Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hair Apparent

Charlize Theron looking every inch the star

Thank you, Charlize Theron, for reminding me why I love short hair and Why It's Worth It. "Ha! (I can hear you now) Short hair is trouble?" Well, let me tell you, like the San Francisco earthquake, the further you are from your last haircut, the closer you are to the next. Should you dare go beyond the limit that your hair takes to grow, you will find your head under a baseball cap, beret or sombrero.

Don't think every hair grows at the same rate either. What starts out evenly all the way around ends up in tufts like a cut-rate chia pet. Short-haired gals are delusional in thinking they can nip away at their heads. "How hard could it be? My stylist makes it look so easy!" Conclusion: small scissors should not be allowed in the homes of the pixie cropped.

Speaking of stylists, if you haven't had to, searching for someone who A) will cut it as short as you want, B) understands how to cut short hair and C) doesn't charge an arm and a leg is quite the quest. I followed Tony from borough to borough all over New York City as I was convinced only he could cut my hair, all the while listening to his tales of woe. When he disappeared for good I went to a Celebrity Stylist to the Stars (at least I once saw Lauren Bacall in his salon) and even my local neighborhood barber (a pretty good cut for $12).

A Shortened History of Short Hair

Zizi Jeanmaire
Zizi Jeanmaire is a French ballet dancer (and widow of choreographer Roland Petit). She rose to prominence in the early 1950s after appearing as the title character in a ballet of Carmen. Her post-war pixie was the first I remember seeing. It struck me then—as now— as being Essentialy French. Zizi is 88 today. I wonder if she still has the haircut.

 La Audrey
Audrey Hepburn is thought of as the Uber Gamine, but in reality she wore her hair short for only a short time (and it wasn't even that short). From "Roman Holiday" in 1953 to "Ondine" on Broadway to "Sabrina" then back short in 1967 for "Two for the Road".

Jean Seberg
Discovered on a talent search by Otto Preminger, Jean had her locks shorn for his film "Saint Joan". The film wasn't a great success, but the haircut was. She kept it for "Breathless" and "Bonjour Tristesse". Jean Seberg's life was not a happy one. I read whenever she felt she needed a boost, she cut her hair back to the chopped crop of happier times.

Twiggy's haircut embodied the spirit of the '60s "Dolly Bird"— childlike, a little androgynous and gloriously free. No one pulled it off as well as she did, of course, except maybe...

Mia Farrow
The story goes that Mia didn't tell her new husband Frank Sinatra that she was going to cut her hair for "Rosemary's Baby". When he saw it he was not pleased, and the marriage ended soon after.

Charlize in a previous short look
This is not the first time Charlize Theron has gone short. That may have been about ten years ago, according to the clippings in my bulging file of Memorable Short Hair. We'll see how long she keeps it going (or keeps it cut). Both then and now part of the look is the great play of light and dark that her roots give the cut. Another shout-out to Charlize right there.

I met my now and forever stylist, Faye, in a bank. That is to say, I admired the hair on one of her clients who was also banking. I won't have to tell her I want my hair to look like Charlize Theron's because it does already. I may have to tell Charlize that— if she needs one— I have a great stylist for her.


  1. My hairdresser never cuts my hair the way I want it unless I get really assertive with him. He thinks women should never have shorter than shoulder length hair. Unfortunately he is one of the few Korean hairdressers who both speaks English and has experience cutting western hair. If I could find a non-sexist English speaking hairdresser in Seoul I would switch salons in a flash.

  2. I wish I knew someone for you! Maybe Tony has made it to Korea... Good luck searching!

  3. What a lovely selection. I've never had a pixie crop -just wouldn't suit me - but it's a great haircut. Charlize looks fab (and so do you!)

  4. I would love to have hair like that, I think being seriously beautiful or strong featured is a prerequisite however!

  5. It's really a personality thing. A pixie, especially one seriously spiked or tossed, needs some moxie to pull off.

  6. Love the title! Made me laugh!

    I had very short hair for a period of my youth, but succumbed to the belief that "guys like girls with long hair".... But I agree with Fab Forty -- you need good bone structure, which Charlize has (and from your pictures so do you). It's not fair that you jump out of the shower, having used a tiny amount of shampoo, and fluff your hair and out you go, whereas the rest of us have to do battle with hair dryers, curling irons, etc. The whole hair thing takes at least half an hour more than it takes you... not fair!

  7. Short hair rocks in my humble opinion.
    My name is Garry and I've been cutting hair since I was fourteen. Fortunately, I had an aunt that was a hairdresser and she encouraged me to learn the art and craft of hairdressing. My livelihood has been about cutting and coloring for the last 30 years or so, with the good fortune to have had a couple of other kinds of work. This revealing prelude is to let you know that I looked ahead and figured I would have to use the ANONYMOUS button to publish this note.
    As for the reason for my writing you, a friend of mine introduced me to your blog. I have read several of your posts and have enjoyed them. This post, of course, is about short hair and my belief is that many more women should wear short hair.
    'Everything has been done before. We just arrive at these styles in a (possibly) more modern manner,' I am paraphrasing the remarks of a nationally known educator in the world of hair. He is right, in my humble opinion. However, what is happening with the trend for longer hair for women of every age really baffles me. It amazes me that women in their sixties can let go of their color processes and grow their length to below the shoulders! Don't these women look in the mirror? Don't they have friends that could tell them those straight lines running vertically along their face is aging? My frustration is that this trend seems to be neverending.
    I look forward to the days when young women can wear their long hair and look like a sweet Daddy's girl -- and when women in their forties and up will take the plunge into a low maintenance, shorter style (at or above the shoulders)(which will help them look younger). My design work is about shapes which attempt to accentuate the great qualities of my client's head, face, and hair. Of course, the overall lifestyle and height/weight proportions need to be taken into account regarding a great look. One of my goals as a stylist is to help my clients not be a slave to their hair.
    Yes, wearing a gorgeous haircut like Charlize Theron requires someone with the confidence to wear it well. It is my opinion, that the process can be quite freeing!
    Ms. Braverman, thank you for allowing me to add my thoughts regarding your post. Bravo, too, Ms. Braverman, for writing this special article.

  8. You certainly sound knowledgeable and dedicated to helping all women look beautiful. Bravo to you as well.