Spring to Summer: Short Hairstyles
If you love the clean, sexy look of shorter hair but don’t have the unearthly cheekbones of Halle Berry or Victoria Beckham to rock a pixie, you’ll be thrilled with the trends in spring hairstyles and summer do’s. Choppy, shoulder-length styles are coming into vogue -- witness Ashley Olsen’s artfully tousled locks, Gwyneth Paltrow’s edgy long bob or Amber Valleta’s versatile chop -- and the longer length means a fresh silhouette with many styling options.
The No-fuss Hairstyle Makeover
The choppy, shoulder-length hairstyle is a longer bob whose ends are cut in a jagged way, specifically tailored to each face. The hairstyle is a shorter version of the loose, carefree waves that so many stars, like Blake Lively, are wearing. “You only need to cut five or six layers off long hair to get this look,” says stylist Byron Williams of Byron and Tracy Salon. Williams points to Paltrow’s evolution from middle-of-the-back hair to a just-above-the-shoulder cut. “It’s a safer choice than most short do’s because it’s easy to grow back if you want, so you get a nice pop of change without too much of a commitment,” he says.
Not only is the longer choppy bob more forgiving than a pixie, it’s also more polished than long hair. “Long hair will never go out,” says Williams, who has tended the tresses of Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie and Drew Barrymore. “But stars are trying out this look because it’s fresher, classier. It feels more put together and edgier at the same time.”
The shorter locks work well with spring’s barer silhouettes too. “When the sun comes out, you want to clean up a little bit,” says Shai Amiel of Capella Salon in Studio City, Calif. “You peel off your clothing layers, and with shorter hair, you can flash the skin on your back. This look is fun and playful, carefree but sophisticated too.”
Hairstyle Tweaks for Your Face Shape
- Round face Opt for a middle part and longer bangs that frame the face to create the illusion of a face that’s more oval.
- Narrow face A side part will make your face appear wider, as will shorter bangs and jagged layers that range from chin length to shoulder length.
- All face shapes An asymmetrical version of this style works equally well with narrow, round and oval faces. Ashley Olsen sports a good example of this slightly off-kilter cut: Her hair is parted in the middle with longer bangs on one side of her face.
How to Style the Look
For Olsen’s bohemian take on the style, start with day-old hair, which often has more body. Rub a dime-sized dab of shine serum in the palm of your hands and rub all over your hair. Scrunch small handfuls of your tresses and warm with a diffuser or a blow-dryer set on low. Use a large-barrel curling iron to smooth ends, taking care to not create uniform waves or too much curl. The look should feel idiosyncratic and carefree -- not overly polished and styled. Finish with a light spray.
Amiel suggests playing with braids for another great daytime look. Pull small random sections from the back of your hair and braid them. “The tiny braids will poke through and play on your shoulders -- it’s a really cool look,” he says. Plus, leave the braids in while you sleep, and you can undo them the next morning for a wavy style.
How to Fake It
Eva Longoria and Sandra Bullock are long-haired stars who have taken this look for a test drive without cutting their tresses. If you have long-layered hair and want to try out the choppy bob, gather the back ends of your hair and roll inward toward the nape of your neck, suggests Amiel. Secure with bobby pins. Pull out random layers from the front to frame your face and from the back to create the jagged look. “Low commitment and lots of fun,” says Williams. “That’s the best part of this look.”
Alison Singh Gee is a former style features writer for People magazine who has also written about fashion, beauty and design for InStyle and Marie Claire. She is the author of two books, including the upcoming memoir The Peacock Sings for Rain.