The Long Case for Short Hair

Find out how one editor came to love her short hair—then check out the best looks to inspire your own style and get the styling tips you'll need before you book an appointment at the salon.

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My high school anatomy teacher forever changed the way I thought about hair. She was lecturing us on the titillating subject of protein one afternoon when a life-altering fact snapped me out of my daydream. "Hair is just dead protein," she said matter-of-factly, "and yet we care so much about it."

My face was always best suited to short hair.
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Fast-forward to my sophomore year of college—the year I regretfully attempted to dye my hair an awful shade of burgundy. After it started falling out (dye can be severe, people!), I had to decide: should I walk around crying about my damaged hair or liberate myself and shave it all off? I recalled the dead-protein lesson, and that weekend I asked my friend to buzz away every unhealthy strand of hair.

The aftermath of the big chop (and the dawn of my love for iridescent purple eye shadow).
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At first I had a hard time coming to terms with my buzz. I couldn't stand the feeling of wind against my scalp, and I wasn't prepared for all of the oohs and aahs that came my way once I went public with my bold new style. It may have looked like a power move, but I cried under my covers every night for a week, hiding my distress from my roommates.

But then, as I walked around campus, I started to notice other girls who were going natural and wearing close crops like mine. I was noticing those girls for the first time, and seeing them made me more comfortable with my new look. The science-class quote echoed in my head again. "It's just dead freaking protein!" I triumphantly announced into the bathroom mirror one night.

"I couldn't stand the feeling of wind against my scalp, and I wasn't prepared for all of the oohs and aahs that came my way once I went public with my bold new style."

The cool barber-inspired look I got on a whim in March.
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Since then my hair has been through multiple chops, a platinum blonde moment, and—I'll never forget—the one time I tried to grow it out, but it stopped growing in protest. i've been through it all, and have learned a thing or two in the process. Here are some of my favorite tips and products to help you launch your brave new look or keep your clipped locks looking their best.

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Tip No. 1: Put Your Trust in Styling Products

If there's one thing you should always have on hand when you have short hair, it's a trusty styler. Whether it be a pomade, gel, or mousse, the right styler will quickly make any short cut appear "done," whether it's a polished or stylishly messy look you're going for. In most cases, you can simply apply these products to your damp hair and let it air dry.

Products

Hair Pomade by John Masters Organics, $20, ulta.com.
Original Curling Custard by Kinky-Curly, $17, walgreens.com.
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Tip No. 2: Use Accessories to Your Advantage

Just because you lack length doesn't mean you are without fun accessory styling options! Our favorite looks include strategically placed bobby pins and extravagant headbands.

Products 

Bobby Pin Set, $2, forever21.com.
Heidi Patchwork Cotton Bunny Ears Headband by Maison Michel, $705, net-a-porter.com.

Tip No. 3: Invest in a Great Comb

When your hair is only a couple of inches long, a brush might be too bulky to use. Try a comb with various teeth-widths, depending on your hair type (curly and coarse textures fare better with wide-toothed combs).

Products

Handcrafted Fine-Tooth Comb by Bixby, $24, bespokepost.com.
Detangler Comb by Paul Mitchell, $3, loxabeauty.com.

Tip No. 4: Play With the Details

Get a part, try a fade, sport a triangular undercut—there's much more to a short haircut than just the length.

Inspired to go for a big chop? Tell your friends, and encourage them to try it, too! 

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