Sunk Costs, Paralysis By Analysis, And Why I Finally Cut My Hair Short
I cut my hair. A lot of my hair. Most of my hair, in fact. Yes indeed, today I am writing about hair. I will cover other thrilling topics such as the sunk cost fallacy and paralysis by analysis. But mostly, this is a post about my hair. With more pictures of my hair than is reasonable.
Mr. Frugalwoods told me I should tell you this at the outset because he felt that people should be forewarned they were about to read about hair. I countered that in the past, I’ve written missives on a screen door, bananas, and popcorn. Hair does not feel like a departure from these high-brow topics. I hope you agree.
Me + My Long Hair = A Dying Love
I loved my long hair two times a year: 1) When I had a photo taken (see photo at right, taken by Mr. FW for my book jacket); and 2) When I went out to dinner (with my husband, without our kids) and had enough time to wash, blow dry, and curl it beforehand. You can guess how often that happened. So… maybe more like once a year.
The rest of the time, I dragged around an entire fur coat’s worth of useless hair. It was always in a bun. And by always, I mean every hour of every day.
Morning time? Hair’s in a bun. Evening time? Hair’s in a bun. Bedtime? Still in a bun. Clean hair? Right into a bun. Dirty hair? Definitely in a bun. There was no variety in where my hair was at any given time. I’m a fan of the bun and my hair looks good in a good bun. But it takes time to make a good bun and time is what I do not have. So let’s clarify: my hair was in a messy bun.
The other demerit is that it took me a long time to wash my long hair. It also took me a long time to brush my long hair. It took me upwards of ten minutes to comb out the tangles after washing it. All the while, my children circled my legs, begging for drinks of water and a pet unicorn to ride through the house. The usual.
I should mention that my hair wasn’t just long, it’s also thick. Rope thick. Super thick. Could-manage-a-real-life-Rapunzel thick. Thick, long hair–sounds glorious, right? And it was glorious if I had the time and energy and motivation to do something with it. Something includes washing.
Thick, long hair is great in theory and great if you have lots of hair-related time and patience and/or a hair styling team at your disposal. Basically if you’re the opposite of me.
My Connection To My Hair
I made peace with the fact that my hair was more burden than blessing about a year ago. Then I spent an entire year waffling about cutting it. I knew I could make my life easier by letting go of my mane, but long hair was part of my identity. I like how I looked those two times per year (photo of the second time at right. Seriously my hair never looked like that, which is why I’ll need to photoshop in updated pictures of my kids as they age… It’s going to get awkward to paste Littlewoods into my arms, but I will find a way).
It’s vain, yes, and it’s frivolous, yes, and it’s trifling. It’s also embarrassing to ponder my hair so much when I consider the global challenges we face and the financial struggles of so many underserved populations and on and on. So then I’d stop thinking about it and continue on with my curtain of tangled hair.
I also fell victim to the sunk cost fallacy. I’d spent years growing my hair long, I was invested in its length, and I liked it long. I concluded I couldn’t just cut it all off–even if shorter hair would make me happier. The sunk cost fallacy is when we do something we don’t want to do because of the time/money/energy we’ve already invested in the process. Knowing the behavioral economics behind my problem helped. Sort of. But it didn’t change the fact that I was emotionally attached to my long hair. To combat this, I embarked on a tour of hair-related research.
How Short Is Too Short?
I needed to figure out how short I should go. Sounds melodramatic, I know, since we’re talking about HAIR here, but it felt monumental to me. I initially considered super duper short and perhaps even a Pixie cut (which is essentially a long buzz cut) and I haven’t ruled that option out for the future. The freedom and ease of no hair is alluring. To be able to shower and go! At any time! I’m tempted to this day.
I sourced recommendations. I grilled my sister-in-law, who has an awesome super short cut. I grilled all other ladies I came across with super short cuts. If you were one of those ladies, I’m sorry I accosted you in a public place and demanded to know things about your hair. It was for research purposes, I assure you.
What I gleaned from this data collection is as follows:
- Short lady hair cuts require frequent trimming to maintain the style. I couldn’t find anyone who trims their own super short hair.
- Short lady hair isn’t necessarily less work than long lady hair.
- Pixie cuts are less work and can be cut at home, but they are really, really, really short.
- Ladies were very kind to me as I accosted them about their hair and answered my questions with thoughtful kindness. Thank you, ladies.
I wasn’t prepared to plunge from waist-long hair to ear-long hair, so I decided to take a middle road. Having ruled out super short lady hair (for the moment), I then went in pursuit of data on bob haircuts. I polled friends. I polled Mr. FW (until he was tired of being polled and asked me to please just do whatever I wanted with my hair). I began researching hair salons. And then, I stopped.
The Spiral of Paralysis by Analysis and the Myth of More Choice
I closed my 7,487 tabs of photos of “bob-length hairstyles for thick hair.” I stopped texting my friends for local salon recommendations. I went outside on a hike through our woods to reflect. I was going down the rabbit hole of research and was about to step onto the carousel of consumerism. Paralysis by analysis happens when we over-analyze or over-research something to the point that we can’t take action. We stymie our progress through our own over-thinking. This is what I was doing. I was throwing resources (time and energy) at my hair because I was insecure, I was unsure, and I wanted perfection. Each of those emotions can fuel spending and spur paralysis by analysis.
I went back and re-read something I’d written a few years ago: The Sneaky Way That Frugality Fixes Paralysis By Analysis. In that post, I stipulate that buying used–and by extension, frugality–is a way to reduce stress and deliver you from the crippling conundrum of too many choices. More choices do not make us happier (per behavioral economics research) and the more we buy, the more choices we have to make. Thus, the less happy we are.
I often forget what I’ve written and I often forget the mini-revelations I’ve had on my journey to simplicity. I have to learn the same lessons over and over again. It’s not enough for me to commit to a lifestyle one time. I have to remind myself on the regular. I realized I’d entered into a wave of justifications about my hair and the money and time I was about to spend on it.
Once I realized this, I knew my answer: I’d have Mr. FW cut my hair short and we’d see how it went. We’d figure it out together. I’ve always heard that you can’t DIY a short haircut. But I was willing to try. Worst that happens? I have weird, short hair for awhile. Hair grows back, people.
My primary motivator for doing this wasn’t to save money, it was to save time. I’d already invested too much time resolving that I needed shorter hair. I did not want to spend another several hours finding a salon, making an appointment, driving there and back…. and then need to repeat the ordeal in a few months. Of course I saved money too, which is why home haircuts are my very favorite double frugal win.
Cut Your Own Hair: Save Money FOREVER
As you might’ve guessed, haircuts are things most of us need more than once in our lives. By having my husband cut my hair for free, I’m not just saving on this one haircut, I’m saving on haircuts every year. For the rest of my life. Mr. FW started cutting my hair in February 2015 and I’d calculate that in these four years, I’ve saved upwards of $1,600 on haircuts (that’d be a conservative four cuts per year at $100 per cut, which is what I used to pay for my haircuts).
And I’m young, people, I’m going to need haircuts for a looooooooooong time. Mr. FW, for his part, has had me buzzing his hair for nigh on seven years, which I calculate has saved upwards of $3,360!!!!!!!! That’s two buzzes per month–which is what we do–at $20 per buzz (which is what his barber in Cambridge charged). Combined, our haircut insourcing has saved us $4,960. That’s not nothing! Minus, of course, the $20 we spent on our Wahl Hair Cutting kit, which is still going strong seven years after purchase (that’s an affiliate link).
Here are the tutorials I wrote on how Mr. FW used to cut my long hair and how I (to this day) cut his hair:
Furthermore, I started cutting Kidwoods’ hair last year, so that’s another chunk of change saved! (Pro tip: cut a toddler’s hair while they’re watching television. DO NOT attempt to do so at any other time. Works best to cut it while it’s wet. I spray her hair with a water bottle, comb it back and trim across the bottom with a pair of sharp scissors.)
I want to be crystal clear: there is nothing wrong with paying to have your hair cut. This is not a treatise on why everyone should DIY their haircuts. Rather, this is an exercise in introspection about the allocation of our resources: our time, our money, our energy, and how we square that with our desire for perfection. It’s also an invitation to do the math and see how much you’d save if you did cut your own hair. Home haircuts are not perfect, but I’ve decided I’m willing to sacrifice perfection in order to gain back time and save money.
How My Husband Cut My Hair Short
Mr. FW was apprehensive when I presented this plan to him. Apprehensive might not be a strong enough word. He’s been an excellent long-hair-trimmer these past four years, but cutting short hair entails a new level of mastery. Plus, I had zero interest in spending six hours on YouTube learning how to cut short hair, so we just went for it.
Here’s what we did and, based on the below, I don’t even need to mention the disclaimer that I am not a hair-cutting expert. That’ll be obvious.
How Mr. FW cut my hair into a short bob:
- I parted my dry hair in its usual spot.
- I put my hair into a low ponytail because I wanted it short, but not too short for a ponytail.
- Mr. FW used our Wahl clippers (the very same I use to buzz his hair) to buzz off my hair (affiliate link).
- We watched as a foot of hair fell to the ground.
- Wow, that’s a lot of hair, we said.
- I washed my hair.
- Mr. FW cleaned up the straggling strands with a pair of scissors while my hair was still wet.
We decided to cut my hair while it was dry on the rationale that we didn’t want to get it too short. We succeeded and I decided I wanted it even shorter, so we repeated the above process TWO more times over the course of a week until it was as short as I wanted. This is another fabulous benefit of at-home haircuts: you can keep changing your mind and cutting off more!
I then realized that, with hair this short, I wasn’t going to pull it into a low ponytail anymore because there’s not enough hair to go into a bun, which was the primary reason for my low ponytails.
- The advantage of parting my hair on the side and pulling it into a low ponytail prior to cutting is that it yielded lovely angles toward my face.
- The problem is that I never wear my hair completely down. What with children and chores, I do not want or need hair flopping into my face. I need hair out of my face. Hair in my face = RAGE.
- The other problem is that there were some weirdly long strands at the back of my head.
Back to the clippers we went, this time without a ponytail.
- I again parted my dry hair and Mr. FW used the clippers to even out the back, making it shorter than the front, which preserved the nice angles toward my face.
I usually wear the top half of my hair pulled back into a clip so that it’s out of my face. I can also pull it into a high ponytail for extra face-free action (the bottom half won’t go up into the ‘tail, but I can either clip it up with little clips or just let it hang).
I love it. I absolutely love it. And I’m not just saying that because my hair stylist is reading this. It feels SO GOOD to be rid of the mop I was lugging around. My head is lighter. I’ve been told I look “20 years old,” “younger,” “sassy,” and also “hip.” Thank you, friends, I will take all of it. I am aware that I don’t actually look 20, nor do I want to, but I like the sentiment. I turned 35 last month and I’m proud of my age. I’m happy with my wrinkles–I mean, not “happy” exactly–but I accept them. I want to age with grace. I don’t want to try and look 20, but I also don’t want to look prematurely aged. Although having two kids, let me tell you, is the precise recipe to yield premature aging. P.S. I don’t edit photos of myself, tempting as that is… Hence all the eye wrinkles in the below pic.
I feel like my long hair represented me clinging to my past. To a time when I was younger and had fewer children (as in, zero) and a desire to style my hair. Even if I had the time these days, I have no interest in spending long minutes in front of the mirror. I want to wash, dress, and go. I want to use my time for something more important than fixing my hair. Shorter hair lets me do that.
Advantages of my short hair:
- It takes MUCH less time to wash.
- I’ve stopped blow drying it because it’s short enough to air dry (my long hair took DAYS to air dry. I’m not kidding. This meant my head was freezing in the wintertime unless I blow dried my hair).
- Since I don’t have to blow dry anymore, it takes MUCH less time to style.
- I can make my hair look decent in about three minutes.
- It’s easier to wear my winter hat because I don’t need to pull my hair back into a bun, which didn’t fit under the hat and always gave me a headache. Oh the travails of winter sports and hair….
- It doesn’t hurt when my kids pull on my hair or tangle it around their fingers. It’s so short that somehow, it’s much less painful. Advantageous since one of Littlewood’s primary hobbies is riding around in the backpack pulling on my hair. So fun, apparently.
Disadvantages of my short hair:
- I can’t put it into a bun. Sometimes, I miss my bun. But mostly, I am happy to see it go.
Trying Out The Curly Girl Method
As you might’ve noticed, in addition to being thick, my hair is naturally wavy. Since I no longer need to blow dry it in order to prevent my head from freezing into a sheet of ice, I can let it air dry wavy/curly. Based on this new hair information, my friends informed me of the Curly Girl method, which I’m still largely confused about but am muddling through with the help of other curly ladies (thank you to A, especially). It essentially involves not washing your hair with shampoo, not blow drying it, and doing other curl-friendly activities. I love the idea of encouraging my hair’s natural proclivity to curl as that makes styling all the easier…. as in, I don’t have to do much of anything after getting out of the shower. That’s my kind of hair. If you’re a Curly Girl devotee, share your tips with me!
My Lifelong Journey Of Simplicity and Frugality
You’ll notice I said “lifelong journey OF simplicity and frugality” not”lifelong journey TO simplicity and frugality.” This distinction is important because I don’t think I’ll ever arrive at simplicity and frugality. In the past, I myself declared my own self to be at peak frugality, only to later discover new ways to save. Only to later backslide and spend more money.
I think I’m done declaring “mission accomplished.” More like “mission ongoing and mission fruitful.” Put that on a banner. Enshrining simplicity and frugality into my life are ongoing efforts. It’s not like I woke up one day five years ago, put on my thrift store dress, walked outside, broke into song, and declared myself frugal and simple.
It’s a journey. It’s a lifelong effort to be conscious of the decisions I make. And I will grant you–right here and now–that many folks will consider this much rumination on hair to be wasted time. But it’s not for me.
We each have to identify our priorities and one of my priorities is looking moderately decent with very little expense or effort. I want to feel good about how I look and I want to achieve that in a short amount of time. Without a hairdryer or curling iron or fancy styling products.
I let my hair go for the past two years and, through that experience, learned that I’m not OK with letting my appearance deteriorate. Not entirely, anyway. I don’t need a full face of makeup or an expensive haircut or a manicure–all of which I used to have–but I do need some things. I needed something better on top of my head than a messy bun of neglected hair that I could barely brush for all the snarls and tangles. This doesn’t make my decision right or wrong, it makes it honest. It makes it true to who I am. I don’t want to be obsessed with my appearance, but I don’t want to wholesale ignore it either.
I want to be 100% simple and frugal, which in this instance would mean getting a Pixie cut, but I can’t quite do it. Yet. Or maybe not ever. I have to–daily, hourly–find what works for me. I have to acknowledge the things I need. Those things will sound downright ridiculous to some people. And for other people, they’ll hit a nerve of recognition. Last month I discussed how buying a Roomba brought me peace. Now you know that having my husband chop off most of my hair also brought me peace. And it was free. Unlike the Roomba, which was $259.98, by the way, and worth every last penny.
How do you handle your hair? Do you cut it yourself? Go to a stylist? Buzz it all off?
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I’ve always cut my own hair or gotten a friend to do it. Until last month, mine too was always long. When I decided I was ready for a change, I started cutting it back slowly, so I could see what it was like at different lengths. (I was pretty sure I wanted to go super short, but figured I should review all my options.)
