Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Pixie Cut: Growing Out

I'm pretty sure my most popular article of all time is "Getting the Perfect Pixie." I wish "How to Accept Your Body and Move On," one of my personal favorites, was so popular, but alas I am not in control of what people read. Shocking, I know.

Anyway, I have enough trouble keeping up with comments on recent posts and that kind of thing, so while I read the many comments that appear on the pixie cut post, I don't tend to reply. I appreciate that people took the time to read and respond, but I'm just too busy to write my own response. However, a freshly-written comment on the not-so-fresh pixie article caught my attention.

Renee said: "This post originally inspired me to get my hair cut pixie-short. That was around two months ago; I've had it cut again once, and I'm already disenchanted. My hair has always grown fast, but within two or three weeks of it getting cut I had to gel the hell out of it in order for it to not look like a white-girl fro. It was starting to become a mullet before I cut it again, and now it's just not behaving.I can do a faux hawk with it but even that requires a lot of patience and manicuring, and it doesn't weather well with my habit of petting my hair. I loved the pixie, it looked good on me for a little bit, but now I'm faced with the desire to grow it out and having no idea how. It's almost summer so I can hide the awkward phases with scarves and the like (it's not allowed around my gang-infested school), but for those who are considering cutting it all off, heed my warnings.Right, I'm done. Sorry about the length of that. Just trying to spare some possible-pixie-chicks some frustration and money."

I feel your pain, Renee, and I'm here to help! This is something that you can overcome, not something that will overcome you. Let's talk about a few issues that come with pixie cuts, and how they can be dealt with.

Pixie Maintenance. So your pixie cut looked dazzling for a month or so, but now its becoming a bit shaggy and mullet-y. This problem is not a huge deal. I was traveling in Israel when I noticed my pixie was too long in the back (beware of impending mullet!), not to mention the little bits of hair in front of my ears were threatening to become those ear locks (peyas) worn by Hasidic Jews.

Allow me to clarify.

But all is not lost, dear readers! My story did not end badly! As I sat in a Haifa dorm room, twirling my faux peyas and contemplating breaking my mirror, a friend came to the rescue. We didn't have scissors with us, but we did find tiny nail scissors. My friend removed the ear locks in a few snips, then hacked away at the longer hair that was growing past the base of my skull. I looked fine. The lesson here is that yes, your hair will grow out quickly, but you do not need to see a hairdresser every time. It's pretty hard to mess up when all you need to do is trim off an inch or so in the back and an itty bit in front. I'd like to point out that if my hair survived a cutting with nail scissors, yours will surely survive one with real scissors. Get a friend to do it and you'll be set until your next hair appointment!

Growing it out for real. You've had enough of your short 'do, and you want longer hair, damnit! This time, when your hair reaches the shaggy, mullet-y stage, you don't trim it, and it looks awful. What to do?

Well, I'm an expert on what not to do at this stage. I let my hair grow, sans any sort of styling, until everything but my bangs was chin length. The bangs I then cut right above my eyebrows. I looked like a scarecrow.

I think the trick is that as the hair grows out, you need to sort of "prune" parts of it until you have finally reached an acceptable grown-out stage. Let's look to Miranda Hobbes of Sex & the City for some guidance:

1. Stage one: Miranda is rockin' a cute pixie.

2. Stage two: Miranda's hair has grown a bit, but she is not afraid. She battles bad hair by parting hers on the side and tucking any extra bits behind her ears. She has let the hair at the back of her head grow longer, but the way her top hair is parted and has grown longer than pixie length keeps her out of mullet territory.

3. Now that Miranda's locks have continued to grow, her front hair is long enough to allow her to wear stylish bangs at the front. She parts the rest of her hair in the middle, and lets it keep growing.

4. Notice that the back of Miranda's hair hasn't grown past her neck; she is clearly giving it a few trims to start getting rid of the short top/longer back proportion of the pixie. Her front hair is now too long to wear as bangs, so she has given herself a side part and stuck any extra hair behind her ears. She looks sleek and fabulous, I think!

5. Miranda's former bangs grow further, and she finally crops a bit of hair off the back so that all strands are the same length. Miranda keeps her hair this way for the rest of the final season, but you don't have to keep your hairline above your chin if you don't want to; let it keep growing!

See? It's not so bad! Pixie cut maintenance is fairly easy and mindless, once you get into the routine, but you'll want to find a good hairdresser and do some planning when it comes time to grow out the 'do.

