You’d never expect something with such a dainty name to have as much klout. But that’s exactly the case with the pixie haircut—a super short ’do worn by women that, in our humble opinion, almost always creates a drastic life change for the wearer, whether they realize it or not.
Equal parts innocent and audacious, it’s one of the most head-turning hairstyles we’ve seen to date.
The cut, which features a short back and sides with the hair on the top and crown left longer, has been around since the 1950s and has become iconic in its own right. Dubbed as the hairstyle for women looking to overhaul their image (or to change their life, as famously said), the pixie haircut has the ability to both empower and feminize your look, depending on how you style it. Women who favor the pixie haircut are usually regarded as bold and strong-willed—there’s something to be said for not hiding behind a whole sheath of hair, after all. And honestly, what’s more fearless than letting your personality—or killer cheekbone area—speak for itself?
Read on for a breakdown of our favorite pixie haircuts and how to make them work for your personal style:
How to Style a Pixie Haircut
1. Piecey bangs
On the shorter end of the spectrum lies the piecey pixie, which has as its hallmark a choppy fringe along the hairline. Most flattering on round and oval faces and those with a wide forehead, this haircut gained popularity in the 1990s and had a lot of celebrities sporting the baby-bangs trend. Choose this version if you want an edgier style and have a bit more time to spare for some styling with a texturizing cream, like Bed Head by TIGI Manipulator Cream.
2. Floppy layers
Also a style that gained ground with supermodels in the 1990s, a pixie with longer, volumized layers on the crown was the go-to power haircut for women asserting their independence in fashion and the workforce. If you have an oval or triangle-shaped face you’ll find that this version works best for your features, as it provides some width where you need it. This look is best styled with a frizz-fighting mousse, such as TRESemmé Climate Protection Mousse, spread throughout the lengths and blowdried with a round brush.
3. Neat and gamine
One of the most iconic iterations of the pixie haircut, this version features a clean, shiny crop on the back and sides, with the top kept relatively neat and across the hairline. Famously worn by ingénues in the 1960s, this wash-and-wear version puts the spotlight on doe eyes and a clear, pretty forehead area. It’s also easily styled with some light hair gel effortlessly raked through (and subsequently forgotten), like Nexxus New York Salon Care Diametress Body Gel Spray.
4. Shiny and side-swept
An undeniably glamorous variation of the pixie entails blowing out the longer layers and wearing them on an angle on the forehead, and even tucking longer strands behind the ears. The backs of the hair can also be bodified, creating a mod-looking faux beehive effect. Otherwise, a neat, shiny version is classy enough to go from the supermarket to the red carpet (no, really): The difference is just some volumizing spray, like Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Volumizing Weightless Blow Dry Spray, blowdried through the crown.
5. Curly pixie
Women who want to keep their natural texture can also wear the pixie haircut, as it wears well with curls as it does with straighter hair. Ask your stylist for a short cut that follows the direction of your cowlick and curl pattern, and blowdry hair in a downward motion to keep the strands from poufing up. A wave-enhancing cream like TRESemmé Make Waves Shaping Gel Cream can maximize your ringlets without the frizz.
6. Punky side-shave
The pixie gets more street than sweet when worn with longer bangs, with an all-over grit imparted by shaved sides. This cutting edge look is awesome on ladies with great bone structure and heart-shaped faces. Play up the gauche factor with a wax or paste, such as Bed Head by TIGI Manipulator Matte, applied all throughout.
Which pixie haircut style are you bold enough to try?