I actually started with an undercut as my first step; shaving the back and sides of my head to get rid of some of the bulk of my thick hair. It wasn’t visible with my hair down but dramatically cut down on drying/ washing time. Even if I grow it out again, I will keep the undercut! (It was also fun to see the look on my 14-year-old’s face as she was buzzing it for me.)
I did get mine professionally cut when I got to it’s final very short length, because I wanted a cleaner line on the undercut than my kid or I could do. I think we’ll be able to maintain it though now that we have that to work with.
I like the idea of the undercut! Thank you for sharing! And glad to hear your home haircut is working out 🙂
I loved my undercut as well. It was super low maintenance and really easy to manage. I actually hated my pixie, because I couldn’t just throw it in a braid or a ponytail. I actually had to wash it every day or it would just look like bed head. I couldn’t grow that out fast enough. 😂
Agreed! You think a pixie cut will be easier but you really do have to wash it/or wet it for it to be presentable. Straight from the bed pixie cut won’t cut it.
Your hair looks great!!!! And definitely a time saver!
I haven’t even read your post yet, but looked at the pics and love, love, love your new shorter ‘do! 🙂
I am so jealous of your beautiful thick hair – at any length – that I feel sour in my mouth. Sour. Angry sour. My own hair is… tragic. It’s very, very fine. It is… greige in colour, not dark, not blonde, sort of the colour that root-regrowth looks like or medium-blonde hair that’s really quite greasy. Yum. It is determinedly dead-straight, as in, perms do not work for more than 1 week at most. Curling is a complete and total waste of time, even if professionally done. It wants to be dead straight, bodyless.
There is quite a lot of it, I don’t have that scalp-showing thing. It is also naturally quite shiny and soft. Also, because the colour is a sort of grey-blonde/brown, I am 41 and have no ”actual” greys yet. Heavily highlighted into a less sad colour and expensively cut into a careful bob it can sometimes look… okay or even quite nice. Too short and I look bizarre. It’s expensive. It’s very expensive. My hair is expensive. I hate it and always have. I have crappy hair. I want hair I can cut off and have it still be thick and beautiful and like yours. Why not? Why not me? Damn you genes. Damn you.
Your hair looks really great, it will be far easier and more practical and the cost savings immense.
why dont you wear a wig?
I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way but to many of us with hair issues that’s a very challenging question to hear. As if wearing a wig were easy/cheap/not a complete pain in the #%€$/ is as good as our own hair.
Wearing a wig is expensive to buy that doesn’t look like a drowned cat. It has upkeep. It’s a pain to fit every day and have to keep worrying about.
Studies have shown the psychological impact of poor hair on women. That’s one of the reasons why cutting the hair of women for consorting with the enemy/being a witch etc is such a dread punishment.
I don’t like being stopped in the street by people who feel able to ask me insulting and offensive questions about my hair. I don’t like the side effects of the medication I take to try to improve or minimise my hair loss.
So rather envious of Liz, but absolutely have no problems with you cutting your hair or talking about it!
Or even extensions? I’d love to, but decent ones cost an actual fortune, especially where I happen to live, and then they also require maintenance, and I’m told do your own hair no good at all. A dear friend who has alopecia spent a vast amount on the most incredible, stunning wig that I swear looks precisely as her hair used to, and in her case, totally worth it. In mine, a good haircut and highlights make it presentable and okay. I just want beautiful rapunzel hair-shampoo-advert hair and I don’t have it, is all! Of course, there are many, many more important and useful things that I do have and wouldn’t trade, but still. Mrs F’s lovely hair is a crowning glory and I’m jealous!
I learned, later in life, while my hair was growing back after chemo, that we all (mostly all) long for hair we don’t have—blonde if we’re brunette, straight if we have curly, you get the picture. Do what it takes to manage your hair and focus on what you do like about yourself!
This was written to Caroline!
I do this Kathleen, of course, as most of us do, doesn’t stop me wanting beautiful hair though. Still, as my fabulous hairdresser so rightly pointed out ”you can always do something about hair. Yes it may not be cheap as such, but it’s relatively quickly doable. Other difficult features are either unfixable or only with surgery or other drastic measures”. So true!
My hair is the same except darker. I totally understand what you are saying. It really is frustrating.
Thank you! And I well understand the sour feeling–many members of my own family feel the same way re. their thin hair. I can’t help it! As you said GENES 🙂
I have ultra thick hair, so thick that I can’t wash/brush the dandruff and build up out of it and no matter how clean it is, there’s visible snow on my scalp and shoulders ALL. THE. TIME. Also I end up with gross scabs on my head from scratching at it. I have spent a lot of time with my hair pixie short and also spent hours and hours flat ironing it straight, wishing it were thin and flat like the girls with pretty, silky hair. This all just to say I truly believe we each want what we don’t have. I hope you’re able to find a style that will let you appreciate your hair. I’m still searching for mine too…
Noel, I have a similar problem with my thick hair! I use this awesome Aveda product called scalp remedy that has really helped me with the flakes! It has even helped heal all the scabs from scratching it.
My scalp did get beyond Aveda’s help while pregnant, and I went to a dermatologist who gave me a medicated liquid for my scalp. I only used it for a bit, but that helped when it got really bad.
Know that there are options for healing this. I lived with a horribly itchy scalp with lots of flakes for over a decade and am greatly relieved I don’t have to anymore. My mom used to spend hours once a month combing my hair and picking out all the flakes (which also caused scabs). The Aveda stuff (or the derm stuff) can be done on my own and only requires spraying/squirting and gentle rubbing, so no sores open up.
that must be incredibly challenging and frustrating at times, and you are right, we all want what we don’t have. I bet your hair is lovely, but that’s not the point if YOU are battling with it.
I’ve always had somewhat thin hair. No big deal, I was used to it. Then when I hit my late 50s, it reeeally started thinning. My dermatologist suggested Rogaine, but at the time there was no way I could commit to putting Rogaine on my head for the rest of my life (once you stop using it, all the regrowth falls out). Fast-forward a couple of years. I changed my mind about Rogaine, but apparently now it’s too late. <<>>. As a young woman I would’ve killed for thick hair. Now I’d kill for hair that wasn’t thinning and falling out.
You could try Vitamin B12 supplements. They were recommended to me by a woman who had recovered from cancer, and had her hair fall out. My hair–which is thin to begin with–was thinning even more due to a thyroid disorder. The B12 really helped the hair come in. It’ll never be thick, but it’s not patchy, and it is healthy.
Mary, I had a benign parathyroid tumor that made my hair fall out, and while I totally recovered my health after surgery, I never really recovered my hair. The crisis triggered alopecia areata. I spent so much money on head covers, scarves, creative spiky haircuts, cortisone injections in my scalp, and felt miserable. Then I spent $100 on a nice wig and it brought me peace. I continue to buy wigs and skip all the other hair-related purchases, and they still bring me peace and joy. A good synthetic short style wig is easy to care for and makes my morning pre-work routine a snap. They do wear out in about six months, but I found a cheaper source for the same model and the $120/year I’m spending on wigs is far less than my old days with haircuts and hair products. I crop my bio-hair short myself in a style I’m happy with around the house. We have a weird social attitude towards wigs and I don’t know why. It’s just a type of clothing that some of us need.
I have always loved bobs. For me, they stand for Best Of Both worlds. The advantages of both long and short hair.
Hi, did you think to donate your hair?
When my wife decided to cut her hair short, she donated it to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients. It made the decision satisfying. .
I’m a curly girl and I cut my own hair short too (with almost exactly your ponytail method so I can still get it in a ponytail!) I got shortest in the winter so it will dry faster and longer in the summer so I can pull it up and the slower drying keeps me cooler. And I don’t use shampoo unless my hair is actually dirty or covered in hairspray. I use super cheap conditioner as my method of washing (Vo5) because it doesn’t leave a residue and still leaves my hair feeling clean and smooth, and I wash my hair as infrequently as I can (2-3 days between unless I’ve been sweating). Hope that this method keeps working for you, it is so nice to have any easy hair routine!!
Thank you for the V05 tip! Is there a certain name or “type” of V05 that you find works best?
I like VO5 too. Only the VO5 Moisture Milks is curly girl method approved. Suave Essentials is also CG approved. And they’re dirt cheap!
Check out the holy grail product list on the subreddit r/curlyhair 🙂 Scan the list for drug store brands you recognize. You got this!
No particular one, just the V05 conditioner! Comes in several fragrances. Glad to help!
Yes to VO5! Costs a whopping seventy-nine cents at my local Kroger. (It’s actually more expensive at Dollar General- it costs a whole dollar!)
Instead of DIY, I go to a beauty school. $8 for the cut plus $2 tip is very affordable every 6 to 8 weeks.
That is an excellent way to do it! That’s what I did in college and loved the cuts I got.
I have similar good fortune – I live near a place that does $10 “men’s” cuts, which I have. I stop there on my way home from another regular activity every 6 – 8 weeks and sometimes up to 12 weeks, if I trim around the ears at home often enough. It’s one of those walk in and wait places – best to get there before the lunchtime rush!
I’m not game to try cutting it myself. DH has offered to buzz cut the back and sides of my hair (or even all over) but is not prepared to scissor cut the top…so I go to the place mentioned above.
I donated my hair last month. It’s was super long for years so I can totally relate to all of this! Looks great!
Love your hair!!! My hair is a little different as have thick but fine hair (2C/3A curly to boot), so I have learned over time that I what I desire for it’s simplicity does not do well for my hair. I love straight across cuts but that leaves me with triangle head and I end up with my hair in a bun too. Until I get an at home stylist, I can’t do home cuts for my mist-be-layered hair but I can get a great hair cut in my area for $23 including tip and I can go as long as 6-12 months without another cut so it works. As you say above, think about time commitment and do what works.
I don’t know if it works for thick curls, but have you looked at mousse? It’s a lot better now than years past and I use Tresseme which is affordable and works great for simple, air dry curls. Also, if you want to go super curly for a date night, you can bring out that air dryer with a diffuser for a different look. So many YouTube videos for hair curl maintenance now it’s awesome.
Thank you for the mousse tip! I’m still figuring out my Curly Girl regime, so I’ll file that away!
Your long hair was beautiful. My long hair as a young woman was never that beautiful. BUT I totally agree. Short hair does make you look younger, is less to take care of and just more practical. I have had the same short hair cut for probably 30 years. It is a style that never seems to go out of style. Bravo for being brave enough to do this.
Your short hair really suits you well 🙂 I tried cutting my hair shorter as well a year and a half back. However, because I’m blessed with thick Indian hair, cutting it short meant there was not enough weight holding my hair down and so it plopped like a mushroom haha. I did still enjoy the look though. Since then I’ve let my hair grow back to the normal length and have it braided most days. I don’t blowdry my hair which saves me tonnes of time and effort. Natural air drying is pretty cool so why do myself what nature does best!
My husband and I have been married almost 40 years and I have been cutting his hair almost from the time we met 41 years ago. I figure he’s saved thousands of dollars, maybe TENS of thousands since then…and I remind him of that frequently. I’ve been cutting my own hair even longer than that. I’ve had long hair, super-short hair and everything in between. I recommend the FlowBee. It is a marvelous tool and sure, people make fun of it but only until they try it. Love your blog and your new haircut!
Thank you! And I bet you have saved tens of thousands over the years :). Congrats!!!
You new cut looks good.
Life is far far too short to waste time on hair unless it brings more happiness than not.
You forgot to mention that thing where you can’t lay down with long hair without braiding or something otherwise you roll over and trap yourself.
This is not to make you feel bad, but I’m curious as to why you didn’t donate your hair…? You looked like you had enough…
It sounds like to me that would’ve taken her another month at least to research and once she was ready, she needed to take the plunge! It also may be that a professional needs to do the cutting for Locks of Love…
A professional is not required, there are videos on YouTube that show you how to harvest your hair for donations. Professionals aren’t trained on how to harvest hair. It should be cut in different sections, not all in one ponytail, to get the most use out of the hair that has been cut off. And the the big chops they show on tv are the worst. After an awful uneven hack, the woman loses several more inches to even out the mess.
I did indeed consider donating my hair and I started researching it and couldn’t find a salon nearby that does the cut + donate program.
You can donate it yourself! I cut the ponytail off using the guidelines on the Beautiful Lengths website and send it in a Ziploc inside a manila envelope.
Oh man!!!! I wish I’d known this. Now I feel stupid for throwing out all that hair. BUMMER. Ok I’ll know for next time.
Remember you can also compost hair….my husband cuts his own hair (not enough of it to donate as he wears it short), and I always sprinkle it on our compost pile!
I’m in a similar situation… Two small kids, about a foot of excess hair, paralyzed about cutting it off because I haven’t figured out how to donate it yet. This article helped! Apparently Beautiful Lengths is no longer accepting donations, but there are a lot more organizations out there that make donated hair into wigs. Including one that has a partner salon 15 minutes from my house. Decision made!
Thank you for the heads up! Last time I donated my hair was March 2018 so I didn’t realize PBL was ceasing operations. LOL has a lot of problems so I wouldn’t recommend them, but WFK and Children with Hair Loss are supposed to be good.
I sent mine in via the mail!
I also have two very young children.and just cut off my very long very thick hair that was driving me crazy. I’m amazed that a clip now holds it back! And hats are so easy to wear! Basically this post has all my feeling exactly.
Hi Liz! Greetings from Kansas City! I’m a curly girl but have found their brand products aren’t necessary. I have everything I need- sulfate free shampoo, cheap conditioner, moose, dry shampoo, and texturizing spray- by using coupons at the drug store. I wash my hair every other day- just can’t make it 2-3 days and it made my hair limp instead of more curly. As it is air drying, I put a few pin curls in with Bobby pins to help it along. This helps me not get the wet gel look too. Hope this helps!
Thank you! Would you mind sharing which brands you use? I’ve got the Curly Girl-friendly cheapo Suave Daily Clarifying shampoo and the cheapo LA Looks blue gel, but I’m unsure about what to use for a cheap co-wash and conditioner. Would love your recommendations!!
Any of the suave essentials conditioners are curly girl safe 🙂
I use Suave conditioner to wash, and the La Bella Extreme Sport Styling Gel, but I invest in SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner (for the step that you just slightly rinse out after co-washing), and also Cantu’s Coconut Curling Creme. My hair is more wavy than curly, so a little product goes a long way. Too much weighs it down.
I second checking out r/CurlyHair (https://www.reddit.com/r/curlyhair/).
Thank you so much!!
Herbal Essences makes a shampoo and conditioner called “Totally Twisted” for curly hair. Cheap, plus you can usually find coupons.
You are beautiful!
Ach! Hair is my favorite subject. Great post. About curly hair. I used to try to flat iron my hair, burning myself, and it never looked great. Now, I wash and air dry it, floofing it with my fingers as it dries, flipping my head upside down and shaking it loose. My secret is, I don’t brush my hair. I comb out the knots while wet…then let dry. I finger comb in the morning, and all during the day (My hair is longer than yours)….brushing it breaks the curls and just makes it frizzy….I can’t see NOT washing it, but I only wash it maybe twice a week. I get alot of compliments on my lions mane. Unlike you, I’ve gone on a letting it grow until I hit 60! (2.5 years away)…this is my last chance literally to have long hair, and I do like a messy bun, which is why I’m letting it grow long like your’s used to be.
