Dying it purple is an entirely different conversation
November 20, 2012 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to decide whether or not to cut my hair (as well as how to cut it), and I think I'm boring everyone around me with my endless dithering.

I currently have longish hair, with what remains of some layering and shorter pieces around my face that have grown out. My usual routine has been to grow my hair out until I'm frustrated with having it back in a ponytail constantly, chop it all off to some form of an angled bob, and then let it grow out again until the cycle repeats.

I don't like doing a lot of hair maintenance, but have just grudgingly told my sister that I GUESS I can learn to use a flatiron if necessary. If I ended up with bangs, I have a cowlick that would require me to either straighten the bangs or pin them back. I don't know if bangs would suit me, though.

That's the problem right there, actually - I don't know what cut might be flattering on me. I have kind of a round, plain face that I don't think can support a really short cut. I sometimes wear glasses that give my face a little more interest, but mostly I'm in contacts. I study a martial art, so pulling everything back into a ponytail is easy, but boring. Here is a set of self-portraits on Flickr, so you can see me with and without glasses, and my hair at varying lengths. (I was enchanted by my Mac's photobooth option and was constantly playing around with it for a while.)

Compounding the problem is that I don't have a lot of money to do this with, so going to an upper-tier stylist isn't in the cards. Half the time I go to the local beauty college and get what I consider a decent cut, because I'm not asking for anything complicated.

I'll probably just go back to an angled bob again, or just keep it long and put it up (I wish I could french braid my hair but I can't seem to learn) but I thought I'd ask the Mefi community if there's something out there that might be for me.
posted by PussKillian to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total)
I don't have an idea about a specific cut, but I do like the way your longer hair frames your face. So my vote would be in that direction.
posted by Vaike at 10:36 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

The problem with bangs is that once you have them it's FOREVER until you give in to the awkward growing-out-your-bangs month or two, which is always painful.

I think this length/cut/style is really great and flattering! Just long enough to pull it all back when necessary, and not so long that it's always in your face when it's down. The shorter, jawline-brushing cuts make you look a little severe.
posted by elizardbits at 10:36 AM on November 20, 2012

I would go with medium length (to or toward shoulder) with long layers. I would also try to find someone who is a decent stylist that you can keep going back to. Maybe if you find someone at the beauty college that you like, get their email.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:37 AM on November 20, 2012

I think bangs would look great on you! I also have a cowlick in my bangs, but it takes only about 10 seconds with a round brush and a hairdryer to keep it under control.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:46 AM on November 20, 2012

One thing I noticed when looking through your photos is that you're always well accessorized (seriously, you've got some great necklaces), which shows that you put thought and effort into your presentation. That leads me to think that with more confidence in what you're doing, you wouldn't mind spending a bit more time on your hair each day. That's certainly how it was for me - I went from having short hair that I refused to dry or use product on to, as I got more confident and the process became fun instead of onerous, someone who will occasionally use four products and two heat styling tools on my hair on the occasional weekday morning. Your stylist, even at a not-top-tier salon, is there to help you with this! They can teach you about products and techniques, and try stuff out with you.

I concur with elizardbits 100% about the most flattering length for your hair. I would recommend is getting some swoopy bangs to soften your forehead, and give you some waves around your face. Maybe consider some layers to make it all a bit more bouncy. Rather than flat-ironing it (which I don't think would be enormously flattering), try to play up the curl for extra volume. If you talk with the stylist before you get the cut, and point out your cowlick(s), they should be able to work around them (I have a terrible cowlick at the edge of my bangs; I rarely have to do more than brush them and let them air dry).
posted by amelioration at 10:51 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the issue with a short cut is less the shape of your face than the fact that you're not interested in styling your hair. Unless you go really, really super short, short hair is not necessarily low maintenance, particularly if cowlicks are involved.

I agree with elizardbits that around shoulder length with some layers works nicely for you. If you wanted to experiment with bangs, a long side-swept bang could be added to that look pretty easily, and would grow out somewhat less awkwardly if you decided you didn't like it. (Caveat: having hair in your face might make you crazy.)

