Can you help me find a new hairstyle?
May 4, 2012 2:29 PM   Subscribe

I need haircut help. I've been caught in a cycle of cutting my hair into a bob, letting it grow out then bobbing it again. Lather rinse and repeat... for the past fifteen years. Lately I feel like my hair is dragging me down and it's time for a new cut, but I'm completely overwhelmed and clueless as to what will look good and work with my hair.

My only requirement for a cut is that it is quick to style- no irons, curlers, or round brushes needed (except maybe for special occasions). I can handle blow drying it and maybe smushing some styling goop in it, but anything else isn't very practical right now. I'm fine with going short- I like the idea of a pixie, but have no idea how it would look with my hair/head and what kind of styling is needed. I don't work in an office, so I don't have to look particularly professional.

Here's my hair (and ponytailed). It's medium thick, fine, and straight. No wave or body to speak of except for some wacky cowlicks in the back and the tendancy for the ends to flip in the most inconvenient direction. I wear glasses. If my hair is long enough, I WILL tuck it behind my ears. I'd be willing to do frequent haircuts if necessary. My favorite haircut was an angled bob, but it required a bit too much time with a flat iron or round brush to make it look presentable.

Please, please help me find a flattering and easy style!
posted by rebeccabeagle to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Go to a salon (I prefer Aveda salons) and ask for a long layered cut, with the shortest layer starting around your ear. Tell the stylist that you want a precision cut, no razor edges, and you want the layers to fold into one another.
posted by myselfasme at 2:33 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh wow, we have exactly the same hair. Like, you could be my long lost hair twin.

I have this same rut. I've had some variation of a bob for most of my life, and every time I've tried to do something radically different, it's been a mistake. (Example: don't say fuck it and get a radically short Jean Seberg-style pixie.) Mostly, I bob, it grows, I bob again.

Everything changed when I got bangs. Granted, I still have a bob. But now it just feels so much more hip. A little bit Patti Smith, a little bit Ramones. I can see it growing out to be sort of a Zooey Deschanel thing, though I'd like to think I'm not that twee. I guess it just seems like a deliberate style, rather than just "oh, there is apparently stuff growing out of my head".

So. Bangs?
posted by Sara C. at 2:38 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh, and what myselfasme said about the no razor. My hair looked like ass until I stopped going to salons that were obsessed with the razor. You may have to explicitly tell stylists not to use a razor.
posted by Sara C. at 2:39 PM on May 4, 2012

Hey, we are hair twins! (Or maybe triplets, hi Sara C.!) Just last week I told my stylist I was bored of the bob/long/bob/long cycle, and we decided to shoot for something in the middle, like this barely-brushing-the-shoulders look on Heidi Klum (who I don't look like, but whatever). I'm still in the growing out phase to get there, but according to my stylist it should be very easy to style, and also amenable to a super-short ponytail on days when I can't bear to do anything with it, but since it's not looong it won't take forever to dry.

I like the idea above to try bangs, too. I've never had them, in 30 years of life, so I'm sort of scared to make the leap. But I guess leaps are good when you're bored, right?
posted by vytae at 2:56 PM on May 4, 2012

I suggest Foiling in some color ! This will lift your spirits about your hair because it is fine. The color will give it a fuller look, and if you get layers, you may want the pieces around your face to be a little lighter. If you decide to keep it the longer, just the slightest change with the cut, focusing more on the color will make a huge difference in your look! (I'm a pro colorist, and have been for 17 years. ) Foiling in color will also be less of a commitment then regular hair color, and looks worlds better. I hope to see your new look when you decide! Keep us posted ! :)
posted by brittaincrowe at 2:57 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was in the same rut as you, only my hair has a wave to it. I spent about a billion hours on this UK Hairdressers website, which reminded me of those hairstyle books they had in salons when I was young.

You can narrow the search into straight hair, long hair, etc. and there are still a ton of choices. I think for the most part you can tell what the cut actually looks like regardless of how they've styled/colored it.
posted by queensissy at 3:01 PM on May 4, 2012

If you tend not to get haircuts between embobbenings, or if you just get the slightest trims, try getting a long layered cut this time around. You have great hair and the length works well for you; adding layers will make it look more polished and style-y. And if you don't like it, you still have enough hair left for the bob.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:14 PM on May 4, 2012

I say try the long layers, as suggested above. It'll add some body and texture to the length without having to fuss with it.
posted by celtalitha at 3:34 PM on May 4, 2012

If you're not sold on going full-on pixie cut (but you should! I think it would look great, and if it doesn't, it's only a few months to grow out to a new style), you might try something shaggy and layered that looks like a grown-out pixie. Take in a few pictures of Jodie Foster in The Brave One; that's what you want, a style that you can just blowdry and run some product through it.

