We're calling it now: The days of long, fussy hair extensions are over. Now, it's all about the messy, low-maintenance chop. In particular, pixie cuts with layers and complexities are perfect for an effortless, post-quarantine style. If you're ready for something manageable, easy-to-style, and towel-dry chic, look no further.
"Be honest with yourself and your stylist," says stylist Adrianne Johnson. "Is this a look you can commit to? Is it the right fit for your hair type and your lifestyle?"
We spoke to Johnson and IGK cofounder Aaron Grenia for their tips and advice on long pixie cuts, and what to consider when getting one.
Meet the Expert
- Aaron Grenia is the cofounder of IGK, who has created looks for designers Carolina Herrera, Dolce and Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs.
- Adrianne Johnson is a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.
Keep reading for our list of long and effortless (and in some cases, iconic) pixie cuts.
Out of all the red-carpet hairstyles Zendaya has sported over the years, it's difficult to choose a favorite. But we think her dirty-blonde pixie cut is criminally underrated. With tousled long bangs and dimensional color, this 'do is effortless perfection.
Layered and Messy
Actress Joey King may have shaved her head for her role in The Act, but she's always managed to style it gracefully, no matter how awkward in-between growth can be. Here, she's wearing layered, messy curls that are easy to style with a small curling iron. The key is not trying to achieve perfection with each curl and rather allowing them to vary in shape and direction.
The sculpted, cropped natural cut is a classic—but the pompadour style makes it modern. For this look, invest in a high-quality comb and a smoothing cream like Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Hair Cream ($52).
Of course, Rihanna can do no wrong, and it's hard to choose from her iconic pixie-cut phase. But there's something about her naturally curly, tousled cut here that makes us feel nostalgic for her Diamonds era—maybe it's the wet-look curls or the statement jewelry. Either way, it's a favorite in our book.
The key to this look, says Grenia, is a great gel product. "Apply product throughout hair, focusing on ends first and working up to mid-lengths," Grenia says. "Once finished, part hair where desired and apply any remaining product on hands to any areas especially prone to frizz (i.e. around face, neck or part-line)."
Sideswept With Volume
In case vintage supermodel vibes are your thing, we can't help but swoon over Emma Willis's long-pixie-cut-with-sideswept-bangs phase. Get the off-duty look with nothing but some smoothing serum and a hair straightener.
Writer and actress Tavi Gevinson shows us how low effort is done. She still looks chic and put-together with her long pixie pieces slicked back and pulled behind the ears. Combine that with a fresh face and bold, bright lip, and we can't help but admire how majorly this look was achieved with (probably) minimal effort.
Long and Choppy
Actress Viola Davis has long-perfected the sophisticated aesthetic. But nothing encapsulates that vibe quite like a good haircut—and although Davis has been rocking different versions of pixie cuts for years, we're quite fond of this 'do in particular. All you need to do is side-part your long pixie cut, and ask your stylist to razor out the ends to your liking.
"And you, you're gonna love me." Jennifer Hudson was right if she was talking about this hairstyle on her—because we're obsessed. The heavy, face-framing bangs combined with volume on top make for a fun, versatile, and easy-to-style cut.
To get Kerry Washington's piecey, sideswept bangs, all you need to do is take a bit of texturizing cream (like Oribe Matte Waves Lotion, $42) on your fingertips to piece out your bangs and accentuate the tousled texture. "It makes you look like you just happen to have great hair without trying," says Johnson. "It's not fussy."
The reddish hue takes this look to the next level. With a crop this close to the scalp, you'll want to visit the salon every three to four weeks for a trim. Otherwise, to style, just use a curl cream and dry with a diffuser.
Bangs With Sideburns
Model Agyness Deyn has never strayed away from a fun beauty moment. This shag-like cut is reminiscent of retro vibes and rock-and-roll—and we're obsessed. Get the look with straight-across bangs, longer face-framing pieces, and a shaggy chop.
Actress Rowan Blanchard pulls off the whimsical, shag-like pixie cut perfectly—and so can you. "As long as your hair has texture and isn't too fine, it's super fun and flirty," says Johnson. "You need some density to make it work, and the right products to get that effortless vibe."