Also: yes, dye it purple!
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:52 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Your face looks lovely with your hair pulled back. I don't think you should get it cut too short to do that. What would be really flattering is some volume up top, like a rounded bob rather than a choppy layered one.

I think the following especially would look really great with your face:

Some celebrity

some other celebrity

Google image search

Caveat: some styling will be necessary, maybe blow drying with a round brush and some shine serum - but you can totally have awesome hair in 10 minutes with a great cut and some practice.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 10:54 AM on November 20, 2012

I feel your pain. Hair ennui has been the bane of my life. I personally think long wavy hair would be lovely on you. Possibly with sides wept bangs. Alternatively, I also think a longer than chin length sleek bob would look good, and I think you can pull it off with a middle part, no bangs.

When you do go to the salon, ask the stylist if she can explain to you in detail what she's doing when she styles your hair, including which products and how much, so you can recreate it at home. I never thought to do that until like last year and ever since my hair has looked I my much more polished.
posted by Jess the Mess at 11:22 AM on November 20, 2012

I could have written this post. I run through the exact same cycle and I hate having to do much styling too. I have ended up with very short bangs, but I have slightly straighter hair (I'm envious of your waves, incidentally).

Based upon your photos, I'd suggest shoulder-length hair with some layering to take advantage of your natural bounce. A good hairstylist should be able to give a 'do that doesn't require much beyond drying your hair and brushing it. Avoid the flat iron - you have natural waves and bounce, so take advantage of that.

Once you have reached the stage of growing out your hair, you don't always have to opt for a ponytail. A messy bun is just as quick and slightly dressier. For very dressy purposes, a French Twist Roll is a nice grown-up variant upon a pony tail.
posted by kariebookish at 11:29 AM on November 20, 2012

I like this style best on you. It brings out the natural wave and frames your face well. But I think you can wear a variety of lengths: if you cut it anywhere from that length and shoulder length, you should be good. I wouldn't go shorter.

My hair is very similar to yours, and I've gone through the chop-and-grow cycle a lot. If you usually don't get any intermediate haircuts between chops, you might be bored with your long hair because you haven't found the right cut for it. If you can't think of anything to do with your long hair but don't want to get another bob, ask for a long layered cut that you can wear wavy. And since your hair's got some natural wave to it, it shouldn't be hard to coax the wave out: if I shake my hair out after washing, finger comb some curling-creme-type product through it, and let it air dry, it will dry wavy.

Don't get short bangs or go shorter than a bob, though. Very short wavy hair is the opposite of low-maintenance.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:07 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Love your jewelry and glasses, you're so pretty!

I think you'll be really pleased with bangs. They're stylish enough right now that most any decent stylist will do a good job giving you the right weight of bangs. I think that even if you grow them out, having them swept across your forehead could be a good look for you.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 1:37 PM on November 20, 2012

You definitely should have bangs, but long, graceful sideswept ones. You have a beautiful, strong forehead which would be lovely in a renaissance painting but isn't currently in style. Given your face shape, your bangs should just graze your cheekbones when sideswept. I recommend a side-part.

I also think you look prettiest when your hair is framing your face rather than tied back. You have a great smile/ mouth and a really nice chin, and I think it looks best when your hair is drawing attention to those features like in the fourth row down, the two pictures at the end. The slight curl up towards the corner of your mouth on one side makes me notice your smile, and having the curl on the other side point up but AWAY from your lips keeps it from being too repititious and closed-in; it creates a more pleasing line. I also think you look good with a bit of volume, wave and curl (just a smidge!) at the temples/ body of your hair for interest.

You have a gorgeous smile. Smile more!
posted by windykites at 1:43 PM on November 20, 2012

From what I can tell, your hair's a lot like my hair and I only just recently started using a (really good, very quick) blow dryer (plus hair glue before drying, and hairspray after) and it has made a world of difference. I messed around a little with a flat iron to tame cowlicks and it was the opposite of what I needed (what I needed: volume).

This isn't directly an answer to your question, but basically I think if you blow dry your hair (plus put something in it while it's still wet so you can manipulate it after it's dry, like hair glue, and then use hairspray to hold it in place after it's dry and you've styled it) it will improve any cut you choose.

