When it comes to my hair, I tend to fluctuate between two lengths: just above my shoulder or just above my boobs (both technical terms). Yet there always comes a time with both lengths when I start to feel like I want to either chop it all off and start again or indulge my inner Rapunzel and grow it out super long.
Right about now, I'm at the "chopping it all off" stage, mainly down to the fact that I'm seeing cool, short hairstyles pretty much everywhere I look and the fact that I can't get a haircut right now. Yes, short hair is definitely trending, and I want in. However, ahead of booking in when salons reopen, I think it's best I start to garner some expert advice on potential styles.
"Short hairstyles are on-trend at the moment," confirmed Neil Barton, Goldwell ambassador and owner of Neil Barton Hairdressing. "Other than the bob and the pixie cut, there are a few other short hairstyles, and this includes the lob—perfect for those who can't decide whether to keep their length or go shorter. Another short hairstyle that I love is the buzz cut."
If you're also toying with the idea of going for the chop after months of growth, I've rounded up some of the best short-hair inspiration around for you to feast your eyes on. Whether you're dreaming of a brunette blunt bob or a soft blonde bob, there's a style out there for you. Similarly, if you have hit a certain age and feel fed up with managing long lengths, a short cut could be the perfect option.
Keep scrolling to see all of the ways women are wearing bobs, lobs, pixie cuts, and buzz cuts right now. Plus, I caught up with some hairstylists for expert tips on how to decide which style is best for you, what to ask your hairdresser, and how to care for and style your shorter strands.
1. The Bob
Short, wavy hair + fringe = the formula for cool-girl hair.
Probably the most classic short hairstyle, a bob is a one-length cut that typically sits around jaw level. Although, it can be as short as ear length and as long as just above the shoulder. It's a great place to start if you're venturing into short hair for the first time. "There are so many bob variations with a style to suit everyone's face shape," said Barton. "Round faces should try to opt for a long bob that goes past the chin, [which is] also great for heart-shaped faces as well as heavy, chin-length bobs, which can balance out the face and look particularly great when worn tapered or with a side fringe. For long and oval face shapes, precise and blunt bobs are fantastic and enhance a strong jaw."
Worried that a bob might be too high-maintenance? A middle parting teamed with a natural, gentle wave makes for the most laid-back of styles.
Beach waves add plenty of texture to Jourdan's mid-length bob.
Who says your bob can't be bright? Follow Michelle's lead and opt for a rainbow hue.
Fearne took the plunge and chopped her long hair into this cute curled bob.
I love the blunt ends of Aïda's polished bob—so chic.
I'm all kinds of obsessed with Lily's fresh blonde chop.
Oluwaseun proves bob hairstyles look even cooler in braids.
What should you ask your hairdresser when going short?
"As well as face shape, it's also important to speak to your hairdresser about the right short haircut for your lifestyle," explained Carly Price, partner at Muse of London. "If you don't have a lot of time to style your hair, you should opt for something a bit more low-maintenance that will not need to be styled every day with styling tools (or that won't require as regular trims if you're always busy and on the go)."
"Texture is another thing to consider when going shorter. If you have fine hair, what works for you may not work for those with thick or curly hair, and it's important for your hairdresser to find a cut that will work for your hair's texture," she added. "Those with curls may find that their curls will go springier and will pop out and not be as loose as they were before being cut."
2. The Pixie
Cara Delevingne embracing the bleach-blonde pixie cut.
Shorter than a bob, a pixie cut is when hair is cut short at the back and sides of the head and tends to be longer on the top. Its most popular incarnation is when a sweeping side fringe is cut into the style, similar to Cara's, but it also looks amazing with a microfringe. "Pixie cuts can make a round face shape appear rounder," advised Barton. "I always recommend teaming them with a side fringe to avoid this. Heart-shaped faces suit pixie cuts well and can go pretty short at the back, [while] long face shapes should pair this look with a side-parting or some waves to give the look width and balance or should try adding layers for softness."
Obsessed with Zoë's super-short crop and barely-there fringe.
Opting for a swept-over style makes for the perfect evening look.
Jada keeps her hair closely cropped at the sides to let her sun-streaked lengths shine on top.
Kamara has long championed the pixie cut. Though, her fresh, ultra-cropped iteration is perhaps her chicest look to date.
Emilia's sweeping fringe and warm blonde colour tick all the pixie boxes.
A soft, wispy fringe balances how cropped this cut is at the back.