Personally, I find shoulder length hair (yours now) to be the most flattering on most woman…..Short hair is very high maintenance unless you have a buzz cut. You sleep on it funny, the cut has to be just right, and it does need frequent trims to maintain a style. Right now you look like it’s just one length around, with curly hair you can layer it up, having shorter layers on top and sides and it really is pretty hard to mess up. I could go on and on about hair.
Basically, anything past your shoulders is just baggage you really don’t need (Mine is way past my shoulders)…..
And like you said, it will grow back. (PS, I do spend alot on my hair, I’ve been sucked into the highlighting and getting cut by the best stylist in the county, but like you said that’s my choice, I don’t spend money other ways)
You hit the nail on the head in your P.S. and I love it!!! It’s all about choosing where YOU want to spend YOUR money. Yay for happy hair!!!
I grew my silver linings out while my hair was mid-length, aiming for 50 but was done by 49. Then I let my grey curls grow… Now 54, I recently I cut my hair to below shoulder length, long enough to braid but more practical. I use a good cheap shampoo, occasionally some conditioner and oil, only comb my hair after washing and never when dry, so quite similar to you.
I touch my hair constantly right after a haircut, of course by my hubby! Tell me I am not tye only one. In fact, I think you would look lovely in bangs since you’ve got a high forehead. A fun idea one day when you want a new look?! 🙂
Oh don’t tempt me with the bangs! I want them so bad, but I fear they’ll just be more work. Maybe when my kids are older…
Beautiful! And it looks like you came straight out of the salon; well done Mr FW! I have long, thick hair also and go through the same conundrum you discuss here on how much easier and less expensive (those shampoo bottle are supposed to suds up more than one shower worth?!) short hair should be. I tried the pixie when I was super young and it was NOT a good look for my round face and boyish frame. I’ve done the bobs but I don’t have the gorgeous natural waves you sport. Rather, my hair frizzes from the underside out and I end up with this nice straight layer of hear resting on what appears to be a nest of some sort nestled atop my shoulders (even though it’s completely tangle free) and people slowly trudge away with a gleaming eye on me in fear of what kind of marmot may leap from said nest onto them if they remain too close! I’m glad the short works for you – you seriously look amazing!
Hahaha! You’ve got me spitting out my coffee over here. A MARMOT! Hah
The CG method may work for you; it isn’t just for curly haired people.
Your hair looks great! And thank you for this post. It’s so true that we hang on to a lot of things (incl hair) because of sunk cost fallacy and fear of change.
I still love my every other month haircuts because I want to keep my bangs but my getting ready routine is so much faster than it was pre kids. I used to straighten my hair in the morning and put on makeup. Now, it’s just a quick blow dry + bb cream with sunscreen.
Great message for your girls too, that they don’t have to spend hours “putting on their face” when they should just be running around and having fun.
YES! The messaging to our girls is always top of mind for me and it’s been really important for me to model simplicity and being happy with how I look naturally.
Love the hair! As a fellow, CG devotee, I highly suggest the Curly Girl subreddit. My routine: Scrub head with conditioner (oil dissolves oil), finger-comb, and rinse. Add more conditioner to “soak” while I do the rest of my shower. At the end of my shower, rinse the scalp lightly, but I’m okay if most of the conditioner stays in my hair. I lightly scrunch/pat my hair (without wringing any water out) to encourage my curls to take shape. With sopping wet hair (still in the shower), I scrunch in a good handful of gel while wringing water out. Then, I lightly pile my hair on my head and gently wrap it in a towel to avoid dripping.
I also cut my own hair in the pony tail method. I put the ponytail on my forehead like a unicorn. I usually cut six or so inches away from the twistie, and it gives good shorter layers framing my face, but longer length in the back. I’m basically CG Rachel from Friends.
TLDR: I’m CG devotee Liz who cuts my hair in a ponytail.
Very helpful! Thank you!!
I second this! I’ve learned a lot on my journey to figuring out what kind of hair I have. It’s very fine, a lot of it, and has high protein. I’ve had luck with the products mentioned on the sidebar of the subreddit. Now I can kinda get my hair to stay all the way wavy all day! Ironically enough, I’m growing mine out. I miss having long hair. Love the new do on you!
You look ‘lighter’ and your beautiful eyes appear even larger! I hope you enjoy your shorter hair!
My husband has been cutting my hair for the last 2+ years. It is a stylish pixie that started as a happy accident, and from that, my hair has evolved into the cut it is now.
Love it! I recently cut off my own long locks after having our first kiddo, when the postpartum hair shed took place. I got so sick of pulling three-foot long strands of hair out of my son’s butt crack, that I finally decided OFF WITH IT. I had similar mixed feelings though–my hair was long and thick and curly and beautiful prior. And I hated following the trope of having a baby and chopping my hair off. But it turns out that there are good reasons for that trope! And now I’m loving my swishy short(ish) hair!
My haircut (and hair in general) actually looks very similar to yours. And I prescribe to the curly girl method–have since I got fed up with straightening it in high school.
This is my curl-friendly regimen: I use SheaMoisture hair products. That’s prettty much it. They’re expensive ($12/bottle), but you only need teeeny amounts, and it’s made the rest of my hair care so easy that it’s worth it for me. One bottle of shampoo lasts me about four months. I use both conditioner and shampoo from them. I initially went no-poo, but I found that it made my hair coarse and limp. The main thing is to avoid products with sulfates (in shampoo) and dimethicone (in conditioner)–they do a double whammy of drying curly hair out and then coating it so that moisture can’t get back in. I also had to play around with which types of shampoo and conditioner I used from Shea, because certain combos led to greasiness or dryness. Now, however, I wash my hair about twice a week (now that we have a four month old, sometimes once a week), condition it after, and then brush it out as soon as I get out of the shower. After that, I just let it dry! Whala, beautiful curls!
Fabulous! Thank you for sharing! And yep, there’s DEFINITELY a reason for the trope. I have no idea why I waited until after my second baby to chop my hair. Shoulda done it years ago 😉
I’ve been following the Curly Girl Method since last May and I really like the results 🙂 I think my hair looks pretty similar to yours in terms of wave/curl pattern. I do still wash with shampoo, but I make sure it’s a gentle sulfate-free shampoo and I only really use it on my scalp (not the length of my hair). Everything I use on my hair is sulfate-free, silicone-free, and drying-alcohol-free (there are moisturizing alcohols so I find myself double-checking ingredients a lot for this!)
PS love the short hair!
What products do you use for CG? I’m still in the maze of trying to figure out what’s cheap and CG-friendly!
About twice a week, I wash/rinse my hair with highly diluted apple cider vinegar. Like, I just cover the bottom of a big plastic cup and fill the rest with water. I slowly pour half over my hair and then flip my hair over and pour the rest from the bottom/crown all while gently massaging my scalp. I finger comb my hair a little, then rinse. It works so much better than shampoo and it doesn’t smell once it dries a little. That combined with other water only washings and the ocassional conditioner washing keeps my hair clean and soft!
Your haircut looks great!
I have super long hair and after much research, trial and error, I’ve come to feel that long hair is the easiest option for me. I keep it in a braid so it stays out of my face and minimizes tangles. Super long hair certainly has some drawbacks, but overall it’s the best choice for me right now.
I donated my hair about 4.5 years ago and it got chopped to my collarbone. I didn’t mind the look, but I found it difficult to style. I have pin straight hair and like to shower before bed. With the short hair, I couldn’t braid it, and there was usually a weird bump from sleeping on it haha!
That being said, I may change my mind in different stages of my life aka kids!
I’ve cut my hair from Super Long to short a few times. What helped give that last motivation was donating it. It felt great to have shorter hair, and that was a little plus to get me excited rather than nervous about going shorter than I was totally comfortable with – it always grows back!
My hair is a similar texture to yours (wavy rather than curly), and what has worked best for me is a variation on curly girl method. With wavy hair going completely shampoo free can end up looking greasy easily, so I would wash with sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner every 3 days (as Long as I didn’t get sweaty and gross). Scrunch my hair to curly and air dry day 1, wear it up day 2 (awkward transition hair texture day), wear it down and straight day 3, when the curls had gone.
I’ve also tried using sheamoisture brand leave-in conditioner as a wash-out shampoo (every 1-2 days), and That worked better for keeping my hair clean but hydrated than conditioners designed to be used as shampoo for curly hair. Feel free to reach out for more hair advice! I’ve also cut my own roughly shoulder-length hair.
Thank you so much for the advice!! Most appreciated :).
I just love it. Looks so nice on you. I agree, you do look younger. I, too, had very long hair for many years. I started going a little shorter each year and now my hair is exactly the length of yours. I am 67. I just never wanted a real short hairdo. Too much to deal with going to a hairdresser and too much money. I have cut my own many times with my husband cutting the back and me cutting the sides. My husband gets nervous cutting my hair. I have cut his for 40 years. Now I just wait for a coupon to come in the mail for great clips and I go there for 7.99 or 8.99 plus a nice tip. Saves his nerves and I am always happy because it is a basic style that turns under in the back or I can use gel and let it be wavy. I only need a cut about 3 times a year. I try to do it in December and every 4 months, which is just enough to keep it nice. Much better on my neck and scalp. My hair actually lets me know when it is time because the clip pulls on my scalp making it sore due to the weight. Love your posts.
Long hair, medium hair, short hair … appreciate that you HAVE HAIR and didn’t loose it due to having chemo. Plus, you can always grow it long again when the Frugalkids go to school and get out of your hair, figuratively speaking.
P.S. Although your long hair was beautiful, it tended to make you look like one of those women from the Ozarks who think that hair trailing below the butt is an attractive look.
I never thought so!
Um, that’s rude. It looked gorgeous long as well. Don’t listen to her.
I thought it was pretty! And maybe those women from the Ozarks are right, even if it’s not your thing!
Marilyn–you are SO RIGHT on all accounts. I am grateful to have hair. And yep, I had the sense that I was venturing into some not-so-stylish territory with how very, very long my hair was getting ;). hah!
what an incredibly rude thing to say. No one has suggested that they aren’t grateful to ”have hair” (the blind one-legged kitten from a Delhi slum argument is actually pointless, yes, yes we know there are always those worse off. Being lectured to feel somehow ashamed for having our own issues, big or small, rarely works and is always self-righteous in my experience). Mrs Frugalwoods was explaining a financial principle via a personal life experience. Has she claimed to cure cancer? No. She has demonstrated the sunk-costs fallacy. Making pumpkin cake is also not going to solve world hunger, but it’s useful and interesting to at least some of her many fans.
We’ll leave the nasty insult to women who like to wear long hair in various locations alone, but really, that’s nasty.
Looks so nice ! 🙂
Looks SO great! Welcome to the wonderful world of bobs. I’m a devotee – as you’ve probably seen it go from chin length, to shoulder length, to inverted, to collarbone “lob”. Congrats on making the cut! xoxo
Thank you! You have the best hair, so I very much appreciate this ;). xoxo!!!
Hooray for Curly Girls! I discovered Curly Girl from, of all things, a specialized dog training book about 5 years ago. I’ve never looked back. I do not miss those days of blowdrying my hair in 90 degree summer heat to straighten it. My wavy hair is so much more manageable, and I no longer fear rainy days because frizz is no longer an issue 🙂
Ok, now I want to know how Curly Girl came up in a dog training book… was it for the dog’s fur? I must know :)!
When my hair is short (my definition of short is clearly very different than yours!), I buzz it myself with a 2 guard, and scissor cut any super long bits on top, then thin the sides to oblivion so I don’t poof out. I also have SUPER thick wavy hair. When you have good hair, you can get away with doing your own short short cuts.
Good to know!!! Thank you for sharing!
You look great! Finding an easier, lighter way (for anything) when you have little people is the biggest win. I wish I had the choice of long hair. People never mistake you for a dude with long hair, even if you’re 5’10” with big wide shoulders. Mine stops growing at the shoulders, and it looks terrible long before then. It’s so thin I have to use those tiny rubber bands to put it up, and so fine that it slips out of even the tightest rubber band in about 10 minutes. So, I guess what I’m saying is I’m glad I live in an era when short hair is ok on women, because that’s all that’s ever going to happen here, folks.
I cut everybody’s hair around here. Buzz my husband’s thick glorious locks in the summer, then gradually even up the back and ears for him all winter until he reaches a George Cloony sort of respectability in spring (he’s early grey). I cut my own thin sad situation in a preferred pixie, but when I get bored with that I’ve done a bob, and for the last year I did it short on the left and back, chin length on the right. When my first kid was born, all his hair fell out, and it was May so everyone was too hot, and then he pulled my hair and I was kind of at the breaking point from lack of sleep and we both buzzed everything off. Felt so good.
My now six year old son has hair like my husband, the hair I always wanted, and wants to grow it out. I undercut it so it flips under. But he’d better learn to brush it himself soon because I’m tired of that shit. I cut my 3 year old girls’ in a bob that’s short in back and chin length on both sides, but I wouldn’t do her bangs because she’s got hair like mine and it’ll take forever to grow out. So she did them herself. It looks great. The scissors are now on the top shelf.
I have no formal training. Our cuts aren’t perfect. (Then again, they were never perfect when I used to pay for them either, because I could never get across what I really meant by ‘short’ to all those well-meaning product-smelling ladies). But you can pretty much figure out any basic thing you want if you experiment for a couple of years. I believe in you!
Fellow curly girl here and also new to the method! I got the Curly Girl Handbook from my library and have been experimenting with the techniques. All of my brushes, curling/flat iron, and bad hair products went into a tote in the closet until I feel confident that I won’t need them anymore! There are some helpful videos out there (and Facebook support groups for curly haired folks) that I peruse when I’m having a bad hair day. But the gel scrunch method works great! And I’m a huge fan of the pineapple 🙂 Also invested in a silk pillowcase ($10 for 2 on Amazon) to prevent sleep tangles. Good luck!
Hi there! I think you look great with your new hairstyle. Well done! I think it’s ok to put a lot of thought into cutting your hair short, because it is a big decision for us ladies and it’s not like you should cut it off on a whim. Also,the same wrinkles emerged on my face since I had my daught, who is now 1 year old, and who did not sleep through the night until she was 11 months old. So, you know, these are my warrior marks. I’m proud of them and you look good with them.
Just a frugal tip: my brother has been growing his Tarzan-like hair just for the purpose of selling it, and he found a buyer online who offered 675 dollars for it. It could potentially generate money to cut off long hair 😂
Love your haircut. Looks great on you!. I have been cutting my own hair for years. Using just scissors I would cut it into a chin length angled bob. However, I have always loved short pixie type haircuts just didn’t like the upkeep. I finally got the courage to try to go short. Bought a pair of Wahl clippers and went for it. Turned out pretty good. Particularly for the first try!!! Needed a little cleanup but I am happy with it. Loved your book. It is one of my favorites. Waiting for the next one!!!
That’s awesome you cut it yourself! I am impressed :)! And, I love those Wahl clippers–they work soooooo well.
