Should I get a pixie cut?
September 14, 2017 4:32 PM   Subscribe

I have super fine, super thin, super straight hair. I've been thinking about getting a pixie cut for a long time, but I'm worried that 1) I don't have the right kind of hair for it, and 2) the maintenance will drive me crazy. If you have hair similar to mine, have you rocked a pixie? Would you do it again?

Currently my hair is about shoulder length, and I do absolutely nothing with it. No blow-drying, no styling, nada. I wash it before bed, sleep with it wet 95% of the time, and throw it in a ponytail in the morning. Attempts to change things up and wear it down usually result in awful tangles and me giving up within an hour or two.

I would like to have more interesting hair. But I'm worried that suddenly needing to Do Things To It would drive me crazy. I will encounter the problem of waking up with it going all different directions. I would probably need to invest in (~shudder~) product. I would need more frequent touch-ups than my current once a year or so approach. These factors keep making me second guess my choice to chop. But it could be fun!

I know hair grows back, and I'm probably overthinking this, but I don't want to spend months cranky with a haircut I hate. So should I take the plunge, or safer to pass?

(If age matters, I am early 30s)
posted by tan_coul to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
With a short cut one of the advantages is that your sticking out at odd angles hair can be fixed easily by running a wet flannel through it in the morning. This allows you to adjust the kinks and it will take no time at all to dry.

But there is no way to get around frequent hair cuts. My guess is 1/month. It will just not look right if it gets too long.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:41 PM on September 14, 2017

I have fine, straight, limp hair and have been doing a pixie cut for the last couple of years. (pic) When my hair gets to be a certain length, it seems to weigh itself down and just get flatter and more boring. When I have had long hair, all I did was tuck it behind my ears or pull it back.

As for product - I don't really use much outside what my hair stylist puts in after a cut, though I keep some around just in case. I used wax to add texture for a while, but now use this dry shampoo/texture powder.

I love how minimal my hair is to manage. I get a haircut every 8 weeks or so. I don't really comb it for the first month after a haircut, and in the second month only a little after my morning shower to tame it. I keep thinking about growing it out a bit more, but I'm too lazy and I feel like for my hair type, short makes a lot more sense for the lack of effort I want to spend.
posted by kendrak at 4:46 PM on September 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

Nobody should have regrets about something as silly as hair. Get it and go to a good stylist--they'll cut it to suit your face and your hair texture.

If you want it to keep looking good, you will need more frequent cuts (probably once every month and a half or so) however I found that it was well worth my time because overall my hair looked better and took significantly less effort when it was shorter. Either way, you don't know until you try and if you only get it cut once it'll grow back pretty fast if you decide you don't want to deal with it.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 4:47 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

EMBRACE the pixie cut! You will love it! You don't have to do anything, but if you get a wild hair you can sculpt and get creative. I've been pixie for more than a decade now and it's sooooooo simple and easy. All I do is wash twice a week, run my head under the sink in the morning if it looks wonky, and get a haircut every 6 weeks. I would never go back, never ever. Do it!!!
posted by mccxxiii at 4:50 PM on September 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have this hair and this cut. In my opinion it's more about face shape then hair type, definitely second the recommendation to see a good stylist. Every morning I shower, wet my hair, rub dry with a towel. I then get some product in my hands, rub through my hair, push it into place, and I'm done. Takes less than a minute (but I'm also not terribly picky, and I have the perfect cut to do this with because I told my stylist I wanted easy!). I do have to get it cut every 4-5 weeks which is a hassle but I'm never going back to long hair!
posted by john_snow at 4:52 PM on September 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am also mid-30s with fine, thin, super-straight hair. I've had a pixie for 5ish years now. Pic of me and my hair. No desire to grow it out. The cons you listed (getting haircut every 2 months at a minimum, having to do your hair every day because sleep does funky things to it) are real, but are not that bad. I schedule my next haircut before I leave the salon, and in the morning I just wet my hair. Blow-drying and mussing w product takes about 5-7 min.
posted by Fig at 5:14 PM on September 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think the main thing is to get a GOOD haircut (which probably means expensive). They will let you know if it suits your face prior and they will cut it so that it 'lays' normally, and will grow out not looking so terrible if you don't like it. This is from someone with the same type and level of maintenance hair as you have...but I don't have the right type of face (or the bravery!) to go short.
posted by bquarters at 5:21 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

The maintenance drove me nuts; I am not a person who enjoys visits to the salon.

There was also a problem where it seemed like if the cut was a TINY bit off, it looked terrible and dowdy. If it came out just so it was a compliment magnet, but very small variations could wreck it. (Or so I was convinced.)

I have very fine thin hair and it took years and years to find the right stylist for it -- once I did, by asking a woman with my hair but beautifully cut if she would spill and tell me who her genius stylist was -- and ever since, hair life has been pleasant. (Side bangs, layered bob, wash and wear if need be, can be fancied up, can go months between cuts)
posted by kmennie at 6:00 PM on September 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Go for it, but find a great stylist. Short hair is far less forgiving if cut poorly. Texturizing products help a lot with giving the hair some shape so that it doesn't all sit on your head in a limp helmet shape.
posted by quince at 6:16 PM on September 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have very fine, thin, mostly straight hair (it gets a bit cowlicky at the nape of my neck). I never do anything to it but wash it, and a pixie cut is the style that deals best with my complete lack of styling effort. Unfortunately, every time I need to change stylists it's a struggle to find someone who will cut it short enough and not try to put it into some sort of bob. The going-every-which-way thing is solved by getting it thoroughly wet, toweling dry, and finger combing in the morning. When I go longer than 3 months between cuts it turns into something else less perfect, but as long as I keep up that schedule it's fine. I am never, ever going back to ponytail length.
posted by drlith at 7:28 PM on September 14, 2017

I have a very short pixie. My hair is not like yours (pretty thick and slightly wavy) but I would warn you that I get mine cut every month. Even by then it looks worse.

