Never sure whether to crop your hair or grow it out? We can help you decide on your best look based on everything from your facial features to your lifestyle. Then, check out the stars who’ve gone from ho-hum to H-O-T with a simple change of hairstyle.
Go Long if You…
Are a wash-and-wear type.
Provided you’re at peace with your hair’s texture — that is, you don’t spend hours blow-drying or curling — long locks can look great even when you don’t have time to do more than shampoo and condition. And if your hair doesn’t dry to your liking, you can always tie it back.
Have particularly pretty hair.
“Bad, nasty hair worn long is unattractive, period,” says star stylist Danilo, echoing a sentiment shared by all the stylists interviewed for this story.
Have thick curls.
“This type is definitely sexier longer,” says Hershberger. “The weight actually keeps it from puffing out,” adds Lorraine Massey, co-owner of NYC’s Devachan salon.
Have strong features — or a big body.
“Long hair softens a strong jawline and diminishes facial roundness,” says Blandi. Similarly, long hair balances out your proportions if you’re tall or big-boned (think Gabrielle Reece and Brooke Shields).
Want to look younger.
Because women tend to go progressively shorter as they grow older, Oribe advises his 30- to 50-year-old clients to keep their hair on the longish side — at least around shoulder-length, which is universally flattering. “Why do what everyone else is doing and end up looking like an old lady before your time?” Keep in mind that if your hair quality isn’t what it used to be, this advice may not hold true for you.
Go Short if You…
Have small features.
“Anyone with a petite mouth and nose looks great with short hair,” says Sally Hershberger, who famously took Meg Ryan short. That said, those secure enough to call attention to their less-than-perfect ears or nose can also pull it off. “Flaunting a quirk is very modern,” says Oribe, Jennifer Lopez’s mane man.
Don’t mind maintenance.
If your hair grows more than half an inch a month, you could end up in the stylist’s seat as often as every four weeks to maintain your short look, says Oscar Blandi, who once cropped Katie Holmes’s hair. Short hair also requires extra work on a daily basis, explains Oribe. “You need to be willing to ‘do’ your do every morning.”
Want to project confidence.
“After a big haircut, most women get an entirely new attitude. It’s empowering to get rid of all that hair. It’s like finally putting away the security blanket,” says Laurent D., the man responsible for shearing Sharon Stone.
Want a “look.”
While long hair is like black clothing — it’s nice, but others forget about it the day after you’ve worn it — short hair is more like a red dress: a style statement that gets you noticed and remembered.
Like to play.
“If you like to change your color and texture often, short hair’s a great option, since you can just cut off the damaged portions as it grows,” notes Hershberger.