Hair Cut??? Shivers
April 7, 2016 4:52 PM   Subscribe

My hair is longish. It's always been long to longish. For the last few months I've been thinking of cutting off about 6 inches and having a long, angled bob. What's it like to go from long hair to shortish hair?

Also, I see my stylist tomorrow. It's decision time!

If it matters, I'm female, my face is round, and my hair is fairly thin (thanks for nothing thyroid!) It needs to be long enough to go into a ponytail or chignon.
posted by 26.2 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You will use too much shampoo the first few times. You will be surprised by how light it is. You will run your hands through it and be confused when it ends for a while. But mostly you will be glad you did it and, worst case scenario, it will grow back in not too long..

Which is to say... GO FOR IT
posted by brainmouse at 4:57 PM on April 7, 2016 [20 favorites]

I had waist-length hair from the time I was 10 to the time I was about 21. When I chopped it all off, I thought it would be super-dramatic and I would feel very differently and it definitely did when I was actually getting it cut get used to it really quickly. The main thing you notice is how unbelievably easy your hair is to take care of now and how it no longer gets tangled and it takes you 5 seconds to do your hair in the morning. If you're used to your long hair being a defining part of your appearance, it can be a little bit weird.

Also, it grows back pretty quickly. I had long-ish hair again in like a year, so it's not some sort of irreversible decision.
posted by armadillo1224 at 5:02 PM on April 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

The weight really is a surprise, and you may sleep funny for a few nights if you previously slept with your hair down and are used to accommodating it as you move around. It can take a month or two to figure out exactly how often it really needs washing, especially if you use too much styling product at first.

I think the second one you linked is the best of the three - that bit of layering should give you some extra volume at the ends. The first one is too short, you'll only have a ponystub at the back.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:05 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I whacked my long-ish hair off after a year living in Chicago. Much less time washing it! Much less time waiting for it to air-dry! Far fewer aggravating knots! I've kept it short ever since.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:06 PM on April 7, 2016

I grow my hair out ~waist length (cuz I'm lazy and it's really curly, which gets worse the shorter it is) and then occasionally impulsively decide to cut my hair off to even above the shoulders (decision time: 20 seconds, that impulsive) and I always FEEL SO FREEEEEEEEE! It's great.

Honestly, the biggest change is washing it. It takes so much less time! But after a few days that wears off. I can really tell when cleaning because I'm no longer shedding long hairs like hell all over everything. And if I don't like the new do, so what? It's hair - it'll grow out a little and you can get it re-trimmed or even re-cut. If you get it still long enough to put in a new pony-tail, then you've already got a back-up if you don't like it for a few weeks until it's time to try another kind of cut. If you feel funny immediately after, tell yourself to give it a few days before you let that feeling be permanent. It's like a new pair of shoes that you have to break in before you feel comfy.

But what I like best about it is that with a few scissor snips I feel like I get a new identity. I'm no longer long-haired normal me, I'm now short-haired New Goddess of can do anything else new. You might feel the same way!
posted by barchan at 5:09 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I went from waist length to an extreme pixie cut multiple times in my life. On two occasions I shaved part of my head, leaving the rest longish. My head feels lighter, I feel free, I have less scalp/neck sweat, and my vacuum cleaner isn't always clogged up. It's great.
posted by xyzzy at 5:19 PM on April 7, 2016

I went from hip length hair to shoulder length hair in college. Never went back. My favorite thing in the world now (that I've discovered much too late in life) is that you don't have to wash your hair every day. Thank you, shower caps! I now wash my hair after 3 or 4 days. My hair feels and looks much thicker.
posted by HeyAllie at 5:24 PM on April 7, 2016

I've done this a few times in my life, the best thing I can think of to say is that it feels great, like when it gets warm enough to take off your winter things and pack them away. I've always left the salon with a spring in my step afterwards.

Also comma I go through this thing where I'm shocked at the number of ponytail holders, bobby pins, and Barrett's that are scattered all over the bedroom and bathroom.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:24 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

angled bob between chin and shoulders will always be timeless and chic
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:30 PM on April 7, 2016

As someone who keeps most of my head buzzed - do it.

I had awful 90s short hair and I hated it. I grew mine out through high school and into college. It never got crazy long because my ends get really fragile at that length. I went in and got 5 inches chopped off so it was a bit above shoulder. (I've done this cycle at least 3 times until the pixie cut.)

After that I got a pixie cut. Which was awesome. Then I buzzed it. I feel truly at home with super short buzzed hair - god it's amazing.

But more in relation to your question: I basically noticed no difference in terms of care, styling, scariness when I chopped 5 inches. It still did everything it did before (which in my case is part of the problem.) It will take less time to dry, should be easier to curl, you'll use less product.

