My first dalliance with short hair took place in kindergarten when my mother took me to Super Cuts and shrieked, “CUT IT,” cackling like the Disney lady villain she’s been in my mind ever since. Just kidding, she’s wonderful, and I was the worst spawn since Hester Prynne popped out her little bundle of joy, who also probably never let her mom brush out the unfathomable mass of tangles in her hair. (And that’s the last time I ever compare my mom to Hester Prynne, I promise.)
After that, I kept my hair short until I was 20 when I chopped all my hair off with dull craft scissors in the kitchen at 3 A.M., as we moody writer types are wont to do. (My poetry professor once told me the trope of women cutting their own hair means they are worried about a man. I wasn’t. Thoughts?)
I kept the pixie cut for about two years, and I really loved it. I loved the simplicity of it. I loved that people compared me to my favorite female celebrities. I developed this weird attitude, and said things like, “Women with short hair are just more INTERESTING,” and around this time I switched my major to English and I’d like to send a BIG shout-out to anyone who remained friends with me throughout that very trying time. You’re the best.
But after a while, I grew bored with it and decided to grow it out. And then my hair gracefully transitioned into an adorable, flapper-y bob that fell into place really cute each morning.
SIKE. I had a mullet.
Growing out my hair was painful and I hated it. I felt like it took so much time to style it and make it look acceptable, so after six months, I cut it back into a pixie last August.
But after that cut, I moved around the country for a few months and was really unemployed and depressed and didn’t cut my hair again for a long time. So before I knew it, I was back into mullet country. This time around though, I was like, “Let’s do this,” and I went to a salon and explained what I was going for (a non-mullet) and she trimmed up the back and such, and then I kept that up for a few months.
So, for a year, I’ve been growing it out, and it’s finally at that cute bob length I wanted! I get it trimmed every four weeks or so, because my hairs don’t all grow at the same pace and it’s more obvious when the ends are hanging out in my face space. It’s been a lot easier growing it this time around, because I’ve gotten better at styling short hair.
I’ve become more creative with ways I can wear my hair, specifically updo’s. Wearing my hair up is great when my neck is hot or my hair is dirty, which is always.
Here are two updos I wear on a regular basis. Both work for a variety of settings, from fancy soirees to work. Unfortunately, no one invites me anywhere cool, so my hair only ever sees my office and the seedy dive bars I haunt. Let’s go!
I call this first look "Early 2000s Teen Flick Popular Girl Prom Hair," but I usually don’t call it that out loud.
To start this look, I took a shower and let my hair air-dry. I worked some John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Mousse into my roots. When it was about halfway through drying, I sprayed some Ouidad Krly Kids Pump ‘n Go Styling Spray Gel lightly throughout my hair. I like using products meant for kids, because I assume parents care about their kids, and if it’s safe enough for them, it’s safe enough for me. Plus it smells nice.
Once it was dry, I curled random pieces on the top layers with a 1-1/2” inch barrel iron. This look works best with curly or wavy hair, so do that.
Then, you’ll need 5 to 10 bobby pins. I took two sections from the front of my hair and pulled them loosely to the back of my hair for a princess-y half-up look.
Don’t worry about making the bobby pins look perfect. This look is not about perfection. And neither is life. Relaaaaax.
From there, I take pieces from all over my head, starting with the front, and pull them back loosely. In the back of my head, I curl the end of the piece in a little circle against my skull and then pin it through the middle.
Keep doing that with all of your hair. Depending on how much hair you have, you may have to pin them in smaller or bigger sections.
Once it’s all pinned up in the back, use a second mirror, or your iPhone on selfie mode, and check out the back of your head. Pin down any pieces sticking up weird, or keep them that way. It’s up to you! I like to take my fingers and mess everything up a bit, so some pieces in the front fall out. Wild.
And then set it with a hairspray of your choice. Go lighter or stronger hold depending on how much activity you plan to be doing. I usually don’t spray this look, because it stays in pretty well on its own but I did work some Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Salt Spray into the front pieces.
And then get out of your bathrobe and hit the town! Or your backyard!
This look works well with a headband, or with everything pinned back as well. You do you, girl.
My favorite part of this look is that people can’t tell just how short my hair really is. Be a mystery! Like, the most boring kind of mystery ever.
OK, so this next look reminds me Downton Abbey, but it also reminds me of ancient Greece but it also reminds me of Bonnaroo, so what I mean to say is this look is versatile. This look DOES work with straight hair! Rejoice, straight haired ladies of the world! My hair isn’t straight in these photos, but I have done this with straightened hair. No worries.
You’ll want to part your hair in the middle. Or close to it. Or do what I do, and just get out of the shower and do not touch your hair and see what happens.
Pull a section from the front of one side out and loosely twist it back. As you twist it, pull in pieces from along the side of your head. Everything goes in the twist. Twist it all back. Keep twisting. Ah, yes.
Then, grab a couple of those bobby pins that are everywhere in your house and pin the twist down. Don’t worry about the piece sticking out at the end. We’re gonna take care of that later.
Then do the same thing with the other side of your head. This is why the middle part is key. You don’t want a lopsided head, do you?
When finishing the second twist, try to have it overlap the first twist. Pin it down. Then, you’ll have some little waterfalls of hair coming out of the back of your head. Cute! But we’re not done.
Roll the waterfall-hairs into the two twists, and pin everything down into the twists.
I used some BioInfusion Daily Rosemary Mint Hairspray to set it. I worked some Organix Smoothing Shea Butter Liquid Glass Serum into my hands and rubbed it into the twists to give them some extra shine.
You could leave it alone after this, but I was feeling feisty and I added a sparkly headband I bought on sale at Anthropologie. A headband that wraps around your head can actually help keep the rolls in the back of your head in place.
What do you think? Have you ever grown out a pixie cut? How do you wear your short hair? Should I go back to the pixie? Should I go back to the mullet?