Social Question

Seek's avatar

How does one choose a haircut?

Asked by Seek (34769points) August 9th, 2016

I’ve never had my hair professionally cut. The closest I’ve ever come was having a friend who was in cosmetology school cut my hair about seven years ago. It was the first haircut after 11 years of religious non-cutting-ness.

Anyway, my hair’s thinned quite a bit in the last couple of years and the length just doesn’t look as good as it used to.

I’m trying to research what the best options are for my kind of hair, but between the eleventy billion affiliate marketing blogs and a thousand monthly magazines trying to pad columns, the amount of contradictory information is baffling.

How do women do this all the time?

Is there a good source for professional information on what hair does when cut one way vs. another?

I’m terrified of commitment. For context I’ve wanted the same exact tattoos for almost ten years and haven’t gone through with any of them yet. Choosing a haircut, I’m sure, won’t take quite that long, but I feel like I’m not making an informed decision yet.

I’m really bad at this whole being a girl thing.

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89 Answers

LornaLove's avatar

Do you really want to cut your hair? Apparently you can take biotin for example and it will assist with thinning hair. Nioxin is also a great shampoo for thinning hair. A good trim which you can do at home can help the straggly ends. Youtube has some great videos of how to trim hair yourself at home.

I guess most women ask their friends who have nice hair cuts, who cut their hair. (That is normally a good indicator of a good hairdresser).

Look at some random photographs of women with hair you like, think about how you dress, i.e. casually? Jeans, or smarter. How much time are you willing to spend on styling your hair and which stylers would you be prepared to buy and use?

As a rule, shorter hair takes more time and maintenance (ironically) as with longer hair you can pull it up into various up styles that look neat at least.

Another thing to consider is your hair health, like you mentioned thick or thin hair and also face shape.

There are tons of ideas of say for example: heart shape face, square and so on.

A messy mid-length style has been a favorite of mine for a while. You can tie it up, you can wear it down and you can either sleek it up or muss it up by using certain products if you are in a hurry.
These days I cut my own hair and do much of the maintenance myself. I find the prices here in the UK just out of this world.

Seek's avatar

I’ve been throwing my hair into a messy bun nearly every day since 10th grade. I need a drastic change.

janbb's avatar

Ask around and get recommendations for a good hairstylist in your area or ask women whose hair you like whom they use. Then go make an appointment with that hairdresser and talk to them about your hair issues and ask them for suggestions on how they might cut it. You don’t necessarily have to commit to them cutting it after the consultation.

ibstubro's avatar

I’m not good at the girl thing, but I recommend doing your research on real people. Just start noticing haircuts that you really, and why you like them. If you see a woman with a really great cut that you think might look good on you, don’t be afraid to approach her. I mean, you’re opening with a compliment!

This week I saw a guy with the exact haircut I want to try – razor cut all around and a little, tiny flip in front. I went up to Jarod (yeah, I asked his name, because I’ll try to earn him brownie points with his barber) and said, “That’s a great haircut. Exactly what I want to try. Is it barber or salon?” He was pleased to tell me. I plan on getting my next haircut there.
BTW? It’s gonna look like spit! I have 4 cowlicks and my hair will permanently look like I feel asleep with it wet. lol I don’t care. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

Last year I asked the boy at the grocery checkout about his haircut and ended up with a razor undercut. I liked it, but the maintenance was too high.

Edit: What @janbb said would have been included if I’d persisted to a WOT. GA

Seek's avatar

This all sounds like it involves a lot of human interaction…

janbb's avatar

^^ Well, you can’t get Fluther to cut it for you. :-) (But you don’t have to go up to strangers if you don’t want to; you can just talk to people you know.)

dappled_leaves's avatar

This is one of those “life things” that I’m finally beginning to feel like I have a handle on. My typical strategy was always to choose one of the top rated salons in my region (factoring in cost, because I’m a starving student). Then, I would call and make an appointment with a person at random. At the appointment, I would tell the stylist what I had done the last time, and how I wanted it to come out this time, based on my feeling about that experience. I’d spend no attention on what the stylist was doing, and I’d always leave feeling like I’d had a sub-par experience.

