A long post about short hair

* Post note: All of the products mentioned in this post can be found in the Amazon store I've set up at the end of this post for convenience. You can also find most of these products at Target, Soap.com, and Ulta. Some reviews claim the Styling Creme has changed its formula. But I have noticed no significant change, and was surprised to read this. Maybe I started using it after that adjustment...

Way back when I cut all my hair off, I had a commenter ask about styling tips. So let's get down to it!

No matter how many times you have had a pixie haircut (I have had three, for years at a time), you still go through utter shock the first week. It usually happens in the morning when you wake up either looking like an adolescent boy, or a deranged elderly person. And then it's reiterated when you shower, and go to wash your lengthy locks, to remember they are no longer long. But then you style it in a spunky do, and your husband sees it, and can't stop talking about how amazing it looks (and may or may not be able to keep his hands to himself). And then you know that the pixie cut is the most risky and rewarding of all haircuts—If you can pull it off, of course. Thankfully I can. But really you won't know if you can sport the short do, until you do it! So cut with caution, or get a consultation with a bona fide stylist first.

I get a haircut every 5 weeks. Sometimes I am extra crazy because I just cut it myself. DON'T do this. Just don't. I've been doing it for a long time, but I never get it perfect. And if I had any sense at all, I would always have it professionally trimmed every 5 weeks. But even then, I still come home and tweak it a bit. It's good to have nice scissors on hand for around the ears and bangs when things get shaggy and you can't get to a stylist any time soon. I have texturizers and regular scissors. If you are new to the DIY world of hair do's, I recommend texturizers (or thinning shears). Find them HERE. They look like this:
Barber Thinning Shears Stylist Scissors Hair Tool 6.5"
Now for styling (these are my favorite looks).

The spiky do is my favorite, which can go farther and become a cool "fauxhawk" if you are feeling way funky. Click the image below to go to a How-To Video on how I create this look:

Here's an example of the fauxhawk:

The simply smooth look (great with accessories like large flowers and headbands)
Click the image below to go to a How-To Video on how I create this look:

Or something between the two. I don't have a photo, but it's basically when I am too lazy to put in any work at all. I just blow dry it, use some product, and spray. I don't try to make it perfectly smooth, or spiky and cute. It's more of a blah alternative—consider it the ponytail of the pixie cut.
Don't be fooled that short hair requires no work. Au contraire! It's just work redistributed. Instead of long amounts of time blow drying, I spend more time styling than I did when I pulled it back in a pony every day. It's definitely faster than my lengthy locks. But it also requires some effort. I have slightly wavy hair, so I flat iron it when I want a good spike (yep, flat iron...crazy, I know). The smooth look can be achieved with the right products. And if you have straight hair, you won't need to flat iron at all. Here is my arsenal of design tools. I have tried a LOT of different products. And below are my absolute favorites.

Use anything. Really. Whatever is your favorite. I have fine, wavy, color treated hair. So I use something to give me volume, or something to protect color. It doesn't ever affect the style in the end (for my hair). And remember that since it's so short, you don't have to worry about damaged ends, or repairing or strengthening. You're going to cut it in a month. But if you really are dying to know, I use Bumble and Bumble Coco or Thick shampoo/conditioner.

Pre-styling products for spiky or textured do's: 
This step = essential. I usually combine two. A spray and a creme styler. This avoids crispiness, while giving me the texture my hair needs so that it won't flop.

STEP 1: Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray OR B&B Tonic Spray. 
This gives you some lift at the roots.

On a budget? Try L'Oreal EverStyle Root Lifting Spray (LOVE this product) or John Frieda Collection Luxurious Volume Lavish Lift Root Booster.

STEP 2: Bumble and Bumble Styling Creme OR B&B Texture.
I can't find a good substitution for either of these. They give a little texture and hold without crispiness. really amazing products. If you buy one thing, go for the Styling Creme! Hands down. It is definitely the best "do it all in one fell swoop" styling product. Bumble and Bumble Styling Creme is magical. I promise.

On a budget? Try Aveeno Soft Hold Gel-Creme.

TIP: Need more texture for fine/wimpy/slick hair? Try Dust It Mattifying Powder by Schwarzkopf for a little added gritty grip!