My husband has been cutting my hair for me since we first started dating. At that time it had been a year since I had last visited the salon and received a really bad haircut. This first frugal endeavor came about for two reasons. One I didn’t have the money in my budget for a salon haircut. It was gas and groceries or the salon. Second was that he had good quality hair shears and he explained how he would do it for me, it sounded good and I figured he could do no worse than the bad salon haircut I got a year ago. Net result was that he did an awesome job, I got compliments on my hair and it was free. My hair was just skimming my shoulders when he put down the shears after that first haircut. Now it reaches past my elbows and I love it. I take a seat every other month, get caped and my hubby combs out my hair, he sections it just behind my ear on each side, then pins it up. He trims the bottom most layer, then lets it down in 1/2” increments to trim each successive layer. Very meticulous in ensuring it is done right and the ends are neatly trimmed and even. My mother thought it was wrong to have him cut my hair for me, but after a bad salon haircut herself, that she paid way too much for, she decided that taking a seat at my house and getting her haircut for free wasn’t such a bad idea. She was watching hubby give my older son his haircut when she mentioned she needed her hair cut and I told her you are next, take a seat and have him cut it for you. Well she did have him give her a haircut, she liked the results and the fact she gets a free haircut. She now asks if hubby will be home and will he have time to cut her hair for her when she is coming to visit when she wants one. My best friend stopped by one day while I was seated and getting my haircut. She watched the process intently as my hubby let down each section of my hair and trimmed it. She complimented him on his handiwork and as he was taking the cape off my shoulders, she announced I’m next! That is if you have the time to cut my hair too. I nodded, he said have a a seat and he secured the stylist cape around her shoulders. As he was lifting her hair to secure the snaps, he asked how much she wanted taken off. Her hair was to her midback. She said to just trim off the splits/damaged ends and keep her ends neat. He said that will be about an inch and a half to two inches. She said that was fine. He did the same process with her hair taking about two inches off as she wanted, leaving her ends neatly trimmed. She was very happy with her free haircut. Hubby took over giving my two boys their monthly haircuts after a couple bad ones at he barbershop. I bought the clippers, watched YouTube videos with him, but I ended up handing that monthly chore to him. He does a great job with their haircuts as well. It saves me hundreds of dollars a year, insourcing our haircuts. He probably gives over 50 haircuts a year between, mine, my boys, my mom, and a couple friends of mine. So he gets plenty of practice doing different lengths of hair from my boys’ short hair to my long hair and various lengths in between for my mom and my friends. I have had days where I felt like asking him to chop off a lot of my hair. Last summer I had him take off a good six inches, which he was very hesitant to do, and while he did do as I asked, I was having second thoughts when I saw the long pieces of hair hitting the floor. I wear my hair in many different ways. I prefer having my husband give me different braids. He will do French, Dutch, side, simple three strand and fishtail braids for me. It isn’t just a ponytail or up. And when my hair is braided, I wish it was longer. I work with small children, plus all the work around the house and garden, so it is so much better for me to have it back and out of my face. I feel my long hair is very attractive on me, I had short hair before, it was way more work, and took a lot longer in the morning for me to get ready for work. I don’t blow dry or use a curling iron or straightener on my hair. I just let it air dry. When I want my hair curly, I just have my husband give me multiple braids and when my hair dries I have gorgeous curls the full length. Some people think hair is no big deal, it grows and needs to be cut. But I know for me it is a big deal, I am a long haired lady, I feel pretty and confident when my hair looks good. I also am extremely frugal and have not spent a penny in the salon in close to ten years, and I do not miss it. Kudos to Mr FW in giving you a haircut that you are happy with.
What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing! And kudos to your husband–he sounds like quite the home hair stylist!
Yes, he is really is quite good at doing it, he had a friend who was a hairdresser cut his and she handed him the shears to cut hers, giving very specific instructions and he just seemed to have a knack for it. His mom always did the family’s haircuts at home and so did his aunt. So maybe it’s in his genes, who knows? I figure if my friends want my husband to cut their hair rather than go to the salon, I know I have it good.
I am very fortunate, he is definitely a DIY guy, he does a lot of projects around the property, whether pruning the fruit trees and bushes in the garden, plumbing, electrical, painting, or building something, he is always got some project going on, right now it is garden preparations for planting next month. And I enjoy learning new things as well, as we are doing the homestead life in the country as you are, and we are raising chickens, keeping bees and I plan to can and freeze more vegetables and fruit from the garden, plus make batches of jam to sell as part of our side gigs. I enjoy reading your blog seeing you do many of the same things we are doing.
Your hair looks lovely! I’m also a toddler mom, and I have a pixie cut that I LOVE. I do have to get it cut frequently, but regular haircuts are one of those things that are worth it for me since I feel so relaxed and awesome afterwards, and it builds in time every ~8 weeks for me to get out of the house and have some solo time.
Right after I had my daughter I thought I could deprioritize my hair to have one less thing to think about, but unkempt blah hair just made me feel crappy and probably ended up sucking up more energy than if I’d just kept up with my regular pixie cut trims. I also have very fine hair, and I’ve heard pixie cuts aren’t as easy to deal with for thick hair. Especially with your awesome curls, you may have hit the perfect haircut in terms of flattering look that is low maintenance!
this just happened to me, I had long thick hair and I wanted to cut it about shoulder length and they stylist gave me an angled bob. Super short in the back and about chin length in the front. I absolutely hate it. I feel like it takes more time than just throwing my long hair in a ponytail and now it doesn’t go in a pony at all. Now that it’s short it also weirdly seems way thinner. your hair looks great though, exactly the length I wanted!!
Mrs. Frugalwoods, thanks for your frankness. Your beauty is not in your hair…or is this a late April fool’s joke–haha! Sadly, beauty is something many of us women grapple with. I’ve listened to my women coworkers go on about it for hours. The mindshare and fretting are upsetting. It’s sickening what could be accomplished if not for womanhood in our society.
Still, I see it, and I’m in it too. I’m at what I want to say is a minimalist approach, which is letting my hair grow until it falls out. Without even paying for the scissors, it’s free in every way except maintenance. No good deal on that day to day, and definitely not minimalist.
Some day I hope to be brave enough to move beyond hair as identity.
What do you all think?
I agree that the feeling that we have to live up to a particular type of appearance and be valued based on how well we match it is not great. I also think that enjoying beautiful things can be a positive experience – and I believe we’re all capable of creating beauty, it doesn’t have to be something specially sanctioned in a museum. Why not have our hair be a beautiful thing that we can enjoy?
The trouble is when that starts to bleed into our self worth (and, most unfortunately, our worth as judged by others in society). I’m not sure where the balance is. I do hope women don’t judge themselves or each other for caring ‘too much’ about matters of physical appearance when so many things in our society are set up to try to make us do just that. Don’t hate the player hate the game, or something? It’s definitely a systemic issue. How can women change our relationship with this external judgment without harshly judging ourselves and others for having succumbed to it?
Meghan and Sarah: thank you for bringing this to the conversation. This is something I think about a lot and you’ve both brought up poignant ideas. I want to sit down over wine and talk with you both for hours about this!
Meghan and Mrs. Frugalwoods — I am so happy that someone out there is willing to comment on this 🙂
When I think of hair and beauty, I think of the interesting colors, reflections, and light effects as I look at my own and other’s hair. I also think of the beautiful hair of others, be it straight, wavy, shiny, or muted by age. I think of the way it can change the shape of one’s head when piled up, most impressively seen with women’s hairstyles such as French twists, and African scarved styles.
I am heterosexual, but I see that this beauty is often, but not always limited to female’s hair. It’s because it is often long, and incredibly varied, and yes, styled. It’s subject to thought, concern, and preoccupation. As you said, it can cut into a woman’s self worth. I don’t see the same with men, and aesthetics is part of a dynamic that I believe leaves women less empowered to think of greater things. This is the aspect that bothers me.
I like to look at beauty. I see it in all of us, but the preoccupation is holding us women back.
At some point, the healthy thing would be to start talking about this in terms of how women’s aesthetic preoccupation is too great in society. How can women get beyond cosmetics until women are equally represented, in business, government, and other positions of decision making? Maybe on International Women’s day, women can all go “bare,” meaning, we can play the part of ourselves without interventions–jewelry, makeup, hair products, hair styling, plucking, primping, polishing, perfuming, “pumping” up our height, stuffing things in, and dressing for attraction rather than doing the job. As well, we could leave behind the comments to other women about the good job they did in these areas. Just for one day.
These are all things usually uniquely seen as part of womanhood, not manhood. If so, is this not just sexist behavior, care of ourselves as women, rather than beautification in the world? I see a lot of male artists. Is the representation equal in that world? There is an AA phrase for this that I wish more women would decide applies to them. I can only wish 😉
Comments welcomed 🙂
Love the new look! Also, I see lots of people commenting on the CG method, lol, so I’ll put my two cents in. The great thing is that is can be done very inexpensively. Main idea is cutting out silicones in products means you don’t need sulfates (think shampoo) but it also means you can “wash” with things like suave (like $1 bottle) conditioner. You may become an expert at reading labels. And I would highly encourage looking at naturallycurly.com and searching Curly Girl method, that’s how I started. Lots of DIY options for styling products.
I think you’d look great w a pixie cut but realize you’d definitely want it cut and maintained by a stylist… which means getting a cut every 6-8 weeks (unless you can live with it looking mullet-y). A decent cut in Vermont is $45 and up plus tips so it adds up.
I have had a pixie at 3 different times in my life and loved it, but it was expensive and not necessarily less work.
Curly Girl is great… check out the Curly Girl Method international Facebook group! I do CGM as well.
Love your posts and your hair! This post really resonated with me. I have two little girls too and had been thinking A LOT about my long also thick hair and how many messy buns I was wearing, including to my work in an office. Ended up spending $40 at a salon, including tip, to get a shoulder length bob, which is less than the $100 I used to spend before kids. I don’t have the curls you do or the time to style, so I usually end up putting it in a low pony tail, but it’s still neater than the bun, which I also had loved for pictures! I keep thinking that if I spend a little more on the cut maybe it would be easier to style and look better, so I may end up spending more next time because of my vanity. 🙁 I also like the idea about cutting it shorter in the winter and growing it longer in the summer! Thanks again for sharing this!
I love your hair!! It turned out so well. I’m the Lisa from the UFM group with the at-home curly cut, and I’m happy to see you embracing your own! (I didn’t respond to all of the lovely comments because I had a baby the next day. 😊)
Have you read Curly Girl the book already? Lorraine Massey offers hair cutting tips in there. If you’re open to spending money once on a professional cut, it can be helpful to watch a stylist do everything and get recommendations for which gels and products work best with your hair type. I paid for a few cuts and am really thankful I did because I was able to ask the stylist all of my questions, which led me to better home haircuts. I also didn’t spend a ton of money trying products that weren’t quite right to end up with a bunch of leftovers at home. There are still techniques for zuzhing up curls (like clipping and diffusing (which you should definitely get if you’re blow drying at all)) to enhance them for special occasions.
If it’s any consolation on the long hair front, what I typically do is grow my hair for 18 months (with maintenance trims) before chopping it off to my shoulders again. It gets down below my shoulder blades during that time. I find, by the time I start to miss my long hair, it’s getting super long again, and when I miss my short hair, it’s time to cut it off! This also allows me to donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths every couple of years, which is a great cause to support.
Good luck with the new haircutting adventures and have fun embracing your natural texture! Welcome to the curly family. It’s the best! 😊
Thank you and CONGRATS on the baby :)!!!!
Hair is an interesting part of our identity. I learned this when I lost my hair with chemotherapy. It came back curly and cute and my husband loved a super short cut. Then I began to take post-cancer Tamoxifen which depresses the expression of estrogen. As a side effect, my hair has thinned. I have a nearly bald spot in the back (at the same spot my brother has one!) I now keep it in a pixie cut and get lots of compliments on it.
I didn’t know part of my identity was expressed as my hair until I lost it, got it back, and then it thinned. I have my dad’s hair and he had a full head of beautiful silver waves. When my hair began to thin and didn’t wave, I felt I lost part of my connection to my now deceased dad, too. I mourned that loss.
But with most things in life, I’ve adapted to the new normal and happily accept compliments on my “cute hair.” I’ve had other women my age say they wish they were brave enough to go so short!
Julie, thank you for sharing this. I’m so sorry to hear you had cancer, but I’m glad it sounds like you’re doing well now. Thank you for this reminder of how fortunate we are to have hair at all.
I used to have terrific hair — very thick, naturally just the right shades of gray, and a wonderful very short haircut. Then I started chemo, and most of it fell out (I dreaded looking at the drain after a shower). Now you can see my scalp in lots of places on my head. I’m aware that plenty of women walk around with this much hair (I should say this LITTLE hair) and they do fine, but I am grieving my beautiful hair. Maybe it will grow in again; one can always hope. I didn’t realize until I lost it how much my identity and self-worth were tied up with my terrific hair. I try to cope by seldom looking in a mirror, and I do have a wig which I wear when people are going to be looking at me, but I feel like it’s screaming “She’s wearing a WIG!!!” and I don’t like the feeling of it on my head.
I have read every word of this post and the comments, and I mostly feel envious. For me, it was worth it to get my hair cut every 5 weeks (at about $30, so not terribly expensive) because I seldom wore makeup and didn’t spend a lot of money on clothes or other appearance factors. Just my hair. My oncologist tried to help when I was complaining about hair loss and how my hair had been my best feature, by saying “Really? I think your eyes are your best feature.” Which was sweet of him, but not that helpful because… MY HAIR!
It has been very interesting to read all the comments. Food for thought…
Thank you for sharing this, Judy. I’m sorry to hear about your hair and grateful to you for sharing your perspective here.
I bet your just as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside. 🙏🏻
Wow, I soooooo echo what you said. When I married, my hair was waist length and so thick that if I did a braid after washing it, the inside was still damp at bedtime. It had golden highlights and was slightly wavy. My husband loved it…then I got very ill, as in for five years, and lost the hair and it never came back as lusciously thick and it seemed to just stop growing once it reached my shoulders. Then I went on a life saving medication that has made my hair so thin I detest looking in the mirror because my hair really was my crowning glory. I feel so vain saying that but it is true. Now I have to keep it short and it is thin and straight (how can chemo take one type of hair and replace it with another?). My husband has been so kind, saying he loved my hair but he is in love with me (this after 37 years together) but I feel the cruel loss every day. God, I hate being this shallow. I am glad and lucky to be alive, but the hair, the hair…
Your hair looks really great! I basically do the curly girl method, but I have gotten so lax that I only wear it down 1 – 2 a month… the rest of the time a bun it is. Which unfortunately doesn’t look all that good with postpartum hair loss. Right now I only spend $30- 50 on a once a year cut, but maybe I could have my husband do it for me next time?? And now I need to read about your Roomba experience, as much as I don’t want to – I keep thinking about buying one and I can’t get the idea out of my mind.
Liz, you look lovely! The new short cut really brings out your pretty eyes. Let me just caution you about super-short hair. Sometimes it takes just as long as long hair to style! My hair isn’t curly like yours. It used to be very wavy, though, and when I got it cut short, I had ski bumps and moguls all over my head, not the cap full of curls my mother said I’d have!! I’ve since settled on an ear-length bob… since menopause, my hair has totally straightened out, with only a slight wave to it.