Chopped and Wavy
We love those who play by their own rules—and experimenting style-wise has always been Nicole Richie's M.O. If you have naturally fine, wavy hair, make the chop like Richie and pair a short, behind-the-ears style with longer, sideswept fringe in front. Chic, simple, and low-effort.
Long and Loose
We're always taking beauty inspo from new takes on classic pixie cuts—because, the looks are proving to be timeless. Gabrielle Union's sweet pixie cut is just perfect.
This edgy look can be recreated with a high-quality gel, so strands stick up straight, and a comb to guide the product through the hair. Finish with a shine-inducing oil like Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil ($57).
Longer On Top
With short sides and longer pieces on top, get ready for endless styling possibilities. Model Maria Borges shows us how it's done with voluminous ringlets on top, piled asymmetrically. It might look ultra-polished and glam, but with the right cut, you'll be able to style your hair like this instantly.
Side Part With Natural Texture
Janelle Monae is a certified beauty risk-taker, but we love the classic vibes here. "I love my natural hair," she told us in 2016. "You can straighten it, curl it, play with different shapes and textures." With a chin-grazing length and a side-part, you'd never guess that the singer usually goes for more whimsical beauty looks on the red carpet, and we love the versatility.
Want a secret styling hack from the pixie-cut pros, like Anne Hathaway? Simply twist your face-framing pieces and pull them back to look like you're wearing an elaborate updo. No matter how you style a long pixie cut, finding the right products is important. "You just have to keep it simple and use the right products, and apply and reapply them when you need to," Johnson says.
Model Ruth Bell has long leaned into androgynous looks and has played around with a multitude of short hairstyles in the past (including a knockout buzzcut). But we love the look of fringey, face-framing bangs here that look like they could've simply been tousled after jumping out of the shower. (And this platinum hair color is the icing on top).
With this style, Julianne Hough further dispels the notion that pixie cuts can't be sexy. Of course, sideswept bangs and a perfect, multidimensional blonde hue don't hurt—but the key to a gorgeous, sultry long pixie like this is subtle layers and hidden, boosted volume.
Actress Danai Gurira has a gorgeous asymmetrical moment here, with long pieces on top collapsing over to frame her face. Got volume like this? You'll give your hair extra bounce by cutting it shorter. Plus, the styling possibilities are endless.
Textured and Accessorized
Winona Ryder has experimented with short 'dos in the past, and we love how this sweet style suits her. Use this as inspiration if you wake up one morning and suddenly hate the idea of doing your hair—simply push in a statement-making headband and call it a day.
Layered and Long
Lily Collins is a hair chameleon, and we can't help but fall for this particular piecey 'do. Chin-length layers have never looked this chic. And bonus: This is a great look to use for inspiration if you're currently in that in-between stage of "not a pixie, not yet a bob."
Maggie Gyllenhaal has worn pixie cuts at varying lengths over the years, but we're obsessed with this side-swept version. It's slightly longer than what the actress usually goes for, and with straightened locks (instead of her signature curly or wavy regimen), it's a refreshingly chic change of pace.
It's not a stretch to say Ruby Rose's piecey pixie cut has become her signature look. In particular, her long-pieces-on-top (with voluminous spikes) and short, polished sides have become a red-carpet staple for the actress. Get the look yourself with styling gel and a great round brush.
Layered and Textured
America's Sweetheart has given us hair-spiration for years. She may be most well-known for her blonde curls, but we love Meg Ryan's short, sleek, and straight look here (even if we miss the curls just a little bit). Get the look with face-framing layers that you, too, can probably wear straight out of bed in the morning. Curly types can also rock the textured look.
"I love a good second-day style and even more so on curly hair as the extra day or two gives curls a chance to settle into a more natural, defined pattern," says Grenia of this lived-in look.
This textured pixie is all about the air dry. Once you're done washing, spritz a texture spray through the ends and use your fingers to rough it up. We like IGK Beach Club Volume Texture Spray ($32).
Classic With Length
Natalie Portman pulls the wet look off perfectly. Although the Oscar-winning actress has graduated to more grown-up styles these days, we can't help but admire her sleek, long pixie cut days. (Try using a bit of hair oil to recreate your own version).
Tousled and Straight
Kristen Stewart has experimented with hairstyles throughout her career, but nothing suits her quite as perfectly as a tousled, long pixie cut. (Probably because we know the actress has literally shaved her head before to avoid the fuss of hairstyling). The contrasting colors at play just add to the fun.
