Maybe you're one of mil lions of women who admires short hair - on other women.
But you've always heard the conventional wisdom that says short hair looks good only on a select few, generally women with oval faces and delicate features.
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Local hairstylists Holly Brown and Stacy DiJulius, and plenty of other hair professionals, will tell you conventional wisdom may not be so wise. Now that summer's coming, or if you feel you've been in a style rut, this might be a good time to consider a new short style.
With the cutting and styling techniques used today, stylists can make short hair a good look for a majority of women.
"A lot of people assume they can't wear a short haircut because their face is too round or their forehead is too large," says DiJulius, artistic director and owner of John Roberts Spa in Mayfield Heights. "Anyone can wear short hair. It depends on where the stylist is placing the weight of the haircut."
Both DiJulius and Brown, who each charge $100 for a haircut, have spent years perfecting ways to give their clients the perfect haircut. And short hair, they say, works well for most women. It all depends on the specifics of the haircut.
Brown, master stylist at the Ladies and Gentlemen Salon and Day Spa in Mentor, and two of her co-workers - Ken Novak and Kim Goellner - have a patent pending on a process that helps professional hairdressers design the most appropriate haircut for a client, whether she wants short or long hair.
The system, called Integrations, focuses on the shape and size of a client's face and head. The stylists measure the bone structure of a client's head to determine the placement, weight and shape of a haircut most appropriate for her.
"You see yourself two-dimensionally in a mirror, but other people see you from a three-dimensional standpoint. They don't just look at your face," says Brown.
Ruth Roche, owner of RARE NYC, a hair salon and advanced training center in New York, says, "For women who have had a bad short cut, they think that all short hair is bad for them."
Roche, who previously worked as global artistic director of design for Redken in New York, says women and their stylists need to define what short hair means. To one woman, short hair is chin length; to another, short hair is 2-inch layers all over.
Generally, stylists agree that short hair means a style that ends between midear and jawline.
Thanks to advanced haircutting techniques and training, stylists are helping women overcome their short-hair phobias in spite of the constant saturation of long-haired lovelies on television and the big screen.
"The thing about celebrities and long hair is that most people don't realize that celebrities have hairdressers at their fingertips. And a lot of them wear extensions, hairpieces and wigs, many more than you imagine," says Mary Atherton, editor-in-chief of Modern Salon magazine.
Because of this ongoing Hollywood influence, many women equate long hair with glamour. But long hair isn't always so chic, Atherton says.
"It really doesn't look that good on most people," she says. "Most people can't afford the gravity-inducing look that long hair provides. There are some people who look good in long hair, but they are in the minority."
A style for every face
To prove the point, stylists Brown and DiJulius were asked to come up with short, easy-to-care-for summer hair styles for two face shapes: round and rectangular.
Janelle Dietrick, 20, of Perry, has a round face. Leslie Flowers, 30, of Euclid, has more of a rectangular face.
For Dietrick, a hair stylist at Ladies and Gentleman, the decision to go short was a big one. She always had worn her curly hair long. But over the past several months, she began to crop her locks shorter and shorter.
"I closed my eyes," she says of the first cut where she lost about 8 inches in length. Since then, she has cut off even more - the final cut by Brown being the one photographed for this story.
Brown worked with her to create her current look, which features a geometric shape underneath (in the nape and on the sides) and a loose, free-flowing look on top.
Those in the trade call this disconnection, and it's the height of trendiness for summer, DiJulius says.
This particular technique maintains length and weight in specific areas, while the interior is carved or sculpted to provide balance that works with the shape of the client's face and head.
"It enables even clients with very fine hair texture to wear almost any style because it provides a larger range of adaptation," says DiJulius, who gave Flowers her new cut. Flowers, a critical care nurse at Metrohealth, had recently had her shoulder-length hair trimmed by several inches, but now decided to go even shorter.
Since then, Flowers says she's received many compliments.
"I love it - and it's very versatile," she says. "I can get out of the shower, tuck it behind my ears and wear it smooth, and be ready to go. Or I can play with it, spike it up or make it flip out."
Hair styles of the past
Short cuts might be a strong look this summer, but they've also been in and out of fashion throughout history. Sometimes, women who've gone short have even found themselves on the daring side of style.
The Roaring '20s brought the first fashion wave of short hair, when thoroughly modern Millies chopped their long locks and shed their intricate updos in favor of a boyishly cropped bob, a la Hollywood screen sensation Louise Brooks.
It was more than a fashion statement. It was a symbol of liberation.
With the advent of the permanent wave in the 1930s, the sleek bob became fuller and women once again grew their hair, moving from midlength marcel waves to ratted pompadours in the 1940s.
Shorter hair made a return in the 1950s, but it was anything but simple.
The looks were bouffant, back-combed and required intricate roller sets, and much teasing and hairspray to keep them afloat.
Lucille Ball sported the quintessential poodle cut, while Audrey Hepburn's sassy crop with bangs from her Oscar-winning turn in 1953's "Roman Holiday" enhanced her gamin looks and endeared her to the world.
By the 1960s, thanks to three looks - model Twiggy's pixie cut, Vidal Sassoon's signature styles and the shag - short hair became firmly entrenched in the mainstream.
Gold-medal skater Dorothy Hamill had legions of women clamoring for her wedge in the 1970s, Princess Diana's cuts ruled the 1980s, and by the 1990s, women clamored for the close-cropped looks worn by supermodel Linda Evangelista and actress Demi Moore.
Most recently, there's been buzz about chanteuse Celine Dion's new boyish crop designed by celebrity stylist Ken Paves.
Modern Salon's Atherton says she talked with Paves about the singer's new look, which has received mixed reviews, but Atherton says it makes sense.
"It's her working girl haircut," she says. "For her shows in Las Vegas, she has many wig changes, and it helps her make those changes quickly. It's more versatile."
That same kind of versatility easily won over Dietrick - not to mention some of her clients - on short hair, too.
"I've had more fun with it than I've had with long hair," she says. "At work, I have at least three people a day ask for my cut, and people stop me when I'm out, too.
"Anybody can have this hair cut or a different variation of it. And summer is the perfect time to do it."
Suttell is a free-lance writer living in Lakewood.