One of the benefits though is that my hair looks kind of styled very easily. I used to wear a pony tail a lot and imo the kind of groomed, professional or stylish look is much more work to achieve with long hair.

With short hair the maintenance is frequent haircuts- but my hairdresser does those. With longer hair there was much more of an onus on me to do my hair. So I like it this way.

A note about product- you speak about it with horror but ime using product on your hair is the most low maintenance hair adjustment you can make. I'm going to say it's easier than a ponytail, which needs brushing at least. Product just gets put on my fingers and then in my hair. compared to blow drying or straightening or braiding or any of that malarkey (which I realise you don't do) product is basically akin to putting on deoderant in terms of hassle.
posted by jojobobo at 7:40 PM on September 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

One caveat! Growing out a pixie has been really high maintenance for me. Maybe less so if you don't have thick hair? But the amount of effort required to just not look like a mushroom was too much for me and I've given in and gone back to pixie twice.
posted by jojobobo at 7:43 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have your hair and I've had super-short pixies off an on for years. I've loved the wash 'n' wear of it. Cuts every seven weeks, finger-tipping a little bit of product in to point things in the right direction and that's it. The term "compliment magnet" always applied for me as well. Do it!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:44 PM on September 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

I recently cut off almost a foot of hair and got a very short cut. I'd been thinking about it for a while, but one of the things that tipped the scales was reading something along the lines of: nobody ever asks if a guy has the right hair texture and face shape to "pull off" short hair.

I love mine. Yeah, I have to get it cut way more often but the cuts are cheaper and it's so much easier to style (or more accurately, to get away with not styling). And the frequency of cuts also means I can experiment with different looks and it's never a huge commitment. Zero regrets.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:56 PM on September 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

I have fine, super straight hair, and I've had short to very short hair for about fifteen years. A good stylist makes day-to-day styling easy - I often didn't even use product, just comb hair the right direction when wet.

A couple things can help with maintenance:
Finding a stylist who does free "mullet trims" (aka bang trims). Usually a touch up can keep you going for another month.

Buying a pair of clippers and hair scissors and learning to trim your neck and bangs. I don't wear blunt cut, precise styles, which would make this more difficult/risky. I paid attention to what my stylist does, and then slowly, carefully learned to do it on myself. Learning to do your own mullet and bang trims is also awesome for growing short hair out and for getting through the time after moving when you haven't found a new (or good) stylist yet.
posted by momus_window at 9:11 PM on September 14, 2017

I have the same hair type as you. The pixie cut was fun for a while.

Pro: looked really good on my face shape. If your face looks great with hair tied back, it'll probably also look good with a pixie cut.

Pro: I could dye it different colours and even bleach it with absolute impunity.

Pro: leave to air dry and it'll be done by the time you're ready to add product, if you even need to

After a while, though, I got fed up because:

Con: very high maintenance, monthly cuts required

Con: if you develop any scalp problems, they will be on show for the world to see

Con: one hair snip out of place and the whole thing is wrong, wrong, wrong

Con: growing it out took me 5 to 7 years, and expensive monthly haircuts were needed for all that time

In the end I realized that growing it long and putting it up was the lowest maintenance option of them all. Unfortunately you don't instantaneously get long hair the moment you decide to have it.
posted by tel3path at 3:22 AM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have super fine, super straight hair and I love my pixie. I get a cut every 6-8 weeks, and I use product. I spend about 5 minutes styling it in the morning. This is far less time than it took my to get my shoulder-length hair presentable in a way that was acceptable to me. Finding a good stylist, and finding the right products were crucial in terms of happiness with my pixie.

Once I found product that worked for me, this is my daily maintenance: (1) wash hair, (2) apply product 1 to wet hair, (3) air dry or blow dry, (4) apply product 2 to dry hair, and (5) style with comb/fingers. Allowing my hair to air dry maybe takes 20 minutes, all of the other styling takes maybe 2 minutes. I usually dry my hair with a blow dryer and the whole process takes 5 minutes. It might get up to 7 minutes when I use a round brush to dry my hair on super important days I want to look extra polished.

On occasions when I want to shower at night, I go through step (3), and apply product 2 in the am and style. My products are: product 1 - Alterna Bamboo 2-in-1 volumizer, and product 2 - R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste. A lot of weekend days I don't even wet or wash my hair, I just re-apply product 2 and restyle.

From my observation, there are precious few people in the world who have a haircut that is just wash and go. I will never be one of those people because my fine hair just sort of looks limp and flies all over the place if I don't use product. If you really want a style that takes zero styling time and zero product, a pony tail is your best bet. For me, a pixie hits the sweet spot in terms of styling time and interesting/presentable (to my standards) hair.
posted by donovangirl at 7:30 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best hair decision I've ever made with fine short hair that I don't style. Without as much of its own weight, my hair has more body. Also I can now be even lazier about it; I haven't used a comb or brush in a year or more. I just shower in the morning, towel it off and run my fingers through it if a piece is on the wrong side after the 15 seconds of toweling.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:34 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I've moved three states since I changed to this haircut. The key for me is getting it cut every 7 weeks, specifically asking salons about who's really good with short hair, and then communicating more about what I like/don't like every time I go back in so we can dial the cut in. Both about the cut, and about how I (don't) style it. "Everything looks good but for the first two weeks this piece of hair flops to the wrong side or looks weird until it grows long enough, and it's messing up my goal of towel drying and moving on."
posted by deludingmyself at 7:41 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

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