Another Op-ed about Getting a Pixie Cut

I doubt you are surprised by the title of this article, or the timing of my long pixie haircut. As my sophomore year of college begins, I essentially have the poster child of sophomore year haircuts for an “experimenting” white girl. I was slightly apprehensive before I booked my appointment. I had dabbled in pixies when I was much younger, but it had been a long time since my hair was above my jawline. I took to the web for reassurance.

A quick Google search produces every article under the sun discussing the experience of young hopefuls who take to the salon chair to have their hair cut away. There were plenty of articles that lauded the results of a short haircut. These types of articles could all be summed up by this: if you think you want to do it, just do it. When I started excitedly looking for what I could actually get, I ran into the dreaded articles about face shape.

If you want to drive yourself completely insane, try to figure out your face shape. As with all human features, face shapes are too nuanced for such broad definitions. One day you will swear you have a square face and the next you will be positive that it is round. However, I felt invested in this easy guide to the big chop, and was disappointed to find that all the suggestions about hair for my supposed face shape were too long, or at least to the length I already had.

I despaired for a bit, wondering if I was doomed to keep my long and irritating hair. Then I picked myself up out of the dark hole of hair despair and tried to get scientific about the shape of my head. When I finally emerged with a new face shape, oval with round leanings, I searched again, confident that I would fall in love with the suggested pixie.

Nope. Once again I found myself in an endless sea of beach waves and lobs. There were no women of color in sight. Not one article discussed black hairstyles for different face shapes. Even in the shallowest of categories, our society has deeply failed to promote any kind of inclusivity.

I nearly despaired again until I did a little experiment. I looked up every single hairstyle list perfectly tailored for every face shape’s needs. Not one list had a pixie cut or even really short hair except the oval shape, which had one or two. I had to find a list specifically about pixies for each face shape. It was at this point when I realized that the whole thing was stupid. Yes, this moment. Not the moment that I had taken a ruler to my face and carefully examined its every curve, or the moment that I had prescribed myself an oval face with round leanings, whatever that was supposed to mean. I am not proud of how long it took me to get to this point.

We all try to not care about what people think, but that gets unbelievably hard when you are just trying to get some advice on what might look best. While most articles will tell you only how great the pixie cut looked, how much it showed off their face and how much they loved it, an equal number simply shuffle the style off to the side in favor of more “feminine” cuts. The obsession with women’s hair is a strange feature in our binary-obsessed country that is not often talked about. No one has to convince you of the perks of growing your hair out, but cut it one inch “too short” and we have to read a slew of articles just to consider it. A search for how to grow out your hair or what style it looks best in will get you nothing but pictures but consider short styles and sites silently give you alternatives that are more within the gender norm comfort zones. We try to give reassurance as people who sport pixies, so we post an endless amount of articles to calm the nerves.

In the end, if your hair is driving you insane like mine was, just do what I did: look on Pinterest or Google Images, find a cut you like and bring it to a person you trust to chop it all off. Walk in there and get that hairstyle, maybe even in sophomore year of college when everyone does it. On the plus side it means that you will never be alone!

Your hair grows back, so there’s no point in being unhappy if the cut isn’t quite right. I would not know, though. Halfway through my haircut, I was already in love. Is this another op-ed talking about a pixie cut? Absolutely. With basic level deep thoughts on society and gender roles? You betcha. Does it recommend a pixie cut? For sure. But the one thing I will not tell you is that it changed my life—because it did not. I walked in knowing I would love it and that everything would be fine afterwards, and walked out feeling exactly that way. The only thing that it did was make me feel a lot more like myself.

The most satisfying part was sitting on the couch with my older sister and having her turn to me and tell me that she could not imagine me with longer hair anymore. In her mind, I always had this pixie. All I could say was: I know and I love it. That is how you know that your haircut reflects who you are—when you never want it to be any other way.