A little chop goes a long way

My brother likes to use the word, “stupid,” as a substitute for the word, “REALLY.”

As in, “This cinnamon roll is stupid good.” Or, “That puzzle was stupid hard.”

I’m not sure how this came about considering that my brother is an engineer, not a surfer dude. But there you have it.

He’s expecting his first kid in April, though, and my prediction is that particular adjective get nixed from his vocabulary pronto.

I don’t usually follow his lead in this particular adjectival choice, but if I had to describe one thing in my brother’s terms, I would say, “My hair is stupid thick.”

Every single time I get it cut, even if it’s only been a few weeks like it had been last time, my stylist laughs and laughs at the carpet of hair on her floor. Then she sweeps it into a mound, and it’s like a fuzzy, disgusting mini-replica of Mt. Everest.

Seriously, y’all. I have so. much. hair. And it’s dense, which means that it doesn’t necessarily poof way out from the sides of my head (most of the time) because the sheer weight of it pulls everything down around my face.

Which brings me to a confession: for the longest time, I was afraid to cut much off of my own personal Hair Everest.

Why? Because I got a lot of compliments on my long, curly hair—a lot of dramatic statements like: “I would kill for your hair”—and I was at least a little bit nervous that I might pick an unflattering cut, and then it would take forever to get back to that place where everybody found my hair attractive.

Don’t get me wrong: I liked my long hair too. I’m not so vain that I would wear a style I hated just to get compliments. But it was just kind of there. It didn’t really reflect my style or have much personality other than its inherent long curliness.

I wanted to be brave. I wanted variety. I wanted to know what it would be like to have a “fun” haircut instead of simply a pretty one, even if it meant fewer compliments. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it.

(Another thing holding me back: the specter of my mushroom bowl-cut from when I was 8-years-old).

But after Ezra was born, everything suddenly seemed much more clear cut. (That happens when you have a newborn who is rooting for breakfast and gets a mouthful of hair instead). I decided it was finally time and cut a good 10 inches off my hair. I tried to talk the guy who cut it into really hacking it and making it funky and layered, but apparently, I wasn’t very convincing because I ended up with a strange blunt bob that looked a bit like a Pharaoh hat.  I had the quintessential “Mom cut,” and I was only 23-years-old (I tried to find you a picture but came up empty).

It wasn’t pretty.

And I sort of thought, “All right, well that’s what I get for being brave.”

But then, 18 months  and a good bit of safe-ish hair experimentation later, Simon came along, and I got really gutsy. I went for a BIG chop, with lots of layers. And each time I went back, I cut a little more off.

short hair simon baby  

This isn’t even as short as it got (I think I traumatized my husband when I cut it almost as short as his).

And you know what? It was incredibly freeing!

I’m not gonna say that some of the iterations were my best haircuts ever.

short hair simon

Note to self: uber-short hair when you’ve still got your chubby post-baby face is not a good look for you. Side note: we look soooooo young.

But they helped me get over my fear of what others would think and confirmed my suspicions that I’m not just a long and flowy kind of girl (although I like that too).

I’ve been experimenting with everything from super-short and layered to long with bangs ever since, and I absolutely love that I got over my hair hang-up.

Which is why it shouldn’t be too surprising that when I went to get my hair cut a little over a week ago, I said, “Let’s go shorter. And more textured. And less weighty. Seriously, thin the tar out of it.”

Which is how I ended up with this:

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Is it my best haircut ever?

 

  IMG_8810

Maybe not (my husband is shaking his head emphatically not; he likes it fine like this, but he loves my long hair).

But you know what it is?

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Fun.

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I really like it.

And also?

You know that part in You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks goes on a rant about complicated Starbucks orders and how they’re not just about a drink order at all but instead about an identity?

“TALL. Decaf. CAPPUCINO.”

Well, haircuts are kind of like to too.

And this is me right now: “Short. Funky. Easy.”

Because sometimes a little chop can go a long way towards giving you a “defining sense of self.”

And the best part of all? Lean in close because this is profound: hair. grows. back.

True story. :)

So, if you’ve been pining for a cut but can’t find the nerve, I say do it. The worst that can happen is hat hair for a few weeks. But the alternative just might set you free.

P.S. Since getting my hair cut 10 days ago, I have only washed it twice (yep, that’s how I roll), and both times, it has looked considerably different. It loosens up the longer it’s been since a wash. Here it is after a 2 hour exercise session:

workout hair

Have you ever gotten a big chop? Did you love it/hate it? I’ve done so many different versions of the short hair chop in the last 6 years, and I’ve liked most of them well enough (although when I see some in pictures, I think, “Hmm…not your best look, girl.”). However, I won’t ever go crazy-short again, I don’t think—both for my husband’s sake and because of my “stupid” thick hair, which tends to bunch up and up and and up at the roots when it gets really short.

