Top of the Crops: The Perfect Pixie Cut
When everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy, to Natalie Portman and Kate Moss has sported a particular hairstyle, you know it’s a classic. The pixie haircut might seem scary to those of you enjoying a long-term love affair with lush long locks, but it’s truly a sophisticated style that can work for pretty much everyone. There are just two key things to consider – your hair type, and your lifestyle. Just because your hair is short, doesn’t mean it’s low-maintenance!
When I work on clients, I like to reference back to the most glamorous women who’ve worn a similar style to help them visualise the final result. I find this is especially helpful when going for a dramatic new look like the pixie cut, as women are often scared that a shorter style will make them look more masculine. But when some of the most beautiful and the most feminine women in the world have rocked this look, there’s no need to worry – you’re in safe hands here.
Before I get snipping, there’s a huge factor to address with any client looking for a shorter cut – are you doing it for the right reasons? All too often women come into the salon after a dramatic change in their life and want a drastic new style to match – but you’ll need to remember that it’s a huge commitment that will take around 18 months to grow out, so you don’t want to take this decision lightly.
Pixie cuts are modern, easy and so chic – the antithesis to all of those bouncy blow-outs we see rocking up on the red carpet every week. Prepare for not just a makeover to your look, but to your personality too – short-haired girls are just the coolest.
Choosing the right style
Choosing the kind of crop you want is the essential first step, as there are so many kinds. Do you want it feathery and feminine a la Keira Knightley, punky and dramatic like Miley Cyrus, or glamorous and gamine like Mia Farrow? There are lots of options so you’ll need to consider this carefully, taking into account not only the look that you want, but also how your hair will behave in that style, and how you’ll maintain it too.
If you’re not sure how short you can go, follow my rule of thumb: if you can rock a scraped-back ponytail, you can rock just about any length you fancy – yes, even very short! – but if you suit having a softer look, with hair around the face, then you’ll need to look at having a longer length, at least just at the front, to frame your features.
If you want a really dramatic, sharp and sophisticated crop, take a look at Emma Watson for inspiration – who could forget when she rocked up to the red carpet with a jaw-dropping, ultra-chic little pixie cut?! Following in her footsteps is the lovely Gemma Arterton, who’s also debuted a very Parisian pixie style recently. Both girls have fantastic face structures; high cheekbones with a stronger jawline, which means they can pull off a dramatic shorter cut with ease. Both girls have opted for flattering longer fringes too, which creates a sophisticated, feminine edge to this chic look. If you have a square or oval face, this kind of close crop will look beautiful on you.
If you’re really looking for the true definition of the pixie cut, silver-screen icons Jean Seberg and Mia Farrow should be your number-one inspiration. These beautiful women both wore super-short crops in the sixties that still look fresh and modern today. Audrey Tautou and Carey Mulligan are also great examples of today’s film stars who have rocked this style recently. If you have delicate, feminine features and either a heart-shaped or oval face, you can definitely brave the pixie cut!
However, I would only advise going for a cut this short if your hair is fairly manageable i.e. not too thick, coarse or curly. Otherwise what could look chic and sharp can soon turn fluffy and unruly, so make sure your hair is working for you before you take the plunge…
It’s still a crop even if you’re wearing it longer, it’s just all about what works for your face shape and hair type. For me, my client Sienna Miller and the stunning Michelle Williams both wore a longer pixie cut beautifully, with a feathery finish and a longer fringe at the front. Sienna’s sixties pageboy style was so iconic for me, and is such a wearable way to sport this look.
The longer pixie cut is much more flattering for rounder faces or those with slightly larger features, as it’s soft and gentle, and won’t look too harsh or sharp, like one of the shorter cuts might. There is lots of variation in this look too; you can choose longer all over, like Sienna, or go for a sweeping, feminine fringe like Michelle that looks all kinds of old-Hollywood glamour. Plus, this length works with thicker or wavy hair too, so ladies with more unruly hair can also get in on the action.
How to ask for it at the salon (and get what you want!)
I can’t stress this enough; take a selection of photos into the salon that show your stylist the kind of look you have in mind. That way, there can be no miscommunication and no mistakes! I would recommend having a consultation at your chosen salon beforehand too, so you can chat it through with your stylist to see what they think about the cut, and you can get their recommendations – remember that they will be looking at you objectively and might be able to see what will suit you better than you can, so together you can find something that looks good and makes you feel comfortable too.
It’s a huge change getting a dramatic new style (especially if you have longer hair) so communication throughout the cut is key. For nervous customers, I like to advise doing the crop in stages; so, over the course of maybe four appointments, I will cut the hair shorter and shorter, so the client goes from long hair, to a lob, to a short bob and then to the crop. It’s a good way of getting used to the shorter hair without getting a huge shock to the system!
But if you’re bold and you’re going for the crop in one sitting, make sure your stylist is checking in with you regularly to make sure you’re happy with the direction that they’re going, the length and the style – there’s no going back, so it needs to feel right. You might head into the hairdresser’s dreaming of a sharp Jennifer Lawrence-esque pixie cut, but there’s no saying that you won’t fall utterly in love once your hair is cut to the pageboy length and decide to stop the snipping there!
How to maintain the pixie cut
Just because your hair is no longer, well, long, it doesn’t mean that maintenance is any easier than before. Short hair is a full-time job! You’ll need to rediscover the products which work best for your new hair, as short hair will react very differently to longer locks.
For straight hair that sits flat, volumising powder (or even a dry shampoo for the cheat’s version) will work wonders to give your cute crop a sexy, texturised finish. I love Aster & Bay’s Dry Shampoo for a lifted look and that gorgeous, bedhead vibe – it’s so French! This is the perfect styling hack for shorter crops, to add some grungy glamour to them so they’re not too harsh.
If you are rocking wavy hair with your pixie cut, a texturising cream will define and control those curls. I like to scrunch in Fudge Hair Shaper, and then create some pin curls with any longer sections to ensure that the curls hold. Spritzing in a great salt spray like Bumble & bumble’s Surf Spray will also help to add volume and grit, so cool and a really modern way to wear this look.
Above all, have fun with your fabulous new look – a pixie cut is super chic and timeless too, so rock it with attitude and enjoy the attention your sharp new style is sure to bring!