Over the past decade, I’ve had just about every length of hair. I don’t like to dye my hair, but I do get bored of it easily. As a result, I’ve gone through quite a few styles. Here’s what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned. I am clearly not an expert though, so take any tips with a grain of salt.
I first wanted to grow my hair long at the age of 13, after seeing Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon. As a girl with thick eyebrows when most stars had super thin brows, I immediately loved Brooke and aspired to look like her. In the movie, she sometimes wears her hair over her chest in lieu of a shirt. Although I had no plans to ever actually do that, I wanted the option. By 15, I had hair down to the end of my rib cage.
While I haven’t gone that long since, I have had fairly long hair as an adult. It’s pretty, and fairly easy. Personally, I get bored and don’t feel that long hair really suits my personality anymore, but it is a look you really can’t go wrong with.
Tips: If you want long hair, avoid heat styling as much as possible. I saw a major difference in how nice my hair was when I grew it out with next to no heat styling, versus when I grew it out as a straightener-happy teenager. If you can, wash your hair at night and let it air dry. This way, you can go a lot longer between haircuts, and your hair will be much healthier.
Inspo: Brooke Shields, Gigi Hadid, Liv Tyler
The one and only time I have dyed my hair. It was 2007, and I was super into All Time Low.
Tips: Listening to “Rebel, Rebel” by David Bowie while dying your hair makes it that much more fun
Inspo: Pete Wentz, obviously.
The first time I cut my own bangs I was 16. I cut them very thick and straight across. It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely wasn’t my best look.
Over the years, I’ve had side bangs and short bangs, I’ve cut them and grown them out numerous times.
I recently gave myself bangs again. As it was 9 years ago, it was a late night decision. Unlike then, I learned a bit and cut my bangs much thinner and longer.
I still don’t necessarily think bangs look that great on me, but I love them. To me, bangs are the key to “cool girl” hair. They looked as great on Francoise Hardy and Jane Birkin as they do on Alexa Chung and Jeanne Damas. They can be a hassle, and they definitely don’t help with my struggle to look my age, but I think bangs will be one of those things I just keep coming back to.
Inspo: Alexa Chung, Jeanne Damas, Jane Birkin
If I learned anything from watching Audrey Hepburn movies, it’s that the key to becoming sophisticated is cutting off all of your hair and going to Europe. Although I’m still waiting on the sophistication, I still look back fondly on my 20-year-old self’s decision to get a pixie cut and study in France.
The pixie is the best haircut if you want to make a statement. You will get lots of comments. You will be told you look like every female celebrity of your hair color who has ever had a pixie, and perhaps even that you should model.
Pixies require frequent haircuts (every 6 weeks), but the day-to-day is easier than you might think. Although you can’t throw it in a bun if it looks bad, I found that wetting it was essentially a reset button on any crazy look I might have woken up with.
Depending on your style, having a pixie may also require you to put more thought into your clothes and makeup. I wore dresses and eyeliner far more often when I had short hair. It can be easy to look frumpy instead of cool, especially if its a little longer.
Tips: When I first got my pixie cut, I hated it. At the salon, it strongly resembled the haircut in Single White Female. When I got home and put on a sweatshirt, I looked exactly like Harry Potter running up to the owlery in the 4th movie. However, I brought in a picture of Jean Seberg during my next haircut, and ended up with a super short pixie. While it’s counter-intuitive, I find that going shorter makes the cut more feminine. I’ve known a few girls who got to the first stage and panicked, but if you hate your cut at first, try going shorter before growing it out.
Inspo: Jean Seberg, Emma Watson, Ginnifer Goodwin
I think the bob is a super flattering haircut. It can help you look your age if you look as young as I do. It can also be styled to be more hipster or more professional, which I really like. The only real drawback is the maintenance. It’s not long enough to put up, or short enough to just wet for a quick fix. If it looks bad, you’re going to have to spend some time styling it. It can also be a real hassle when you workout, as it is impossible to put in a ponytail without tons of bobby pins.
Tips: If your hair is thick like mine, ask your stylist to cut it with a razor and to take out some of the bulk.
Inspo: Lea Seydoux, Arizona Muse
The Bob with Bangs:
This is my current style, and one that I did back when I was growing out my pixie cut. I have a love/hate relationship with it, as it either looks great or awful, with no in-between. (You can tell that I have mixed feelings about it from the weird face I’m making in this picture!) It’s definitely high maintenance, and I constantly go back and forth on whether or not I want to grow out my hair, my bangs, or both. We’ll see how long I keep it.
Inspo: Taylor LaShae, Lisa Gachet
Hair is a great way to be creative, and haircuts can serve as symbols of who you are and where you are in life. My hair is often a reflection of my broader tastes. When I loved pop punk, I had side bangs and pink ends. When I loved French New Wave films, I had a pixie cut. My enduring love of 60’s style is in large part what keeps me coming back to hairstyles with bangs again and again.
While I’ve never had a cliched “break-up haircut”, I often get dramatic haircuts at times of change in my life. My long hair accompanied my transition from middle school to high school. My pink hair was a way for me to take control when I first had health problems. My pixie cut not only marked my first trip abroad, but changing from community college to a university in the city. Even my most recent haircut was a way for me to move past my experience in Colombia. The times I take control of my hair have often correlated with the times I take control of my life. “Looking the part” of who you want to be can be very empowering.
If you’re considering a dramatic haircut, I say go for it. Although I’ve had moments of regret, I can look back fondly at all of these styles, and will likely revisit most of them at some point. Always remember that it’s just hair, and it’ll grow back!
All my love ❤