Can You Pull Off Short Hair? Here’s How to Find Out

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Do you like experimenting with new hairstyles? We want to emphasize just how much of an impact changing up your hair will have on your ENTIRE appearance — do not underestimate it. Sometimes the results are spectacular, sometimes they’re lock-yourself-in-a-room terrible.

If you get the wrong cut you’ll have to wait months until it grows back to a decent length again so it’s a pretty good idea to be as confident as you can be with your decision going forward.

This is why every woman considering whether to go short with their hair needs to do their research and find out the types of hairstyles that work best for them before the scissors even get anywhere close to your head.

Short hairstyles can be pulled off but unfortunately not by everybody. We’re going to help you figure out if they’re right for you.

But first: How short are we talking about here? For the purpose of this guide, we’ll consider a short hairstyle anything that falls above shoulder length. So if it isn’t long enough to touch your shoulders, we’re considering it short.

Now let’s take a look at three very important factors you should consider:

Face Shape, Hair Type, and Body Type

First let’s take a look at face shape. It’s one of the two most important factors that determine whether a hairstyle will look good on you along with your hair type (another name for its texture).

If you haven’t already, we strongly encourage you to go here and try your best to determine what shape your face is. It isn’t that important to precisely match a shape perfectly just find one or two you most closely resemble. Also, if you haven’t already, we highly recommend reading the first part of our hairstyle series for women which gives an in-depth introduction to everything we talk about here and will walk you through the steps to finding a hairstyle that best suits you.

Anyways, when it comes to shorter hairstyles, oval shapes have the best chance of pulling them off. Because they have what most people consider “ideal” proportions, oval faces are the most versatile of any face shape and can pull off nearly any style relatively easily.

If you have an oval face, choosing the right short hairstyle for you will be a matter of preference.

As for the other shapes…

If you have a round, square or even heart face shape consider yourself lucky because other than oval, they usually pull off short hairstyles better than the remaining shapes. Often times when women with these face shapes go short their hairstyle contributes to create an attractive cute and girly appearance (and usually looks great if paired with glasses).

The face shapes that can pull off short hair - round, square, and heart.
(Left to Right): The Round, Square, and Heart Face Shapes

The most important misstep to avoid is any short hairstyle that adds too much width to your head.

When it comes to pulling off any type of hairstyle, not just short, you’ll get the best results when your hair helps balance out your natural features and proportions. So with a shorter faces shape, you want your hair to help elongate your face while with the longer shapes, you want your hair to help widen them out.

Another common problem when these shapes try going short is the “helmet” head look. This happens when your hair lies flat and makes your head appear even rounder and shorter than it already is.

Pixie cuts and other boyish styles are the biggest culprits here. It’s not that these hairstyles can’t be pulled off but it’s important that whatever style you choose makes the use of bangs to help create some angularity and break up the helmet look. Try sweeping them to the side for an added effect and keep the hair slightly longer on top than the sides to de-emphasize width.

Short hair that goes past the chin a couple inches would be best for these shapes. Try out a longer bob and smartly make the use of bangs for a gorgeous look.

As for the longer shapes like diamond, triangle, and oblong, when going short you want the opposite of what we talked about above by going with something that’ll create width and avoid making your face appear overly “stretched” out lengthwise.

The longer face shapes for short hair - diamond, triangle, and oblong.
(Left to Right): The Diamond, Triangle, and Oblong Face Shapes

The worst short hairstyles for these shapes are the edgier, pompadours and other slicked back looks. This is because they make the face appear even longer than it already is which throws their proportions off balance. It’s also a good idea to avoid bobs that go well past the chin for the same reason — they also elongate the face too much.

That said, bangs still work well here because longer faces also tend to have larger foreheads. Side swept bangs will help cover them up a bit creating a more balanced look. A part at the side also works great for these shapes.

Any short hairstyle that still retains some volume will do you good. Try curling your hair and adding some waves if you have fine or straight hair to help with this.

