Taking the Chop: The Ultimate Guide to Going Short

Taking the Chop: The Ultimate Guide to Going Short

Have you ever gone for the big chop? Or are you considering it? Maybe you’ve spent years growing your hair out, and now you feel like a dramatic change. You’re not alone! Plenty of us have made the decision to try something radically different with our hair, and we know it can be a bit daunting.

While long hair is incredibly versatile – it can be styled, curled, and braided – the possibilities are endless for shorter hair too. Not to mention you’ll seriously cut down on the time it takes to blow-dry. If you’re considering taking the chop and going ultra-short, here’s our ultimate guide to short hair courtesy of the Percy & Reed duo, Adam Reed and Paul Percival.

1. Work out what you want

Before you go for your cut, take time to decide on the sort of look you want. It’s important to get clear on what your hair goal is before you see your hair stylist. For example, there are many definitions of a pixie crop, and the look you want might not match your stylist’s definition. It’s important that you get clear on the look you’re going for with your stylist before you take the chop – after all, nobody wants to be forced to wear a hat for months!

2. Take images, and talk to your stylist

Some people think this annoys hair stylists, but in fact collecting images of looks you love and taking them with you to your appointment is the best thing to do when you’re going for a big change. It’s also important to have a conversation with your stylist and ask as many questions as possible. If you want a low-maintenance look, make that clear. Your stylist is an expert and will be able to guide you to achieving the best cut to suit you and your lifestyle.

3. Consider your face shape

The ideal face shape for short hair is oval – you’re lucky, as most crops will look great on you. If you have a long face, short hair styles can be softened with a fringe, whereas a square face will look great with a bit of extra length in the sides.

4. Be prepared to maintain your cut

Regular trims are essential for keeping short hair looking its best. We recommend booking in a cut every six weeks. Lots of salons will offer a free fringe-trim service in between appointments too, so if you have a big night out and feel in need a bit of a tidy-up, help will be at hand!

5. Learn the blow-dry tricks

When you blow-dry short, fine hair, you’ll want to promote lift in the roots to avoid your hair looking flat. This is easily achieved by lifting your hair at the roots whilst blow-drying. Using a small, round brush instead of your fingers will give a luxe finish to your hair.

If you keep your hair a little longer there’s a surprising amount you can do with it: wear it smooth and straight, go for the slick wet-look, create soft waves, or scrunch it for added texture.

6. Keep your hair healthy

Whatever your cut, colour, or style, it’s important to keep your hair healthy – that’s what Percy & Reed hair products are all about. Make sure you treat and condition your hair regularly in between salon visits. There are plenty of great nourishing oils on the market, and a weekly treatment is essential for maintaining strength and moisture in your hair.

Our recommended hair products for looking after your short hair are:

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Treatment Oil+ to nourish, moisturise, and soften your hair

Percy & Reed Quite Frankly Flawless Finishing Polish for styling and defining shorter hair

Adam and Paul’s Top 5 Short Hair Icons

If you’ve decided you definitely want to go short but you’re in need of some inspiration, here are Adam and Paul’s all-time favourite celebrity crops.

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand’s 1960s crop is a timeless style that will never look out of fashion. Adam says:

“I love this soft, textured, feminine crop. It’s weighty, yet perfectly balanced with a soft colour to enhance movement.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow’s late 1990s crop (think Sliding Doors era) is a modern classic that really wouldn’t look out of place today. Adam says:

“The slightly shattered ends make for a modern finish that’s versatile and achievable.”

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

Now here’s someone who can seriously rock a pixie cut! Michelle Williams has long been one of our short hair icons. Adam says:

“One of my all-time favourite short haircuts. It’s textured yet maintains weight for a strong interior shape. The depth at the roots and ultra-light ends are perfect.”

Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder is another style icon whose hair always looks fabulous. Her iconic short cut made plenty of women take the chop. Paul says:

“This proves a boyish look on the right person can still be feminine.”



When you think of short hair, Twiggy is usually one of the first hair icons that comes to mind. Fifty years on, and the classic crop that she made famous is still a gorgeous look. Paul says:

“I love the simplicity of this look. Twiggy is an absolute icon and she was one of the first models to make this style popular.”

Have you taken the chop? Have you looked back to long hair since? We’d love to see your before and after images! Share your photos with us on Instagram @percyandreed, on Twitter @percyandreed, or leave us a comment on our Facebook Page.