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, before I sprint to the salon, 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, 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.
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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.”
“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.
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.”
Next up, 7 low-maintenance hair trends that are going to dominate in 2021.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.