That said, that length can need a bit of upkeep because it can start pooling around your shoulders. So keep that in mind. After having it for a little while you may find you want to get it chopped just a bit short so it has room to grow. Worst case if you hate it, hair grows on average about half an inch a month. It will grow back.

I am aware I'm a bit "screw it, it will grow back" type and I guess I have an "extreme" sort of cut, but - you'll still have So. Much. Hair. at that length. You're fine. It's going to look great!
posted by Crystalinne at 5:31 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I've done this before a few times and felt fine about it. I have a long bob right now and it's a nice versatile length. I have had everything from super-short pixie to mid-back, and this is the length I've settled on as most flattering for my face at the moment.

For me, personally, unless my hair is a Nancy Kwan bob or a pixie, I want it to be long enough to put in a ponytail. So keep that in mind if it's important to you.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:43 PM on April 7, 2016

Aaaaand nevermind, because I just read the last line of your post properly! You're already on it!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:44 PM on April 7, 2016

My head feels really, really light for about a week afterwards, which is disconcerting and actually gives me a little bit of dizziness at first. It's not all that much weight (even as a percentage) so I don't know what's up with that.

Also, suddenly windy days and rain are like no big deal at all, which always surprises me. I also get surprised that some action (putting on a sweater, shutting a car door, etc.) does not result in getting caught on something.

On the negative side, hats no longer fit right because of the reduced mass.
posted by SMPA at 5:44 PM on April 7, 2016

It was extremely freeing. Other people kept making comments. It weirded out other people that I did it. To me, that was a bigger issue than adjusting to short hair. I feel like it shouldn't be that note worthy or comment worthy.
posted by Michele in California at 5:51 PM on April 7, 2016

If your hair has any wave or curl to it, it's likely to behave a little differently at a shorter length. It might air-dry with gorgeous waves, or it might turn into puffy triangle hair. If your hair is stick-straight, this won't be a thing.

Bedhead tends to be more of a problem the shorter you go, but it's generally not much of a thing at the long-bob length, and it's easy to fix.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:57 PM on April 7, 2016

My hair is pretty thick, and my usual haircutter once commented that occasionally I need to massage my scalp because the hair is rather heavy when long.

I always cut my hair once a year to a slightly-longer-than-bob style, during Memorial Day weekend, before summer hits. It's like a ritual: preparing for the long hot summer days when sweaty long hair would just weigh you down (literally!). Short hair is INCREDIBLY liberating, it takes less time and shampoo to wash, dries faster, less knots, etc... You'll feel the wind on your neck (blessing or curse, depending)...

The only bad thing I noticed is that, if you get a particular cut, you're kinda stuck with that cut for a while. With long hair, I can part my hair any way I want and it would stay that way, but short hair would likely just flop everywhere. I don't use styling products though.
posted by curagea at 6:09 PM on April 7, 2016

It feels freeing and wonderful and it makes you wonder why you didn't do it sooner! Go for it!
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:16 PM on April 7, 2016

Thin hair tends to look better at short lengths with less effort. I grom mine out for a few years and cut it all off. It's long now, I am itching for it to be short mainly because

- less shampoo to use, I use a TON now I feel like
- less hair all over my damned house and stuck in all my soap when I shower
- less weight and figuring out where I put my hair when I do yoga
- shorter hair (on me) is more ambisexual and I like that
- it frames your face more, you can accent parts of your face (nose, eyes) instead of face or no face
- color is less of a commitment if you go that way
- and yeah my hair is thick so when it's long it's straight but when it's short it's a lot more wavy

I've heard that haircut referred to also as a lob so you can find a few longer styles with that same general look if you look up that term.
posted by jessamyn at 6:27 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

DO IT! You will not regret it.

Me: Big ol' square moon face, very fine hair.

I went from long/longish to an inverted, angled bob and LOVED it. The bob being longer in the front balanced out my face. My hair had more volume because it had less weight, so it framed my face better. I thought cut was quite sexy because it put more emphasis on my eyes.

I maintained it until I got pregnant, when my stylist said it would be better to grow it out again because I wouldn't have the time or energy to keep a bob looking sharp with a newborn. She was right.
posted by Pearl928 at 6:29 PM on April 7, 2016

Agree with Meteroid Baby that texture can be a consideration. I have long been a fan of the freedom a shorter haircut offers but disappointed by how my thick hair forms waves unpredictably in defiance of the simple cut I envisioned. Not trying to be a wet blanket - in general, less hair = good. If you can get a cut that offers the ability to still have a ponytail, you have hairstyle win. Avoid extreme layers.
posted by Otter_Handler at 6:36 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had mid-back to waist-length hair from elementary school through high school. Cut it to my shoulders in the middle of high school and hated it, went back to waist-length hair through college. I finally got bored and braver, so a few years ago I cut it again to mid-length (just touching shoulders). Word of warning, it didn't look good in a ponytail or chignon for the first few months, but if your hair is at all wavy it will look better in a short pony (mine is coarse and stubbornly straight so it just sticks out weirdly).

