How to Tell if You'd Look Good in Short Hair

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Face Shapes, Hair Texture, Body Size, Age and Other Considerations

Jaimie Alexander. Getty Images: Taylor Hill & Jim Spellman

Almost every woman can wear short hair. The secret is finding the right cut for your face shape and hair texture. In this gallery, we'll help you figure out the best short hairstyles for you. You'll see pictures of the year's most gorgeous short hairstyles on women of all ages, including bobs, edgy cuts, shags, pixie hairstyles, and more. You'll see the hottest hairstyles of the moment, find out how to style them, and you'll learn which short hairstyles would look best on you. 

Here are a few of my favorite short hair tips:

  • Much of pulling off short hair is about your personality. Do you love the idea of yourself in short hair? Does it feel "like you" at this point in your life? Go with your gut on this one, not other people's advice. If you end up hating your haircut, it's just hair. It grows.
  • Short hair can be high maintenance because of the trimming upkeep. Unless, of course, your hair grows super slowly. Short hair typically should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks if you want to maintain your style.
  • Your face shape and hair texture matter. Not all face shapes and hair textures work with certain short haircuts. Don't miss How to Choose the Perfect Haircut for Your Hair Texture and Face Shape.
  • If you are over 55 and thinking of a change and want to go from frumpy to cool, our advice is to skip the old-lady salons and head to a trendy one. Hairstyles have nothing to do with age and everything to do with attitude. You can wear the same cut as your daughter but you may have to change your outfits, your glasses and even your makeup. These changes can completely makeover your look from frumpy to cool.
  • Choosing the right hair product is the key to keeping your hairstyle from going frizzy or flat. Mousse builds body, pomades and dry shampoos add texture. To fight the frizz, consider leave-in conditioners and anything containing silicone. If it's beachy waves you're after, there's nothing better than salt spray.

Now, enjoy the gallery....

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Consider Your Face Shape

Rose Byrne. Getty: Mireya Acierto and Michael Tran

Unless you have a perfect oval face, some short hairstyles will be more flattering on you than others.

The goal is to create the illusion of an oval face. Here are some examples of how to do this:

  • I have a long face, so I want to add width, not height with my hair. A chin-length bob or a shag cut that hits at the chin or in that middle place in between the chin and shoulders are great options for me, especially if worn a bit mussy or wavy. The waves add width. What doesn't work on me? A pompadour or spiky hair that adds height.
  • Women with round faces tend to look better with short hair cut an inch or 2 below the chin. You want to elongate your face and keeping hair a bit longer draws the eye downward. Stay away from the classic bob, which can look like a helmet on a round face. A better bet is the long bob, which is longer and therefore more flattering. See what hairstyles look best on a round face in The Best Short Hairstyles for Round Face Shapes.
  • Pixie haircuts aren't as flattering on long face shapes. Pixies look best on women with heart-shaped faces or oval faces.

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Do You Have Great Shoulders, a Nice Jaw and a Long Neck?

Model Jourdan Dunn. Mike Marsland for Getty

If you're blessed with great shoulders, a nice jawline and a long neck, a short haircut will be flattering on you. If you have a short neck, a double chin or wide shoulders, you're better off with a hairstyle that falls at least an inch below the chin. The long bob trend is hugely popular now and hits right at this perfect point.

When you get your hair cut, point out your best features to your stylist and don't be afraid to mention the ones you'd like to play down or camouflage. For example, for years I hated my large IMAX forehead so I asked for blunt bangs or side-swept bangs when I got my hair cut. For the record, I have come to love my forehead and no longer ask for bangs.

I have always loved my neck, which is long, and my jawline, which is angular, so a bob works great on me.

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How to Tell if You Could Get Away With a Pixie

Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johannsen, Anne Hathaway. Getty Images

Pulling off a pixie haircut is an art. You cut all your hair off and you find you need to change your wardrobe, rethink your makeup and carry yourself a bit differently. Because if you don't, you run the risk of looking frumpy or too boyish.

Many celebrities have worn their hair in a pixie cut. Don't miss my gallery, 3 Hair Lengths, One Woman: Which Suits Her Best? to see 14 celebrities who have rocked short, medium and long hair. You'll get an idea of what hairstyles look best on yourself and others.