What’s your favorite hairstyle EVER? I really love the funkiness of my short, tousled, angled hair, but I think I probably look best with longer curls. And I loved my bangs too. Maybe something like this:

floral tights hair

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29 thoughts on “A little chop goes a long way

  1. You and your family are beautiful! But yes, I love the longest hair best. Long hair on a beautiful woman transports her off the planet…..

  2. Honestly, with long hair you look like a Victoria’s Secret model. But if you need the extra time with all those wonderful kids, the picture of you holding the baby with pixie hair is easily the best.

  3. I love your cut and it’s definitely fun and a bit of sassy. I do however, agree with you, that I think you look best with the longer hair and bangs. Either way though, you always look fabulous!

    I have cut my hair many (MANY) times in the past 15 years and always come back to the long. Now at almost 40, I feel like I should be going shorter, but everyone says it looks better long, so I’ll stick with it for now.

    1. Yeah, I think that this shortish haircut is going to be my go-to even when I’m “old.” I can’t imagine ever doing the full on poofy elderly cut, but I will definitely be going long again whenever I’m sick of the short look.

  4. I think it’s your best “do” ever.I’ve been reading your blog for about 2 years and have been through some of your angst with your curly, thick mane. This is fresh and perky
    and cutting edge. It’s unique! Stupid cute.

  5. I did “the big chop” March of 2012. It was driving me INSANE (my hair is the same texture/curl as yours but I have fine hair) and it wouldn’t style anymore and kept getting in my way. I decided it was time. The girl cut it wayyy shorter than I wanted. She blew it out an the ends came only about an inch past my chin. Minus the “little boy cut” my mother gave me when I was 5, I’d never had a haircut this short. At first I hated it because I didn’t know what to do with it. As it grew just a little I absolutely L-O-V-E-D it! I get lazy streaks and let it grow after that August. It’s currently the longest I have ever had it. I’m so used to having shoulder length hair I don’t know what to do with it most days! It’s so pretty though… Tossing back and forth whether I want to take the chop again. Maybe summer?

  6. My hair is like yours – dense, curly, unruly – I love it. Please please share with me how you can have a hard, sweaty workout and not wash your hair? I need to know this secret – I can’t stand spending anymore $ on shampoo and oodles of conditioner! (just recently came across your blog, and love it – btw!)

    1. Um, well, I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for that. I usually just re-wet it. Or…nothing. I mean, I’m not going to claim that it’s super-gorgeous after a sweaty workout, but if I don’t mess with it too much, then it usually looks all right still.

      1. Well – I’ve honestly never tried to just re-wet it! I’m always afraid it’s going to be a mass of tangles if it doesn’t get conditioner, but I guess i will just start trouble-shooting and see how it goes, because, seriously – we spend too much money on hair stuff. Thanks for replying :)

  7. I say stupid in place of really all the time. Maybe it’s an age thing. How old is your brother? Older or younger? Lol

    I tend to like long hair, especially on me. Partly because with my baby fine, thin(ning hair it spends a lot of time in pony. And you can’t pony short hair.

    Plus my husband,loves long hair. He actually cried once when I came home (the week before our wedding actually…) And I had cut my down to bottom of my back long hair higher than my chin. And layered it. *sigh*

    And we won’t get into how I feel about layers….I do tend to like them on others. And I do tend to fall for the stylists who swear “you’ve just never had good layers…” And because I like the way they look on others, I let them try…

    And it’s awful.

    And the next stylist says, “you’ve just never had good layers before!”

    Girl. I’m 41 in April and I’ve never had good layers. And there have been plenty who have tried. And failed. And one girl in my younger angrier years got a hair brush thrown over it as I sobbed…. My hair! My hair!

    I don’t like layers on me.

    I do tend to like perming my hair in a nice piggy back spiral. Tres 80s I know. But with my fine baby soft hair it actually looks good and healthy and thick that way. Not to mention I get to live like the other side and have luscious, just rolled out of bed curls for a while with just a little product. But it’s very hard to talk a stylist into doing…. *sigh*

    and that’s the thing. I know my long hair tends to make me look like a child with grey hair. But short hair…. It takes a lot of work for me. For people.with thick, full hair that has some body to it, short sassy layers can look good. But when you’re dealing with hair the texture of Barbies little sister Skipper and have as thick, well… Layers mean blow outs and product, and curling irons or flat irons….

    My long hair means til.out of bed, wash real fast. Pull fingers thru it when you can’t find the hair brush. Leave. Carry a pony holder on your wrist for later.