Elevate a simple pixie cut like actress Evan Rachel Wood. Pull some small, individual pieces back, twist, brand, and clip them so it looks like you're hiding an elegant updo under your layers. You'll look red-carpet-ready in under five minutes.
Textured and Chic
This look is all about hair care and keeping things well-moisturized. Styling is a breeze, so prep by using products like Imbue Curl Liberating Sulphate Free Shampoo ($15) and Imbue Curl Respecting Conditioner ($15), which will help ease flyaways once it's dry.
Long With Dimension
Robin Wright has been wearing her iconic blonde hair on the red carpet for decades, but there's something about her long pixie cut here that we simply can't get enough of. Maybe it's the dimension of the highlights and length on top, and the piece-y, tousled pieces that make it approachable and chic at the same time. Either way, we're Robin Wright stans forever more.
Besides her top-notch acting chops, Karen Gillan is usually known for her long, gorgeous auburn tresses. But the Dr. Who actress has also sported short, messy styles in the past too—and we love this chin-length 'do that still feels consistent with her usual aesthetic (tousled beach waves). To get more wear out of this look, re-style on day two.
"To easily refresh next-day curls, apply a quarter-sized amount of IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm ($29) with a dime-sized amount of IGK Best Life 100% Plant-Based Nourishing Hair Oil ($32), focusing on mid-lengths and ends," says Grenia.
Actress Audrey Tautou epitomizes the fuss-free vibe of French style, and her signature tousled locks are no different. Here, she rocks a pixie cut with bouncy waves. This length is perfect for amping up the volume, especially with a naturally wavy texture like Tautou's.
Queen of pixie cuts, Michelle Williams' piecey, messy pixie cut here is a great example of what to do with naturally fine hair. The layers, side bangs, and color give her dimension, and the cut itself allows for low-maintenance, easy-to-style perfection.
Wet Look and Slicked
Rita Ora's different hairstyles and colors run the gamut, but we can't help but admire her platinum pixie phase. A foolproof way of styling it is simply to slick it back while wet, like Ora does here. (It will only look like it took you forever to style it).
Smize your way into a new hair regimen. With long, layered pieces on top, Tyra Banks's long pixie cut has a ton of versatility. Style it straight, wavy, wispy, and beyond.
To get the look, use a generous dose of mousse on natural curls. Finish with a spritz of Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Dry Oil Finishing Spray ($34).
Blunt and Center-Parted
Model Ai Tominaga's subtle layers give her look a polished feel, but it definitely has an edge. With tousled pieces and easy layers, you can get a similarly low-maintenance look. (Just make sure your hair texture is right for the cut).
Keira Knightley is one of our favorite Hollywood style-and-beauty chameleons, but her retro long pixie cut here is particularly inspired. Get a similar chin-length chop and wear it with touchable beach waves, too. It has a retro, vintage vibe but still feels completely of the moment.
For a few years in the early aughts, Katie Holmes was the reigning pixie-cut princess. We love her with any hairstyle, to be clear, but there's something ultra-chic and sweet about this sleek, chin-length pixie cut. (It's long enough to wear behind the ears, yet short enough to style in under five minutes).
Nia Long can do no wrong, and that goes for her choice of hairstyles, too. She's had varying degrees of long pixies and short pixies, but the long, slicked-to-the-scalp style here is one of her most iconic. All you need is a good styling wax and a comb to get the look yourself.
Wavy With Short Tendrils
Jennifer Lawrence has slain the long pixie cut for years, and although this 'do is on the longer side for what she's done in the past, we love the way she styles the tousled, short tendrils. If you have naturally wavy hair too, let your long pixie cut loose like Lawrence.
Spiky and Chic
We can all thank Halle Berry for putting the "sexy pixie cut" on the map. (Seriously—when was the pixie cut ever associated with James Bond films before her?) In any case, one of Berry's signature, spiky looks is fun, flirty, and easy to achieve with a good styling mousse.
Undercut With Added Waves
With shorter hair on the sides and longer hair on the top, Katy Perry's undercut is top-notch and versatile. "You can play up both sides, collapse the hair on it, or show the undercut and own the edginess," Johnson says. "It can be high-fashion and punk, all at once."
