Deciding if you should chop off your locks and embrace short hair can be an incredibly tough choice. However, we've found that it can be a liberating experience, not to mention the ultimate confidence boost. But before you head down to your hairstylist's clutching a picture of your favorite celeb's short haircut, you need to find out if it will look good on you full stop.
If you feel completely lost when it comes to determining the right length for you, try the 5.5-centimeter rule. Discovered by hair icon John Frieda, the rule is simply this: Take a pencil and place it under your chin, then place a ruler under your ear. Take the measurement from where the pencil and the ruler meet. If it's less than 5.5 centimeters (roughly 2.25 inches), short hair is go. If not, you should consider sticking to a longer length. Easy, no?
If you've committed to go for the chop, you still want to consider a few other aspects. That means taking both your face shape, your hair's texture, and your lifestyle into account. After all, there's little point in opting for a pixie crop that you hope to wear poker-straight if you've got natural corkscrew curls and a schedule that won't allow time for styling. Luckily we've got the guide you've been looking for if you're keen to hit the hairdressing chair.
Meet the Expert
Now keep scrolling to find out what professional stylists have to say about getting short hair right.
Short Haircuts for Fine Hair
Worried about your fine hair looking sparse? Opt for a classic pixie crop, says Stevens. "As a rule, the shorter fine hair is taken, the thicker it will look," he explains. "Ask your stylist for a cut that's blunt with no texturizing or thinning out."
Though a pixie is relatively low maintenance when it comes to daily styling, you may need to visit the salon more regularly to keep your locks at the right length. To add some texture without overdoing it, opt for a spray rather than a pomade—we like R+Co Rockaway Salt Spray.
But be sure you're comfortable with your face being fully exposed for this look. "Remember that your facial features will be more exposed with this cut," warns Stevens. "If you have strong features, the shorter the haircut, the more prominent they'll appear.
Short Haircuts for Wavy Hair
Not sure how your waves will behave? Aim for the longer end of the short hair spectrum, advises Stevens. "Most short haircuts will suit wavy hair, but I would normally say that the shorter the haircut the more the waves will look like Marcel-waves, which can be incredibly aging," he explains. "Lean toward something slightly longer—around 4–5 inches all over—to avoid adding years on."
The best part about short, wavy hair, adds Stevens, is that it's incredibly low maintenance. Regrowth won't be as much of a problem, and leaving it to dry naturally will create some fabulous texture. "Make sure you've got the right products to tame any fluff and frizz," adds Stevens.
Hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein says that investing in a solid shampoo and conditioner will come in handy, too. "The right shampoo and conditioner is so important and has such an impact on how the hair behaves, especially for those men who do less blow drying and styling," Rubenstein says. "I’m loving R+Co BLEU De Luxe Reparative Shampoo + Conditioner for thicker hair. It’s so nourishing and moisturizing, not a hint of frizz."
Short Haircuts for Curly and Afro Hair
While most lengths will work on hair with tight curls, Stevens warns that it's key to work with a hairdresser who understands the impact of shrinkage on your lengths. "Make sure your hairdresser is on the same page regarding the natural spring in the hair, as the end results in length won't be the same as the length of the cut," he explains.
"My personal recommendation is to keep the hair on the slightly longer side of what you want—it'll naturally spring up a few inches shorter when dry."
Keep your curls well moisturized to get the best out of them. We like Joico Curl Crème Wash Sulfate-Free Co+Wash.
Short Haircuts for Thick Hair
Thick hair? You lucky thing. According to Stevens, you're winning already: "If I'm honest, thick hair is really the best hair type to suit all short haircuts," he says. "The reason being, it's a lot easier for stylists to make thick hair thinner, rather than the reverse."
Before you get carried away, however, bear in mind that your chop might come with a lot of upkeep—especially if your thick hair is prone to waves or unruly behavior. Use a smoothing oil like Percy & Reed No Oil Oil for Thick Hair), to stay in control.
Top tip: "Thick hair will need to be thinned out more regularly, as it will get noticeably bigger and thicker with regrowth," notes Stevens.
Short Haircuts for Straight Hair
Poker-straight locks? Beware of going too short, says Stevens. "Medium-short cuts work best on hair that's naturally very straight, as the extra length and weight will help it sit better," he explains. "If poker-straight hair is cut too short it will stick out everywhere. Short box bobs with a fringe are best."
While you'll get to enjoy a relatively low-maintenance life with your cut, Stevens notes that it's vital you visit a quality salon—it'll be easy to spot a cut that hasn't been well-executed on your tresses.
If you tend to lack volume, focus on lifting from the root, using a product that imparts volume. "Thickening shampoo is ideal for hair that needs volume – with or without a blow dryer it gives thin hair some great lift," Rubenstein says.