I have helped dozens of girls and women to go from long to short hair and faced reactions ranging from immediate ecstasy to hours of sobbing. Contrary to what you might have thought, the first ones could regret cutting their hair short when dragged into a new styling routine; and most of the second group told how much they love their short hair a week after the cut. And came to cut their hair even shorter.
So how do you know if cutting your hair short is a good idea and overcome the fear of chopping off your tresses? I have prepared an ultimate answer with 7 good reasons, hard-earned tips and words of caution.
Why Cut Your Hair Short?
The simple answer may be – because you want to or because it looks stylish and edgy!
However, if you cut your hair short for the first time, you might need to feed your brain and a skeptical partner with more logical reasons. And believe my experience, they can be skeptical and even openly hostile when you start thinking about cutting your hair. Why? That’s because of what Coco Chanel once famously said, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”
Although getting a good haircut can change a lot about how you look and feel, cutting hair off doesn’t always mean starting your life over. The decision may be due to some practical reasons. Here are some of them.
#1: Getting a Better Haircut for Your Face Shape
It is not really true to say that some people can only look good with short or long hair; in fact, you can choose a flattering hairstyle irrespective of hair length. Nonetheless, short hair does give more options to play with to bring your face shape closer to the ideal forms or to draw attention away from scars or other defects.
Regarding the hairstyles for your face shape, I am quite skeptical about the classification into oval, round, square, and triangle faces. At the classes I give, I teach hairdressers to use classical canon that divides a female face into equal parts in vertical and horizontal planes. The cut should not only make the face look more oval, but also balance the closely-set eyes, crooked nose or large ears. A short haircut is a good tool that can help with these tasks.
#2: When You Need to Cut Hair Off
Sometimes, women do not want to cut their hair short in the first place, but need to cut off hair because it has changed its structure after the course of chemotherapy or antibiotics. Also, I recommend going for a shorter haircut if your hair is fried by wrong styling, poor dyeing or permanent treatment: it doesn’t matter if short hair is for you, since healthy hair definitely is.
Getting a trendy, edgy cut is also a great way to transition to gray hair. Even if you are not a big fan of short hairstyles, it will still look better than long grown out roots.
#3: Making Thin, Fine Hair Look Fuller
Get this right: cutting hair shorter won’t make your hair thicker. Still, a good cutting technique will make your hair look fuller and will add an interesting texture.
#4: During Hair Loss
Again, having your hair cut short does not stop abnormal hair loss provoked by vitamin deficiency, stress, or hormonal imbalance. You have to consult a doctor and address the cause of alopecia rather than have unrealistic expectations of a short cut.
And yet, shedding hair is less stressful and messy when your hair is short. So, unless you want to follow one of these TikTok hair trends, where you create a wig out of the fallen-out hair, get a trim.
#5: When You Need Easier Maintenance
I always warn girls who want to cut their long hair short that short hairstyles require styling and, in most cases, daily hair washing. How can it be an option for easier maintenance then?
First, it takes longer to wash and dry thick, long hair, no matter what drying hacks you use. Thus, for example, cutting very long hair very short was a difficult decision one of my clients made upon setting a goal to swim across Bosphorus and training for it. Also, older women can find it hard to raise their arms up to style their hair into some neat updos. In this respect, short hair is indeed easier to manage.
#6: During Puberty
Cutting hair shorter during puberty is not a popular advice, I know. It is true that this is the period of fast hair growth when hair may be long and gorgeous. The trick is that this gorgeous hair consumes vitamins and minerals that might be needed for other growth processes at this time.
After all, why not experiment and see if you’ll look good with short hair when you know it will grow out fast?
#7: To Donate It
Last but not least, a good reason to cut long hair short is to donate it to people who survive the dual trauma of fighting cancer and experiencing hair loss. Custom wigs are very expensive and are a luxury that patients cannot normally afford.
Your hair will soon grow out (if you don’t fall in love with your new hairstyle and choose to maintain it), but the glow of having done a good thing might be with you forever.
How to Know What You Will Look Like with Short Hair
There is no simple way to know if short hair will look – and feel – good on you.
John Frieda rule (a pencil rule) tells to measure the distance between two horizontal lines: under your ear and your chin. If the distance is less than 2.25 inches (5.7 cm), short hair will most likely suit you. Again, the rule ignores other aspects of your face (remember the canon above?) and your hair type, so a longer distance should not be a reason to refuse from the idea.
I also do not think that apps where you can “try on” a short hairstyle can really work here, as the hairstyles they offer are quite cliché and the 2D dimension does not grasp the unique shape of your head and face.
Thus, you just need to feel that you want to give it a try and find a stylist you can trust for a good cut and sound recommendations.
3 Don’ts When Cutting Long Hair Short
There are three rules that largely determine whether you would be happy with your new short trim or not:
- Don’t make the change too radical
We love looking at the pictures of radical long to short hair transformations. The truth is, it takes time to get used to a shorter trim. Thus, if you don’t know how short you should cut your hair, don’t cut it boy short right away. Cut it shoulder-length and gradually go up when you feel you are ready.
Also, be careful cutting your hair radically short when you have children under 12 years: this can cause much distress to them.
- Don’t have a cut in winter
If you want to cut your long hair short for the first time, wait until the warm months. Cold weather is a challenge for any hair that calls for a specific winter hair routine. Also, wearing a hat will often make your short hair a mess.
These challenges might spoil your acquaintance with your new cut. Thus, better plan a haircut when it becomes warmer or in summer to avoid excessive stress when getting used to it.
- Don’t make conclusions immediately after the cut
It is so rare that a woman is perfectly ok with her new cut right away! It normally takes between 2 minutes to a week to get used to it. Short hair literally feels different – the muscles of your head are not used to a new hair weight and you might first feel like your hair is sticking upright.
Do not make any hush conclusions until you wash and style your hair at home several times. I always emphasize it to my clients to feel free to come and fix something they don’t feel comfortable with – deal about the same thing with your hairdresser.
All in all, don’t be scared to cut your hair short! It will grow out sooner or later, but by refusing yourself a try, you miss a chance to experiment, feel different, and maybe even find your iconic style. So, get some short hair inspiration and go ahead!