I got a haircut yesterday!
My hair hasn't touched my shoulders since 2007. In the past seven years, I've had long bobs, short bobs, longer-in-front bobs, pixie cuts, and whatever was happening on my head during senior year of college, when I couldn't afford professional haircuts and had to take matters--and scissors--into my own hands.
All this means that I've learned a lot about managing short hair, and I thought I'd discuss some of my recent experiences in this post.
This past January, I got a pixie cut for the first time in almost two years. Enough time had passed since my last one that I'd forgotten something very important: a pixie is not a low-maintenance haircut. If you want to keep that perfect pixie shape, you need to get it touched up every month or two, which I can't afford to do right now. Maintaining a pixie is even harder when you don't have straight hair. My hair is fine and wavy, and on humid days it crosses the border into curly; it's like having a freaking barometer attached to my head. When hair like mine is very short, it doesn't grow straight down. Instead, it grows up and out, forming a forest of little tufts. I can't hop out of bed in the morning with my hair artfully tousled, run a comb through it, and race out the door. I'm more likely to wake up with a fauxhawk that can be conquered only with a full shower. During my pixie months, I gave up on washing my hair at any time of day but the morning, before I left the apartment. The potential for humiliation was just too strong. If I went to the gym in the afternoon and washed my hair afterward, I'd usually have to get it wet again the next morning. It was a monumental pain in the ass.
I got pixied again in March, because I really do love the look, but I decided soon after to grow out my hair into a bob. Here's a timeline from then to now:
Late March: freshly shorn!
By mid-May, it looked like this. Apologies that I have so few photos of my entire head; I wasn't specifically trying to chronicle my hair growth. (This photo was actually intended for my review of theBalm's Nude 'tude palette, though it didn't end up in that post.)
Four months of growth, a few days before my haircut. Yes, I have a depression in the middle of my skull. It's weird. I'd been trimming the back to prevent the encroaching mullet, but had left my hair alone otherwise.
To turn my grown-out pixie into a bob, the stylist cut my hair short in back but left the front and sides relatively untouched (save for a bit of shaping). This forms a bob shape that will become more pronounced as it grows out.
From the front, it looks pretty much the same as before. Alas, I couldn't take a decent head-on photo before the frizz set in. (If anyone knows of an anti-frizz product that won't weigh down fine hair, I'd love to hear about it...)
Finally, a few tips on growing out a pixie cut and maintaining short hair:
1. Go for haircuts as frequently as you normally would--for me, this is every few months. Your hair does need regular trims as it grows out, or it will end up looking shapeless. Maintaining a nice shape is more important than gaining length.
2. If your budget allows, spending a little extra money is worth it. It's a shame how many stylists don't know what to do with short hair, especially short curly hair. Last year, when I still had a longish bob, I went to a place in town for a trim. I asked the woman to take my hair up a little in back, so that it would be longer in front. I showed her pictures. I was very specific. She ignored everything I said and thinned out the back. Instead of making it shorter, she made it flatter. After she was done, she said, "What you were asking me to do was impossible." It was the only haircut that had ever made me cry. These days I go to a place in Brooklyn, recommended by a friend, and spend $70 (plus tip) per haircut. That's more money than I'd like, but I'm always pleased with the result.
3. Without exception, I've had better short cuts from women who have short hair themselves.
4. When my boyfriend still lived in North Carolina, I went to a talented woman at a shockingly affordable (compared to the Northeast) salon in Chapel Hill. After my boyfriend graduated from his program, I went to the salon one last time and asked the stylist how to find a good replacement. She told me to look for someone who could cut hair with a straight razor. Not only does that give a precise cut, it's also a relatively advanced skill that not everyone learns how to do. And lo and behold, my current stylist uses a straight razor, too.
I'll be in and out of airplanes for the next week, but will post when I can. Now to begin the excruciating task of choosing lipsticks for the next month.