I agree with you, why spend the time and money going to the salon, when you can save yourself the aggravation and just have your husband give the family their haircuts. It really is a big time saver for me. I figure when I used to take my sons to the barbershop, it would easily take 3-4 hours of my day between the travel, time waiting for their turn for getting the haircuts, the time getting the haircut and then paying for the haircuts. And this was every month on a weekend day or midweek evening when I had other things I wanted to do. Cost including haircuts and mileage made it a $60 expense each month. That is $720 a year I am no longer laying out. I used to pay $75 for my haircut every six weeks, $125 if I did color, probably two to three times a year. So I was spending about $1000 on my hair plus add another $200 for mileage and that is close to $2000 each year. So when you look at the numbers, the decision to give my boys haircuts at home and take a seat myself for my husband to trim my hair is a very smart move financially. My husband cuts his own hair, he has been doing it for years, so he had already been saving money with the DIY process. We have been doing them at home for seven years now, that is $14000 that I did not spend on haircuts. There is upfront costs of the hair shears, clippers, hair clips, capes that are needed to do the job properly. We watched a number of YouTube videos before I was comfortable enough to attempt the first haircuts on my boys, But that cost was recouped after the first couple months and the time saved has been more than made up. The cape is a must and we bought the neck strips, although bathroom tissue could be used, to keep the loose hairs from going down the boys’ neck and back. They squirm enough without the itchy hairs making it worse. My boys have outgrown the child size cape, but we are keeping it to hand down for grandchildren.
I would say it is definitely a valuable skill to acquire as it will save you a lot of time and money. I don’t begrudge the people who make a living cutting hair, but we have a garden where we grow our own fruits and vegetables, and I don’t think I am stealing business from the grocery stores or restaurants either.
Well done! I’ve recently gone from almost daily washing, blow drying, and then curling, to the CGM, and let me tell you, I am LOVING it. It takes some trail and error, and I still don’t have it perfected by any means, but every week I learn more and it gets easier. You go girl!
I do Curly Girl too…. modified Curly Girl. I co-wash mostly and only wash wash after I’ve run (When my hair is gross). Its gotten curlier, even thicker (if that’s possible) and is awesome. I had it cut short which I loved, but I’m growing it out for my wedding. So I use a lot of barrette’s right now. 🙂 Seriously, its freeing to just scrunch and go! 🙂
I am recent Curly Girl convert with hair similar to yours – super thick, 2A/2B, takes forever to dry. I’m still figuring a lot out, but I love Tresemme coconut conditioner and cheap, drugstore brand aloe vera gel for styling. I also use a CG-compliant shampoo about once a week (mine is a bar), which I have been told can be helpful for wavies. I live in Boston, so there are many days when styling products are pointless once I’ve been outside in the wind for three minutes, and I am trying to just accept that. 🙂 Enjoy your new hair!
Many thanks for the tips!!! Yes, I’m pretty sure I’m a 2B
Your hair looks great! I just wanted to chime in that I cut my own hair short into a longer than a pixie but short ‘do. I have very thick wavy hair too. Ok, it’s frizzy — but not when it’s short! Happiness! What I do is slide my fingers to my scalp, and then raise them to about how long I want the hair to be (in the front maybe three inches, in the back and for the sides, right to the fingers, maybe 3/4s of an inch) and cut at an angle. I style it so that the front is going forward if that makes sense (and by style I mean when it’s wet I rake it forward with my fingers which takes 3 seconds — and I’m done!). I cut my hair generally once a month and takes at the very most 15 minutes. I wish I could include a pic but I don’t do social media and there is nowhere to attach one here, but I do not look like a lunatic 🙂 People regularly ask me where I get my hair cut in fact 🙂 🙂
I did the same thing this summer! O agonized over whether I should cut it since it took so long to get waist length, but I hated it. And I was so happy when I cut it to a shoulder length bob. My only complaint now is that it requires more frequent cutting and my husband won’t do it for me and I hate spending the money on the hair cuts. I’m going to have to figure out how to trim it myself!
If you put it in a ponytail first, you can totally cut it yourself!
I think we have the same hair. I’m a wavy, pretty thick brunette. I had a pixie cut in high school and college which airdrying took literally 5 minutes. I didn’t want to go to a salon every two weeks and didn’t trim my hair other than bangs so my hair quickly looked like shaggy boy hair.
I usually keep my hair your length or a little bit shorter to an “almost pixie” which I love! I’d recommend that. It’s like model hair especially for us wavy haired girls. It looks styled even when it’s not. It’s feminine and still doesn’t take much to dry. But otherwise I love your new hairstyle.
This post is so timely!!! I haven’t had a haircut in at least 2 years, and have spent the past several monthss pinning “long Bobs” and other various shorter hairstyles on my Pinterest account. 😂 (I too wear a messy bun all the time, bit at this point cannot fathom cutting it short enough that I can’t still put it into some sort of ponytail). I have also spent far too much time seeking salon recommendations and also debating about just walking in to Supercuts which would be so much cheaper! I absolutely am suffering analysis paralysis about this very same issue. (glad I’m not alone!). Your story has genuinely made me consider just asking my husband to make the cut for me (something that somehow never crossed my mind before). Though I do believe he would strongly protest undertaking such a responsibility. 😂 Thank you again for sharing!!
Great decision on hair! I can’t imagine the work such long, thick hair would be. Although, I, like many, always wanted thicker hair than I have. Mine is fine and straight and as I age, it’s getting even thinner.
My mother had the same hair as me and always wore it in a bob. And get this, she cut it herself. Just looked in the mirror and trimmed it. It always looked the same, as if it never grew.
To give it a little body, she set it in ‘pin curls’ (also called, truthfully, ‘spit curls.’ you use a bit of spit to help roll it and secure with a bobby pin).
Since she was born just before Depression, she was, of course, very frugal. Thanks for prompting this memory!
Embrace the curl/wave! So much time saved. ~ a fellow Curly Girl
You have beautiful hair. I would have put it in a high ponytail and called it a day with an occasional bun. My hair used to be long and beautiful, never thick, but adequate. After 3 daughters and aging, my hair is thin, like embarrassingly thin, like I need Rogaine thin. I would love to have long beautiful graying hair again. You can always grow it back. I wear mine in a thin bun using one of those snap barrettes and I have to redo it several times a day because it is so thin/fine. Wahhhhh……
It’s gorgeous! It looks great on you and I must say, I am so impressed your hubby was able to do it. I would be very apprehensive to even let my hubby hold a pair of scissors anywhere near my hair 🙂
Your hair looks lovely! This length is super flattering on you.
I’m in the process of growing out my hair and bangs after a bad salon cut. The bangs were a bad, bad decision for me (for lots of reasons). I’m not quite ready to give up getting my hair cut and colored at a salon, but I’ll get there someday. 😉
I really appreciate the attention you gave to this topic, because I think it’s one that is really challenging for a lot of people who are seeking a life of simplicity and frugality but have genuine, authentic, true-to-self preferences regarding their looks that create real tension and frustration!
I pay a VERY reduced rate for my haircuts in exchange for services with my longtime hairdresser (I’m a CPA), something we worked at quite a while ago. Unfortunately, my hair color is affectionately (?) known as “dirty dishwater” among stylists, something I have tried to embrace but which is really, REALLY unflattering. There is nothing I hate more than spending a full two hours at a salon to have my color done, so I tend to only do it 2-3 times per year. But I haven’t found a middle ground here – I have tried to rock my natural hair color but it simply makes me look sallow and unhealthy. It isn’t dark enough to dye with darker drugstore color at home (there is nothing more unflattering than blonde roots showing through rather than dark roots!); I’ve experimented with glosses, etc. but in the end I keep trudging back to the salon – there is no way I would experiment with highlights on my own! Luckily, as I said, I pay a nominal amount of money for a professional result, which seems like the best of both worlds. But since I have a little one of my own, I just hate the time it takes to get it done.
But at least I don’t feel as alone in these struggles! 🙂
I started cutting my own hair after reading your book/blog and working up a LOT of courage. It is long and straight so fairly easy not to mess up. I first started cutting my own bangs after trying (and failing) to get to multiple ‘free’ bang trim appointments across town. Even though they were ‘free’, I always left a 5-10$ tip for her time. so not really that free. Now that I do it myself I can do it exactly how I want it and keep going back to fix it. Thank you for giving me the confidence to try!!
Hooray! That’s awesome, Erin!!!
The only thing worse than long, thick hair is coarse, wavy, graying hair — that’s me! My hair has always been a nightmare, especially as a child and before I had such tools a straightening irons and mountains of hair products to experiment with as I tried taming the wild beast. Add in early grays that kept coming and coming, and I have a bona fide mess to deal with. Your artful mastery of a messy bun looks beautiful and elegant compared to my all out frizzy disaster. So I feel you. Your haircut looks great! And don’t worry about the lines around your eyes – they’re signs of a life well lived, right?
I discovered your blog this time last year and read your post on DIY hair cuts. THANK YOU! You’ve saved me a fortune in future hair cuts! I accept that my hair’s not perfect, but the time alone that it saves me is priceless! Thank you! 🙂 I do it myself, but it’s worth it. Convenience is the ultimate gift, that’s for sure!
I love it! You inspired me to cut my own hair maybe a year ago, and I’m so glad. I have almost identical hair to you, include waves/ light curls. I LOVE, LOVE cutting my own hair. Going on vacation and want to feel extra special? Clip, clip! Angry at my spouse for a stupid reason? Clip! 🙂
All joking aside, my favorite way to cut my hair is the ponytail method. Then I trim the bottom for length. Sometimes I also go fancy and soften the edges (add texture, ie just clip the ends different lengths). The beautiful thing about the layers – my curls are more pronounced. And it hides any imperfections!
Yay! I’m so glad to hear your home haircuts are working out!!!
I love your haircut! In my early 40s my fine, slightly wavy hair became more wavy and very frizzy. I didn’t learn about the CG method for a few years, but was so glad that finally did. I learned that my hair was frizzy because I was brushing and drying it straight. Now that I let my hair act naturally it’s so much easier to maintain. You can find more info on the method through the CG subreddit and the Curly Girl and Curly Crew Fb groups.
You’re so brave! And your new, shorter hair looks great. I’ve struggled for years with what to do with my hair. It’s fine and limp, absolutely no body whatsoever, so it doesn’t go up without a ton of pins and product (which I have no desire to mess with on a regular basis), it doesn’t hold a curl, it splits and breaks easily. I wear it long simply because that’s the easiest thing to do, but like you, I hate the tangles and it getting in my face (I LOATHE windy days). I’d cut it short, but the maintenance would kill me- seriously, folks, there’s a reason why I just get a few inches chopped off once a year- and I don’t have time in the morning to actually do anything to it. So unless I want a buzz cut, this is about the only hairstyle that works for me. Frustrating!
I’m not sure I have the courage to cut my own hair yet (or if my husband would cut it…or if I’d trust him to do that!), but I really admire you for taking charge and making the changes you needed to. (And I hear you on the heaviness of hair. It’s ridiculous, and the pain of tangles is unreal! Who put so many nerve endings in the human scalp???) Thanks for sharing your life with us. 🙂
…….doesn’t matter, it’s that inner peace thing that enables beauty. And with less stress about your hair, there’s even more inner peace, yes?
I read the title of this post as Skunk Cost… So I got halfway through and was wondering, is it really warm enough up there for skunks yet? Lol, I love your new haircut. As another thick wavy haired mother, I can relate. We live in a very arid climate and I’ve found it is best for my hair to skip the conditioner and just put some coconut oil on the lower 1/2 of my hair. If I do this wet, it can be used to define the curls a little. It takes some practice, too much and I look like a grease ball. Enjoy your new style it is a very fitting change with spring coming!
Skunk costs–hah!! It does sound like something I’d write about 😉
I liked your long hair but I really like the cut on you, too, and if you love it, then that’s what counts more than anyone else’s vote.
I have had long and short hair. I finally settled on a just-past-the-shoulder bob and cut it and my bangs, myself. I have curly/wavy/unruly hair with a lot of cowlicks and I put it up a lot, because of the sticking-out-weirdly curls and because of the heat. Now I have to check out Curly Girl and see if there is any hope for my frizzy, crazy hair in this intensely humid swamp called Florida.
You look lovely! I love it! Thank you for writing about your decision process. I’ve gone round and round about this too. I’ve found that a bob is the perfect style for me. Sometimes I feel silly that I stick with the same haircut (since like forever) but for this busy working mom it saves me a ton of time styling/drying. I do go to a stylist but always stick to a junior stylist (cheaper) and I make sure that they will do complimentary bang trims. This helps me stretch out the time between cuts. Also, my current salon gives complimentary shoulder/neck massages at the beginning of each appointment along with tea and dark chocolate so a visit there really doubles a frugal spa appointment for me!
You pull off short hair so well! I’m all about the low-maintenance thing, which is why I actually choose to keep mine long because I only have to wash it every 3 days when it’s long and once I’ve blow-dried it or straightened it the first day, I don’t have to do anything at all to it the other two days and it still looks good. (Short hair, on the other hand…I always cut it short, thinking that somehow my hair texture will change and it will be all low-maintenance for me, but it just never is.) I used to dye/highlight my hair every time I cut it (which admittedly is only twice a year, but still), and I would spend around $100 for the cut and color. Now I just get the haircut and have let my natural haircolor grow out, which means I only spend about $70 a year total for my hair, as opposed to the $200 I used to spend. It works for me!
I’ve thought about trying to learn to cut my husband’s hair to save us that money, but I’ll admit–I’m terrified! Our sister-in-law is a hairstylist and says that he has one of the hardest heads of hair on a man she’s seen, just because his hair is thick, wavy-curly, and has a ridiculous number of cowlicks which makes it tricky to cut and look good. I’ll admit it freaks me out to try that out, but I love the idea of us saving so much money on it!
I buzzed all of my hair off and it’s been glorious. No maintenance, no styling products, just once a week I pull out my clippers to give it a trim.
I go to a discount hair shop near my house ($20-25).
I keep a bob with long layers.
Usually I go 2x a year – so my hair gets “long” to the point where it’s annoying (when I can feel it under my back while I’m sleeping) – I get it cut to a chin-length bob (about 4 inches off).
This year, I upped my visits to every 4 months, because I feel like it looks better if I go from about 1/2 inch longer than chin to “not quite as long as it gets annoying”.
Your hair looks great, and I so relate to your thought processes! I spent four years with a pixie (that started just to see if I could do it) and had it cut by barbers that entire time. Honestly, it was a lot more work than long hair. Sure there’s no tangles or drying time, but the amount of time I spent getting haircuts was ridiculous, and unless you want to straight up buzz your head then there is some styling involved in the haircut. And then you have to wash it basically every day because it gets dirty so fast. It was fun for a while, don’t get me wrong, but not exactly easier. I have similar hair to yours, and I find that misting on a salt water spray helps it air dry wavy without doing any other special methods! I like this because it’s super cheap, lots of places sell the sprays but obviously you can easily make your own.
I find myself saying “same here” to just about everything you wrote! But the hair salon is one of my purposeful expenses. I don’t do anything but wash and comb out my hair, so I need (OK, I *want*) a really good cut in order to keep it easy care but professional looking. You look great. Mr. FW does nice work. You two could pair up and do a frugal style makeover reality show. LOL!! Enjoy those extra carefree moments you’ve just created in your day.
I’ve let my (thin, fine) hair grow long for frugality reasons – fewer cuts needed. Then I realized how much I dislike going to the salon and that with long hair it’s pretty easy to cut myself, so I do.
But I really like short hair. I’m happiest with REALLY short hair, but I’m of an age and body type that it’s no longer becoming. I’m not vain generally, but I now refuse to wear the lipstick and mascara and earrings and fashionable clothes that helped me pull that off well before.
Now I’ll be paying attention to see if there are short haircuts I can cut myself that look attractive, besides a buzz cut. That would be the best of both worlds for me.