The Pros of the Pixie

The pixie can be both edgy or classy, depending on how you wear it. Pixies frame the face beautifully showing off and highlighting one's best features. You'll be glad to know that aside from having to get your hair trimmed every 4-6 weeks, pixies are also low-maintenance.You can wash this hairstyle, add some pomade for texture, and go.

Why Your Body Shape Matters

Pixie haircuts that hug the skull look great on some women, but they don't look great on everyone. This cut works best on women with long, elegant necks.

Petite, thin women also look great in this cut (think Audrey Tautou in "Amelie" -- you'll see her later in this gallery). Tall, thin women can pull off this cut (think Charlize Theron, Jamie Lee Curtis and Audrey Hepburn, who was surprisingly very tall for her day). If you are tall and have a boyish figure, you could look like a pinhead with a pixie cut. If you're carrying extra weight and have a small skull, the pixie might not be right for you either. You need more body up top to balance out your body below the neck.

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Your Hair Texture Matters

Your hair texture is as important as your face shape when it comes to choosing the perfect short haircut.

There are 6 basic hair textures (fine, straight, wavy, coarse, curly and frizzy) and with each one comes a slew of rules such as "curly hair doesn't look great short" and "fine hair doesn't look great long."

I believe in breaking rules, however. And in my article on hair texture, I detail what the rules are and which ones are worth paying attention to and which ones are worth breaking. Check it out: 10 Things Every Woman Should Know About Hair Texture. Curly hair behaves best when it's longer. It needs length to behave properly. The shorter curly hair gets, the better the chances it will pouf up on you.

Why This Hairstyle is Perfect for Fine Hair

This is a gorgeous hairstyle on magazine editor Joanna Coles, who has fine hair. Fine hair can fall flat and limp in any hairstyle. The secret to getting good body lies in the product.

There are ways to add life to your hair. Here are my 11 best tips on how to take care of our fine, oily hair.

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Your Personality Matters — A Lot

Pink the singer and actress Evan Rachel Wood. Getty Images

When it comes to getting the right short haircut, you must consider your personality.

Your haircut is a reflection of your personality. If you're sporty and casual, a shag or long bob may be your best bet. Both air dry well and require less time with a dryer and a brush. If you're a career woman or hoping to land a job and consider yourself a sophisticate, an angled bob can be stunning. Funky, edgy women can get away with a faux mohawk or another edgy haircut, such as these.

So Can You Wear a Super Edgy Cut?

I'm drawn to the edgier versions of the pixie, such as these pictured here, because they're just so cool and unique. I love the shaved versions in particular, but what I really love is the swept up bangs. Don't try to pull off this look if you have a long face and high forehead. The added height up top will just elongate your face, a la Lyle Lovett.

Your personality is key to this look. If you don't like attention, consider purchasing sunglasses, because you need them to hide behind. Pompadours and edgy pixies demand attention. They also demand styling products.

See more of these styles in my gallery of Pompadour & Quiff Hairstyles.

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Consider the Maintenance That Comes With Certain Cuts

Margaux Brooks' Instagram

Short hair tends to be higher maintenance than shoulder-length or long hair because you need more frequent cuts. They're actually the hardest cuts to maintain, which is something to consider when planning that next hairstyle. Short hair requires trims every six weeks or so, they usually take styling products to keep them in check and you may have to invest in a flat-iron to keep waves at bay.

But some shorter styles are higher maintenance than others. Anything with bangs is going to mean frequent trims. A long bob with no bangs or side-swept bangs will grow out beautifully and won't need frequent trims. 

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Bangs or No Bangs, That Is the Question

Eva Padberg. Getty: Mathis Wienand & Target Presse Agentur

I am a huge fan of bangs on hair of all lengths. The fringe bangs on Eva Padberg are a favorite. I love the way the fringe frames her face when her long bob is pulled back into a ponytail.

You might consider getting bangs if you are interested in the following:

  • Hiding a high forehead. Bangs are great for covering up a hairline that starts way back on the head.
  • Taking a few years off your face. Bangs are youthful. Find out why in Want to Take Years Off Your Face? Just Add Bangs.
  • Bringing attention to your eyes.
  • Adding volume. Bangs can help add volume to flat, lifeless hair.
  • Freshening up your look. If you've had the same haircut that you love for years, you might consider getting bangs just to change things up a bit. You can always grow them out if they don't work well on you.

