Whether sophisticated and androgynous or soft and gamine, the best pixie cut can be adapted and styled to suit any individual mood. Popularized in the 1950s by actors Audrey Hepburn and Jean Seberg as part of a visual rejection the long locks of their bombshell counterparts—and a want of European sophistication—pixie cuts have remained a symbol of nonconformity. The crop launched the career of supermodel Linda Evangelista in the late ’80s, thanks to the wizardry of French hairstylist Julien d’Ys, but makes an equally strong statement when interpreted for the feminine ingénue (think Mia Farrow and Emma Watson).
These days, the modern pixie cut is all about subversive, idiosyncratic style, as demonstrated by the likes of Teyana Taylor, Taylor Hill, and Iris Law. “The general vibe of the pixie cut now is cool girl.” says hairstylist Rio Sreedharan, a go-to of Law’s. “Everyone wants to look cool, chic, and a little more grungy.” The takeaway? If you’re thinking of taking the lack-of-length leap, you’re in fantastic company.
Here, everything you need to know about the pixie cut, according to the experts.
Are pixie cuts in style for 2023?
“The pixie cut has been an iconic style throughout the years,” says hairstylist George Northwood. “It’s now very of the moment once again, we saw lots of variations of the style coming down the runways at the autumn/winter 23 shows.” In addition, models like Law and Hill are proving that the style need not be reserved for a certain set or style. Still, the classics offer a worthy starting point. “Personally, I’m a fan of the ’90s take on the pixie—think Winona Ryder and Princess Diana—who both had very wearable versions with a slightly longer fringe and more texture,” says Northwood.
What’s the difference between a pixie cut and short hair?
While short hair is a key characteristic of the pixie cut, not all short hair styles are classified as pixies. “The pixie has a very feathery texture,” says Kumi Bella, creative stylist at John Frieda Salon. “It’s cut close to the head and is about 5 centimeters all over.” That said, not all pixie cuts look the same and that’s down to fringe length, whether it’s micro a la Mia Farrow or more grown out, like the punk-ish iterations rocked by Kristen Stewart.
What should you consider before getting a pixie cut?
As with any hair style there are a few things to take into account before making the cut. “Consider your face shape, hair type, and how drastically your styling regime will change once you opt for a pixie cut, as these will be factors at play in committing to your new style,” says hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. The best pixie cuts are those that require the least maintenance and can be easily switched up to suit your look. If in doubt, start with a consultation. “My main number one tip is to start long and gradually go short,” says Sreedharan. “Style it choppy and shattered to give it a soft, feminine look.”
What face shape looks best with a pixie cut?
Getting the best pixie cut for your face shape is key here. Generally speaking, and as the name might suggest, the style is usually suited to those with more angular face shapes and pixie-esque features. Although it works well for oval, round, and heart-shaped faces, too.
After that, it becomes about balance. “If you’ve got quite pronounced features, you might want to go with something softer,” says Northwood. “Whereas if you have a bit of a baby face, you would likely be able to carry off a more blunt, sharper version.” Alternatively, if you’re into a more androgynous vibe, the angular version may be for you. Styling matters, too! “I love a greasy wet, gelled, pixie look,” says Sreedharan. “Very undone, nothing to groomed, and as close to natural texture as possible to maintain the look.”
Do pixie cuts make you look older or younger?
The best thing about pixie cuts is their versatility and the fact that they work on all ages. “Personally, I feel the older/younger ideology is a big misconception,” says Marlon Hawkins, artistic director of Brooks and Brooks “It’s not about a haircut—it’s about a style, texture, feeling. All things that keep an individual modern and comfortable whilst giving self-confidence is the most important.”