Pre-styling products for sleek do's: 
STEP 1: Bumble and Bumble Tonic Spray

STEP 2 (optional): Garnier Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk
Best around. Don't spend the money on anything else. This will do the job! Non-greasy, not too shiny, just sleek. And it resists end-of-day puffing.

-OR- Bumble and Bumble Styling Creme (Remember, it's magic. Smoothes or amplifies.)

When blow drying, use the right brush. I use a Denman brush. A little pricey. So for the conservative shopper, go for a small round brush with nubby bristles for a smooth look or controlled lift. That way if you need a boost in the back, you can round brush it slightly while blow drying. I just use my fingers for messy, spiky days. My hair has a tendency to wave or curl at the ends. So I do flat iron my hair a bit some days (bangs and ends only). My smooth/sleek style requires no flattening, since the flat iron will encourage it to all stand up on end. So I sort of "pull" it straight into place around my face while blowdrying so as to avoid curling bang tips.

Time to style! Poommade, pommade, pommade! This stuff is tricky. You want putty or dry wax. As dry as you can find. Not jiggly glossy gel in a pot. Not mud. Not foam. Not goopy cream. I have used LOTS of types of pommades, and these three will let you really manipulate your hair without it looking wet or oily (unless you are going for that look, which I never am). In every case, use sparingly by rubbing a small amount on fingertips before working into hair. Build up more as needed. I usually run my hands through my hair quickly before styling specific sections.

Looking for lots of texture and lift? Try these:

• Current Favorite: Bumble and Bumble Sumotech (best I've found)

• Crew Fiber (this is a men's product, but it's amazing, and very similar to Sumotech, but with a slightly earthy scent)

• Got 2 Be inPlay Putty (a cheaper version of Sumotech and Crew)

Want a sleeker look? Try these:

• Short Sexy Hair Control Maniac Wax (can get greasy if you use too much)
• Bumble and Bumble Sumo Wax (for a glossier wax finish, but with a higher price tag)

I'm not going to lie. I spray the CRAP out of my hair. It's stiff and wind-resistant. Even my smooth look is deceptively "natural." There's a lot of product in there. The right hairspray has to have Alcohol as the number one ingredient, NOT water. Else you lose your lift. I have hairspray down to a science. If you want to freeze your short style in place with the least amount of product, with a pleasant smell, all of these will do the job well. Spray and work your style at the same time. Lift, spray, lift spray. Shellac! (Environmentalists, I am a lost cause in this area. Sorry.)

• Osis + Freeze Stronghold Hairspray

• Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray (for serious lift and shellacking power)

• John Frieda Luxurious Volume All Out Hold Hairspray (A favorite at only $6 a can. Should be called "freeze right there, hair.")

Bed Head Maxxed Out hairspray (a fantastic pump spray with crazy strong lasting hold)

• Tresemme Tres Two Extra Hold with the lime green label (Not the Ultra Fine Mist, or purple Freeze Hold. This smells great, comes in a jumbo can, costs under $5, and works better than most expensive salon hairsprays I've tried.)

• If you feel like you just HAVE to spend over $10 on good hairspray, Goldwell is your golden ticket. This comes in a close third to the first two. Buy the Goldwell Sprayer hairspray. They also have an awesome spray wax that could be used in place of pommade, called Unlimitor.

And you're done!
I know this seems like a LOT for short hair. But really it's a few easy steps once you get your products down pat. It takes me under 10 minutes to do my hair every day. So worth it! Have any tips you want to share with me, pixie pals? Leave me a comment or shoot me an email at lyndsayjonson@gmail.com

Video How-To's

Click on the photos above to go to my personal How-To Videos (more to come).

These are my favorite outsider styling tip videos for pixie do's found on You Tube:

Here's to happy hair!

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

stephanie said...

i had a pixie back in the day and loved it. i'm not sure i could pull it off now. you were made for the pixie! it looks so SO good on you!

brookeisacrazylady said...

oh how oh how i wish i looked good like this. i would be your twin ;)

Anne said...

Lately I've been happy with my Shu Uemura pomade, but it's ridiculously expensive so thanks a million times over for your product recommendations, I'll have to check them out. I'm always looking for new things to try on my short 'do to get that perfect "messy" look.

