From The Straits Times    |

How to pull off a pixie cut B.png

Jennifer Lawrence at the taping of the Late Show with David Letterman. Image: Burberry

It used to be that lopping off one’s locks was follicular shorthand for “I’ve just had a traumatic break up”. Well, not anymore. A gaggle of seemingly well-adjusted celebs like Anne Hathaway, Emma Watson, Jennifer Hudson and –perhaps most shockingly – blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson, have all taken to sporting spunky short coifs.

Things came to a head, so to speak, when Jennifer Lawrence stepped out this month for the promotional blast for the latest installation of the “Hunger Games” trilogy with her own closely cropped chop. 

If three’s a trend, then the pixie must surely rank as the haircut of the year. Indeed, figures from Yahoo! suggest women the world over are all abuzz over this bumper “crop” of short-haired stars, with searches for the phrase “pixie cut” peaking 511 times higher compared to the same time last year. Yahoo Search Data even tweeted this breathless observation: “It seems like a woman in Hollywood gets a pixie cut everyday! This month on Yahoo!, searches for ‘pixie haircut’ are spiking off the charts”.

Before you bust out the shears, let’s double back a tad. For starters, what is a pixie cut? In hairspeak, a pixie generally refers to a tight cut worn short on the sides and back and longer on the top and fringe: Think Audrey Hepburn and Mia Farrow back in the day. Now that we’ve got the definition down pat, here are some pointers to consider before taking the pixie plunge:

Wallflowers, be warned

It may boast a sweet, dainty moniker, but the pixie has been worn by some of the most cocksure lasses in Hollywood (hello there, Pam Anderson). It takes oodles of personality to rock the pixie – after all, there’s no security blanket of hair to hide behind. “There’s a dizzying sense of freedom with having short hair, although you do need lots of confidence to truly own the look,” says Ark Lin, creative director of Air Salon.

If you’re down for the pixie, think hard about the facial features you like and the ones you don’t, and talk through your list of concerns with your stylist. He should be able to layer the sides to highlight your eyes, for instance, or give you bangs to downplay your forehead.

Saving face

You don’t need to be a feminine fairy to pull off the pixie. While it is true that most girls with gamine features tend to gravitate towards the pixie, just about any face shape will do – with slight modifications, of course.

If you have a heart-shaped face, you’re in luck, sweetheart: The pixie looks best on you. Ark adds that heart-shaped faces should ask for side-swept bangs: “A longer fringe will help direct attention to your eyes and away from your pointier chin.” If you’re square-jawed, get your stylist to give you lots of soft, feathery layers around the ears to soften the hard planes of your face. Meanwhile, round or oval shapes should consider keeping length on top to add height and elongate your face.

Splitting hairs

Hair texture makes a difference. A pixie is meant to give you reprieve from hours of blow-drying and tonging, so ask your stylist to tailor your cut to suit your hair type.

Straight hair fares best with a short crop, and will require the least amount of styling and upkeep. And while conventional wisdom dictates that curly or wavy tresses should be worn below the chin, a good stylist should be able to layer the sides and back so that your hair doesn’t pouf up on you.

There is, however, one situation in which a pixie might not be worth the angst: Steer away from the scissors if you have very thin hair. There’s the distinct possibility your scalp will show through with hair this short and stark.

On a related strand, Ark says that it’s probably best if you stick to a solid hue all over your entire head, as this will make your pixie pop. Highlights, on the other hand (or is that head), will detract from the carefree simplicity that is the raison d’être for the pixie.

Mane maintenance

Now for the fineprint. Pixie cuts are well and good on a daily styling basis, but are admittedly dearer on your wallet to maintain than your average ponytail-length hair. Ark recommends trimming your pixie every four weeks or so: “Consider if you’re willing to set aside time and money for monthly upkeeps at your salon.” You’ll also need to invest in a good clay texturiser and medium-hold hairspray to keep your pixie in shape.

Finally, if you’re already planning ahead on how to grow out your pixie, Ark suggests layering the sides and back so your bob doesn’t get too thick. Then, once the top has grown to a decent length, you can gradually space out your hair appointments.

Now that you’ve got a back-up plan, go ahead and have fun with your lunchtime snip and cut!

Ark Lin can be contacted at Air Salon. For more information, visit