Short Hair, Do Care: The Best Editor-Tested Products and Tools for Your Pixie Cut
As InStyle.com’s photo coordinator Alexis Camarena has learned, less hair doesn't always equal less work. If you're struggling with a new crop or if you're a little clueless on how to style your new short ’do, read all about her search for the best products for styling short hair below, and find out which ones worked the best.
Having always had a very dramatic love-hate relationship with my hair, and being the kind of person that can’t look at the same thing for too long, I’ve tried out a lot of different looks over the past 24 years. From keeping it natural and wavy, to straightening it every day, to dyeing it more than times than I can count (my stint as a redhead, in high school, gets an honorable mention), to cutting it all off, to growing it all back, to cutting it all off again, just to name a few. One thing that I’ve learned from all of my many transformations is that with every new look, comes a new beauty ritual. Sometimes it’s just a matter of working in a new product into your routine—but other times, you have to pull together a whole new bag of tricks.
In August, after rocking a blunt-cut bob with bangs for a few months, I went the shortest I’ve ever gone, cutting my hair into a Michelle Williams–esque pixie. I not only loved the fresh and weightless feel of close-cropped hair, but I was excited about having less to work with and making “minimal effort” my new MO—and stoked about the prospect of staying in bed an extra 20 minutes every morning. I let my hair air-dry the first time I washed it after the cut, to see how it would look without the glamorous salon-finish—and that's when I realized that I was in for a rude awakening.
My thick hair seemed frizzier, my beloved flat iron was too big to grab the hair on the back of my head (where my hair was shortest), and my hair seemed to fall, or rather lay, in all different directions. Needless to say, I found myself in search of a new routine to master—and new products to help me through. While having short hair doesn't always equal low-maintenance, or a shorter morning routine, styling it can still be easy, even if you've never done it before. Here are six products I tried out to help me with my #shorthairproblems:
1. Smooth Sexy Hair Shampoo and Conditioner
Frizz is definitely a major problem for all hair types, but if you’ve got thick or naturally curly hair (like mine), a short cut can make your mane a lot harder to tame. You’ll definitely need a shampoo and conditioner that will help keep your hair smooth. I tried out Smooth Sexy Hair Shampoo and Conditioner ($15 and $16 respectively; SexyHair.com) for four washes, and noticed that my hair felt sleeker and softer, and left with some body and volume in it, without the unwanted frizz. Bonus points: Both products are made with coconut oil, an ingredient that can help improve the health of your hair, and are gluten-free and paraben-free.
2. Nuance Soy Protein Primer Spray
If you're going to be using heat on your hair, you should be using a primer or heat-protection spray before styling, no matter what kind of cut you're rocking. The Nuance Soy Protein Primer Spray ($10; cvs.com) is lightweight, and works great before a blowout. The soy protein formula is designed to not only protect your hair, but also strengthen it—and if you're planning to or trying to grow out your hair, using a primer before styling will help you avoid breakage.
3. L'Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Sleek It Iron Straight Heatspray
The L'Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Sleek It Iron Straight Heatspray ($4; target.com) is made specifically for straightening hair with a flat-iron, and is designed to protect against heat of up to 450 degrees. To boot, this product promises to seal in your look for three days, and it delivers—my hair stayed straight, sleek, and frizz-free.
4. Amika Mini Ceramic Styler
This is one hot tool that every woman should have in her bathroom. Even if your hair is long, you'll find Amika's Mini Ceramic Styler ($100; loveamika.com) comes in handy for many a styling snafu. Since it's so small, it's perfect for getting the short hairs at the nape of your neck, styling close to your roots, or the hair behind your ears. And though it's small, it produces the same amount of heat as a full-size flat iron and will straighten even super-thick hair like mine with just one stroke. Using this product, you'll be able to keep your pixie or bob looking polished. Bonus points: It's perfect for traveling and you can even carry it in your everyday purse for touch-ups.
5. Gold N Hot Hair Straightener with Guide Teeth
This iron ($32; Sally Beauty Supply stores, sallybeauty.com for locations) not only gets close to your roots, but the built-in guide teeth grabs and holds hair in place, and can help you style your hair a bunch of different ways---flipping out the ends of your bob or teasing the top is a piece of cake.
6. Oribe Rough Luxury Molding Wax
Use this Oribe wax ($36; Oribe.com) to shape your hair---it'll lock hair in place without making your hair look stiff, and won't leave your hair looking greasy or dull at the end of a long day. It's lightweight and feels good both in your hands and on your head.