The Long & the Short of it

So I’m contemplating a change.  A major one. 

I’m thinking of cutting my hair. 


That picture of me above?  It’s about five years out of date.  I don’t think I’ve cut my hair since.  

Here on the left?  This is what it looks like now.  Quite a ponytail, no?

I love my long hair, don’t get me wrong.  I barely have to groom myself.  My only choice in the morning is bun, braid or ponytail.  I’m down to washing it maybe twice a week.  Oily hair takes a braid better.  (That’s my story & I’m sticking to it.)

That said?  I’m getting frumpy.  

Jodie Foster

I used to do outdoor education when I was right out of college.  I was twenty-one & adorable (aren’t we all at twenty-one?) and remember looking at the older women running our program.  They were grown-up granola girls from the 70s who were still wearing their Birkenstocks & long braids clear into the 90s.  And I thought, “I hope that never happens to me.  I hope I never just give up & stick with what’s comfortable instead of making any effort to stay current.”

Lisa Osborne

Twenty years later, here I am wearing Birkenstocks & a long, greasy braid.  I have no make up on my face, & I’m wearing jeans older than my children.  

Now I’m not going shopping.  (I don’t hate myself *that* much.)  But I’ll admit it:  It might be time for a hair cut.   Not just a trim, either.  I’m talking about a haircut.  A hair style.  A real one.

Carey Mulligan

I should admit, I’ve been down this path before.  I had my hair cut boy-short  right after I came out of that just-had-my-first-baby-haven’t-slept-in-six-months haze.  It wasn’t a great look for me. (Never make big decisions when sleep deprived or hungry.  Trust me.)

My hair’s extremely fine (though there’s a lot of it) and pin straight.  My would-be pixie cut ended up looking vaguely militant.  Not quite what I was aiming for.   So now I’m in the market for something short & stylish but overtly feminine.  

Winona Ryder

I’ve contemplated Jody Foster’s look from Elysium (up there on the right.)

My mom thinks Lisa Osborn’s new look (up there on the left) would work for me.

I really like Carey Mulligan’s modified pixie (right) and have always thought Winona Ryder (left) was gorgeous with short hair. 

But I’m still having brush-cut flashbacks from last time.  I need guidance.

Help me out here.  What celebrity looks are you a big fan of these days?  Did you ever take a celebrity photo to your stylist & say, “Give me that?”  Which one?   How did it turn out?

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  • Jane says:

    Hello Susan,
    I wish I could rock the pixie cut. Jennifer Lawrence just chopped her hair and it looks great. I do sometimes cut out pics from the magazines so that I can show the stylist. When my friend was in cosmetology school I was her guinea pig. She practiced her technique on my hair and she found the perfect bob for me.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jane, I had the perfect bob, too! Isn’t it the greatest feeling? Women would stop me and admire the stacking in the back and ask who cut my hair. It was awesome! But it took forever to dry all those layers because my hair, while fine, is super thick. It was maddening how long it took!

      I hope the GR admires your gorgeous hair. Mostly he only admires himself, but you might be able to prod a compliment out of him. Or something…

      • Susan Sey says:

        Caren, I’ve had the same experience! I think our super-thick, super-fine hair is particularly good at stacking up in the back, but sheesh does it take forever to dry! So much hair. Soooooo much hair….

        That said, if I’m going to work that hard, I darn well deserve to be stopped in the grocery story & appreciated for my efforts. 🙂

    • Susan Sey says:

      Hi, Jane! Oh, I’m in love with Jennifer Lawrence’s new ‘do as well! Can that girl do *anything* wrong? Man.
      Oh, & I also was a happy guinea pig when my sister was in beauty school! My eyebrows never looked better! Those were the days…

  • Helen says:


    I love all of the hairstyles you have pictures of 🙂 I had long hair like you until I was pregnant with my son who is 31 now and I had it all chopped of and have had it short ever since I used to just go to the hairdressers when I felt it need cutting again but now I go every 5 weeks my hair has a will of its own and always sits well with a little of this paste I use and I have never looked back.
    I am sure whatever style you choose it will look great

    Have Fun

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, the texturizing paste! Yes, I learned to appreciate the miracle of that stuff when I cut my hair boy-short after the first baby. That stuff’s amazing! But a haircut every five weeks? Ooooh . That feels like a major commitment. Then again, having somebody wash & comb my hair every five weeks would be such a luxury. I love that part of getting my hair cut….