Speaking of which that brings us to the next factor…

The Best Hair Type For Short Hair

Out of all the different hair types, curly hair has the toughest time of pulling off shorter styles. This is because they tend to “pouf” up and get frizzy which easily gets problematic. It’s not impossible to go short, but make sure you’re working with a stylist who knows what they’re doing.

For similar reasons, coarse and thick hair can also be troublesome because like curly hair, these hair types need length to help weigh them down.

Straight and fine hair pulls off short styles pretty well. Their also the easiest types to maintain when going short. The only thing to look out for is to make sure your hair doesn’t fall completely flat so you can avoid the helmet look we mentioned above. Adding a volumizer to your hair care routine would be a good idea if you have this hair type especially if your face is on the longer side.

For the most part, wavy hair is the absolute best type for going short. Being the middle ground between straight and curly, wavy hair seems to get the best of both worlds. The waves naturally add an interesting feature to short hair making almost any style easier to pull off. Pixie cuts also work the best with this hair type and it’s the ideal texture for those with longer faces to have if they want to go short.

Overall, wavy and short is a winning combination in our books.

Body Type

Body type isn’t something that gets much attention when choosing a hairstyle because for the most part it isn’t that big of a deal but short hair really amplifies its importance.

Here are some physical traits that work well with short hair:

  • A long, thin, neck
  • A well defined jawline
  • Narrow shoulders
  • A petite, thin body type (works especially well with a pixie cut)

Physical traits that don’t work as well are basically the opposite so in this case:

  • A short neck
  • Extra weight kept around the neck and/or face
  • Broad shoulders
  • A tall, heavier body type

Here’s why height is a difference maker:

The idea is to maintain balance between the top half of your body and the bottom half. That’s why taller women in general have more trouble going short because it minimizes the top while placing more emphasis on the bottom, making the body look unproportionate. We think longer hair is the way to go with taller women. Still, it’s not impossible because you don’t have to have all of the traits listed above to pull off short hair.

If you check off three or more for physical traits that work well with short hair then go ahead. If you split them 2 and 2 (for example you have a thin neck and a defined jaw but you’re tall and have broader shoulders) it’s basically a toss up but you still have a good chance of pulling it off.

At the end of the day, remember that these are all just general suggestions. There are no hard rules here so take everything case by case.

The “Forgotten” Factor

Face shape, hair texture, and body type are great but do you know what the secret X-factor is for short hair?


Always consider your lifestyle and personality when choosing a hairstyle– no matter what length of hair you’re going for.

And always consider what your hairstyle is communicating about you.

Some short hairstyles are associated with a more independent and free-spirit type of attitude. Others can help create a conservative, almost introverted type of look (especially if paired with glasses).

The shorter you go and the more unconventional your hairstyle, the more these traits shine through. It also suggests you’re more willing to try new things and aren’t afraid to stand out since these types of styles aren’t as common as longer hair.

If you want an edgy and more alternative style of short hair ask yourself and be honest: Is this you? Do you have the attitude to pull these styles off and handle the attention they bring? Are you naturally someone who stands out or is that just not you?

Whether you feel confident or not sporting a particular style will be a big factor in determining whether it’ll look good on you or not. If it doesn’t help bring you “out” and instead encourages you to “retreat”, it’ll be best to try something else.

A Few More Things To Note:

  • Bobs and shags are the easiest short hairstyles to pull off. Nearly anyone can look good with a longer bob that reaches a bit past the chin. Pixie and other boyish looking cuts are harder to pull off. Edgier, alternative styles are the hardest.
  • Short hair will need trimming for upkeep every 4-6 weeks especially to maintain bangs. Take this into account because if you can’t devote time to look after your hair, it won’t look as good if it’s a higher maintenance style.
  • If you’re able to, try photo-shopping yourself with shorter hair to see how it looks. You can also try using a sharpie or a marker on a photo of you and basically scribble out the lower parts of your hair to help visualize what you’ll look like if it was short.

So… what do you think? Have any questions or things you’re unsure of? Ping us on Pinterest and be sure to follow us there too if you found this helpful!

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