When I see a woman confidently pulling off a pixie cut, my first thought is to wonder what life-altering event was the catalyst for chopping off all her hair.
While it may just be hair, REALLY short hair--not those chin-length bobs magazines try to play off as short hair--is radical. It strips your face naked and forces the world to look at you. Cutting off all but an inch of hair after a breakup, a loss, an illness, or another big change signifies that you’re in control of what happens next.
For me, it was a new job--the first job I had as an adult that I felt like I earned, that I had gone in and fought for and won. That I deserved. And it afforded me the freedom for a drastic hair change.
I'd done the long, smooth, highlighted look--it was a hair uniform of sorts in early-aughts New York City--long enough. I took a photo of Sienna Miller’s Factory Girl hair to a salon in my neighborhood and said, "Go for it."
I’d previously gone short as a senior in high school. I'll never forget how brave I felt getting it cut, or the feeling a few hours later when I went to chorus rehearsal and the director paused after my name during roll call, looked at me, squinted, and said, "You looked prettier with more hair."
I started growing it out again the next day.
The reaction to my adult pixie cut was wildly different. Cashiers, street vendors, women next to me at the nail salon, guys on the street and their girlfriends, too--everyone loved it. Effusively.
I'm always going to stand out in a crowd at 5'10", but the haircut made me impossible to miss. I had arrived. Not in an ugly-duckling-to-swan way, but more that feeling you get when you sign up for a karaoke song in a packed bar full of strangers and then you want to die until you hear the first chord and think, yeah, I got this.
I am, if not exactly shy, definitely more of an observant type. But this hair means I can't be a wallflower. It forces me into working rooms and making new friends fast. It's the equivalent of a business card. I find that people often remember my hair before they remember my name.
My cut requires monthly trims and shaping, and that adds up fast. I honestly think this is why so few people hang on to the cut over time--it can get expensive!
I was a hair model for a while, bouncing around fancy salons so apprentices could practice pixie technique on me for a budget price. That's a great way to live, but I missed having a regular stylist.
Then I found Astor Hair, a huge basement barber shop on the edge of New York's East Village, responsible for what is arguably the most famous life-change-inducing pixie cut: They provided the set when TV's Felicity had her curls hacked off. Here, I found Fran, whose monthly maintenance runs just $20 (plus tip, of course).
AND SOME MORE MAINTENANCE
Short hair puts a lot of focus on your eyebrows. I didn't touch my eyebrows until well into my 20s. I have almost always had some sort of long, side-swept bangs, so I was able to get by with spotty maintenance even once I started shaping them.
Then I cut off my hair and suddenly every wayward brow hair became obvious.
I get mine threaded at least once month, but sometimes as often as every two weeks. Eyebrow maintenance with short hair is like wearing the right bra: it's the foundation upon which the rest of your look rests.
Since my brows aren’t the same color as my hair (they’re the same mousy color I vaguely remember as my natural shade), I disregard all the YOU'LL GO BLIND warnings on the hair dye box and apply a bit to my brows after I've got the rest of it on my head.
Then I use Anastasia Brow Powder Duo to fill them in. Strawburn is the perfect color for redheads, be you natural or Ariel-fake like me.
When I am doing my eye makeup, I always add a bit of a light, shimmery shadow right under the brow to highlight--any shade a touch lighter than your skin tone will do.
The change in your appearance and regimen may take some getting used to, but it's worth it!
Have you ever cut off all your hair? What made you do it? Perhaps you’re thinking about?