I had hair about as long as your new cut for most of my life; when Darling Son was born, I went to a shorter, not-quite-to-the-shoulders look that was cute. Somewhere in sleep deprivation land, I got it cut shorter and shorter until it was less pixie and more jarhead. I openly envied men who could buzz it all off. I kept it that short for many, many years, long past the sleep deprivation and little-hands-pulling stages because it was easier. Sadly, I never found anyone, including Darling Hubby, who could or would cut it for me and mostly got it chopped at places like Great Cuts or Supercuts, using “frequent patron” coupons so about $15 a pop.
One day I realized the short cut made me look my age, which was distressing (I saw my 35th b-day before DS was born…) and tired of having the errand of cutting hair, and began to grow it out. After about 7 weeks of people gently telling me I looked tired and perhaps needed a haircut as well as a rest, it reached a point of looking – well, terrific, actually. Somehow over the years it went from stringy/wavy to gorgeous ringlet curls and I hadn’t known because it’d been so short for years. I’m now frequently mistaken for being 35 years old and that makes me tear up with a gentle joy.
Do what makes you happy. 🙂
I’m in need of a haircut right now. My bangs are too long and it is getting lanky. My hair is thin and stick straight and mouse brown and I wear it back most of the day.. I get my hair cut two times a year (?) and I haven’t been since last May. I was using my haircuts as an opportunity to get me eyebrows done, as I have quite dark, quite thick eyebrows and I’m too lazy to tweeze them. But I have a new tool to do my eyebrows, which is why I haven’t been in 11 months.
The thing is that I wear a cloth cap eight hours a day as an OR nurse. So whatever length my hair is, I have to wear it in a low ponytail in order to corral it under the hat.
I was spending $30 for a cut and wax twice a year. But now that I have my $20 tool and can do my own eyebrows, I will probably spend $15 per year on my hair. $45 savings per year. Yay for our budget.
Your hair looks great!! Congrats!
I’ve been buzzing my hair myself for the past three or four years. I use a long-ish setting, so it’s like a really short pixie cut. I get a surprising number of compliments on it from strangers, usually other women, even in business settings. And I can wash it with a washcloth on days I skip a shower! I love it.
I’ve had a DIY pixie for a few years now. I’ve found that buzzing down to 1/4″ is very cooling, but gets pretty chilly once the sun goes down, even in August, and requires a hat to prevent sunburn on your scalp. Entertaining to try once, but I haven’t done it again. The best and quickest style for me was to use a 1 1/4″ comb to buzz the top of my head and a 3/4″ comb for the sides, plus some trimming around the ears and front. It’s not as easy as buzzing my husband’s hair, but my husband got the hang of doing it after a few tries. You can also buzz only the sides and do the top by scissors, but it requires a bit more skill. I’m growing out from pixie to short bob now, partly to make cutting easier.
I swore I’d never get another shirt haircut. Yet… got a pixie near the holidays. 3 haircuts in, I have learned how much easier it is to manage. I need to be work at 6:point a.m. A haircut which can be blown dry in 4 minutes (very thick hair) is WONDERFUL!
6:00. Why don’t I proofread before posting?? 🤦🏻♀️
Hahah, I ask myself the same question every day
When I was a little girl I thought that long hair was beautiful, but my my mom didn’t want to deal with helping me maintain it, so it was haircuts for a while, with a definite pent up demand for long locks. I had my last real haircut (more than a trim) at 12 or 13 years of age. I’m now 62. I met my future husband when I was 18, and didn’t know him long before I learned that he really loves long hair on women, and considers long grey hair on older women beautiful. I still love having it long, and although it’s taking its time turning grey, I do not plan to colour it.
My husband’s family was poor, and his mom did all the haircuts for her seven children. When we got married 42 years ago, we went on a six-month road trip for our honeymoon. My husband had quit his job in order to do this. As the time neared for us to return home, his hair needed to be cut, and he expected me to do it (he is analytical, and had some tips to offer). That was a bit nerve-wracking, as I feared that a bad haircut might prevent his finding a job! I managed to give him a good enough haircut that he found employment, and have given him every haircut since. He grew his hair long (usually wearing it in a ponytail) maybe 20 years ago; since then it takes me literally a minute to trim his hair.
He’s given me every trim since we’ve been married also. We also gave our two sons all their haircuts during their years living at home. This is a larger math problem than I want to tackle, but to say all this has been a huge savings would not be an overstatement.
My beauty routine consists of washing my hair with cheap (Suave) shampoo and conditioner, wearing lipstick (this one: https://colortheworldlipsticks.com/collections/all-hand-poured-lipsticks/products/glamberry-5-of-this-lipstick-donates-to-feeding-america, the only lipstick I’ve wanted to wear since I discovered it), and perfume, because smelling great is part of feeling beautiful for me (this fake version of Shalimar is a good enough version to fool me, and ridiculously less expensive https://www.amazon.com/Professor-Kingsleys-Impression-Concentrated-Fragrance/dp/B00GF5T32K/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=professor%2Bkingsley%27s%2Bshalimar&qid=1554226109&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull&th=1).
One more thing, which is not terribly frugal: I have FIVE expensive-ish hair clips made by Lilla Rose. I can’t stand to have my hair in my face when I’m working, and wear the top part of it clipped back with one of these most days. My hair is quite fine, and normal hair clips tend to slide right out. These come in seven different sizes, and if you get the right size they stay put!
If you have curly, thick hair, your hair may tend to frizz. If it does, like mine does, I recommend https://www.amazon.com/Revlon-One-Step-Hair-Dryer-Volumizer/dp/B01LSUQSB0/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2PYKXSES1SQ0F&keywords=revlon+one+step+hair+dryer+and+styler&qid=1554228333&s=gateway&sprefix=rev%2Caps%2C180&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1
It’s expensive at $60, but it’ll style hair glossy straight and do it in less time than a blowdryer.
Love your hair this length! Mr. FW did a great job and might have a potential side business opportunity. I went through a very similar process when I decided to let my hair go gray. The signs were coming, but I researched and thought about it for about a year.
I am so glad I did. My hair is healthier and I get lots of compliments. I saw the hair color aisle in the store the other day and was very grateful that I no longer have to deal with that. I no longer watch my hair carefully for roots, judge it when they show up, spend money on dye, or waste time putting chemicals on my head.
Looks great! I was going to recommend the Curly Girl method once I saw those waves. I got a ton of info from the subreddit r/curlyhair. Definitely check it out, lots of helpful folks in there.
I needed to read this today, and I’m going to go back and read it again! I almost always have long hair too, and “suffer” from all the problems you described. Every few years, I give it a good chop, and then it quickly makes its way back to waist-length. But it’s true, caring for long hair with little children is hard! (I have three small children, and my hair is one of the last things to receive attention!) While I love my long hair, I have felt for a while that I’m just not doing it justice, and vice-versa. Not to mention, we had a little scare last spring when a ‘lice-in-the-classroom’ notice came home from school, and believe me, that made me really reconsider all the heads of long hair in our household! Anyway, thank you for writing about this. I’ve become a little too attached to my long furry pet, and I hope this will motivate me to lighten up a bit (literally!)
“Paralysis by analysis happens when we over-analyze or over-research something to the point that we can’t take action. We stymie our progress through our own over-thinking. This is what I was doing” I love those works. This is a bad habit for me as well. However, because of all the research – I often do not want the item after that. It is emotionally draining. I love your hair with the curls – I wear my hair similar to your cut. Now that I am retiring and decided I would like to sport my natural hair color-I might let my husband have a crack at trimming my hair. With your long face and neck, you would look amazing with a pixie cut. As you said and I have always affirmed, it’s only hair and it will grow back.
Your cut looks great! I recently stopped coloring my hair, for similar reasons you outlined in the post (I was tired of the upkeep, results didn’t last, etc.). I took some of the money I saved from skipping coloring and invested in a Deva cut, which is specifically designed for curly hair. It means I can’t straighten my hair (which, let’s be honest, I wasn’t doing much anyway–except in the stylist’s chair after coloring), but it’s so worth it! They cut your hair dry, so they can see exactly how the curls lie. You use no-poo shampoo and special conditioner, and one styling product–and air dry if your hair is on the shorter side. They show you styling tricks specific to your curl level/hair type (my hair is very curly but fine, so the stylist showed me how to get a little volume at the crown by using clips while air drying). And the upkeep is minimal (another cut 2-3 times a year, max), since it’s designed to work with your specific curls and to look good while it’s growing.
You might be able to put your hair up in a low twist instead of a bun, at the length you’re at now (gather hair at nape of neck as if making a ponytail, twist, flip up and pin with a clip). That will at least keep you hair off your neck when it’s too hot outside.
Actually I think she could do a french braid with her hair believe it or not. Mine is significantly longer, but the technique my husband uses by starting at the front with three strands and adding hair as you go is actually very flexible. Once my husband has gathered all the hair into the braid, everything below my nape is pretty much just a simple three strand braid. Pretty much if you have a shoulder skimming bob, it can work. Here is an example. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u4eeLwQrw0U
The advantage is that you can keep your hair back out of your face. Being Mr FW can successfully wield the shears, the no cutting required french braid is very forgiving and easy to learn. I saw on tv where Chris Pratt french braided an intern’s hair during the interview. I joked with my husband about it now being cool to do and he said he was cool before it was cool to do. We both laughed.
I tried to cut my own hair in college and ended up with terrible hair photos that I’m still ashamed of. Now I get my haircut at a cheap Asian place or about $20 per haircut. No frills, no dyes, just a simple bob. Works for me.
Well done !
I’ve lived in a hair hell most of my life then found the perfect haircut and the perfect colour, shorter than yours (no husband, so my hairdresser has become a friend), and blond because of hair whitening since I was 18, not ready to have it white, natural is long forgotten, red was becoming too expensive to maintain and impossible to neglect. Finally my hair is perfect, no need even to brush it in the morning, simplicity all around 🙂
It took lots of trying but I don’t plan to change it in the next 20 years now
Those are not wrinkles around your eyes… they are laugh lines! I struggle with cutting short vs no cutting and I cut my own hair! I think you look beautiful and I LOVE reading your stories! Thanks!
I’d like to chime in as a fellow lover of home haircuts with short, thick, curly hair. I do go VERY short (as in, buzz cut). I just can’t justify going to the salon every four to six weeks to keep a shorter cut going. The few times I have gone to a salon, I’ve left feeling like I would have been just as happy with a cut I did myself. I would say I don’t *love* it the first two weeks after I cut it, as it is so short, but I do really like it for the following six weeks, at which point I cut it again. That ratio is good enough for me. Having very short hair has given me confidence to go out into the world and rock whatever hairstyle I want–culture and gender norms be damned. Whenever I start to grow it out again I get annoyed by it and think, “Why should women feel like they need a “cute” hairstyle when men aren’t asking themselves these same questions?” Then out come the clippers. I know it is not for everyone, but I wanted to share my experience as a member of the very-short-home-haircut club. I’m so glad you and enjoying the freedom of shorter hair!
I have delicious shortish grey natural curly hair and use “Mane and Tail ” shampoo from most drug stores. It’s $7.00 for very large bottle – probably a quart. It does the trick…and very well !! It’s typically on bottom shelf. Check it out….
Awesome- looks great. I have been cutting my own hair for the past 2 years, and I have not mastered (or even approached expectations) on the side bangs. So I butcher it, it grows back, and so on. I think I’ll actually get a cheap local cut this week (there’s a place that has $10 haircuts on Thursdays)… although I’ll feel like a traitor to the frugal ways!
Curly hair tip- flip upside down after washing, scrunch in some oil, or nothing, just scrunch the hair. Do not brush again until after your next wash!
I personally find long hair much easier, but I don’t have kids. And the brushing is getting ridiculous… maybe a pro-cut will get rid of the tangles?
You….look….fantastic! Not that you needed to but you look 10 years younger! Great decision
I can’t believe how much this post resonated for me. I’ve had long hair, short hair, and everything in between hair. Recently I became obsessed with figuring the “perfect” hairdo/cut/styling technique/etc. and what I realized was so much of what you wrote: I need it short enough to not take much time and I HATE wearing it fully down. And of course, that my hair fixation had kind of taken on a life of its own. I truly had convinced myself that if I couldn’t somehow figure out how to have long, perfectly-styled hair that I wore down, that I was less of a woman… which of course is ridiculous! Thank you for sharing and the always-empowering messages you bring us!
I cut my own hair with layers using the “ponytail layer method” (lots of Google results if you want directions). Basically you put your hair into a high ponytail and then pull the band low and trim whatever is at the end of the hairband. Always works great.
I cut my own hair because I hate the salon environment and price. I used to have my cousin come to my house and cut it but she moved away so I started cutting my own. I cut it shoulder length then let it grow out till it gets super long and cut it again ( usually about once a year). That way I get to enjoy both lengths!
You look so young! I just had 11 inches cut off iover a course of three haircuts. I work in a factory and did not like the daily damage a ponytail does to your hair. In defiance I had my hair cut in a bob just above my shoulders. Less money is spent on electricity blow drying my hair, and only use half on shampoo and conditioner. If I want to grow it out it would be a breeze. Very short haircuts with layers are actually more work in the long due to constant upkeep and trimmings. You picked a great haircut!
LOVE LOVE LOVE the short do!! I have always had very curly hair and always yearned for long straight hair…. BUT I must say, curly hair is very frugal in that no-one can tell if you’ve cut it yourself, you don’t need a hair brush, and you don’t need to wash it much!! I use coconut oil (as in the one you use for cooking) to tame frizz, and a teensy bit of the cheapest gel or hair spray that money can buy!! I am seriously grey (started when I was 16 welp) but have been colouring and cutting my own hair for 2 years now (since discovering your blog). Enjoy those short wavey locks!!
Though I hate paying salon prices, I will continue to do so. I’m in my late 50s and not genetically blessed. My hair is now super fine, straight, and massive thinning going on. I’ve spent tons of money seeing doctors, getting labs, doing everything they suggested including rogaine, etc. and nope, still losing hair. It’s just genes for me apparently. Hair is a huge deal for most women and I am very depressed about losing mine. I don’t like the idea of wearing a wig because I fear it will be too hot on my head and then I’ll just sweat and my makeup will look like shit and I’ll smell bad too. I spent $68 getting it cut last time by a stylist who is very good and can make what little bit of hair I have left look good. I’ll continue to do so for my peace of mind. I don’t color my hair, get mani/pedis, or go to spas but I will spend the money for a cut.
My “long” hair is only slightly longer than your short hair:) I keep it in a pony tail, cut it myself, and never blow dry – very simple, frugal and I love it this way. Previously I had much shorter hair that required professional cutting and always had to be blown dry to look like anything because I have that wave thing too. So in my case going a longer gave me the simplicity I was looking for.
I’m glad to know I’m not the only one to agonize over short vs. long. I went from very long to a pixie when i was pregnant with my second child, and then grew it out again. I had all of those same feelings on long hair – it being in my face and it never really looking great unless I invested time (once a year over here too). Four years later I’m back to a pixie and wondering why I waited. I feel more stylish and less weighted down. But I have to find an affordable stylist. It was a real splurge for me and now i have to figure out how to maintain it on a budget!
Curious if Mr. Frugalwoods has made any changes to his personal grooming habits since since the advent of the little Woods?
He has indeed. I think we’d be hard pressed to find any area of our lives that hasn’t changed since becoming parents. The biggest change for him is that he no longer takes a shower first thing in the morning so that I can take a shower first thing. While I shower every morning, he makes breakfast for the family so that when I come downstairs, breakfast (and coffee!!!) are on the table.