I think this pixie cut subject is becoming a series. If you're interested in reading more, check out my initial post on getting the perfect pixie, as well as my second post with some examples of short hair cuts to try.

I hope this helps! I really wish I knew all this when I grew out my pixie; it was a painful process.


WendyB said...

Love your illustration with the mullet man and the Hasidic Jew. I must say, I'll never get my hair cut supershort again because of the agony of growing it.

Anonymous said...

This is completely unrelated to this post, but a while ago you mentioned that you had started washing your face with oil and I was just wondering how that was going. Is it something I should try?

vanessa said...

Still sounds scary to cut off all your hair! I think it looks great on some people but requires some patience and bravery

Kori said...

wendyb - Thanks! I see what you mean; the growing out process has definitely made me relish my longer hair at the moment. But I miss my pixie as well!

anonymous - I have been using olive oil on my face for ages, and I swear its a miracle. Everyone's skin reacts differently to different things, but I think it's worth a try for sure.

vanessa - It definitely can be scary - I think the only reason I was brave enough to go for it was because I kept getting bored with my hair and cutting it shorter until it reached the point where shedding two or three inches gave me a pixie. It's easier if you work up to it.

Anonymous said...

i had a pixie cut a few years back and it was HELL to grow out. particularly because as my hair grew it became more curly and unruly... i waited until it was long and then i got a bob

Belle said...

I look le suck with pixie hair (square face, strong jaw, that jazz) but this is really awesome!

I jsut dropped by to say congrats on the teen vogue blogger of the moment! :)

lavender said...

i got a pixie about a year and a few months ago like right when it was starting to be a really big trend... so cute!! but i pretty much started growing it out immediately lol because my hair is so slow. and growing it out WAS HELL. i just had to keep trimming the bottom until it was all one layer and now finally its pretty much back to normal... but still only about shoulder length. altogether a good experience tho!! but i think the bob haircut is more of the thing this year...

stephanie said...

i'm about to take the plunge into pixie and this really eases my anxiety!! thanks :)

Destiny said...

I'm growing out my pixie as I read this. I really only encountered a week and a half of hair hell. I just had to embrace my resemblance to a little extra from Mad Max that cuts her hair with a knife. It's especially interesting when I get very dressed up because of the contrast. I suggest purchasing a light wax. I use one made by Davines. Too much product makes a girl look like Billy Idol.

Sven said...

Good Job! :)

Anonymous said...

I got a pixie cut last August and I kept cutting it shorter and shorter until November of last year. Growing it out actually wasn't so bad, but every once and a while I'd get into a mood where I felt hideous and I had to get a trim. Mostly, I just kept getting the back by my neck cut so that the sides of my hair would catch up. Also, I dyed my hair bright red because I felt that it would make me feel less bored and more feminine as I entered the awkward stages. I used product to make my hair look messier when it was growing out so that it was harder to notice when it got mullet-ish. Also, when my hair was at its strangest stage in May, parts were chin length, some parts much shorter, I curled my hair in a 50's, Marilyn Monroe-esque way. The good part about going through this experience was that I got to try tons of different short hair cuts because I would get my hair cut reshaped into a different style every few months. I would say that's its definitely worth it to try a pixie cut though. It has been a little more than a year since my initial cut last August and my hair is shoulder length now, so its not like I was stuck in the awkward stage for very long. It's also kind of cool to try really short hair because I noticed my facial features so much more. I also liked the low maintenance, no combing or brushing aspect. And I also felt very unique and stylish, but I get bored easily and having very short hair in winter was very cold.

Anonymous said...

I finally worked up the nerve to get a pixie cut a few weeks ago. Now I remember why I vowed never get a pixie cut the last time I got a pixie cut! Hmmm....
But thanks for this. It helps me realize that not only is there light at the end of the tunnel but the path can be paved with cute stylish 'dos!

Charmaine said...

I'm a hairdresser and have a longer "pixie". My bangs are longer than the rest of my hair. I think the best way to let it grow is to allow the top layers to grow out. This will allow your hair some movement. Trim the length more than the layers each time you get a haircut. By the time your layers are a little longer you can begin growing out the perimeter. This will also allow you to go through various different hairstyles. One length bob, angled bob, and then finally shoulder length and longer. Having to short layers is what gives the mullet appearance so letting them grow out is the first thing you should do!

Barb35 said...

I too have a pixie and it's starting to look Haifa and I need Help So I am Reading Your Advice Thanks

Anonymous said...