Carey Mulligan has sported pixie cuts before pixie cuts were cool. Of course, it's hard to pick a favorite style of hers, but we love this long, blonde piecey moment. If you have fine hair, you can give the illusion of volume, too, with strategically placed layers and styled bangs.
Sexy With Shine
This beachy look can be replicated by air-drying the hair and finishing with a spritz of Ouai Wave Spray ($28). This will allow natural texture to be the star of the show.
Lightweight and Tousled
Actress Kate Mara gives us messy, tousled perfection without looking frizzy. The key is getting a lightweight working spray to smooth flyaways and layers. "Whether your hair is freshly washed or it's been a few days, you should use a spray to prep and finish hair for hot tool use, like when you use a curling iron," says Johnson.
Actress Tilda Swinton enlisted the half-buzz here, and we're kind of obsessed. Also referred to as an undercut, the shaven side could be easily concealed with her longer, messy layers, or shown off like so. The versatility is what makes this style even more alluring.
Air-Dried With Movement
Although Coco Rocha's hair may be naturally fine, the strategic layers of her blonde pixie add volume and movement. "Layers create lift," says Johnson. "So although you might have less hair density, finding the right balance for your hair type is the most important thing." Layering short hair pays off when it's done right.
Turn your natural waves into something a little more glam, à la actress Haley Bennett. How to get the retro look, you ask? It's easy: While your hair is wet, brush a heavy mousse through it, and use hairpins where you want your curl to be—and don't remove them until the minute before you walk out the door for ultimate oomph.
Beach Waves With Texture
Drew Barrymore is a beauty aficionado in her own right—and she shows how a wavy short 'do is done. And good news for those of us growing out pixie cuts as we speak: No matter what stage of the growing-out process you're in, you'll be golden if you simply tousle your waves with some styling serum to get the look.
This elegant style is almost like a super short Afro—but with the modern twist of a center part. You'll need a pick to recreate this look at home, to shape it perfectly like Lupita Nyong'o.
Side Parted and Stick-Straight
Yes, this might be a throwback look (we've seen this style before in the 1990s) but we love the hair inspo Meagan Good is giving here. With an ear-grazing length and slight side part, it's the ultimate vintage throwback.
Parted and Tousled
Shailene Woodley's pixie cut plays around with style and color. Emphasize your highlights and lowlights with a dimensional, layered cut like this one. Tousle it, pull it up, or part it on the side—either way, the length here will give you plenty of options.
For this look, blow out the hair and add a texture spray to create movement and volume. We like Monat Studio One Dry Texturizing Spray ($35). Invest in a styling serum to keep the look shiny, while keeping frizz at bay.
Curly With Ringlets
Actress Nora Zehetner is known for effortless style, and this curly long pixie cut—complete with front ringlets—is one of her best looks. If you have naturally wavy hair, use a good hairspray to mess with your bangs and manipulate the pieces around your face. With a good holding spray, you can get next-level volume, too.
Sheared Side Bangs
Play around with pixie cuts like Emma Watson has over the years. Her sheared side bangs paired with longer pieces on the sideburns is vintage, red-carpet Emma at her finest (if we do say so ourselves). Barely visible: a headband she slipped in for some extra-plush volume.
A forever bombshell, Grace Gealey can really never do wrong. But if you've been waiting for the moment to finally chop your hair off, let this be a sign: No one does a tousled finger-waved pixie cut better than Gealey.
Longer With Natural Curls
Logan Browning's natural curls are perfect to showcase in a slightly longer pixie cut like this. If you have similar curls, just style by blow-drying with a diffuser attached and add a product such as Monat Studio One Curl Defining Cream ($42) to add definition.
How do you style a long pixie cut?
No matter your level of expertise, there are so many ways to style a long pixie cut (see dozens of options here), from slicked-back and suave to down and textured. It all depends on your exact length and hair type.
What is a long pixie bob haircut?
A long pixie bob haircut is characterized by its length (hitting somewhere between the nape of the neck and the bottom of the head).
How often does a pixie cut need to be trimmed?
Shorter cuts require more upkeep. Pixie cuts, especially, tend to be more structured and, therefore, require a trim every four to six weeks.