I went through the same rollar coaster of emotions with long hair I was tired of dealing with. I don’t have great water pressure which makes it difficult to wash. I too decided I had to go to a salon and get an expensive cut. Then it hit me, why not just try it myself?! after washing, I parted in the middle, put my hair in pigtails and chop chop. Little crooked in the back so might try one ponytail next time but I LOVE IT. Fun post thanks for sharing!
Girl, if anyone can pull off a pixie cut, it’s you. You’d look great! New do looks lovely too though.
I’m with you on minimal hairstyles. Mine is currently cut in a graduated Bob. It’s super easy to care for, and I only get it maintained every three months or so. Haven’t dyed my hair in years, I’m 43 and if my family members are anything to go by, I won’t have to worry about greys for 20 more years yet. Most of my friends spend a small fortune on their hair each year on dye and maintenance!
Kudos to you for figuring out that medium length is the best length for low-maintenance hair!
Once upon a time, I had a pixie “boy” cut that I literally could not afford to maintain after finishing business school and no longer getting student discounts at the hairdresser! Trims to keep a short stylish cut looking good add up because of the sheer frequency (pixie’s need to be cut every 1-2 months).
Some years later, I got an asymmetrical bob cut (as a way of dabbling into short hair while keeping half of it long) and promptly burned out an electrical outlet in my house when putting the hair dryer on its highest heat to curl the ends in. Who would have thought that normal circuits are not supposed to handle an 1800W hair dryer? (Apparently only the one in my bathroom can).
So much for short cuts that ended up being higher maintenance…
I once chopped my hair off because I was super religious and thought I was being vain; never again! It’s just not right for my face shape, and I obsessed about it even more as it grew out.
I am childfree by choice and enjoy doing my hair while listening to podcasts or watching TV (iPad on a tray by the mirror), but due to hot water and flooding bathroom issues in my current home in China, I have also been allowing myself the treat of a blow out occasionally, even while paying down debt. There’s no financial justification, but it only costs $6 here and since I also have long, thick hair, I count it worth it!
Nice job. My contribution to this thread is similar. I cut my own hair in-between salon visits (which are 2-3 a year) I hope eventually, I’ll be doing all of my own cuts. But mine is bone straight, soooo every little flaw shows. The most important frugal aspect of my hair was my purchase of a WOODEN wide-tooth comb. I tell everyone I know, if you’d like to stop wasting money on the zillions of hair products that never work, get a wooden comb.
I had read that in some parts of Japan (the best simplicity addicts I know) a person will receive a (way more fancy than mine) wooden comb. It’s a special wood that is soaked in oil and then hand carved. People receive them as gifts and use them / hold onto them for their entire lives. They re-oil it every few months.
It made me think and ponder about all of the wasted plastic hairbrushes I’ve used and thrown away over the year. Ugh.
So I ordered a set.
A wide tooth comb and a fine tooth comb. (Amazon)
Not sure what type of wood my comb is, but it does a great job of distributing oils through my hair so that I don’t need to waste money on hair products. I oiled it with argon oil.
And will do that every month or so.
Best of luck! Enjoy that short hari!!!
The short hair suits you! So lovely! I also have a relationship with my hair and it really took a lot for me to cut it short, but now that I have short hair, I realized that I have saved money as well as time everyday because of this decision!
I love this blog post. About a year ago I was finally inspired by the Frugalwoods family to cut my own hair. I have had a very, very short pixie (almost a buzz cut, looks good on me and so easy to maintain with a little “hair product) for years that cost $35/month (not including tip and my time) to maintain at the local upscale barbershop (which in itself was a frugal switch from the $100+ Boston salon where I used to go.) So I invested in clippers (your recommendation) and thinning shears (I too have very thick hair) and have been very happy with the results. The fun part is you can cut it whenever you want.
I’ve been doing the opposite and letting it grow out a bit just for fun and mostly to see what color grows in (I’ve been going gray for years and stopped coloring my hair >10 years ago). So far very happy with the results. I still buzz up the neckline and basically just chop away with the thinning shears at the thick bits. Still saving over $600/year!
That is fantastic!!!
I can sympathize with Mr FW seeing all your beautiful long hair and you asking him to cut it short. He must have been quite nervous. I give haircuts to my wife and our children. Her hair is just below her shoulders and very full. The first time I ever cut a girl’s hair was for a friend who had hair long enough to sit on and she wanted me to just cut it straight across the bottom to get it even. I was very nervous, but I did manage to get it even and she was happy. Her hair was fine and it thinned considerably at the ends, so it wasn’t too hard. I ordered a book called “how to cut your own or anyone else’s hair” that was recommended as she told me she was going to want me to do it again in the future. A good book, it gave instructions with illustrations. So the next time I felt more prepared and was more comfortable with the shears. Eventually she felt hair long enough to sit on was just too much to take care of and wanted her hair shorter and she had me cut it to the bottom of her shoulder blades. That was nerve wracking, but it looked good with her ends neatly trimmed and fuller at the tops. I even cut my own hair to stretch visits to the barber, then fix screw ups afterwards. And I had friends that would ask me to cut their hair as they heard from another friend that I cut theirs. Well years later I still do them as I learned to do my own completely and my wife likes the way I cut hers. Being her hair is very full, if I just cut it straight across the back wet, it would stick out at the bottom leaving a Christmas tree effect. So the way I do it is to start in the back letting down the lowest back section. I pin the hair up on each side with a hair clip. I trim the ends, then bring in hair from each side trimming it to match the first section I already trimmed. As I move upwards, I hold her hair out to the side and trim her hair at a 90 degree angle so it blends the upper layers with the lower layers. I continue until I reach the very crown. My wife wants it long enough to keep pulled back, but not have the heavy line at the bottom so the graduated sutle layers work best to keep her hair nicely shaped. We do it about every three months, so it is nothing drastic. We did go through a time when she wanted bangs, but bangs require trimming every two weeks to keep them in check. Otherwise they were hanging in her eyes and an irritation, I didn’t want to take off too much as she has a high forehead and too short bangs look wonky. Just my experience.
Love, love this! Long time reader (of both your blog and book), first time poster. I had to post because I too have long, THICK, brown hair, and weirdly my last blog entry was also about how I cut the costs of dealing with it! Basically here is my plan: 1) Keep growing it out and then cut off 10″ and donate to charity 2) Use a local beauty school for occasional hair cuts 3) Maintenance trimming will be done by my husband (inspired by you!) 4) Use apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo 5) Make my own flaxseed hair gel (which I absolutely love) 6) Switched to a cheaper conditioner. This plan I estimate will save me a whopping $2100 a year(!) compared to my old regiment.
That’s it! If you want the details, eg. the recipe for the flaxseed hair gel it is here: https://happyfrugalfi.com/hair
Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your new, short hair!
Your new ‘do looks fantastic! I love everything about this post- you always sound so empowered by the decisions you make, which I believe to be the mark of a decision well made! We have taken a middle of the road approach with frugality to my hair- my husband and I both love getting our hair cut at a salon, so we budget $60 a month for it. It could be so much less, or $0. But I have short hair which is difficult to do well, and we emotionally love it. I have given up a lot of salon products and do not color or highlight my hair anymore, and I stretch my appointments to 6 or 7 weeks apart. This is the middle ground for us 🙂 I appreciate your rumination on where to be frugal!
I cut my hair for the first time in 2 years and made a mess out of it (I whacked of 18 inches), and then went to a hair saloon to have it corrected. The hair styllist was very nice and we scheduled another appointment. Then, I began thinking about how I really didn’t want to go to this salon (nothing was wrong with the salon, it was just the way I was feeling about the whole cutting my hair incident). So, I cancelled the appointment. While I was in another small business, the owner suggested I might want to go to the person who does her hair. And I did. And it was great. I had my hair cut shorter, and then as it started to grow out again, I had the stylist cut it even shorter. Now the style I have is I right under my ear lobes, and I can blow dry or leave it alone and let it air dry. And I do. I have fine, hair with a slight wave. And I love it this way. I am 66 years old and having my hair longer was a drain on my time, and people have also commented that I look younger (which does make me feel good!).
I love your haircut and I’m also a novice with the curly girl method, but I love that so many women are now embracing their natural texture. The weirdest tip that works so well is not drying your curls with a towel. Use an old t-shirt or microfiber towel. I didn’t think it mattered, but somehow it really helps reduce frizz. Luck with the curls and for the record, I’ve enjoyed reading about hair!
My paralysis by analysis usually comes when deciding if I should get a latte macchiato and then if it should be hot or iced. I have seriously sat in the Starbucks parking lot agonizing over these decisions. One day I had my daughter flip a coin whether or not I should indulge. It came out no. I take the money for these unnecessary purchases out of my paychecks, which have been used to pay for my children’s private school tuition. Now that their tuition has been paid for the year, any extra I make is destined for our Europe fund. Latte or Europe?
Now onto hair. My hair would be best described as frizzy and unmanageable. If I don’t use conditioning cream every day I end up looking like Garth from Wayne’s World. I’m not joking. It has some curl to it but only when I pull the top layer back into a barrette. It is also turning white prematurely, so I am thankful to be blonde. A few months ago my father-in-law asked if I’d been coloring it as it looked lighter to him. I said I was too frugal to color my hair and that it was in fact just turning white. Of course my sister has beautiful curly hair. No frizz in sight. She jokingly said she’d trade it to me in return for my skinny derriere. My husband seems to think that my hair could look as good as hers if I added more products or put in more effort. Never. Upon your encouragement Mrs. Frugalwoods, I had him cut my hair last year. It wasn’t too bad. Most of it ended up being chin length, but a few strands were ear length. That produced a few tears. I put the money I saved from a salon haircut into the Europe fund.
P.S. We used to live in Springfield, Vermont.
I have incredibly thick hair that I cut myself using clippers, clipper combs and some high quality shears. Yes, it requires more frequent attention than shoulder-length hair, but pixie cuts are the best for super thick hair! And thick hair is super forgiving to cut. I don’t overheat anymore, and I suddenly understand why some people want to wear a scarf in cold weather, ha! Anyway, I don’t do the curly girl method because half the advantage of having it short is that you can wash it every day and not use much product. But there is one product I absolutely swear by, that lasts forever and is worth every cent it costs, and that is Bumble & Bumble’s Don’t Blow It Thick H(air) Styler. Just a little dab of this and I can let my hair air dry and either let it stay like that or if I’m in the mood, do some minimal styling to it later. I’ve never met a more effective product in my life. You can find travel size versions that are much cheaper than the big tube and they last for a reallllly long time.
I did the pixie and HATED the upkeep and daily washing lest I look like a guinea pig. My super thick long hair was a pain to dry and style as well. I’ve settled for a bob with an undercut. LOVE the undercut! It helps so much with drying and then I can also put it up without those annoying hairs hanging down. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. I went without color for a long time too but have decided I wanted to have some fun with my hair and my hairdresser friend has given me a nice blonde balyage that allows my natural silver “highlights” to show but has actually made me look younger according to several of my friends. It was decidedly not cheap to do this but the style and technique mean it can grow out and I don’t have to worry about regrowth or upkeep until I want to. I don’t want to be a slave to my hair. I wash it twice a week and pretty much just brush it twice a day. Thankfully thicker hair tends to hold its
Style well and I don’t have to mess with a curling iron every day.
I like your new cut!
❤️ it! Shows off your beautiful face.
I can so sympathize with the thick hair that takes FOREVER to air dry. Don’t know how humid it gets in VT but where I am at, it takes well into the afternoon for mine to air dry in the summer. It is almost exactly the same length as yours.
And if yours is like mine, it will not take much time to grow it longer if you so choose. Due to health issues with my parents + winter weather, I went almost four months without getting a hair cut. Wasn’t used to spending all that time using a blow dryer. THEN flat iron/curling iron to get it tamed into some semblance of order. But I wouldn’t trade my head-o-hair.
I think your new curly shorter look is much more flattering, it really suits you. Drawing on my own experience, I predict that ‘hair in face = rage’ plus ‘constantly have it tied back/up in a bun’ will result in you eventually at least trying out having it VERY short for a while. I also have very thick hair which used to be very long. When I was young (and would actually have looked BETTER with a buzzcut or pixie, with my lovely fresh smooth skin, than I do now at 48!) I didn’t have the confidence to get it cut really short, though I always liked that kind of cut on other women – and it always annoyed me if my hair was getting on my face or in my eyes. I’ve got much braver in my 40s and really love having it short, in various styles. Last summer I had a buzzcut and it is so liberating – you don’t have to think about it, fiddle with it or wash it at all or pack ANY brushes, shampoo, hairdryer, etc if travelling. Really makes you realise how much time and energy in your life you’ve wasted on your hair. Having had a fringe all my life, though, I found it very disconcerting catching sudden glimpses of All That Forehead in mirrors (especially when I was talking and it was all furrowed 🙂 ). But if you always have your fringe pinned back and hair up in a bun, I think it wouldn’t be that kind of shock for you.
I am trying to pluck up courage to buy a Wahl clipper and do my husband’s hair. Possibly my own next time I want to buzzcut it (but I noticed my fabulous and very experienced hairdresser took a LONG time to buzz it off the first time, to get it in a flattering shape – it was much quicker subsequently when she did it). The trouble with really short hair, of course, is that it looks much better if you get it cut frequently – I think ideally mine would be cut every 6 weeks, and every month if a buzzcut.
I’ve grown mine back since last autumn partly to provide some extra warmth here in the north of Scotland (and it’s much colder in Vermont, so that might well be a consideration for you!), partly to get my fringe back, and partly because I didn’t have time to get it cut. But I’d certainly have a buzzcut again if I was going to be somewhere warm and wanted no hair hassle. Especially if I learn how to do it myself.
Oooh, you should pick up clippers for sure! I prefer Andis Pro to the Wahls. I cut my own pixie, and find it super easy, do it about once a month. The trickier part with a pixie is learning how to blend and cut the tuft of hair on the top of your head, but I just studied my stylist and realized none of it is rocket science. I buzz cut my husband’s hair with the Andis too. True, you do have to trim it a little more often to keep it looking nice, but it’s easy enough to do. Between cutting my own hair and not coloring it anymore, we save bundles. It actually makes me sick to think of how much I’ve spent on my hair over the years, yikes.
Hair cuts are traumatic for me and having hair that isn’t long enough for a ponytail or a bun has always been more uncomfortable for me than having it a bit longer (especially when I had small children)…but it looks lovely on you. My main thought is this: spend the money on good broad-spectrum sunscreen for your face and start using Retin-A. Seriously. Nothing makes you look youthful and healthy like good, fresh skin. It’s not about the makeup and the hair….it’s about the health of the skin and strength and tone of muscles. Enjoy your beautiful littlekid time now…it goes so fast!
Yes to Retin-A! Some things are worth every penny, and that is definitely one of them!
Researching Retin A now! Thank you for the tips :)!
I go through phases with my thick, curly hair. When I was a kid, my mom kept it pretty short because it always seemed to be tangled when long. Then in high school I grew it out almost to my waist (when wet and pulled straight, which was more like mid-back length when dry). In college, I chopped 12-14 inches off (they cut it in 4 sections and I donated it); and since then I seem to go through 2-3 year cycles of growing out/chopping short. My last chop was 2016 when I chopped it to about chin length (I would not want to go any shorter than that, I think I would end up with it sticking straight out from my head on a humid day). I kept it short for awhile but have been growing it out for the past few years and it currently falls at about the bottom of my shoulder blades. Every 12 weeks or so, I get a trim for $33 (including tip). My morning routine is simple; I wash it about twice a week with a sulfate-free shampoo (I like the Shea Moisture line), and just get it wet other days in the shower. Apply curl cream, comb the tangles out, let it air dry and leave it down. Every now and then it seems to get a build up of product and I’ll use a cheaper shampoo like Suave to give it a good wash.