In the past 6 years or so, I’ve spent more time watching what they do, and asking questions about the work they were doing. I’ve learned that there are perhaps 2–3 cuts that satisfy the requirements I lay out when we meet. These cuts are the same, regardless of who is doing them. Whereas I used to try to passive-aggressively stop them from doing everything they wanted to do to achieve those cuts, now I just let them do whatever they want, and the result is invariably better than I expect.

The takeaway is this: assuming you’re not getting your hair cut in someone’s basement, these are professionals you’re taking your hair to. They are used to hearing specific requests, and they have specific cuts that they will offer to meet those needs. Ask them lots of questions about your hair and what would look good given the quality of your hair and the shape of your face. Then, as long as they appear sane, let them do what they think makes sense. At worst, you will hate it and it will grow out for you to try again. At best, you’ll be surprised to learn what looks good on you.

If you don’t try new things, you’ll still be facing the same conundrum ten and twenty and thirty years from now. If you start being a little bold and experimenting now, you’ll learn what looks good on you and you’ll have the vocabulary to ask for what you want in the future. Be brave.

Oh! And the thing about letting the receptionist choose a stylist for you? There’s Yelp now. Actually look up the reviews for the people who will potentially cut your hair. It helps.

janbb's avatar

@dappled_leaves Your hair looked great!

ibstubro's avatar

I know a woman who has a mannish cut that’s very well done. I have the name of her stylist, but I cringe at the thought of spending an hour getting my hair cut. By a stylist. In a SA-lon.

But, my point being, young men are wearing their hair long again. Don’t limit your search. Hell, if you’re out and you see a guy with a great haircut, make your husband approach him. lol

Once you get the name of a place, and a person, proceed as @janbb suggests.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro ” By a stylist. In a SA-lon.”

Stylist is a word we use when we don’t want to make up a word, like hair-cutter-person. What should we call that person instead? The English language does not permit women to go to BAR-bers or BAR-ber-shops. For women, there is no stigma attached to the words “stylist” or “salon”. Not sure why there should be for men, either. Do you fear someone will confiscate your genitals?

jca's avatar

I have a great hairdresser and I don’t tell him what to do, he just does it, based on my hair type and what he knows I like (I like it long enough that I could put it in a ponytail or bun if I want to).

If I were you, @Seek, I’d go to a hairdresser and tell them your dilemma. You don’t know what to do but you’re looking for a change and something compatible with your thinning hair. Then I would leave it up to them. The great thing about hair is that if you don’t like what they do, it grows back. If you king of like it, you can go back next time with a more solid idea of what you liked about their cut and what you want to be different.

A good friend has been cutting her hair herself for decades. it wasn’t a bad cut but it wasn’t particularly great, either. She just got a gift card to a salon and got a pro cut for the first time in forever. Her hair looks really nice, flattering and has more body than the cuts she used to give herself. That’s the great thing about a good cut. I used to get crappy cuts and my hair never had body. Now my hair has incredible body and I credit my stylist.

A haircut and blow dry takes about a half hour, usually.

I get a trim about every ten weeks. In the area I live in, a good hair cut is about 75 bucks.

BellaB's avatar

I think the key is remembering that it’s hair – you can grow more if you don’t love the results.

Look at people whose hair is the same texture as yours (and whose hair you like) and ask where they go. People tend to like to talk about stuff like that.

I’ve personally found that I do best with stylists/barbers/technicians who are from the Caribbean or the Middle East (or come from very mixed families) as they’re most likely to have family experience with hair like mine (and Setanta’s as well).

__

As a general rule, hair looks thinner as it gets longer (partly because the ends truly have become thinner from just hanging there for a long time) and looks thicker/lusher when it’s shorter.

Getting a really good trim and shaping might be enough to make it look good. You don’t necessarily have to start with a full-on cut if you’re uneasy about that.

____

I’ve gone from short to very long to shaved to long to short to long to short to longish (my current hair situation) many times. Hair can be a fun accessory.

Seek's avatar

Yeah, it’s about mid-back length right now (I’ve done my own trims since that first cut), and I’m looking at a long-ish bob. Something maybe just above shoulder height. I just want something that isn’t going to tempt me to put it up in a ponytail and get it out of the way every day.

