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Ready to make the big chop? Here’s how to style the perennially chic pixie cut.

Long hair is the little black dress of cuts: We love it, but it’s so popular, you definitely won’t be the only one wearing it at the party. The pixie cut, on the other hand, is a real head-turner. It takes an uncommon boldness to rock this short hairstyle with total confidence. But that’s exactly the appeal—there’s no place to hide. (Hello, cheekbones!) Here’s how to style the forever-cool pixie cut to suit you.

What is a pixie cut?

Whether you want to go short and sweet or rock ’n’ roll, bombshell sexy or tomboyish—there are a variety of different pixie haircuts for women. You can go as short as just a half-inch or as long as two or three inches. The pixie cut is typically shorter on the back and sides of the head and slightly longer in the front. You can even do a pixie cut with bangs, both blunt and graphic, or soft and side-swept. You can get the haircut textured and layered, too. Despite the short length, the pixie haircut is versatile. It can define your whole look—it’s just a matter of styling it the way you want.

Will I look good with a pixie cut?

To get the most flattering pixie cut for you, consider your face shape and consult your stylist before the snipping begins. You can even bring along inspiration pics of cute pixie cuts on celebrities with a similar face shape.

If your face is on the rounder side, balance it out with a long pixie cut that has a bit more hair volume in the front. If you have a more prominent forehead or longer face, ask for a chop that isn’t too voluminous. For those with a heart-shaped face, almost all pixie cut styles will suit you.

If you’re not 100 percent sure exactly how short you’re ready to go with your pixie haircut, just chop off less—you can always take off more length at your next hair appointment. And once you’ve gotten the pixie cut of your dreams, plan ahead to keep it looking its best. Since hair grows about a half-inch per month, expect to visit your hair salon regularly for maintenance trims so your pixie cut doesn’t stray into the straggly grow-out stage.

How to style a pixie cut

With a short pixie cut, you don’t need to spend ages with your blow-dryer (thankfully!). But finishing the look with the right hair product—and expert styling tips—will elevate it with some playfulness and polish. Here’s how to style a pixie cut exactly the way you want it:

1. For the pixie cut with tousled texture

To give your pixie cut some shape, texture and long-lasting hold, reach for a cream-wax like L’Oréal Paris Stylista #Pixie Shaping Cream-Wax . Using a small amount, work the hair styling product into dry hair with your fingers and scrunch to add definition. You don’t need any special tools or techniques; just free-style until you achieve the effect you want. Since this cream-wax is alcohol-free and non-sticky, your pixie cut will still feel soft and supple and have lots of natural movement.

2. For the pixie cut with glamorous volume

Adding some oomph to short pixie haircuts can glam up the look for special occasions. And—surprise!—it’s actually easier to give volume to short hair styles than long, heavy ones. On damp hair, apply a dollop of an airy, volume-boosting hair mousse to encourage body and bounce. As you aim your blow-dryer, lift up sections of your hair to encourage volume at the roots. Or toss your head upside down for your blow-dry, which will help maximize the volume. Once your pixie cut is dry, you can add some piece-y texture by scrunching in some L’Oréal Paris Stylista #Pixie Shaping Cream-Wax .

3. For the pixie cut with sleek sophistication

Here’s how to style a pixie cut for mega sleekness and shine. Apply a bit of smoothing cream to damp hair—but remember that less is more, since you don’t want to weigh down your short pixie cut. Create a deep side part, and then blow-dry your hair using a small, round brush. Lastly, to ensure there isn’t a frizzy strand in sight, finish styling your pixie cut with a flatiron.

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