I also go through the chop/grow/chop cycle regularly, and I always love my hair the best when it's pixie short. Styling = towel dry, or blowdry and scrunch with my fingers if I'm feeling fancy. I *gasp* don't even use a brush or comb!
posted by specialagentwebb at 3:41 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like the idea of a pixie, but have no idea how it would look with my hair/head and what kind of styling is needed

I don't have a pixie cut, but my hair is like a guy's traditional short back and sides with bangs. It doesn't take much time to fix in the mornings: generally speaking a little goop to make the longer bits go in the way you want and some blowdryer applied to the shorter bits to make them go the way you want and bam, you're out the door. I can say it doesn't take me longer than ten minutes to fix. It does need regular trims to maintain a neat look, so factor in the extra cost/time for trims etc.

I have very fine, thick hair and this cut works for me. I had to sort of chop it all off at once but there's no regrets here: it's a whole lot of fun to play around with short hair, and unless you do what I did (my hair's kind of buzzed/shaved down on the side) any bits you don't like will very quickly grow out. So if you're feeling the call of the short and your comfort level is there, I'd say go for it! There's an article here from Vogue talking about pixie cuts - you could go a wee bit longer than the lady in the picture, see if you liked it and go from there.
posted by zennish at 3:49 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

pixies are awesome, and i think you could definitely pull one off. HOWEVER, they require more effort than long hair ever did. with long hair you could put it in a bun or pony tail if you got up a lil too late to shower before work. pixie? there is no hiding the grease. and if i don't put effort into my pixie (at least like 3 minutes) it is sticking up all over the place and i look like christopher walken. others may not have this problem and may roll out of bed looking adorable. i hate them.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 3:52 PM on May 4, 2012

Thanks for all the answers so far.

Just to clarify, I really want to ditch the long hair. I've done (and loved) long layers, but I never feel my hair looks great unless I spend the time to flat iron it. Plus I have a newish baby and I'm constantly prying my hair out of her hands (and out of the vacuum thanks to postpartum shedding).
posted by rebeccabeagle at 4:08 PM on May 4, 2012

Well, given the baby and your wish for short hair, I'd say something like this and absolutely foils!
posted by jgirl at 4:56 PM on May 4, 2012

Ooh, I love both the Jody Foster and Carey Mulligan haircuts suggested, but how much styling is needed to get them to look like that?
posted by rebeccabeagle at 5:26 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Add me to the chorus of people who think you could pull off a pixie. Go for it!
posted by purpleclover at 6:05 PM on May 4, 2012

You have the kind of super-long fine hair I had in college, before doing Locks of Love—and when they cut it, they gave me a just-shorter-than-chin-length bob with layers. We also have very similar facial structure and glasses shape, and I think you'd look great with a short bob like mine—I can easily hold my hand up to your photo to block the hair past your chin and visualize it, and I think it would do volumes for you (including giving you, well, volume!).
posted by limeonaire at 6:28 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and as for care for a just-shorter-than-chin-length layered bob, I just blow-dry upside down every morning, flip back up, then style with hairspray. It takes five to 10 minutes!
posted by limeonaire at 6:31 PM on May 4, 2012

I love the Carey Mulligan too, and In jealous of your nice shiny straight hair. Totally seconding the foils, I just got some and they really lit up my face.

Also I have no idea what it's like to be a new mom, but I've learned recently that if I wash, dry, and straighten, and then use dry shampoo liberally in the following days, I can make one wash & style last up to a week. I never thought it'd be possible, because I have fine, sometimes greasy hair, but the dry shampoo + an Argan oil blow dry mousse (to keep it from overproducing oil when clean) kind of suck up all the oil. Just a tip, because I can see you running a hot iron through the short Carey Mulligan style and getting at least several days out of it.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:46 PM on May 4, 2012

I do think you should go for a pixie cut. I've got fine, straight hair, and a pixie cut IMHO is a great cut for creating volume with zero styling. The other thing a medium pixie cut with eyebrown-length bangs (give or take) will do for you is to hide your hairline and de-emphasize your forehead and put the emphasis on the lower half of your face, which has much better lines. Something like this Katie Holmes pixie or Keira Knightingly's well-known chop job.
posted by drlith at 5:38 AM on May 5, 2012

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