BellaB's avatar

Just above shoulder length is a good option. You can still braid it (that’s my one rule – still has to be braidable for swimming and dance class) at that length but it’s short enough to clearly have a style.

ibstubro's avatar

Since when, @dappled_leaves?
“The English language does not permit women to go to BAR-bers or BAR-ber-shops.”

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

What I was taught is to go over the haircut studio’s magazines and pick what I like. I’m stuck on almost bald because I can’t take care of lots of hair and it eventually gets itchy.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

My hair style has changed little over the last few years. It’s a fairly ageless style. However, when I have changed hair style I look at magazines, think about actresses whose hair I like and then I speak to trusted friends and most definitely my hairdresser. Ask your mates who cuts their hair. You need someone who you can trust to tell you the truth and to give good advice. You’re a busy person. You don’t strike me as someone who wants to spend an age blow drying your hair or straightening it (I’m not inclined to do that either), so you need something simple to manage. I’d send you my hairdresser, but it’s a bit far to travel.

I would also ask your doctor about your thinning hair. There must be some reason why that’s happening. Perhaps there’s something you can do to improve the health of your hair.

Seek's avatar

I’m fairly sure the thinning is genetic. My mother’s hair became very thin in her 30s.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

That’s a pain in the neck. Genetics. Who needs ‘em?

If you have a friend and you always admire their hair, ask who their hairdresser is. They can be so hit and miss. I always take photos along with me and point out what I want, what I like and what I don’t like. Don’t do anything too drastic. If you’re going to make a big change, do it gradually. So you have long hair, don’t suddenly go for a pixie cut (not that you’re likely to do such a thing, but I have seen it happen).

JLeslie's avatar

When you see a woman with a hair cut you live ask her who cuts her hair.

Also, look at hair styles online or in a magazine. Just google medium hair length photos. Or, medium hair styles. I think you should go medium with a little bit of layering. Or, just some shaping around the face if the layers might be too much. That way you can still pull it back in a ponytail if you want to. When you look at styles try to evaluate if the model has much thicker hair. If she does it might be difficult to achieve the same look. Your hair doesn’t look very thin to me from what I remember, so I think you can do almost any style.

The big things to know are do you want bangs? I’m pretty sure you don’t. Do you want the bottom to still be heavy and bouncy? Or, chop up the hair more?

If you want to be able to cut it yourself to save money (I cut my hair about half the time) watch what the hair dresser does as she/he cuts. I have my husband cut the back, and then I do the layers and front.

ucme's avatar

You’d suit short with a feathered fringe, unless you have Spock ears…go for it

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Whatever you do, don’t get mom hair.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

See a hairstylist that specializes in thinning hair.

BellaB's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay , that is truly horrendous. I’m glad I don’t see much hair like that around here.

Seek's avatar

Dear gods no.

I like more like, say, Agent Scully.

ibstubro's avatar

Her hair is really full though, @Seek.
A lot of bounce.

Seek's avatar

Sssshhh.

Seek's avatar

Let me dream.

Seek's avatar

I can make my fine hair look reasonably big when necessary.

See?

janbb's avatar

@Seek Your hair is really pretty in that photo. I would consider trimming a few inches or more off all around with maybe some slightly shorter layers toward the front so they can curve around your face.

You could potentially get the Agent Scully look if you are willing to blow dry and shape it a lot but longer and slightly layered might be easier.

ibstubro's avatar

Yeah, but you don’t want looking good to be a daily chore.
You want something that is unfrightening out-of-bed and decent with a brush?

Seek's avatar

I’ll settle for season nine on the daily if I can have season six for going-out nights.

janbb's avatar

You can bring those pics to a recommended stylist but I would suggest maybe a two-step transition. Get it trimmed and layered some first and see how you like that; then if you are feeling emboldened go for the shorter blunt cut.

ibstubro's avatar

Personally? I like season 9 better.
I’m not big on “fixy”.

I respectfully disagree with @janbb. I say Dive In.
Hair grows.
Embolden yourself.

