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Is the latest celebrity pixie cut leaving you with a major case of hair FOMO? Before you rush to your salon to chop your locks this summer, there are a few things you should know about becoming a member of the short-hair-don't-care crew. We asked master-pixie-shaper Rachael Anne Banar at Veer & Wander for the scoop on what you should consider (and ask) before making the cut.
1. Do your homework
According to Rachael, the most common problem in chopping your locks is insufficient research. When setting expectations, she says it's important to understand both your own hair texture and the hair texture behind your inspiration photo. "If you have curly hair and you bring in an inspo photo of fine, straight short hair, you can't expect your hair to look the same way without a lot of maintenance. Your hair's not going to do that," she explains. "It's going to have a different wave pattern."
2. Find a brutally honest stylist
Banar warns that a client's face shape will also impact the finished look. If you're trying to decide whether short hair will work for you, you could try Elle's face measuring test, or you could just talk to your stylist. Your stylist should be able to suggest modifications to a cut that will be better suited for your face, hair texture, and lifestyle. For example, Rachael says that a classic pixie or a funky asymmetrical look will be more difficult with curly hair, but bob could totally work.
3. Short hair is a lot of work
Though short hair is often viewed as low-maintenance due to the limited number of styling options, Rachael warns that it's a time-consuming lifestyle shift. "People think they know what they want sometimes from looking at a few pictures. As they talk about it more, they realize that it's going to be a high-maintenance cut." Unlike long layers, which can survive for months without a trip to the stylist, pixies and bobs actually require those touchup visits every 4–6 weeks. While it only takes 5–10 minutes to style freshly-washed short hair, most women with pixie cuts can't just roll out of bed and walk out of the house in the morning— even to go to the gym.
4. Picking the right products is critical
If you sleep on hair that's full of firm-hold products, you're going to have a crazy look happening when you wake up. Rachael recommends using more moldable products, like a dry-texturizing spray or a pomade that's not too sticky. (She prefers Shu Uemura Shape Paste and Bumble & Bumble City-Swept Texturizing Spray). In the mornings, if your hair is a little crazy, you can use a blowdryer to calm it down without re-wetting it, or you can rinse and restyle it. Dry shampoo, whether for texture or to combat oil, will be your friend.
5. You may not like your crop right away
There's always a trial period —a couple weeks— when you get used to your hair in general. If you're making a dramatic cut, give yourself a few days to adjust before you pass judgment or seek hair extensions. And don't forget to experiment with your new look. You may not be able to finagle an updo or bouncy curls, but you can still try a fauxhawk, pompadour, and even petite braids. Nothing But Pixies on Instagram is a great resource for styling ideas.
6. It's only hair. It will grow back
Okay, so you tried a pixie and it just wasn't the right style for you. No problem. You don't have to invest in a closet full of hats just to be presentable when growing your hair again. Rachael says she loves helping clients transition back to longer hair with a series of cute, transitional cuts. (No mullets here, thank you very much!). Her tip: See your stylist regularly. "The back is going to grow out the fastest, but growing the top out is key to growing your hair longer again," she explains. "You can keep cutting the back and sides into the shape where you can do something like a bob or a rocker mullet without looking like you need a haircut.
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