It took me years to learn this very simple trick, so I just thought I'd pass it along! Sorry if you've already figured out blow drying. (I spent years searching for the perfect haircut, only to discover that most cuts look OK on me but nothing looks great if I don't use a blow dryer.)
posted by 4bulafia at 4:10 PM on November 20, 2012

Nthing shoulder-length. Definitely NOT that stick-flat rounded bob look that was linked above. That would not work on you at all. Soft waves look lovely on you.
posted by parrot_person at 5:22 PM on November 20, 2012

If you're not used to doing stuff with your hair and you're sort of reluctant to do so AND you have wavy hair AND a cowlick, don't get bangs. I have stick-straight hair with no cowlicks (i.e. perfect for bangs) and bangs are still a total pain when I have them. Particularly the longer side swept bangs - if you do anything active you have to figure out how to pin or hold them back.

I think a medium length (longer than chin, shorter than shoulders), keeping your natural wave will be the easiest and most flattering. Try doing different parts (right side, left side, middle) and just pulling pieces back (using barettes or clips) for different looks. You can always use a flat iron, but I wouldn't lock yourself into a style that requires one every day.

My nose is unfashionable and would probably look better in a painting than in real life, but I just roll with it.
posted by jeoc at 5:49 PM on November 20, 2012

N-thing a medium to shoulder length (shaggy) cut with long, sideswept bangs, like these:

Example 1

Example 2

In my experience, bangs this long are easier to handle than shorter ones, but if your really hate them and can't make them work they'll be outgrown in no time.
posted by akrasia at 6:41 PM on November 20, 2012

You and I have a very similar face shape, and I both like my hair and get compliments on it, so I'm going to advocate for a similar cut.

I like your hair as it is in photos 48, 44, 24, 38, etc - long enough that you can tuck the front sections behind your ears, but not long enough that you do so all the time. I have my hair cut slightly shorter in the back, with layering, so it doesn't feel heavy and the waves & curls have room to express themselves.

I think longish bangs would suit you, and a decent hairdresser should be able to work with your cowlick.

I vote against making a permanent commitment to a straight iron, instead, learn to nurture your curls. It's one thing to iron for special occasion, but doing ones whole head is a PITA you won't want to do daily or after exercise. My hair loses its straightness as I sweat, even with product.mon the other hand, if you dye your hair... It will likely become more consistently straighter

Memail me if you want photos. You're lovely and I hope you enjoy your hair
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 8:28 PM on November 20, 2012

Thanks, everyone, for the helpful (and really flattering!) replies! Also, greetings to all my fellow citizens of Hair Ennui Land! We are a proud, if indecisive, people.

I think the suggestions of a slightly shaggy but not too short cut sound really appealing, so I'm going to go with that. I'll print out the photos and bring them in so I don't have to try and describe the cut. I have occasionally ended up in that ballpark by accident as the shorter cuts grew out, so a more polished take on it seems to be a good plan. Although before I get it cut, I may try that French Twist Roll.

Right now my only trick to getting curl is going to bed with a wet head - I wake up with a riot of curls I can tame down into nice waves. It's not exactly a strategy for consistent results. I've occasionally tried a product or two (a mousse was the last attempt) to try and get curl, but they seem to leave my hair limp more than anything. Also, I have not really figured out how to use a hair dryer like an adult, so experimenting in that direction may help.

Again, I really appreciate everybody's input and kind words.
posted by PussKillian at 9:09 AM on November 21, 2012

Bangs look great on almost everyone, but they do usually require a quick flatironing. I have long, bushy, wavy, frizzy hair, but I just straighten my bangs after my hair dries (takes about 5 minutes) and that's that. I also only wash my hair like once every 4-5 days (and use dry shampoo in between), so if I do decide to straighten it, it's not a daily thing. There are also lots of cute ways to pin back bangs, and I don't find them annoying at all.

To get curl from product you must learn to use a diffuser. It's very simple-- it was the first thing I learned to do with my hair. Wash hair, put product in damp hair, blow-dry your hair with your head hanging upside-down, scrunching while you dry. Then stand up straight and put it in place with your fingers (and maybe run a comb through it depending on how curly you want it) and voila.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:26 AM on December 3, 2012

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