Is it weird if I want you to show/tell me your tricks for cutting your own hair? (not seriously...unless you want to.) I'm moving overseas next year to a place I'm convinced they will have absolutely no idea how to cut a short 'do on someone with my (lack of) texture, so cutting my own hair seems to be the most feasible option for keeping my style. That or have a mullet for an extended period of time while I grow it out (which, for the record, is NOT an option).

Holly said...

I am a huge fan of Bumble & Bumble SumoTech mixed with a bit of B&B Brilliantine, but my stylist (because as much as I wish I could do it myself, I am not nearly as brave as you) recently turned me on to Osis Mess Up which I really like and is cheaper. And I have totally stolen a finger full of my husbands Crew Fiber in a bind and I love it except it smells like Old Spice.

Crystal Farish said...

Mighty cute hair. I wish I could get away with that look. I just love it. Do you need any headbands???

Corrie said...

yay what a great post and timely too! I'm going short on saturday again....I wrote a funny blog post about it this week because well my hubby doesn't really like it short!

thanks for the tips! I call mine short short when I go really short and I love it

and good note about going to a good hairdresser! It really makes a difference if you can't do it yourself...which I can't. I can't even straighten my own hair myself I'm that bad in the hair department!


aubreyannie said...

oooh i LOVE this post. i found you through a mormon fashion blogger and find it so coincidental since i JUST chopped off my hair to a pixie cut this afternoon. i'm kinda freaking out right now. so, this helps me soooo much. thank you!!

Vanessa said...

WOw you are so gorg. im a new reader and I was wondering if I can request a fauxhawk vid or a formal hair vid

Brandy said...

I just discovered your blog when I was looking for Pixie Cut ideas. I've just about talked myself into it! With really short hair I think eyebrows need to be a little more groomed. Do you have any tips for eyebrow maintenance?? :)

Tarah said...

After seeing your post... I decided to cut my hair into a pixie cut and I can say right now I'm still going through that shock phase. I have it styled in a faux hawk right now and I just keep looking in the mirror!!! It looks great and I'm so happy I did it. I like all the styling products you have on here and already picked some up. It has been more than helpful!! Thanks again for the cheaper versions of bumble and bumble because with out your help I would have spent a billion dollars on products!! Thanks again!!

Jenna said...

LOVE this post! Thanks so much for sharing! I have a quick question for you...I went online to buy the B&B Styling Cream and I read a lot of reviews that the formula had changed and didn't work as well. Have you noticed any difference in the product? Thanks!

Meredith said...

I just got a pixie cut, and I had no idea how to style it until I came across this post and your YouTube video. Thanks for the styling and product tips! I'm really looking forward to having a 10-minute hair routine instead of a 30-minute one (which is how long it used to take me to straighten my shoulder-length hair).

Unknown said...

THANK YOU! I recently went to a pixie cut and love it, but really needed help with styling. I cannot afford B and B so thanks for putting cheaper alternatives. I can't wait to make my pixie cut look even better.

MrsDowell said...

I went to Kmart today and they had a TON of B&B products on clearance! They had 4 oz bottles of the styling creme for $4 so I bought a bunch because I just cut off all of my hair!! They had a whole shelf full....I may check back later this week to see if there is more!

Judi said...


Just got my pixie a few days ago....got all the products you use.....so far so good !! My hair is naturally curly but I have no issues styling the pixie.....

Unknown said...

I am on the fence. I have long very thick red hair. My hair is healthy and beautiful. About 16 inches. I am scared to cut it, but also excited for something new. Have to make up my mind by sunday.....

Unknown said...

How curly? 3a? I'm thinking about it but afraid of it being puffy or not lying flat.

rozalyn said...

How Long Is You Hait On Top. IHave A Feeling That Mine Is Way To LonG And That Is Why I Can't Style it

Danielle said...

I just got a pixie and I love your videos. My problem is my hair is too poofy. Can you recommend a flattening, make it lay down on my head product?

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Shar said...


I just wanted to say how much a loved this post, and your recommendations.

I also wanted to ask: where did you get the shirt you are wearing in the faux hawk pics?