What on earth should I do with my hair?
March 29, 2012 4:22 PM   Subscribe

HELP! I hate my hair and don't know how to fix it.

I have a whole lot of fine hair that is currently about bra strap length. I am a lady who needs to look professional, and by the end of the day, I feel my hair sometimes looks limp and tangly and...not polished. This bothers me. I am seized by the desire to cut it all off tomorrow, but am unsure as to whether I would regret it. I sometimes think longer hair is more flattering on me as I have a squarish face, a longish neck, and broad shoulders (thanks, mom's side of the family). I am also really tall--about 5'10" or so.

What the hell should I do with my hair? Would short hair be easy and polished? Is it better to keep it long? Are there mid length styles that won't make me look like a soccer mom who's given up on life (I'm in my early 30's and still kicking)?

The only additional considerations would be that I like my hair to have a lot of swingy texture and I am not great at perfect home blow-drying, but can do an okay job.

Please help me not shave my head in frustration!
posted by anonnymoose to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You "best" hairstyle *really* depends on your face shape. I asked a similar question (non-anonymously with pictures) and got some great feedback. My hair is pretty now, too.

Can you share pictures?
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:32 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

(Also, I'm 5'10", too.)
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:33 PM on March 29, 2012

I have incredibly thin hair and I've found that long hair is a lot less work. If it's in my way I can just wear a ponytail or a bun.

Shorter hair has to be styled. If you can afford an extra 10-30 minutes in your mornings then you'll probably be okay.

Short hair is often seen as more professional IMO.
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:35 PM on March 29, 2012

I have no idea why people are afraid to cut their hair short. I mean, I was both disinterested and kind of terrified at the idea almost my entire adult life, and I cannot tell you why. But then I did it.

And it turns out that hair grows, you don't have to hoard it. I started super-short and get trims pretty frequently, which means that I can assess my hair pretty well at every length. I liked it fine super-short, but it hit a point just below my ears and I was like "ding ding ding!", it's exactly perfect there.

The biggest downside is that short hair gets bedhead. I have to wet and condition mine every morning. If you have thin fine hair, it should dry with relative ease and there are one million appliances out there designed to dry and style at the same time. If you don't love it, grow it back out.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:46 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd like to share an anecdote - related to your concern that you'll regret cutting it all off.

I did this - about 3 years ago. I'm in my 40's. My hair was well below my shoulder blades. I got a pixie cut!

I've since grown my hair long again, as it turns out pixie cuts are too much maintenance for me (getting it cut all the time - yikes!)

But I never regretted it. The instant I had it cut off, I felt so ... free. I'd been scared to try anything new with my hair because I felt I had so much time invested in the length of it. If you want to try short, go for it! If you don't like it, it will grow back, and you can try different things along the way.
posted by hilaryjade at 4:49 PM on March 29, 2012 [6 favorites]

I would go with the shorter style. When you get it cut, ask the stylist to show as they style it so you have a technique you can use at home. The shorter length plus some product to give your hair volume and texture can give you a very professional, sleek look. You don't have to go crazy short, and if you hate it you can always grow it back.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:59 PM on March 29, 2012

Best answer: Is your hair straight or wavy? I have super fine hair but it's stick straight and I have a lot of it. I had it at about your length out of laziness for a long time, and recently had it cut something like Kiera Knightley's bob here. Mine is kind of layer-y because the girl and I were not really communicating well on what I wanted done, but it really lightened up my face and made me feel more professional at work. Plus, it doesn't get as greasy at the roots anymore as when it was longer... part of that probably because I fuss with it less than I used to.
posted by jabes at 5:07 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

ooh, also upon rereading your question, Kiera Knightley definitely has the squarish face and longish neck down, so other pics of her hairstyles might give you ideas if you're not digging the one I linked to.
posted by jabes at 5:09 PM on March 29, 2012

Best answer: The biggest downside is that short hair gets bedhead. I have to wet and condition mine every morning. If you have thin fine hair, it should dry with relative ease and there are one million appliances out there designed to dry and style at the same time. If you don't love it, grow it back out.

My hair is only about three inch long max in the back and long in the front, but this isn't the case for me. I can still only wash my hair every three days. I DO have to blow it out if I want it to be very sleek, and it will last an extra day or so blown out. Obviously, YMMV.

I have a MASSIVE amount of fine hair, and the short hair really gives it much more body. With long hair, I also felt limp and tangled a lot of the time.
posted by two lights above the sea at 5:20 PM on March 29, 2012

I also have a lot of fine hair, and I go through cycles every couple of years where I chop it all off into a pixie cut, then grow it back out (although my longest is a little past shoulder length). The shorter hair is faster to dry, easier to style, and looks way healthier. Right now it's a little shorter than chin length, and my morning styling is rub it with a towel, swipe in some smoothing cream, blowdry (scruffling it with my fingers), then brush it into place.