Keep in mind that bangs require maintenance. They must be trimmed every few weeks (see how to do it yourself) and you want to make sure you blow dry them correctly so you don't get Bubble Bangs.

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Great Classic Bobs on Older Women

Linda Fargo bob hairstyle
Linda Fargo bob hairstyle. Cindy Ord for Getty

Contrary to what you may have read or been taught over the years, there is no beauty rule to age and hair length. The minute you turn 40 or 50 or 65, you absolutely do NOT need to get your hair cut above your chin. You can be 100 years old and look great with hair grown below your shoulders, as long as your hair is in good shape.

The Classic Bob

I really love a classic bob on older women. It screams sophistication and because a bob requires you to actually blow dry and maybe even flat-iron hair, you never look unkempt with a sleek bob.

Check out this bob on Linda Fargo (Time Magazine calls her Bergdorf Goodman's "gatekeeper of style", it's fabulous. I also love the classic bob because there's no reason you have to go really short as you get older. Simple, classic long bobs and regular bobs are absolutely gorgeous on older women. They work best on women with naturally straight hair, but wavy hair looks great in a long bob as well.

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The Long Blond Bob

Sienna Miller, Brooklyn Decker, Michelle Williams. Getty Images

The choppy long bob (aka the "demi-bob") is The Short Hairstyle of 2015. There, I said it. It's just that everyone seems to be getting this cut. For example, check out my gallery of 21 Celebs Who Went From Long to a Long Bob. These are just a handful of the many, many celebrities making the news lately for cutting their hair off.

According to Vogue Magazine, which named the demi-bob a hot trend awhile back (see the article), the cut should fall anywhere between the mid-neck and the shoulders. And the best thing about the long bob? It flatters every face shape. Every single one of them. And it looks great on women of all ages.

As for hair texture, the long bob is great for women with hair that falls flat when grown longer. Flat, lifeless hair is something you might battle as you age. The secret to voluminous hair lies in a good cut and great styling (styling sprays, curling irons, etc).

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The Mussy, Shaggy Long Bob

Alexa Chung. Getty

The mussy, shaggy long bob is everywhere it seems. Unlike the choppy bob, which requires an actual curling iron and styling sprays, the shaggy bob is all about the air dry. To get that mussy, choppy look, you'll want to use a salt spray (try my homemade recipe) or texturizing spray and scrunch hair as it dries.

The beauty in the shag hairstyle is that it flatters all face shapes.

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Try My "Sharpie Test"

Tyra Banks. Left, Getty Images by Michael Buckner; right, Tyra Banks Instagram from The Cut Life Instagram

I got this tip from "Confessions of a Beauty Editor," by Allure's Linda Wells. Take a picture of yourself in front of a dark or light background depending on your hair color (if you're blond, choose dark, brunette, choose light). Take a Sharpie and "cut off" your hair to see how you'd look shorter. We suggest starting longer then gradually going up so you don't waste your picture.

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The Super Smooth Straight Bob

Eden Sassoon. Allen Berezovsky for Getty

The great news is almost everyone can get away with a short hairstyle. Some styles work better with certain face shapes and hair textures. For example, your haircut should give you the illusion of having an oval face shape. So if you have a round face you'll want to elongate it, just as someone with a square face, would want to soften their jawline and someone with a long face (me! me!) would want to make their face appear wider.

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How to Pick Your Perfect Short Hairstyle

Carla Juri with short, wavy hair. Mike Lawrie for Getty Images

So now that you're interested in short hair and you know that you can wear short hair, which short hairstyle should you choose?

This year's hottest short hairstyles are edgier and more modern than in years past. Stylish looks include long bangs with shorter sides, mussy shags and long bobs and even the pompadour, which some of the hottest celebrities of today are pulling off. You'll see examples of all these trends in this photo gallery.

If you're thinking about making the short hair plunge or just changing up your hairstyle, you may consider one of the 6 hottest short hair trends of the moment.

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Funky Cuts Must Fit Your Personality

Scarlett Johannson. Getty: Jon Kopaloff and Frederick M. Brown

Who can wear this look? Anyone with guts, really. This cut is more about attitude than your face shape, according to stylist Matt Fugate to the Glo website. This cut works best on coarse, thick hair. Fine hair will just fall flat without the help of a ton of styling product. A good stylist is adept at funky hairstyles and knows to follow the shape of your head rather than just your face shape when cutting a short, edgy style.

