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Should You Cut Your Hair Short?

Cosmo had an interesting article on how to know whether short hair would flatter your face or whether you’re better off with long hair.  You are supposed to take a ruler and place it under the tip of your ear lobe.  Then you are supposed to take a pencil and place it horizontally under your chin.  If they intersect at 2 1/4 inches, you’d look great with short hair.  But if it’s over 2 1/4 inches, you’re supposed to keep your hair longer.

This sounded easy and scientific.

I went to the bathroom mirror with a ruler.  Problem #1: the ruler was clear; a bit of swag from NASA.  Hey, NASA, I know you’re focused on outer space and all, but people may need to measure their earlobe to chin distance one day.  I had to place a post-it note behind the ruler.

Problem #2: I placed the pencil against my chin bone.  Then I moved it back a bit so it was under the chin.  Then I moved it forward again.  I couldn’t decide where to rest the pencil.  We were talking about fractions of an inch so placement of the pencil makes a huge difference.

Problem #3: The pencil and the ruler didn’t intersect.  At all.  The pencil was a good two inches in front of the ruler since my ear was farther back than my chin.  I couldn’t make these two pieces of office equipment align.  If I had to guesstimate, I would say that it looked like it might be 2 1/4 inches.  But… that isn’t very scientific.

So the short answer is that I have no clue whether or not I would look good with short hair.

How about you?  Do you pass the short hair face test?


1 andy { 07.07.15 at 8:03 am }

I don’t know about these measurements, but I’ve had the same hair cut for nearly 30 years – except that foolish time I let it grow out for 2 years. Shaved with a number 2 guard on the sides and number 3 on top, with a fringe of bangs. I rock short hair.

2 anks { 07.07.15 at 8:39 am }

Does the article say what to do if they do not intersect? Go bald? Asking coz mine did not intersect as well!!!

3 KeAnne { 07.07.15 at 10:03 am }

That sounds complicated…After years of having short hair, I have grown my hair long again mainly due to laziness. I do wonder if I look silly. Oh well.

4 Ana { 07.07.15 at 10:28 am }

short hair is much higher maintenance—needing regular cuts, styles, etc.. and I’m lazy, so I don’t care what the ruler says.

5 Rachel { 07.07.15 at 10:36 am }

Huh I did it the first time and got exactly 2 1/4 inches – but then I read the rest of your post about them not intersecting and tried again and I can’t make them intersect now…I think we’re all thinking too much into it. I say that if you cut it short, and hate it, OR if you refuse to cut it short at all, then you should wear it long and if you cut it short and love it, or always wear it short, then you should wear it short. 🙂

6 deathstar { 07.07.15 at 11:31 am }

This question is best answered with a quick look at my big round head and big round face. Longer. Of course, I am in the habit of using extensions and ponytails and such that distract me from wondering about the meaning of life.

7 Jenn { 07.07.15 at 1:26 pm }

I’ve been shaving my head the majority of 15 years. Cosmo would probably say my ears stick out too much for this haircut and I should probably grow it out and start dying my greys and wearing makeup… oh well, I look good bald.

8 torthuil { 07.07.15 at 2:20 pm }

Haha, too funny. For me this is overthinking it way too much (although I know you are writing tongue in cheek). I’ve had short hair, long hair and everything in between. I liked all the styles (and was complimented on them) until I wanted something different and they I got something different. I say do whatever you want with your hair for whatever reason you want. Mix it up, trying something new (or don’t). Bottom line, it grows back anyway. I think choosing a hairstyle should be the one of the lowest pressure decisions in life. Save the angst and wondering for getting a tattoo, or a major unavoidable life event. 🙂

9 Valery Valentina { 07.07.15 at 3:03 pm }

I love long hair. Natural hair in natural colour.

10 Erin { 07.07.15 at 7:46 pm }

Why didn’t I see this before I cut my hair short?!? I did it about a week ago, and I can honestly say it looks terrible. And I can tell by the reactions I’m getting from other people, too, that it really does look awful. Should have taken the test.

11 Kimberly { 07.07.15 at 7:49 pm }

I didn’t test it, but I just chopped it off. Told my hairdresser that I was ready for short, like 4 days after my wedding, and haven’t looked back. If anything, I keep getting shorter.

But I’m also the girl that went from hair down to my butt at graduation then promptly cutting it to my chin a few days later. At my wedding it was down to my elbows and then I went to my ears and layered. Now I’m a little bit longer than a pixie cut cause the pixie cut is just too short for me. Some are emotionally attached to hair, I’m not. I usually walk into my hairdressers and tell her to try something fun. I take off my glasses and they stay off til she’s done and we have had a lot of fun. Lots of fun colors, (green, red, purple, pink, orange) and I let her pick styles that suit me and my listyle (as in the less work needed, the better).

