Thinking of taking the leap into a short haircut? If you’ve never had short hair before just making the decision to cut it can be traumatic. A client of mine once said that, “Long hair is a talisman of femininity”. Alas, even though long hair is associated with beauty and youth, it isn’t the best choice for every face. Whether you are going short due to the changes brought about by time and mother nature; or your just up for a fashion adventure, take the time to consider these guidelines.

Look for some ideas – Start off by going to one of the many websites that feature photos of short hairstyles. Print a few pictures of styles that you find appealing. Make sure you are considering the color and texture of your hair versus the models hair.

Don’t seek advice from your friends, family or significant other – That’s right, I said it. This decision is yours and should be made based on your sense of style, level of self confidence, face shape and your hair’s characteristics.

Most women ask their significant others and hear, “I like it long, don’t cut it”. You wouldn’t let him pick out your wardrobe, would you?

Friends and family will usually say what they think you want to hear. It’s hard to get an honest opinion from someone that thinks you’ll be mad at them if the new look doesn’t work out.

Stop people that you see with great short hairstyles – Even if the person isn’t wearing the exact cut you’re thinking of, you can tell if someone skilled did their hair cut. Find out who their stylist is and get that stylists contact information.

Schedule a consultation with a good hairstylist – Take along any photos you’ve found and make sure you’ve really given it some thought. In addition to discussing your ideas, ask the stylist for their recommendations. The stylist should find out a little about your career, lifestyle, styling habits and daily routine to guide them in making appropriate suggestions. Hair texture, hair color, face shape and body type should all be part of their considerations. Ask the stylist, “Can you explain to me how this hair cut works with my face shape?”. The
stylist should have some specific reasons other than, “It’ll make you look really, really good”.

Some general recommendations based on face shape and age –

If you are beginning to see deep creases on the sides of your mouth or are seeing a little age in the neck area, you should definitely consider going short. Long hair has the effect of drawing attention to those areas. Your hair becomes a set of “parentheses” that draw other peoples eyes to your less attractive features.

If you have a wide jaw line, don’t choose a hair cut that places the line and fullness at your jaw. Instead, choose a cut that is mid to top-of-ear in length. This will bring the viewers focus up and away from your jaw line.

Not every face needs fullness on top. If you have a log, thin face or long nose, “height on top” will emphasize those features.

Unless your face is flawless, don’t part your hair in the middle. All faces are somewhat uneven and asymmetric. Aging, weight gain and weight loss tend to exaggerate that unbalance. A center part (which is symmetrical) tends to make those natural imbalances stand out.

Don’t choose a hair style that has more personality than you do. Sure, you’re trying to make a big change, but your hair still needs to express who you truly are.

Oval faces can wear pretty much any style or cut, providing that facial features are accounted for.

Round faces can benefit from more fullness at the top. The higher silhouette gives the illusion of a longer face. Make sure you’re being realistic about you and your hair’s ability to maintain that fullness.

Square faces look terrific in dramatic, short bobs that fall just below the cheekbone. This creates a focus on the eyes, detracting from the square jaw line.

Long thin faces benefit from having the fullness at chin to mid ear level. Extremely Short, feathery hair cuts can make the face seem fuller and soften sharp angles.

Long noses need fullness in the bang area and at the back of the head, opposite of the nose.

Oversized necks and loose skin on the neck need a hair cut that directs attention up and away from the chin line.

Take your time and work with a good hair stylist to make you decision.

Remember, it will grow back.

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Hairstylist and Designer Larry Dunlap has worked his magic for over 30 years in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. A winner of numerous awards and competitons, there are very few areas in the hairstyling profession that Larry has not excelled in. A perennial favorite in the Raleigh/Research Triangle area reader’s polls, Larry’s professional background includes; author, illustrator, educator, photo stylist, competition judge and multiple salon owner.

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