If you decide to go short (and I think you should; like others have said, it grows back), I would avoid styles that require a round-brush; any time a stylist uses one on me, it's a fast-track to Soccermomville.
posted by specialagentwebb at 5:26 PM on March 29, 2012

Response by poster: Also: my hair is slightly wavy, but both straightens or holds a curl without too much fuss.
posted by anonnymoose at 6:02 PM on March 29, 2012

Best answer: Hey, I have a squarish face myself, and I just came from getting my hair done at the spa today (which makes me sound all stylish and ritzy, but usually I just get a cheap cut at the hair cutters' down the street--I just had a gift certificate this time! ).

By the way, your hair looks great in that pic, very soft and shiny. I know it is shorter now, but I'll bet you are more critical of your hair than anyone else is!

Anyway, we, the square-jawline folks, can't handle just a straight blunt cut too well; we tend to look best with layers to give a little fullness. Also, a side-swept bang or an off-center part on shorter hair helps balance a square face.

Long lengths suit us too, but if you do keep it long it's really worthwhile to invest in some extra-nice hair styling products. Honestly, as a fellow fine-haired woman with a bit of a natural wave, more often than not my long hair ends up looking pretty disheveled by the end of the day, too.

I usually keep some barrettes and ponytail holders in my purse, just in case, so I can pull it back or twist it up if I need to look more polished.
posted by misha at 6:19 PM on March 29, 2012

Just saw that past short haircut pic you put up--case in point, you've got the short layers AND the side-swept bangs going on! That's perfect for your face shape.
posted by misha at 6:21 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding misha. That last picture you posted is great. It is both attractive and professional looking. I would go back to something like that!
posted by King Bee at 7:01 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yes!! Love that short haircut. So cute!!
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:10 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really like the short haircut. If you liked it, get it again!

I've had a pixie. If you like the way you look with a ponytail, then you'll look good with a pixie. If not, don't. It is a PAIN to grow out, however.

But if you want to keep it long, a low ponytail with a side part is also a professional look.
posted by elizeh at 7:11 PM on March 29, 2012

Short hair can absolutely be feminine, attractive and professional. The right stylist for you will get you there (if you happen to be in Seattle, memail me and I'll tell you who to see).

I have really fine hair that I recently cut from bra strap length to my shoulders + added bangs. I LOVE it. I feel a million times more polished than I did with long hair, and it's so much easier to deal with at this length because it doesn't get weighed down by oil or blown into a knotty mess over the course of a day. DO IT.
posted by joan_holloway at 8:11 PM on March 29, 2012

Like you I have profuse fine hair and my main problem having it short is that it would not stick in a style all day. However, if you didn't have that problem with your hair short, I'd just go ahead and cut it. I like the style in the picture you posted, and it looks more polished/professional than the long hair photo. If you keep the bangs, I think you're safe from the "soccer mom" look.
posted by vanitas at 9:05 PM on March 29, 2012

A different suggestion: if you decide to keep your hair the way it is, why not keep a comb and mirror (and maybe a small tube of your favourite hair product) in your bag or in a cupboard in your office. In my experience it only takes five minutes a couple of times a day to return your hair to its morning condition.
posted by lollusc at 10:57 PM on March 29, 2012

I also have fine hair! Mine's wavy.

I learned a couple things recently:

Layers and sideswept bangs kick up the style, and, incidentally, make my hair behave a lot more.

Other women brush/fix their hair one or more times per day at the office! Apparently they either do so at their desk or take a brush/etc to the bathroom. My hair's gotten a lot less frizzy/unkempt looking at the end of the day with 2-5 total minutes of touchup during the day.

A flipped ponytail looks elegant and professional and takes under 20 seconds
posted by bookdragoness at 3:21 AM on March 30, 2012

Honestly, I think you look pretty as-is. Just put a tad more layers in it. Have you tried using different products?
posted by stormpooper at 6:12 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would definitely go back to the previous short haircut or something similar. A chin-length bob with layers is exactly what I was going to recommend (I have very fine hair, too, and that has worked really well for me), and the addition of side-swept bangs really works for you!
posted by limeonaire at 7:32 AM on March 30, 2012

Response by poster: Hi all,

Thank you so much for the feedback. Twolightsabovethesea, your feedback was super helpful (and your hair is way cute)!

I wanted to check back in and thank you all for helping me get the nerve up to do something different with my hair. I sat down and asked my stylist for help and showed her the short haircut picture. We agreed that something similar but a little longer (halfway between chin and shoulder length) with layers and sideswept bangs would be a good compromise. My hair is so cute now, and it has so much more body and bounce! And I feel much more...tailored. I'm going to chalk this one up as a success! You saved the day, AskMe!
posted by anonnymoose at 9:34 AM on April 2, 2012

Pictures or it didn't happen :)
posted by lollusc at 9:09 PM on April 2, 2012

You are so cute! I also love the short haircut picture you posted- you're making me want to cut my hair! Glad you went in for a chop :)
posted by sucre at 7:48 PM on April 6, 2012

« Older Sudden Onset Fear of Flying   |   Crossing the linguistics/activism divide in Noam... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.