  • flchen1 says:

    I’m with Helen, Susan–no matter what you do, you’ll look fabulous! I haven’t yet been able to show a stylist a celebrity cut and get my hair to look like that, but I have definitely gone long to short, and do tend to do that cyclically, usually every three years or so (or however long it takes to grow it out long enough to donate). I’ve toyed with going as short as a pixie cut, but my understanding is that the very short cuts tend to be higher maintenance and I KNOW I would fall down on the job, leading to the quicker reappearance of Ms. Frump. So I tend to go with short bobs, and then let it grow for a few years and repeat… And if I get a bad cut, I just have to remember, it’s only hair 😉 Have fun no matter what style you choose!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Fedora, you’re like my long-lost twin or something. I’ve been lazy about this latest cycle (been more like 5 years than 3) but usually that’s exactly what I do, too. Cute short bob….ponytail for several years…cute short bob…back to the ponytail…
      Definitely going the locks of love route this time!

  • Mary Preston says:

    I have had very short hair in the past. It was cute – with the help of a lot of mousse. These days I have it very long & just pile it up. I’m happy with it because it suits me & my life style.

    • Susan Sey says:

      That’s what I’ve been doing lately, too, Mary. I love how polished a bun looks, & how easy it is.

      That said, I’ve been on a few trips lately where a great many pictures have been taken, & all I am in pictures is a tiny head with my hair all skinned back. Unflattering. I’m ready to work a little harder if I can stop being a pin-head in pictures. 🙂

  • Amy Conley says:

    As I posted the other day I just cut off over 11″ of my hair for Locks of Love. I don’t really like my hair short, but I’ ve left it long enouh to put in a braid, ponytail, or bun. Still not freaking out either.
    The only pic I’ve ever taken in ws of Lisa Rinna’s hair. Someone else had the same cut and ther face was shaped like mine. That was the last real cut and style until now. Everyone says they like it, even hubby is getting used to it and surprisingly, it is curlyinh, which for me is a miracle. So I say GO FOR IT!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Okay, now you’re holding out a miracle for me to hope for. Did you say your hair is curling up? Was it previously straight? Because I’d heard that people’s hair can change texture & dramatically. Like during puberty, after childbirth, when it goes gray, at menopause, what have you. I keep hoping for a little wave, a little body, a little ANYTHING with each major life change but…nothing. IT’s still as straight as rain.
      Did yours really curl??

      • Amy Conley says:

        Ok the whole truth… I was REALLY bored and couldn’t sleep the other night. Ii began with my toes ( now cherry red with pretty decals) and worked my way up. I have always loved my stylist and he co-workers bangs, so I cut mine. The first snip brought out all these wild curls. The bangs looked great, it was all the straight hair pulling everything else down which looked awful and aging. The next I booked myself in got the rest cut and styled and I really do noot miss all that hair. You can see a pic on my fb page (Amy Anderson Conley) and I very, very seldom post pics of me, so it had to look good for me to post it.
        BTW, My hair has always been pin straight until I began taking thyroid meds. Even my stylist began freaking out because my hair NEVER curled for more than 20 minutes. These days it stays curled for days 🙂

  • Deb Marlowe says:

    Like Jane, I was going to mention Jennifer Lawrence’s new ‘do.

    You’ll look fabulous in any of these–so choose the one that appeals to you. Or the easiest one to do in the morning!


    • Susan Sey says:

      Aw, Deb, you’re sweet. And, yes, I’m deeply attached to my current morning routine, which consists of taking out last night’s pony tail, brushing it, & putting it back in. That said, I think I can devote a *little* more time to my appearance. I think we’d all be grateful.