Just came across this as I was googling "pixie cuts". So I have been wearing a wig waiting for my hair to grow out after chemo. It is finally 3 inches long, and I am ready for a cut and to reveal my hair to the world. I currently look like a chia pet, so look forward to getting an actual style. Thanks for the tips, including how to grow it out!

Anonymous said...

I recently got my hair cut into a "pixie" (my god I hate that term) and am looking forward to the cute short-hair phase, well past the "oh no mullet" phase. I'm pretty sure the trick is to keep the back and neck areas of your hair shorter, and let the top grow long. The hair on the top of your head is naturally supposed to be longer than the hair at the nape of your neck when your hair is all the same length- it just makes sense to try and keep it that way when growing it out, right?
I'll get back to you when I've successfully grown my hairs to chin-length and didn't look shaggy or weird in the process. :)

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Anonymous said...

I have to say thank you. I was about to cut my hair pixie-style and was having a lot of anxiety about it. The growing out part was what I was worried most about. I am very fastidious about my very wavy hair. Reading this article has helped me to realize that I would most likely be very unhappy with my hair for quite some time and I've now decided against it. I know the point of the article was to ease those concerns but I think it saved me a lot of heartache. Thank you!!! said...

This is very helpful. I've had a pixie cut for about two and a half months now; I always had long hair before that. I still love the cut, but I'm terribly worried about when to start growing it out. I'm almost done my freshman year in highschool, and I'm afraid that if I start growing it this year, it'll take until junior year to actually look good. But then I think if I start growing it out late next year, by the time I end high school, it might've looked like I had an almost-mullet the whole time, which I definitely don't want! I'll refer to this post when I decide. (:

folding.chair said...

This post was a life-saver for me! I've had a pixie cut since last August, and when it started to get to that awkward bounty hunter stage, I just relented and cut it. I'd kind of like to have something longer for summer, though, so I'm in the process of growing it out. It's a nightmare -- last week I announced half-seriously that I was going to just buy a wig -- but I'm going to give this a try. Thank you so much! :D

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kajol lally said...

I had a pixie cut about 8 months ago. It was all well and good before i started having the same problem. my hair did start looking like a mullet and i struggled with it for a while. luckily, i had some hair extension that i bought and never wore. and all i did was cover the uneven layers underneath the hair extensions and just leave out my fringe. it looked quite nice to be honest. but before you start wearing 15" hair extensions make sure that you cut them to a non-obvious length that adjust to your hair length. (: kajol/13/Blackpool

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for the blog! I am in that "can't do anything with my hair!" stage, the aftermath of the pixie cut, and your advice seems extremely reasonable compared to other advice I've received. And I love Sex & the City by the way. I didn' notice Miranda's hair, but now that I see the progress, it seems fairly easy. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to grow mine out, but the woman that cuts my hair keeps adding in layers when I specifically tell her no layers. She cuts my bangs horrifically (think most of hair combed forward and snip! Plus the occasional place that's an inch shorter than the rest) and always leaves an extra half inch in back. I think I'm just going to cut it myself next times.

Jenna said...

Thanks so much! This has given me hope in my awkward, growing-out-stage!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article; I started rocking a pixie in September after donating 12 inches of hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and after having it cleaned up a couple times, I decided I wanted to go long again. I'm presently trapped in the post-pixie mom-hair-meets-mullet stage, and it seems that there are no articles on how to fix it without suggesting a hat, so this article was truly a great find!

Sarah said...

awesome! i'm planning on getting a pixie cut this week so i'm glad i found your advice on cutting and growing it out.

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Zebrine said...

I got a pixie cut in November, and I've never been quite happy with it... it pretty much sticks out at weird angles more often than not. I've started growing it out and I guess I'm at the Stage 2 of Miranda's hair... very glad to find this guide/suggestions and to know there is hope to get out of hair hell...

midmorningmoon said...

hi, i was forced to get a pixie back in august, right before i started my sophmore year, because my hair had gotten so thick that i overheated. well, i've been trying to grow it back ever since with the intention of never wearing my hair down again. my hair is wavy, and grows extremely fast, but the top layer of hair is still only about 3-4 inches long; now here's my problem, the hair in back is starting to edge a bit past my shoulders, the sides are about an inch below my chin, and my bangs only come to the tip of my nose... any ideas on what i can do? or what hairstyle i should try?

Anonymous said...