    End of story.

    And I like to keep it simple.

    Stupid simple.

    1. My brother is almost 35, and in his case, I think it’s a Colorado thing. He spent time in Estes Park, and the snowboarders there tend to say things like “stupid awesome.” : )

  8. I have had a lot of different hair styles and even donated 12 inches when my husband…right before I knew my husband and I would get engaged. It was cute, but in between hair looks really bad on me. I like long hair the best.

  9. My hair has always been long thanks to my mom never cutting it more than a few centimeters to get rid of dead ends. It was long, straight, and so thick that I used to nearly knock my sister out when I’d swing my hair. Oh, not only did I used to SIT ON MY HAIR, but I had those awesome straight across bangs that brushed my eyebrows.

    I was so happy when my doctor told her no more sitting on hair unless she wanted a blind kid from all of the migraines I got.

    In high school, to get back at me for “stealing” her EX boyfriend, a “friend” razored my hair until there was less than an inch of hair on my head {after having it bra strap length}. In 1993. It was “so much fun” going to my prom with thick, spiky hair that stuck out EVERYWHERE.

    Not really!

    A few years ago when I had my hysterectomy I decided that it would be a good idea to chop my hair as it was just too much. So I chopped it into an inverted bob. That was so fun, but it was a pain to care for when all I wanted to do is shower and go. That, and the growing out period had me wearing more headbands than I cared to wear {that and they gave me migraines}. So, from there it kept getting shorter and shorter until I only had about two inches and thought that was a great, textured fun look. Except for when it grew out and looked like I stuck my finger in a light socket!

    After that look grew out, and we’re talking barely three years ago, I decided to perm those short locks and grow out my hair again. That actually wasn’t a bad idea, though I did resemble Shirley Temple with all those tight curls {my hair is naturally wavy, bordering on curly}. Three years later and it’s grown out to my bra strap again and though I’ve cut every single inch of perm out, my hair is “stupid” curly! If I go four days without washing it, my roots are so greasy and my hair becomes straight as a pin…but that could be because I wear it in a messy topknot as it bugs me being long every day.

    I need a fun cut and though I love yours and could show my hairdresser how I want my hair, I’m afraid she’d ruin my hair and I’d be back to wanting to hack it all off and grow it out again.

    Though, that would be freeing…

    Anyway, I really love that look on you! A cut like that makes you look even more gorgeous and your eyes pop. I may slightly envy that you don’t have to wash your hair so often.

  10. I just cut my thick curly hair a tiny bit shorter than yours is right now, at my jawline. I, too, have done several different lengths, bangs, etc., but this is the shortest my hair has ever been and I love it! My favorite hairstyle ever is similar to the last picture you have on here: it was about the same length with sideswept bangs. That was when I was about nineteen, and I have tried to have it cut that one way one time since. My hair texture had changed somewhat and it just didn’t quite work out the second time around. By the way, part of the reason I was drawn to your blog is that your hair looks a lot like mine!

  11. I love it! I am growing mine out after years of shorter styles, and getting used to not having so many curls. I think age and longer hair are making it straighter. Any discussion of hair always makes me remember a comment my grandmother (the master of “veiled” criticism) made years ago. She looked at me intently, and said, “Your hair looks nice.” I thought, “wow!” And then she said, “I suppose that wind-blown look is the style now….” And I relaxed, for all was normal again. :)

  12. You look fab! I can relate with super thick curly/wavy hair! I had grown out my hair pretty far when I realized that if I didn’t grab hold of my goal to donate my hair now, that I’d never get around to it! In late October, I finally crossed it off of my Someday List! And I couldn’t be happier! I loved my long curls – and I got lots of compliments on my hair – but knowing that my 12 inches is going to a brave little girl is way worth it! I’m with you, it might not be my best style ever – but it’s so much fun and super easy! Have fun with your new ‘do!

    1. When I first chopped my hair last August, I got 10 inches that I’m going to donate, but I STILL haven’t done it. It’s in a plastic baggie. I best get to it, eh?

      Good for you! 12 inches is awesome!

  13. I grew my hair out for two years per request of my best friend, so that all of the bridesmaids could have updos for her wedding. Ironically, the day before, she changed her mind and didn’t care. Anyway, I grew my thick, curly hair to just past my bra strap and left it that length for a while. People would comment on my natural curls, etc, and I loved it. Then I got tired of it. I whacked it off to shoulder length but wanted to keep going, so I had it cut again to my jawline. I hated it! It’s back down to shoulder-brushing length now. In fact, it looks like a slightly longer version of yours, and I love it. =)

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