loose, full curls

Why it works: Lois was born with these curls but has been straightening them since high school. "To celebrate her curly texture, I added volume above the cheekbones for extra bounce and kept just enough length to play up her delicate features and oval face," Fekkai says. "The cut is up-to-date and wash-and-wear."

What it takes: A volumizing mousse around the crown and a lightweight curl cream throughout to sculpt curls and curb frizz. Try Arrojo Styling Creme ($14). Blow-dry upside down with a diffuser while you scrunch, or let hair air-dry for looser-looking curls.

Originally published in MORE magazine, December 2007/January 2008.

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