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Fresh Cuts: The Short of It

How to Get the Pixie or Demi-Bob Hairstyle

Aside from being world famous, Victoria Beckham, Michelle Williams, Rihanna, Pink, Carey Mulligan and Emma Watson all have at least one other thing in common: They all have embraced short haircuts.

Actors and musicians have revitalized the pixie, demi-bob and other short haircuts that were made famous during style-heavy decades of the 20th century. For instance, the pixie cut — very short in the back and slightly longer in the front — became popular with flappers in the ‘20s and was reincarnated in the ‘60s by British model Twiggy.

The demi-bob, which hits anywhere from mid-neck to shoulder-touching, was cited by “Vogue” as the beauty phenomenon of the 2011. “Vogue” credits relatively unknown model Arizona Muse for starting the trend when, in 2010, she dramatically cut off her waist-length brown hair into a demi-bob. The look spread to the spring 2011 runways of Prada and YSL, and to the heads of celebrities such as Brooklyn Decker and Alexa Chung.

Michelle Williams, who’s 2011 Academy Awards red-carpet style was met with rave reviews, is an example of a pixie done right.(photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

The pixie cut and demi-bob are popular looks for spring and summer not only because they cut down on the heat, but because they showcase a woman’s face, creating a sense of confidence that long hair can’t.

“When someone goes from long hair that they’ve had for a long time, going to short hair just makes everything fresh and new again,” said hair stylist George Amaral of Salon Mario Russo in Boston.

Any woman who wants to make the leap to a short cut needs to be prepared by choosing the right cut, communicating with her stylist and knowing how to take care of the look at home. And while most women have heard that the shape of your face should factor into your decision when choosing a new hairstyle, several stylists emphasized that when it comes to a short cut,, texture is just as important.

“Working with the face is important, but it’s also about the texture of the hair,” Amaral pointed out.

For example, a woman with curly hair may not want to go too short, unless she isn’t afraid to go with a really short pixie, Amaral says. If she does, she will want to completely eliminate the curliness of the hair by drying it straight, which will take more time.

As for face shape, oval-, heart- or diamond-shaped faces work best with a pixie cut. For other face shapes, though, the cut can look a bit masculine, says stylist Carrie Juhasz, owner of Moxie Hair Studio in Putnam, Connecticut.

“The bob is much more forgiving because the design line can be slightly longer toward the front to add length to a round face,” says Juhasz, who also says a bob can be slightly more layered and texturized around the face to soften a square jaw line.

When you’ve made the decision to get a short cut, it’s important to find the right stylist to do the deed.

“If you have a hairdresser that doesn’t like short hair, and you feel that they are not the right person, just switch,” Amaral said. “Don’t be afraid. This is a look for you. It’s not about the hairdresser — it’s about you.”

Amaral advises chatting up the front desk to find out which stylist loves to do short hair. He emphasizes that if the stylist loves the looks, then you’re more likely to love your look, too.

Doing some research on the salon’s website and reading some of the stylists’ bios can also help you get an idea of who is known for doing short haircuts.

Once you’ve decided on a stylist, you should come in prepared to very specifically explain what you’re looking for in your new cut.

“Good communication with your stylist is the key to getting the style you want,” said Nick Arrojo, owner and master stylist at ARROJO Studio in New York. “And you should expect your hairdresser to be a great communicator because it’s such an important part of our job,”

Don’t be afraid to bring in photos of people who have a style similar to what you’re looking for. “Hairdressers are visual, creative people and respond well to a visual example,” Arrojo said.

While it can feel silly to bring in a photo of a celebrity who may be years younger than you, don’t be intimidated. The stylist will focus on the cut and won’t be judging you.

“If you bring in a photo of Emily Watson with her short pixie cut, and you’re 40 years old, and she’s 20, don’t think of that as the way the hairdresser is going to perceive you,” Amaral said.

After such a dramatic change in style, you’ll have to get used to the maintenance of a short haircut. Make sure to ask for advice from your stylist before you leave.

“Too much product in short hair will make it look crispy, dated and old-fashioned,” said Arrojo, who suggests light-hold products that provide versatile styling options.

Before leaving the salon, ask the stylist to suggest some new products that you can use to re-create the look that the stylist gave you. You shouldn’t expect to use the same products that you were using for your old hairstyle.

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