BellaB's avatar

Scully hair is a bit dated. At the time it also seemed like something they did to make Gillian Anderson look older than she really was. Some of her current styles are nice. In this one, it looks like her hair texture might be like yours @Seek

it’s from January of this year

found in

Seek's avatar

Dated, schmated. Do I look like a trendsetter? I’m a nerd.

And yeah, her hair is supersuperdamaged right now. She had to wear a wig for the most recent X Files season because if she’d dyed it red again it all would have fallen out.

Gods, that woman is gorgeous though, isn’t she?

BellaB's avatar

You can be a nerd. I am proud to be a nerd. We can still look like modern nerds :)

She has great bone structure and has stylists who make her high forehead work well. She’s very attractive and can be supersexy when styled.

Seek's avatar

Meh, I’m a history nerd. Anything after Hastings is modern.

cookieman's avatar

Hmmm, smart redhead. Hubba.

Huh? Oh, wha? Um, sorry. I was distracted by your photo @Seek.

BellaB's avatar

@Seek , in that case you might just want to work up some fancy braids :)

BellaB's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay – you’re wicked.

You owe me screen-cleaner.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Bear in mind that as lovely as Special Agent Dana Scully’s hair was.

It was a style from the ‘90’s.

The same can be said of her Donna Karen wardrobe.

Seek's avatar

I solemnly swear to not wear a black pantsuit ever.

Seek's avatar

The 90s is 20 years ago. It’s damn near vintage. Vintage is cool, right?

ibstubro's avatar

Yeah! Everything old is new again.
When I was a kid in the 70’s Happy Days was all the rage.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Vintage is cool, but it’s not time for the pantsuit yet.

What I see on the street for women in New York now is dresses, constructed dresses.

If I had been born a girl I would be wearing my mother’s dresses she wore to the Pentagon in the mid ‘60’s.

janbb's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Aw, what’s stopping you now? :-)

Seek's avatar

Good thing this question is about hairstyles, not pantsuits… Which I already said I’m not interested in, anyway.

Seek's avatar

I’m not terribly interested in dresses, either, for that matter.

ibstubro's avatar

I would so wear a leisure suit if I had one.
Baby blue, 100% polyester.
Well, it’s too hot at the moment, but I’d do leisure in the fall and spring. Rust and cream plaid for fall, baby blue for spring. Or lemon yellow.

This is listed as low maintenance and appears to be an abbreviated version of your current style, @Seek?
Skullyish, low maintenance.
There’s nothing “dated” about it. You might maybe have it cut to part a little more to one side or the other. Or not. Center or near center part seems more versatile to me.

jca's avatar

Both of the styles posted by @ibstubro are really nice!

They might take some dryer action and/or product to get them to look like the pictures, since your hair seems wavy, @Seek.

ibstubro's avatar

Bleh, spit, @jca. Dryer action.
I was trying to find @Seek a towel-and-go option.

But I’m with ya.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

These styles are supposed to help make your hair look thicker. They’d be easy to manage too. And they’d suit your wavy hair.

Seek's avatar

So… I may have committed a cardinal sin… but I just cut my own hair.

Nine inches of length off.

Pictures in the morning when I have some light.

It’s not terribly short. I went conservative in case I frakked up and needed to pay to have it fixed.

It’s blow-dried (took less than five minutes. I timed it.) and feels light and bouncy and fun, but I can still get it back into a jaw clip.

Seek's avatar

I’d say it’s similar to that Lucy Hale photo in @Earthbound_Misfit ‘s link.

I already had Keira Knightley’s and was so beyond sick of stringy hair.

jca's avatar

@Seek: It’s blunt cut or layered?

Seek's avatar

Blunt, basically. I’m not talented enough to make serious layers happen.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

You have wavy hair and that’s not a complicated style. I think it will suit you! Looking forward to seeing the photos.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@janbb

My boss would take me into her office and tactfully object.

jca's avatar

@Seek: Since I’ve been getting layered cuts at age 14, I’ve been watching the hairdressers’ techniques. They comb a vertical section of hair and pull it away from the head and then they cut it on an angle (angle toward the head). The more of an angle the hair is lifted up as, and the more of an angle it’s snipped at, the more layers there are. I put layers in my daughter’s hair so it’s easier to brush and doesn’t get so knotty. If you are interested, you might find videos on Youtube. It’s easy, trust me. If you screw it up, you can always get it repaired at a hairdresser, or by cutting more off bluntly.