I have a pixie and I've never been more happy with my hair! I can't understand why anyone would want to bemoan a pixie. I think you need to be really aware of what your hair is like before you do ANY cut. For example, my hair is SUPER straight and there's loads of it but it's very fine and silky. So when I grew it right down my back with sharp bangs, I was always battling to volumise it! For me, the pixie has always been my cut of choice...I have an oval face, dainty features and big eyes so having long hair was just drowning this behind a mane! I get so many compliments on my pixie I don't think I'd ever go back now :) easier to cope with when at the gym and getting ready and I have tonnes of styles, gels, waxes, clips and bands I use.

☮SammyAnn☮ said...

OMGOSH THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I'm a first time reader, and was sitting at home going through TONS of pics on the internet looking for signs of hope for growing out my SUPER CUTE pixie cut (like Shannon Sossaman's) I came across this page... and believe me that photos you put together of miranda really made a HUGE DIFF! I feel so much better about growing it out (when I'm ready), for now I'll just enjoy the freedome the Pixie cut gives you! <3

Anonymous said...

To all who are even close to considering a pixie cut I say not unless you are drop dead gorgous. I have had this cut twice. The first time I loved it. This time I hate it! It could not be any shorter without being buzzed and growing it out is going to be awful. My hair seems to have stopped growing whereas it used to grow so fast I couldn't keep it short. Thanks so much for the tips.

white apron said...

now thats what i call complete transformation! amazing. with pixie you make someone old looking go young. :)

Anonymous said...

I recently cut my hair super short and it looks horrible! no crying yet though Lol. Now I remember why I said i would never get a pixie cut again...i hate the time it takes to grow out my hair! The awkward stage was a heavy blow to my self esteem the first time around but not in 2012 =P.

I`ll be following your tips, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Gah, hello im brooke (: well lets see my hair was extremely damaged after years of constant dramatic dyeing. (going from black to platnium to red brown black again and so on and so forth)so i decided i was going to cut my hair off short to grow it out healthy, mind you im not overweight but that little tiny double chin just didnt look all that great along with my pixie style.. Anywho i cut it off pixie short in the back and i had long bangs and the sides were to my chin line. It was amazingly cute and healthy.. But my family wanted me to take it all to one color. So i did and it was so damaged i had to have some treatments and dye it a darker color. Thats when i decided it would be way healthier if i cut it all to a pixie cut. Welp i did it and it was amazing for a week or so, seeing as how my hair isnt extremely healthy it dont grow that fast maybe an inch in two months. I haven cut it in four and now its shaggy and thick and still damaged. It looks a little better when i straighten it but it seems to be growing thicker instead of longer first. It might be a little longer in the front than stage two. Im not sure what to do i dont want to cut it but its almost the exact same texture it was before i cut it in the first place. Help or advice? I want to grow it silky not dry and dead. U know?

Ally Munda said...

i've had a pixie for the past year but now i'm growing out a shaved head so this was actually useful :))

prakruthi rao said...

Chopping all my hair off was the best thing i've ever done ^_^ then i coloured it purple
It cut it in feb, had it trimmed once in march nd haven't gone back to the salon after that cuz the guy cuts too much off. My pixie was like the emma watson one. I want to grow it out a little so i can experiment with other short hairstyles nd that wouldn't have been possible if my hair grew two inches nd the guy would cut off three. So i started trimming the to-be mullet-like hair myself. I absolutely love the cut. Hadn't thought abt it before getting it cut at all, just walkedd to the salon after school one day nd told the guy to cut it all off :D i know, i'm a daredevil :P all women should try a pixie cut at least once in their life :) i've never felt so free nd creative nd happy before. You guys should try it. 100%! :D

Shaekira - booksie said...

Omg I was just searching around for any help with my pixie cut. I got it for my birthday in March and now it's September and it keeps growing out even when I get it cut every two weeks. So I finally just gave up and I decided to change the style up so I can grow it out into a boy. You just gave me some excelent hair idea that I've been thinking over for the past week. So thanks a lot and I'll sign up for this. Your an excelent writer, btw. From one writer to another. Lol. ;)


Shaekira - booksie said...

oops, meant boy up there! eeeek. Lol.

Shaekira - booksie said...

why does it keep doing that? boy=bob. ugh.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just wanted to say I found your post really nice. I had to go through chimotherapy and lost my long curly hair... now I am fine, of course loosing the hair to become healthy again is not big deal, but I was looking for nice examples of what to do while my hair is growing back. Your example of Miranda is brilliant! Thanks a lot!