A new haircut is at once totally terrifying and amazing—It only takes five minutes to chop it all off, and if you don’t like it, you have to suffer through a months (a marathon!) while it grows out. That said, there’s nothing more confidence-boosting than walking down the street, checking your reflection in store windows after a good chop. We enlisted top stylists to give us their tips on how to get lots of the latter:
Ask yourself why you want it.
Making a dramatic hair change post-major life event (e.g. a bad breakup) is not uncommon, but you might regret it. “Hair can give you instant gratification with a swift snip of the scissors,” says New York City-based celebrity stylist and groomer Losi. “But it’s not a solution to your problems.” She asks clients seeking a dramatic chop for their motivation before she starts snipping. Good reasons include being fed up with long-hair, or simply wanting to try something new. But an ace stylist will steer clear of doing a dramatic makeover on someone who’s in emotional state. “I once had a client with long, beautiful hair come in, look into the mirror with a cold, hard stare and say, ‘Cut it off. My mother loves my hair,’” Losi recalls. “I slowly put my scissors down and we had a little chat.”
Consider your texture.
When we see celebrities rocking a red carpet with dream hair, it’s easy to grab a picture and run to the salon begging for a carbon copy. But what works for Charlize Theron’s super-straight strands may not for coarser hair. “I cut a client’s hair to enhance what they’ve naturally got,” says hairstylist and groomer, Nicole Chew. Most people don’t have the time to fight against their hair every morning. “Standing in front of the mirror for an hour perfecting my style is not my idea of a good time,” echoes Losi.
Figure out your face shape.
It’s crucial to getting the right cut. “Your face, head, neck, and jawline all affect what style and length will look best on you,”says Los Angeles-based hairstylist Giovanni Giuliano. The reverse is also true. “Your silhouette will change after a cut, which will potentially change the way you dress and the jewelry you wear,” says stylist Kenna, owner of Brooklyn salon Kennaland. “You may find yourself dressing differently to make sense of your new form.”
Look at your schedule.
The upkeep involved with a new style is maybe the most important thing to think about, particularly if you’ve got a packed calendar. “Shorter styles mean more trips to the salon and more styling time at home,” says stylist Antonio Prieto, owner of Antonio Prieto Salon in New York City. Why? When you lose the weight of long hair, "your roots go in whatever direction they want,” he says. If you are more of a wash and go type person, you might want to reconsider that pixie.