My anecdote I guess is that you might not love it. But that's okay! Get it recut, grow it out again, wear headbands for a while. I hated my second short haircut at first too, until I got used to wearing it down 100% of the time. And I'm growing it out again, but this time it's just because I'm bored of my mid-length hair and too chicken to go shorter.

Btw, I use less shampoo now but have to wash my hair more frequently. With waist-length hair I only washed it once a week and could more easily hide greasiness in updos or braids. That's an option that you lose with shorter hair.
posted by serelliya at 6:38 PM on April 7, 2016

Make sure that you are VERY clear with your stylist about keeping length in the front. I asked for exactly that cut from my usual stylist several months ago and wound up with a terribly unflattering bob for my wide face: chin length in the front, slightly shorter in the back. I'm still growing it out.

So bring pictures and ask for as little as possible cut off the front to get the look you want, especially as you want enough in the (shorter) back to go in a chignon. The stylist can always come back for a second pass.
posted by maudlin at 6:39 PM on April 7, 2016

I have gone from hip to shoulder, grown it out and cut it again a few times and totally agree with all of the above RE using less shampoo and having a happier vacuum.

What I did find, even with hair long enough for a pony, is that I would have hair fall into my face more frequently. And unlike some other posters, I actually find shorter hair more work. With the long hair, I can twist it up with a couple of hair sticks in a few seconds. Short hair on me always required more styling.

That said, I would go for it - the second link of yours would be great.
posted by MandaSayGrr at 6:46 PM on April 7, 2016

I went from waist-length hair to a pixie cut within a few haircuts. Twice.

You get used to it incredibly fast, even if you don't really like it that much. I've found that even when I don't like a short haircut, it's still fun to be able to try different styles and lighten it up a bit. Also a good excuse to try coloring, because it seems less permanent/fussy when your hair is short.

Bedhead can be a disaster if you don't have a plan for it. Long hair bedhead = maybe messy bangs, worst case scenario, a bun. Short hair bedhead = omg is my hair alive??

My "plan" is usually some combo of dry shampoo, combing, and strategically placed bobby pins. Lately though I've just been keeping it in a short crop that can't get too out of hand.

I understand why people say short hair is more styling (and it's probably true), but for me, long hair was much more difficult to make look nice. Sure it was easy to throw in a braid or a bun, but to wear it loose or have it in a really polished look (or even a polished braid) was an impossible struggle. With short hair I just use body-enhancing (non-SLS) shampoo/conditioner, put in some product and maybe a bit of macadamia oil, and let it do its wavy messy French-girl thing. It feels very "done," even when it looks messy.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:41 PM on April 7, 2016

I did it at the end of March. I went from back-length to basically the length you're considering, a bob that's long enough to tie if needed, so about 20cm (7+ inches)? I thought I'd miss having the length but it turns out I was ready to be rid of it. The bedhead problem isn't as bad as I expected at this length. I understand feeling anxious about it, but really, just try it.
posted by misozaki at 3:58 AM on April 8, 2016

I went from chest -length hair to a pretty standard short back and sides boy cut when I was 18 (much to my mother's delight). Yes on too much shampoo at first. Also constant "wait why does my neck feel so odd oh yeah no hair brushing it" feelings, and general weirdness at not feeling hair sloshing about everywhere all the time.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:26 AM on April 8, 2016

I have gone back and forth between long and short-ish (like you, always long enough for a ponytail because I AM LAZY and that's how I wear my haid 95% of the time). Everytime I get my hair cut shorter it feels like AMAZING FREEDOM and awesomeness, and then I get lazy about going back to the hair salon and my hair gets long again (sadly for me, my hair seems to grow super fast). The main tip I will give is to be very very clear with the stylist that you want to be able to do a ponytail when your hair is dry -- since they often cut it wet, and your hair gets shorter once it dries, a cut that looks maybe too long wet will often be perfect dry. The other tip as folks have mentioned is that, yeah, hair grows back, so if you turn out not to love the new cut, it's not an irreversible problem.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:52 AM on April 8, 2016

I had my mid-back length hair shaved for charity last year (see profile pic and question history for immediate aftermath). It's still pretty short now. It's certainly cooler - I have a thin woollen tube hat thing I lived in over the winter. It's much quicker to wash and for a no-style fan like me it's much easier to keep tidy. I have found that subconsciously I have missed long hair as I started wearing scarves to work and it took me some time to realise they were acting as my long hair substitutes. Yes, it will feel physically lighter as well.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2016

At the salon now getting the big cut. Thanks for the confidence mifi!
posted by 26.2 at 11:57 AM on April 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

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