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Curly Hair Considerations

Julia Garner and MyAnna Buring. Getty Images: Gregg DeGuire and David M. Benett

Curly hair is tricky when it comes to any length shorter than the shoulders because it can pouf up on you. Some stylists swear curly hair should be cut no shorter than two inches below the chin, but I've seen some gorgeous short styles on curly women, like these women pictured here.

The secret it in getting the right haircut. While it's a myth that you must find a hairstylist that specializes in curly hair, you should seek out a stylist who knows how to cut curly hair, which requires layering. Some stylists prefer to dry cut curly hair so they can see exactly where the curl falls (curly hair shorten drastically when dry).

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How to Wear Thick, Wavy Hair Short

Audrey Tautou. Getty Images

Let's talk hair texture. You want to make sure your hairstyle works with your hair texture. Typically curly or very thick, wavy hair, as pictured here on Audrey Tautou, can be tricky worn short because it can turn frizzy and "pouffy" easily. But this haircut is absolutely gorgeous because it shows off the amount of hair she has, which is a lot. If you have thick hair, show it off!

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3 Versions of the Pixie

Actress Liza Weil. Getty: Paul Archuleta, John Lamparski, Jim Spellman

I find the pixie doesn't work as well on fine, straight hair because the hair falls to close to the scalp, looking a bit like a helmet.

If you have fine hair, like actress Liza Weil pictured here, you may need lots of product to add body. The pixie works best on women with heart-shaped, square and oval faces. It's a good cut for women with round faces, too, just make sure to keep the bangs long and style them forward or up to create the illusion of length.

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Stella Tennant's Boy Cut

Stella Tennant. Kirstin Sinclair for Getty

Pixie haircuts that hug the skull look great on some women, but not everyone. This cut works best on women with long, elegant necks.

Petite, thin women also look great in this cut (think "Amelie"). Tall women can pull off this cut (think Charlize Theron, Jamie Lee Curtis and Audrey Hepburn, who was surprisingly very tall for her day). If you are tall and have a boyish figure, you could look like a pinhead with a pixie cut. If you're carrying extra weight and have a small skull, the pixie might not be right for you either. You need more body up top to balance out your body below the neck.

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Another Cool Boy Cut

London Fashion Week. Ian Gavan for Getty Images

I really love this boy cut on this model.

Don't miss 10 Hairstyles That Make You Look 10 Years Younger.

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One Side Slightly Longer Than the Other

I love this hairstyle on blogger Nicole Warne. Note how one side is cut longer than the other.

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Platinum Blond Pixies

Salmannsa, Amber Rose, Eva Marcille. Getty Images: Leon Bennett, Maury Phillips

It takes guts to get a super-short, edgy haircut, but the results can be very, very cool -- and even sophisticated.

Whether you're seeking a cut that's sexy or funky or sweet, there are many, many cuts available to you.

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Yolanda Foster's Gorgeous Platinum Blond Bob

Yolanda Foster. Frederick M. Brown for Getty Images

I love this cut on Real Housewives star Yolanda Foster. It would work on women of all ages.

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Kate Mara's Shaggy Long Bob

The bob is so popular right now it is THE top hairstyle on my list of the Year's Trendiest Hairstyles.

A trendy way to wear your bob at the moment is curled with a large barrel curling iron. Simply wind a 2-inch section of hair around the barrel. Be careful not to curl the ends. Let the curl go without touching it.

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Kristen Taekman's Gorgeous Long Bob

Kristen Taekman. Janette Pellegrini for Getty

Bobs are wonderful cuts, and they don't have to be boring as Kristen Taekman proves here.

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Coco Rocha's Bob With Bangs

Coco Rocha's sleek sophisticated bob. Getty Images

 This bob with bangs is sleek and unique. Note how the bangs fall shorter than her brows.

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A Gorgeous Short Haircut

Nicole Ari Parker. Alberto E. Rodriguez

I love this cut on Nicole Ari Parker sooooo much.

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A Bob With Bangs

Erin Fetherston. Mike Coppola // Getty

A great cut on Erin Featherston.

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Gorgeous Wavy Bob

Nieves Alvarez. Pascal Le Segretain for Getty
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Liked This? There's More!

Charlize Theron. Jason Merritt for Getty