I may cut it short if/when we have kids but for now I’m loving the long hair life and actually find it doesn’t take me much time to style when it’s long.
I misread this and legitimately thought it said “skunk” costs. I was certain this post would contain a very traumatic story that never came. Then I realized it was “sunk” costs. I’m really glad it’s the latter.
I love it and know by summer you will do a Pixie cut!
Love the cut. I totally get the wanting to cling on to your youthful identity. I have recently stopped dyeing my hair as I’m sick of the cost and feel my hair is being damaged by the chemicals. However I’m 36 and most of my friends don’t even have grey hair let alone want to embrace it
I’m impressed that you took the plunge, change is hard!
I’ve been cutting my own hair for a few years, mainly because I hate making the time to go somewhere (even if it’s just Fantastic Sam’s on the way home from work) when I could be spending time at home with my family. I bought a box of tiny neon rubber bands from the dollar store. I wash it, comb it, section it into 1-2 inch chunks and put a bright band at the level I plan to cut. Adjust around my head until they’re all level, then snip with hair-cutting scissors I bought off amazon (probably at your suggestion).
6 months ago a coworker didn’t like her shampoo and conditioner and asked if I would like it (Smooth sexy hair, in a giant purple bottle). Of course, I’ll try anything! The surprising thing was how CURLY this conditioner makes my hair. Now I’m playing with wearing it down, rather than half-up like I have for 10+ years. I asked another coworker for product recommendations from his wife because she has beautiful curly hair, “I’ll do you one better, she has so many products she doesn’t use, I’ll bring them in for you.” The next day I had a shopping bag of mousse and cremes. I’m slowly working through, trying to figure out what is too crunchy (Got 2 B Kinkier), what does nothing to encourage curl (Pantene moisturiizing mousse), and which I like (Not Your Mother’s Kinky moves curl cream, and whatever the yellow one was, LOL!)
I doubt I’ll buy the Big Purple shampoo and conditioner once I run out, but it has been nice to play with curly hair without committing. On the hair cutting side I did angle the sides up a bit, hoping that lightening things would make it more curl-than-wave. I think I like it better straight cut. But then I decided to grow it out. 🙂 Like you said, the good thing about home cutting is that I can change my mind at any time and run with it!
I’m a fellow long-haired girl so I understand how hard it is to cut it off (I haven’t cut it short since middle school, but anticipate I’ll need to once I get around to having kids). Your short hair looks great!
I am glad you found what you wanted for your hair. It looks good also.
As for my own… have had is short that it was called a butch by my Army son and have had it every where in between to the point I sit on it (right above tail bone at this time). THICK , takes over 24 hrs to dry and a blow dryer which I very seldom use won’t get it dried all the way either . Raised 6 kids, youngest 4… boys are same age, yr later for a daughter and 9 1/2 month later for the last daughter.
I still have problems understand why some people get so many tangles (My cousin did just like you) even though she swore she wasn’t “scrunching” it up when she washed it. I can comb my hair out in 2 minutes, starting at the bottom and working my way up.
When kids will little (like the great-grandson is now SIGH) I put it in a bun, no pins, just twisted it tight to it curled into a bun and used pony tail bank to wrap around it. Now days I will grab a claw and pull my hair up as if doing a ponytail on top and just clip the claw to hold it up so it comes to about mid back. I won’t cut it again…. I hate it in my face (RAGE FOR SURE LOL) and end up clipping the sides aways when it was short.
Loving the short do! I did the same a few years back. In regards to different shampoos, I have tried store brought, Ethique and organic and I am just using Herbal Essence at the moment. I find if I switch up my shampoo periodically, my hair responds better! Greetings from Australia 🙂
Love you with short hair!! I’m also a long-haired girl at a heart, but in my very early 20s, I fell hard and fast for what I can only term “the Victoria Beckham” bob. Short in the back — buzzed, in fact, and long-ish and angled in the front. I LOVED that haircut. It did all the right things for my cheekbones, my eyes. Best style ever. The thing is, I loved it so much, I craved it even shorter. So in rare form, I went back about a month or two after this first big shop, and WENT PIXIE. I haven’t been complimented so much in my life — in the weeks and months that followed. I maintained the pixie for a while but the maintenance did feel like a lot so I flirted with mid length then long, then chin… now I’m back to long again and crazing that short short again. I have two young kids and am still not quite ready to give up the dream of one day regularly styling it, but I did want to share that my early 20’s pixie was probably my favorite hair or my life and also share this — since you mentioned “old lady” hair. For a while before I went for the pixie, I had a similar reference point and reasoned, well, I’ll have short pixie hair when I’m older! I’ll rock it long while it’s still really “acceptable.” Well — I finally realized, it’s better to pixie now, in my youth. While my chin is where it needs to be and my eyes and mouth are still fairly unlined. That’s not to say I don’t find aging gracefully very beautiful, I do! But I do think there is something to be said for flipping the hair cut path on it’s head — younger women with shorter hair and women growing it out a bit as they age. Hope this inspires you! You would look so great with a pixie! It really brings all the attention to great features, like your eyes, great cheekbones and jawline. Angles, baby. I know you know. Can’t wait to see if you go for another chip.
wow wow wow.. soo many typos!!! Haha, I’m better than this usually. Blaming a rough day with a sick kiddo. Please don’t judge me too harshly! XO
Hahah, no judgement here! I blame my kids for all of my typos 😉
I have long hair (fortunately or unfortunately, it’s fine, but there’s a lot of it, and it’s *always* in a ponytail), and when the kiddo was little, she kept pulling it, so I went pixie cut – thinking it’d be easier to take care of. About all it helped was shower time, but I had to spend a lot of time (and money – Dad wasn’t touching the short cut) getting it trimmed. I went from getting it trimmed maybe once a year by Dad to getting it trimmed by a stylist every month. And growing out my bangs again was a PITA. I’m back to long hair, and enjoying it. I do occasionally go to shoulder length (Dad cuts it!), but for the most part it’s long. How long it takes to wash in the shower is directly proportional to the water pressure in said shower. At home, with higher pressure, it takes me about 5-7 minutes to shower, at the gym, it can take 10+ minutes – enough that I never even bother with conditioner there.
The short hair looks good on you though, and good for you for finding what you like!
Your features really come sharp focus and blue eye pop! Looks beautiful!
About six years ago I went to an extremely expensive salon specializing in curly hair. The amazing hairstylist knew it was a one-time visit for me and gave me detailed instructions on how to cut curly hair. I have been cutting my own ever since and people often ask how I get my curls the way I do. Really, I barely do anything, it comes down to the cut. Here’s some tips for anyone who might need them!
1. Cut the hair dry. Love that you did this! So important. This is the only way to actually make it look even, since different curls have different shapes and tightness.
2. Account for the shape and length of your curls, not the length of your hair pulled straight or brushed straight (or wet). Cut to those. If you don’t have super short hair, you can pull both sides to the front, cut them, and then fix any mistakes with the old double mirror technique. It takes some practice, but it is definitely doable.
3. If you have slightly damaged hair/split ends (super common for curly hair), often you can cut the damage off the dead ends first and you’ll be surprised how even it looks. Then make fixes as necessary.
4. Whatever you do, do not cut the bottom of your hair into a v shape. This is disastrous for most curly hair and will give you a hilarious rat tail. Thankfully, blunt cuts have gotten a lot more popular these days.
5. You can do some light layering to make your curls appear more uniform and lively. For example if one side of your head is less curly, cut some sporadic curls just a little shorter on the upper layer of your hair to give them more bounce. The results are amazing!
Thank you so much!!!
I am so jealous of your thick/wavy hair! My hair is mostly straight and a little thin, but it looks great after I comb it out at least. I have always heard that for thicker/wavy hair types that you should wash it less and use conditioners a little more. Also that you should use your fingers or a wide tooth comb to detangle it as opposed to a traditional brush.
Wow, I relate to so much of what you wrote! I, too, cut my hair short a few years ago after many years of long hair. (Though it is funny to me that your “long” is so much shorter than my “long,” and your “short” is significantly longer than my “short.”) I had many of the same reasons–I was always just wearing it up in a bun, it was a lot to deal with, I just wanted a change. I enjoyed my jaw-length bob for a couple of years. I missed braids, though, so now I’m growing it out (slowly) and I can once again braid it every day, which makes me happy. I’m jealous of your thick hair, though!
Looks great!! I too have thick, long, but straight hair, so I never had to deal with curls (which I’ve been told can be tricky). I’ve buzzcut my head, I’ve had it waist long, I’ve done the bob, basically all the styles … and my own conclusion was that hair about to the mid-back region was the easiest for me to take care of (so basically the opposite lol). I like it long enough that I can put it in a braid for yoga and now that my kids are older I do wear it down quite frequently (and so does my daughter so we frequently get mistaken for each other if the person only sees us from the back😂). Occasionally (like once every two years) I’ll go in and have them cut a few inches off … I would not trust my husband near my hair (although he cuts his hair and the boys hair so we do save $ there) haha.
Yay! I can’t believe you are right apart hair. Primarily because I have been complating what to do with my middle length hair for months. I just had my second child and all of a sudden all my free time is gone. I have not washed my hair in two weeks and it dawned on me when I read your article (a sign from the hair gods). that I could cut it to a length where I can wash my hair and let it air dry. No blow drying or special salon visit. I am taking the plunge!
For the record: I think your hair looks every bit as beautiful short as it did long. Good for you for going for the big chop!
I have a buzz cut and I love it! I’ve had a pixie for years but even that was too much work now that I have an 8 month old to wrangle. It now takes me approximately 5 minutes total to get ready in the morning which is amazing. Love your short(er) hair. Looks great and I bet it is a *literal* weight off your shoulders.
Co-wash with the super cheap suave conditioner (the stuff with Apple and strawberry scents). Take a good blob in your hand and scrub into wet hair like shampoo, let it set while in the shower and rinse.
Just a suggestion from someone who spent way to much of her life working the beauty industry: Try parting your hair a smidge more to the center. A good frame of reference is to place the part level with the center of your eye. You’ll still get the face framing effect you seem to like. The extreme side part is a bit dated.
My daughter cuts my hair and with the exception of maybe two salon cuts she does a better job. Why people are afraid to cut their own hair is amazing. As you said, it grows back.
Thank you for this post! I loved every drop of it!
Can you also do a post about curly hair??
Hi! I love your new haircut – it looks great on you! I have naturally curly hair. I stopped fighting my curls in my 30’s (I’m now in my 50’s). The length has been long, short, long, short. It’s now short and I’ll probably not grow it longer again. In fact, I’m playing with the idea of shaking things up and getting a buzz cut… However, a few things I have found helpful through the years is to try the no-shampoo thing (using only water and allowing the natural oils in your hair to balance themselves). And I use a gel a few times a week and scrunch it in. No blowdrying, no hair tools; just a pick and some gel, then scrunch.
I’ve been rocking a DIY pixie for about a year now (initial few haircuts were done by a professional though). Growing it out has been an interesting challenge, as I almost convinced myself that I didn’t have the skills to manage trims to keep it looking acceptable during the seemingly-endless valley of awkward lengths between pixie and bob. But I am determined to save more money than ever before this year, and hey! I DID give myself, and maintained, a really cute pixie! I’ve been pleasantly suprised by how much more I like growing it out this time, because I can be in full control of each trim.
I did Curly Girl ages ago and now do a somewhat modified version of it. Most of hair health, I’ve learned, comes from what you put in yourself, rather than what you lather with. I miss long hair sometimes but reading your post reminds me SO MUCH of me when I had spiral curls down to my waist! So I think a long bob might be the closest I get, because I get lazier with my hair with each passing year. I’m thinking something like what the character Mary Winchester had in season 12 of Supernatural could be relatively easy to manage.
I have my head shaved every leap year at a St. Baldrick’s event and donate the hair to Wigs4Kids. So I’m benefiting two great organizations and getting a free haircut. Over the next 4 years, I may get a handful of trims, and then I do it again. Next March will be my 5th shave. I highly recommend it. It has the added bonus of making you feel good.
I cut my braids off when I was 7. My mother cried. I, on the other hand, felt liberated. I’ve had a Pixie haircut ever since.
I am now 70 and my hair is still in a Pixie. I do NOT want to look like a man. I do want to have reasonably well kept, good looking hair. Since my hair has always been as fine as bunny rabbit’s, I have little choice. Pixie it is. I have my hair cut about every 3-4 months for $6 USD a pop. That’s max $24 USD a year.
Dear Mrs Frugalwoods;
I understand the commitment and challenge of long hair and respect the agonizing time you spent in making what has been a life changing decision. At the very least it is empowering to go from going long to short.
I would encourage anyone who is considering the same decision with pristine hair (never colored, permed or embellished by chemicals) to consider contacting a professional salon or stylist to arrange to have your hair donated to the Locks for Love campaign to provide wigs for cancer patients made using natural hair. This is particularly important for children fighting an overwhelming battle.
Thank you for your consideration.
Liz, your shorter hair looks great on you. Really frames your face and brings out your pretty features. The thing about long hair I’ve noticed, is that it takes the focus off a face and brings the eye to the hair. That’s fine if you don’t mind taking care of it but no thanks to that. Also, if you have a naturally pretty face, the focus should be there.
I have thick, naturally wavy hair too. The best way I have found to manage it is to keep it in a layered bob a little shorter than shoulder length…about the length of your new cut. It brings the wave out and dries extremely quickly. I use a blow dryer about once a year maybe, if need be. However, I need to go to a hairdresser as my husband’s skills at haircutting are sorely lacking. Really, really lacking. Even a straight cut across the bottom. Pretty bad. The good news is I found a hairdresser who cuts my hair for $12 and I throw in a $3 tip. I also stretch it our to a cut every eight weeks instead of every six. Unfortunately she is closed for now with the pandemic raging so I may have to grow it out for now. Ending this with…you look great. P.S. Were your kids afraid of you? My Mom told me when we were little and she got a haircut we’d cry!
I can totally relate to this blog about hair cutting! My hair is always scraped back into a pony or messy bun as it drives me mad otherwise. After finding this website last year and enjoying all your posts, cutting my own hair was one thing I just wasn’t sure I could do but wanted to. Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement in making my next frugal step a reality. I finally braved it during lock down and took off a couple of inches. Since then I’ve perfected my method via YouTube videos and can cut my own fringe, add choppy layers and now I’ve invested in thinning scissors to take the weight out. Thank you so much!
I have thick wavy/curly hair and I wash, condition, towel dry and comb. Then I bend over flip my hair forward and fluff/ruffle it up with my hands ànd flip my head back and let it air dry. Another option is to do this before bed and put a towel on your pillow and by morning it’s dry . Now that I’m grey my hair is still thick but it’s straight but with a lot of body. I always wanted straight hair and now I miss the curls!! The whole subject of how women relate to their bodies and hair deserves much introspection. Even though I wanted straight hair-my sister and I ironed each other’s hair-it was the 60s and I slept on giant rollers, I’m glad that I
realized.that my air dry fluff method made so much more sense. Self acceptance is so important.