What You Need to Know Before the Big Chop

Woman with short hair

It’s hotter outside. You’re going through a breakup. Your best friend did it. Or, maybe you’re just tired of the same old routine and want to spice up your hair life. Whatever the reason, taking the plunge from long hair to short hair can be intimidating, and it’s tempting to rush in without knowing exactly what to expect on the other side. So before you chop off all that pretty hair, make sure to dust up on your hair knowledge: there’s no need to rush from Rapunzel to Joan of Arc without a little background first.

You’ll Save Money…and Spend More Money
One of the draws of short hair is the smaller amount of product–shampoo, conditioner, and styling product–that you’ll need in a day. For women with naturally oily hair, the lack of dead ends may even make it possible to forgo the conditioner altogether, saving even more money. And let’s not forget about the curling irons, straighteners, and hot rollers that won’t work on your new pixie cut: not using any of these things will mean extra savings for you.

However, you will end up spending more money in at least one way: short haircuts require much more maintenance than long ones. Because hair growth is much more noticeable at a shorter length, expect to spend a lot of time with your stylist (and make sure you love them, since shorter haircuts show more flaws than long ones).

You’ll Probably Need to Adjust Your Color
The difference between coloring short hair and long hair is pretty dramatic: typically, most of the highlights in longer hair are toward the bottom layers, so cutting that off means you may end up with monotone hair. If that’s not what you’re going for, then make sure to tell your stylist that you’d like your highlights to show through in your short cut as well. Depending on the cut, your stylist may place lighter pieces towards the front of your face to keep the cut looking feminine.

You’ll Spend Less Time in the Morning…or More Time
Depending on the texture of your hair and the look you’re trying to achieve, you may be in for a really nice surprise or a nasty shock. Someone who recently did the big chop with wavy, almost curly hair, is able to shower, not blow-dry, and leave the house with a perfectly bedheaded ‘do. However, if you’re into more of a polished look, or have thin, straight hair, expect to spend a little extra time playing with styling products to get the look you want: consider dry shampoo for volume or a ceramide serum for a shiny, professional look. And if you’re going the full pixie route, here’s a tip: skip the women’s section in the salon products and head straight to the men’s. Their styling waxes, pastes, and gels are usually 50% cheaper and work just as well for lady hair as man hair.

The ultimate thing you need to know before doing the big chop? Know yourself: know if you’re just doing it because of some kind of trauma or because you really feel it’ll be a good style choice; know if you’re doing it for someone else or for yourself; and know if you’ll feel confident when you walk out of the salon with your brand new ‘do.

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