12 Karen (formerly Serenity) { 07.07.15 at 8:34 pm }

I didn’t test it either; I just cut it. I love it short and will likely never wear it long again.

13 Mali { 07.07.15 at 10:01 pm }

I’ve had short hair most of my life. I grew it longer, for about six years, but it was so time-consuming, I cut it all off. And I’ll keep it cut off. Long hair is much harder to maintain for me – I have thick, wavy hair. I’m comfortable with it short. Which is good, because I just did the measurements, and yes, it seems short hair is for me!

Can I say that this seems a very American issue? (Or it seems that way to me.) There seems to be more of a stigma about short hair in the US than other places I’ve travelled/have friends etc. Though the number of responses here from people with short hair made me want to cheer!

14 Queenie { 07.08.15 at 6:01 am }

I don’t think there is a stigma Against short hair in America. I think long hair is considered sexy, but there is huge diversity in womens’ hairstyles. Conversely, there were basically no women with short hair when we were living in South America–long and straight is considered attractive there, and pretty much no one broke the mold. It kind of freaked me out that “beautiful” was so homogenous, actually.

This is so timely. I need a haircut!

15 Lexy { 07.08.15 at 6:01 am }

I’m too lazy for the maintenance of short hair. My hair is lucky if it gets cut twice a year. Can’t do that with short hair.

16 Middle Girl { 07.08.15 at 7:49 am }

Simple and science…hmm.

I don’t fit any of that which constitutes beauty in America and am certainly not Cosmo’s demographic. Still, our culture idolizes (and in my opinion, obsesses over) hair. If it is going to be short it better dang well be sassy and sexy.

Whatevs. . .

I cut my hair short a few years ago for ease of care, freedom frm the shackles that is hair upkeep. Freedom. I look better mostly because I feel better.

17 Middle Girl { 07.08.15 at 7:52 am }

I say whatevs now…but it had been a constant source of discord between me and family members. The “whatevs” womany you virtually see before you has survived the wars.

18 illustr8d { 07.08.15 at 9:25 am }

I don’t need to do this because I have the real life results of looking like garbage every time I cut my hair shorter than shoulder length. And every time I look at those pictures, I think, “What were you thinking?

19 Jaime { 07.08.15 at 9:37 am }

This is how I determine whether or not to cut my hair: Is it hot? If yes, then where are the scissors? Oh here they are! Ta-da! 🙂

20 Regina { 07.08.15 at 12:39 pm }

That sounds complicated to do. I’ve had long hair for years; every time I cut it I immediately regret it, so I’ve been keeping it long ever since.

21 Jess { 07.08.15 at 7:00 pm }

That is a crazily intricate setup! I couldn’t find a ruler, and I don’t trust that I could get the pencil straight. I’m going to assume that truly short hair, above-the-earlobe short hair, is not for my round face. Or my ginormous head. I had it in 8th grade, and it was NOT a good look. I just need to look at those pictures to know!

22 loribeth { 07.09.15 at 8:27 pm }

I can’t be bothered to fiddle with a ruler. 😉 I had longish hair in high school & through university. Then I came to graduate school in southern Ontario, where I lived in an old house with no air conditioning. Summers were hot where I grew up, but it would generally cool off at night, and I’d never experienced constant humidity like this. :p My thick, heavy hair didn’t help (even in a ponytail). One of my classmates had a wonderful short cut that I admired, & I asked for the name of her hairdresser. 😉 That was more than 30 years ago, and my hair has been short every since then — longer at times over the years, sometimes permed (!), but never past my collar. It’s not quite as versatile as long hair, but it feels better & it’s much easier to care for. I used to spend half an hour blowdrying and curling my long hair. I rarely use my blowdryer these days, except maybe on the coldest day in winter if I’m heading out & my hair is still wet. I just put in some mousse, comb & fluff it into place & off I go. 🙂

There does seem to be a mystique around long hair in our society. I wish we had more celebrity role models with short hair. I recently read an article (in the NY Times, I think), about how the preferred style among young girls these days is not only for long hair, but long hair that is stick straight — and how mothers are indulging this obsession by regularly taking their daughters to salons to have their hair blown out straight. Yikes!!

23 JustHeather { 07.12.15 at 1:31 pm }

I’ve had long and short hair…but mostly in between. I just asked my hubby and he says he doesn’t like it when my hair is too short as it looks too boyish and I’m already tom-boyish enough. His opinion. From others I’ve gotten compliments all around.
As for me, I love the idea of long hair. (I’m a leo and need my mane of hair. *grin*) But I don’t feel I look adult enough or something when it is long. And I love the ease of wash and go with short hair. But I get bored with either length after a while. It just so happens that it takes much longer to grow it out than it does to have fun chopping it all off. Right now it is just below chin length…and I’m trying to figure out what to do. Let it grow? Chop it? Or bleach and color (blue? purple? green?) it…letting it grow a bit longer.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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