      Plus, I’m going home for Christmas this year & my sisters are all done & gorgeous. All. The. Time. I feel like a terrible frump when photographed next to their dazzling glory. If I’m going to pull the trigger on this thing, it’s going to be before Christmas.

  • Mozette says:

    Last year, I tried out a Farrah Fawcett hair style and loved it! It suited the shape of my face, I had enough natural highlights to make it look great and it looked gorgeous… and which one I hear you ask?

    Well, this one:,d.dGI&psig=AFQjCNEi7JVtmA0yD3QLsTcFl0K0kkXdQA&ust=1384947001273563

    • Susan Sey says:

      Whoa, Mozette! Color me impressed! That is a high maintenance hairdo, & if you pulled it off, I’m in awe. Well done! Excellent commitment to a look!

      • Mozette says:

        Actually, I’m pretty lucky to have hair that has a natural curl to it. So when it gets cut this way, it’ll curl up almost like this at its own accord; no curling irons needed! 😀

        So, all I need to do is let it dry on its own and it’ll curl up like dry leaf in Autumn. 😀 But when I do want to go all out, I have the hot curlers to give it extra oomph! 😛

  • Caren Crane says:

    Susan, let’s talk hair. Personally, I was dead jealous of your gorgeous, swingy braid at conference in July. You totally pull it off! Plus, you’re so thin from running that you look about 12. All the men I saw checking you out seemed to love the whole look! 😀

    I just saw Elysium over the weekend and I’ll admit to coveting Jody’s bob. You didn’t know me then, but I had the most fantastic stacked bob EVER. My hair stacks like nobody’s business! I gave it up when my beloved Jesus (hairdresser, not Messiah) moved to LA. I didn’t trust anyone else to create that precision magic.

    Now, I have to say, I was very thin when I had that bob. I think that’s part of seriously pulling it off. I couldn’t get away with it now. It’s all shoulder-length layers now with just a bit of under-the-cheekbones fringe and it will stay this way. It’s easy to do! Twenty minutes if I’ve washed it and 5 – 10 if I’ve just wet it to get the sleep kinks out. I love it!

    You may still be young enough to want to spend 30 minutes with your arms over your head doing round-brush action, but this mama is too old for that! Just remember that whatever you decide on, you will have to style it. And also imagine what it will look like after you run. I’m just saying…

    • Susan Sey says:

      Wait…there were men checking out my braid at the conference? There were MEN at the conference? Color me shocked. 🙂

      Thanks for the love on my braid. My mom thinks I look like a Russian tennis player when I wear it that way. I think she likes it because 1) she likes tennis and 2) she remembers when I was a little girl & wore it that way all the time. She’s nostalgic.

      I, too, have rocked the heck out of the stacked bob. Love that look, & yeah, it’s a lot of blow-dryer time. And if your personal Jesus (that cracked me up) moves away you’re in a world of hurt. I’m trying to figure out some way to achieve a “look” without devoting all the time to it that a look generally requires. And that’ll allow me to run without having to put the front up like Miley Cyrus. (You’ve seen those weird little knots she wears like horns? No, thanks.)

      Am I asking the impossible? I sense I am. Doom!

  • Deb says:

    I like Kiera Knightly’s haircut from several years ago when it was cut in a pixie style. I have my hair cut close to that, but, of course, it never looks like the stylist’s job upon walking out of the salon. I have learned from my stylist, though, that texturizing and razor cuts and hair products help with styling. I use before, during, and after products and the BEST product I have ever found is the styling powder (by Big Sexy Hair) that pumps up the hair and gives it body. Good luck making a decision, Susan!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Styling powder by Big Sexy Hair…am writing this down, because I have very fine, straight hair (though plenty of it.) Texturizing product is absolutely my friend.

      And I think Keira Knightley’s bob was adorable, too.

  • Shannon says:

    Hair is so personal, although it’s not permanent a bad cut seems to last forever.