Keeping her curls short at the back and sides and long on top allows Ellie to create a cool pixie effect.
The feathered fringe and bright blonde lend a '70s vibe to Zendaya's pixie cut.
3. The Lob
Kim Kardashian West's ultra-shiny lob is so glossy that you'll need sunnies to look at it.
Effectively a long bob (hence its name), a lob typically sits just above the shoulders or at shoulder level and is the same length all the way around. A safe bet if you're thinking about going shorter, the lob looks good on just about everyone. "When Kim Kardashian decided to get her hair cut into a super-sleek lob, this [style] went crazy," said Price. "In spring, shorter hairstyles become more popular, as clients start to think of hairstyles that will be a bit more low-maintenance for them in the warmer weather and allow them to get rid of excess weight in their hair."
Keeping things sleek, Selena's centre-parted, polished lob is the stuff that hair dreams are made of.
Ada opts for lob-length braids with cool-girl grey ends.
We love how Dawn gives her sleek bob some throwback appeal with a wide, '90s-style jersey headband.
Ashley's side-parting, slick roots, and relaxed waves give her lob a majorly glam vibe.
By keeping her fringe a little shorter at the front, Sade creates a really relaxed, low-maintenance take on the lob.
Could there be a better 2021 hair combo than a tousled lob and a leopard-print bucket hat?
Short hair doesn't have to be severe. Just curl the ends under like Margot to soften your lob.
Add salt spray to the lengths of your hair to achieve beachy waves just like Marianne's.
How easy is it to maintain short hair?
"Short haircuts are great for those who like a low-maintenance look that requires minimal effort and styling," said Suzie Mcgill, Rainbow Room international artistic director and Schwarzkopf UK ambassador. "You can simply add some texture spray to your hair, such as a salt spray, and you're good to go. However, you'll need to be aware that your hair may not be able to fit into a ponytail or a bun. Another thing to consider is your hairdresser." There's no scraping up your hair to disguise greasy roots, so you might find that you need to wash your hair more regularly.
4. The Buzz Cut
Feeling bold? Match the colour of your buzz cut to your lipstick like Keke Palmer.
Traditionally speaking, a buzz cut is definitely the most extreme style of the short-hair world. However, cool girls are taking the plunge in droves, and there's something about this closely cropped style that looks so chic. "This hairstyle is definitely not one for the faint-hearted and is best suited to those with oval face shapes," said Barton. "This hairstyle is very cool and edgy, and I love how it's now more feminine than ever before. More and more women are embracing this statement look."
Adwoa's cool-girl buzz cut lets her piercings do the talking.
A soft, fuzzy crop keeps K-Stew's buzz cut feeling fresh and elegant.
Kate took the short-hair plunge for a film role, but this chocolate-coloured crop looks amazing on her.
Cynthia's bleach-blonde buzz cut makes for the perfect accompaniment to her trailblazing fashion choices.
Jordan proves that less is more with her buzz cut and beautiful minimal makeup.
Marisa's minimal style complements her short style perfectly. The pillar-box red lip is the icing on the cake.
Teaming her 'do with a red lip, Evangeline proves that a short, brunette buzz cut is one of the chicest styles around.
To say Adut looks incredible with a buzz cut would be an understatement. Make like the model and use your short lengths to show off your curated ear jewellery.
Shop Products for Short Hair
Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder (£19)
A light dusting of this not only helps to diminish greasy roots but also gives a big hit of volume.
Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector (£26)
Nourish dry ends and make bobs seriously sleek with this super-hydrating mask.
Redken Rough Clay 20 Matte Texturizer (£16)
Add some depth to your pixie cut with this texturising paste.
Omorovicza Scalp Reviver (£69)
It's likely that your scalp is feeling a little worse for wear with all of the excess styling and general exposure. This treatment helps to reduce flakiness, soothe irritation and reduce greasiness.
Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray (£17)
Ideal for those with drier hair, this texturising spray contains argan oil to help nourish strands without forgoing refined texture.
Davines OI Shampoo (£18)
This shampoo is ideal for those needing to inject their strands with moisture and shine but who don't want to add any extra weight.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub (£30)
Keep your scalp in tip-top condition with this exfoliating scrub.
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (£45)
This is one of the very best hair products out there, even if just for the smell alone.
Larry King Hair Care Flyaway With Me Kit (£19)
Tame, tidy, or style any frizz or baby hairs with this lightweight formula and brush.
GHD Mini Styler (£119)
Shorter hair lengths call for more agile heat styling.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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