“I love your hair! I wish I could wear it, but I could NEVER pull that off!”
As a stylist and proud pixie cut wearer, I hear this said to me at least once a day. Closely followed by, “My face is too round for short hair” and “I would look so much bigger!”
What is it about pixie haircuts that both entices and strikes fear into the heart of women everywhere? Why are we so impressed with celebrities that get pixies and *gasp* look good? What exactly is it that makes this haircut so hard to wear well?
As a stylist, I hear a lot of the fears women have that they might not share with others. Some have to do with body image or attractiveness. Others about security and comfort. I would like to make something clear, a pixie cut is a bold look. That does not mean that it needs to be arbitrarily edgy, androgynous, or unflattering. By wearing my hair shorn, I’m not subverting cultural expectations or railing against cultural norms. I wear my hair short because it makes me feel pretty. I do not think that every woman can wear the same pixie haircut, but I do believe there is a pixie cut that flatters every woman.
Everyone has had a bad haircut. It usually happens around middle school. Your mom took you into the neighborhood salon and the stylist cut your hair short. Too short. You spent six months explaining to people that you were actually, totally a girl! This is one of my favorite fears to debunk. First off, you’ve gone through some changes since middle school. There won’t need to be any explaining this time around. And now you know both a little something about how to do your hair and have a better grasp of your personal style. I mean the girl who was good at that in 7th grade? Well, heaven help the person that peaks in 7th grade.
If I believed everything my guests told me, everyone has round face. Every woman who sits in my chair believes herself to have the roly-polyiest face mankind has ever seen. Most people have oval faces which are extremely versatile and can wear many different looks. And if you truly do have a round face, the key is to find a style with height on top and some wispy sideburns. Trust me, height is much easier to get when your hair is three inches long!
Before I got my first pixie cut, I had one thing on my mind: Will I look like a tiny little head perched atop a giant body? I pushed my images of eminent pinhead-dom aside and took the leap. A funny thing happened. My body looked exactly the same. My head looked no smaller. It turned out that my hair was not keeping me in proportion all these years and had not been hiding my belly from the world. I looked like me. But with an adorable new crop to call my own.
Now I’m not saying that a pixie cut will require no work from you. First of all, pixies need product. It is the only way to avoid looking like The Beatles flop top, or like me in the morning, a Yu-gi-oh anime character. Your stylist can best recommend a texture product for your hair and style. I love Aveda Men’s Grooming Clay for piecey-ness and Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion for rock star height. It is also important to maintain that pixie to avoid the ever-present mullet danger. A trim every 4-6 weeks will keep it looking impeccable.
If you’ve been a long hair girl all your life, you will also need to learn a new way to style. Slowly back away from the round brush. Your blowdry will now consist of blow drying all your hair forward from the area of distribution (that swirly on the top back of your head) with your fingers. When the hair is completely dry, use your favorite texture product to piece out the hair all the way from the roots to the ends. For most people, a dime sized amount of product warmed up between your palms is sufficient. Shake through, twist ends, and place them wherever you want.
I’ve claimed that there is a pixie cut for everyone and hopefully assuaged some fears, but is there anything that should be avoided when going under the shears? Absolutely. Don’t keep length at the nape of the neck. Even short wisps look dated and age the look. Make sure to keep some pointy length in front of the ears. This keeps the look feminine. Also, avoid too much height in the crown, this also feels old fashioned.
A pixie cut is the strongest accessory that you can wear every day. It makes every outfit pulled together and stylish. It exudes confidence. My only warning for after you get a pixie? Watch out for lots of compliments from baristas.
–Anna Johnson, Atelier Senior Artist and Education Director
(all photos are her work)