    I wear short hair and have for years. About two years, I moved from a shoulder length bob to a shorter do. Until I found a stylist, I was mildly happy with the results; now I love my style. It’s a mix of pixies and Lady Diana’s shorter dos.

    My stylist wanted to update me with the modified pixie. I just never warmed up to because I could never get it as good as the celebrities. Something about the bangs. I tried mouse, pomade, and hairspray.

    Good luck with your new image.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Thanks, Shannon!
      And, yeah, sometimes I think those celebrity “looks” should come with a team of celebrity stylists. Then I’d be fine. But I’m an amateur. Don’t give me a haircut that requires professional attention! Not unless you’re going to give me the professionals that go with it!

  • Anna Sugden says:

    I’m with the others, you’ll look gorgeous however you have your hair – but I do like the pic of when you had it short!

    As you know, for many years, I had the short, pixie cut. Over time, I’ve let it grow to a shoulder-length bob, with a flick. I have very thick, very strong hair, so I have to straighten it and it frizzes at the slightest hint of humidity! I enjoyed both the short and it’s current guise, where I can put it up in a ponytail to get it out of the way.

    But, I’m so lazy – I don’t even blow-dry my hair. I put the frizz-ease in and then once it’s dry, I attack it with the straighteners.

    • Susan Sey says:

      I know everybody says you always want what you don’t have, but I would give my right arm for a thick, strong head of hair that frizzes in the rain. Just for the change of pace.

      That said, I’ve never seen you when your hair hasn’t been lovely–well-behaved & beautiful. And there’s something to be said for the ponytail option, isn’t there? Love that. It’ll be tough to give up.

  • catslady says:

    Haha I have that thick strong head of hair that frizzes and of course I always wanted straight hair. I wore it very long which helped make it straighter for a very long time but finally broke down and cut it. I miss my long hair but not the work. My hair got thicker and darker and then I got a white streak and now it’s grey and at this age long hair doesn’t work very well. I basically tell the stylist to cut it so I can wash and wear – so much simpler.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Ooooh, a white streak? I have *always* wanted one of those! Lucky!

      That said, I don’t have any gray to speak of yet, & I’m 41, so fingers crossed. When it comes, though, I want a white streak!

  • CateS says:

    Do you have a head shot that you could cut out your face and lay it over some of the haircuts that you like? I can remember when my bestie got the pixie cut and it was soooo cute on her.. not so much on me… you need one of those little pointy chins I think… and the right kind of skull shape too!

  • Becke Turner says:

    I remember the day I made the drastic change. I worked part time and rarely wore makeup. I ditched the long hair early, but I needed a change. While I was dowdy, my dh was at the office surrounded by women who were not.

    I made the leap and I’ve put on my makeup and done my hair every morning since that time. I look better. I feel better. However, each woman has to make a decision about her look. There’s no good or bad, just what suits you. I need to feel good about myself. I take the time to make sure I do.

    I love all of the short styles, I’m with your mother on the cutie with auburn hair. It’s cute and sassy.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, Becke, this is so wise! I sometimes do think about all the coiffed & groomed women Mr. Sey sees all day long. I’ve always considered it my personal favor to him (and to me) that I never leave lipstick stains or foundation on his crisp white shirt. But I bet he wouldn’t mind if I managed to look a little cuter from time to time.

      My mom is a big fan of the whole “flirt with your own husband” mantra, & I have to admit, I gave that whole thing a pass during the baby years. But now that my youngest is 7, I’m thinking it might be a good time to get back to basics here. I think I’ll start with a cute haircut. 🙂

  • Cassondra says:

    Susan, you would look adorable with the right punk cut. I have mine really short and kinda punk now. Longer on one side, very short on the other, with spikes along the part. I just couldn’t do the typical suburban soccer mom cut, since I’m not a mom and don’t live in the suburbs. Something like Winona’s haircut with a little longer bangs and a few more wispies on the side would look so cute on you.

    You’d also rock that first cut up on the right though. I remember when you showed up in San Francisco with a new ‘do, and you looked amazing! You do great with the short swingy cuts like that one.