The Dramatic Haircut

Woman with very short buzzed hair
Photo: Istockphoto
Going from Long to Short Hair
Whether you've gotten a promotion, are tired of your infant using your hair as their own personal toy, or are just in need of something new, changing your hairstyle from long to short can be fun - and nerve-wracking. If you've had long hair for most of your life, it can be frightening to see it end up on the floor of the hair salon.
How will you know what looks good for your face? Is short hair easier to maintain than long hair? And what if, horror of horrors, you don't like it? Here are a few steps to get you started down the road to shorter hair.
1. Consider your personality. While a short, spiky cut may look great on someone who likes sports and is adventurous, if you're quiet and soft-spoken, you may feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, having to spend time curling layers may be too much work for someone who is looking for an easy wash-and-go style.
2. Consider the type of hair that you have. Is it thin? Curly? Especially with shorter styles, certain cuts will only work with certain types of hair. If your hair is thin, for example, a single layer cut can make it look even thinner and often a little greasy. If your hair is very curly, certain styles can make you look like a poodle.
3. Consider the shape of your face. The goal of a good haircut is to create the illusion of a symmetrical, oval face. If you already have an oval face, count your blessings! You'll have more options to choose from. If not, you'll want to look at pictures of people who have the same face shape as you. Long layers in the front with shorter layers in the back can help to elongate a round face. Layers that frame the face can soften plump cheek bones. Bangs can help disguise a large, square forehead.
4. Go to a stylist that you trust. Now is not the time to go to a inexpensive, $6 haircut place. If you don't have a stylist you can rely on, ask someone whose haircut you like. Most people are pleased to give their opinion about who is good, and especially who is not so great.
Freshly cut hair on the floor
5. Double-book your appointment. The front desk will schedule time based on how long a procedure will take; a couple of hours for perms and coloring, while only 30 minutes for a haircut. Let the front desk know that you'd like enough time booked to be able to show your stylist any pictures from books, magazines, or the internet that you think might work for you, discuss the different options you have and any fears you may still have lingering, and come up with a solution together.
Many upscale salons have a consultation and cut option, but if not, ask for one anyway. Though be prepared to pay a little extra for the time.
6. Talk to your stylist. While this article may guide you in the right direction, your stylist is your best friend in this situation. She can help you determine what works best for your face, lifestyle, and hair. Now is not the time to be shy!
If she suggests something you really don't think you'll like, say so. It's better to speak up before the scissors are anywhere near your head. Also, answer her questions truthfully. She needs to know you're not a morning person before giving you a style that requires an extra 30 minutes of work every morning to look good.
7. Watch how the stylist styles your new haircut. Ask her to explain what she is doing and why at every step. Remember, you will have to do this tomorrow morning!
8. Relax and have fun. Worst-case scenario is you don't like it The great thing about hair is that it's temporary. If the short look just isn't what you thought it would be, you can always grow it back out again. In the meantime, enjoy all the compliments from people telling you how brave you are for doing something so dramatic.
See also:
Why short hair can make you look younger
Take the plunge and cut your hair short