Seek's avatar

OK, these are my bathroom-selfie Before and After from last night.

I am beyond overdue for a dye job. I may try the layers thing (beyond the front layers that almost grow naturally – I just keep them under control. My grandma called them “elf-locks” because they refuse to behave), but I’m really enjoying the thick feeling for right now.

Basically I just hacked off nine inches of dead weight. Now I get to play with different ways to wear shorter hair.

janbb's avatar

I like the new length and the elf locks! It’s possible that you might want to get a hair salon trim just to even up the ends at some point. I think blunt is probably best for you if your hair is thinning.

JLeslie's avatar

Looks good. I don’t think you need more layers. You have a nice amount of fullness in your hair.

BellaB's avatar

Definitely better in the after! much better. Live with it for a while – do the colour thing – see how you feel about it. I’d probably have someone chop up the ends a bit in a month or two – give it even more volume and lift.

You did a good thing!

jca's avatar

Good job, @Seek. Refresh the roots and you’re good to go!

ibstubro's avatar

I liked the flatter before better.
I thought the before picture was more flattering to your features because it was flatter.
Can you post a flat after?

I’ve already made clear my distaste for fixy hair, so this comes as no surprise.

Seek's avatar

Um… This ?

I washed my hair this morning, and combed through a palm full of mousse and let it dry. Not “fixy”, just… Done.

Seek's avatar

I really don’t think I’m going to aim to please you if you prefer limp and stringy. That’s exactly what I’m trying to get rid of.

BellaB's avatar

Oooh! that is great @Seek . I was looking at something about Rose Byrne earlier today. Thought your hair could be something like that – and there it is in the not fixy but done pic.

Very nice.

Seek's avatar

Thank you, Bella. <3

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t want you to aim to please me.
I want to help you please yourself.
I think the latest pic is the best yet.

BellaB's avatar

@Seek – how is the new do holding up?

___

and… thought of you when I heard (about 20 minutes ago) that Gillian Anderson is filming American Gods about a 10 minute walk from us

ibstubro's avatar

I’m thinking about a flat-top today.
Should I go for it?

Seek's avatar

@BellaB – dyed it a few days ago, and the color has normalised. Henna is super orange for a few days, then oxidises to red.

I’m going to a concert tonight, so pics later. :-)

BellaB's avatar

@ibstubro , you wear skinny jeans. Of course you should go for the flat-top.

Have fun tonight @Seek – and yes – new pic!

Seek's avatar

Well, here is a pic.

My plans fell through, though, because my brother is an unreliable dickhead. So, all dressed up and nowhere to go.

BellaB's avatar

Perfect eyeliner and all! I like the semi-retro vibe going on there. A Game of Their Own done new millenium :)

https://redheadatthemovies.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/968full-a-league-of-their-own-screenshot.jpg

Baseball movies are on my mind as WP Kinsella died today.

Seek's avatar

I do love me some Geena Davis.

ibstubro's avatar

I didn’t get my haircut today, @BellaB.
I’ll seek your flattop in the morn.
Thanks. I actually went to the $14 barber boy today, and he was closed upon my arrival.
We will now change course entirely. $10 flattop.
You and I.
Together.
Forever.
We won’t tell @setana. He’s not on this Q.

jca's avatar

Great pic @Seek.

BellaB's avatar

@ibstubro , you can wear your skinny jeans. I’ll wear my Carhart overalls. Pinky swear friends.

ibstubro's avatar

Pinky swear, @BellaB!
I nearly stopped for that flat-top this morning.

BellaB's avatar

It hasn’t happened yet? it’ll be too cold soon.

ibstubro's avatar

I had the $14 boy cut it super short again.
I wear a ball cap, but you’re right.

BellaB's avatar

I’m already making sure I know where my trapper hats are. Supposed to be a cold winter.

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