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How to grow out a pixie cut (for real this time)

[EDIT: It has come to my attention, almost three years after this post was initially published, that the internet is no longer completely barren of pixie cut-related posts.

Thus, I feel it is my duty to direct you to other people's pixie guides before you dedicate a good fifteen minutes to getting through this one, which basically boils down to "don't do what I did; go to a hairdresser" and "find a picture of yourself looking smokin' in long hair and keep it nearby for when you feel scissor-happy."

Here are three posts with styling ideas for pixie cuts: {one two three}. They're quite similar to what I've listed below (alas! There are only so many things you can do with a pixie cut, after all), but their pictures were taken while the authors still had their pixies, not after they grew them out, so they might be more useful.

Also, a couple possibly useful things from the comments section on this post:

Growing out a pixie cut as written by a curly-haired girl

and

For reference, I stopped cutting my pixie cut ~June 2009, and the photos in this post are from ~May 2010, so it took ~11 months to get my hair to this length.]

———

Since my last attempt at talking about short hair was really an excuse to tell you about my life, here’s the post for real this time. Ideas for how to grow out a pixie cut, aka How to not look like a disaster while growing out a pixie cut, aka Even though my growing-out stages were as tragic as King Lear*, I did learn a few things along the way.

*For illustrative purposes, you may want to look at the slideshow of my hair progression near the bottom of How not to grow out a pixie cut.

First of all, I assume you’ve already looked at The Fashion-y Blog’s The Pixie Cut: Growing Out post. If not, you should, if only for the Hasidic Jew reference.

It’s a pretty helpful and amusing guide, but I found that getting from stage 2 to stage 3 was really tedious and especially painful (and stage 2 made me look even more like a lesbian soccer mom than ever), and I really could have used some help for stage 2.5. The general idea is exactly right, though – continuously chop off the first signs of a mullet, and grow your bangs out until you can have a normal-looking bob. But when they say first signs of a mullet, they mean it. Not "when people not-so-jokingly start agreeing with you when you joke about having a mullet." FIRST SIGNS.

Anyway, without further ado, if your hair looks like shit, (or maybe, if you got a pixie cut and then realized you don’t have the dainty fairy nose for it), or if you are in stage 2.5, I think you should consider the following obvious (or perhaps overlooked) options:

A headband. I personally find pixies + headbands to be a bit much for my face, but your pixie-mullet might look better with a headband than without, so give it a shot. Headbands work well with greasy hair (and grease is imperative when it comes to pixies!). My argument is that you always look better with your hair pulled back, especially if your hair is dripping in grease. In fact, I find that it doesn’t matter if you look like you just worked out, or if your hair is grease-slick in the front and tragic party in the back, or if you resemble Snape in drag. The point is, if you have a headband on, it looks like you at least tried to tame the beast. I’m sure people can already tell you’re trying to grow out your hair. So try to look like you tried.

You can go the Blair Waldorf route and put your headband on for aesthetic purposes only, but I find it looks too twee for me and only wear headbands when my bangs are threatening to Exxon Valdez on my forehead. But if you must, I suggest narrower headbands.

This is the part where I demonstrate with before and after pictures. You know how magazines have been all in a tizzy featuring models/actresses without makeup? Or without retouching? Well you can have me without makeup or retouching RIGHT HERE:

Yeah, I sort of do look like crap and I am wearing Garfield pajamas, but I promise that while you're growing your hair out, some days you will wake up clad in what feels like a pile of shit on your head and embarrassing sleep clothes instead of Brigitte Bardot hair and a negligee. Also, I know I'm well past Pixie now, but I'm guessing it works the same (I wouldn't know; I kept my mullet for too long…).

TWEE wide headband:

Possibly less twee narrow headband:

Or you could go the Gaga route and stick crazy things in your hair. Like this butterfly headband that my apartmentmate broke while we were having a midterm dress-up party in the dorms (it's balanced precariously atop my head right now… the other half of the headband is missing):

Or a huge bow, which I once wore to Disneyland where one of the princesses (!) told me she liked my bow:

Braids. Obviously, this only applies if your hair is long enough to braid, but this is really good for growing out bangs, too. Especially French braids. Embrace the unruly parts that stick out. Pretend everything is on purpose. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t bother trying to get your hair to look perfect and flyawayless. Braid it, pin it up, and forget about it.

Ordinary braids:

French braids (do French people call them French braids?):

The point is, braid across your scalp, from temple to temple (or ear to ear, whatever suits your face better). (On that note, wear kick-ass glasses. They distract from your hair.)

Bobby pins. I prefer contoured bobby pins so they don’t stick off your head at weird angles. And ridiculous clips/barettes. Tons of them. At once. If you walk out of the house without at least a pound of hair accessories on your head, you’re doing it wrong.

Add texture. For me, this meant grease and intense fights with my pillow to achieve long-lasting cowlicks. For you, it might mean something more socially acceptable, like hairspray, or dry shampoo. (Even my dry shampoo is socially unacceptable. Cocoa powder mixed with flour, what?) I’ve no experience with it, but I’m guessing hair wax would be pretty good here too.

Alcohol. Or patience. And a really attractive picture of yourself with long hair to reference when you feel like The Uglies have eaten you alive.

Pin curls, although you should be wary about the little uncurlable bits around the nape of your neck. Either wait for them to get long enough to curl, or cover them with a stretchy headband. Or pin them up really carefully. Or gel them up. And then (this is the really important part), after you take the curls out, BACKCOMB! I know it’s bad for your hair, but if you have limp, stick-straight hair like mine, this is totally imperative, I swear. Again, I suggest contoured bobby pins because I find straight ones to be poky and hard to sleep in. (Also, pin curls are great for extending hair washes because they kill the appearance of grease. Win-win!)

Above, backcombing is the difference between kind of cute limp curls and SHE'S CRAZY curls. Choose the crazy.

Here's a link to the video tutorial I found most helpful for learning to do pin curls. And since I had trouble finding hair setting diagrams, here's one of how I usually set it, if it helps, which I doubt, because this just kind of makes your hair generally curly, not Veronica Lake or Greta Garbo curly-with-a-style:

Twist and pin, twist and pin. (See excessive bobby pin photos.) If you have really smooth hair like mine, wet it first, or get it gritty with dry shampoo. (For me and probably other cheap/broke non-blonde girls, I say again, cocoa powder mixed with flour works wonders.) Then grab a little chunk of hair, twist it, and pin it. Repeat in a fauxhawk down the center of your head. Or just all over your head. Willy nilly. Helter skelter. Higgledy piggledy. Harum scarum. (Okay I’m out of phrases.) Bang poufs (not as big as Snooki's) work pretty well, too, although I never figured out what to do with the sides of my hair. More pins? Anyway, this is the general idea, although hopefully you'll spend more time/effort making it look like an artful pouf instead of a bird nesting in yor hair. Or a poo swirl.

In general, having a lot of volume at the crown of your head will look good. Like a bust of Nefertiti, or an overlarge infant.

Omg, you guys. I took this image from a Google search and now I can't find the original source because my own page is the top result with this image. I'm just going to say it's from here.

Turbans. They’re kind of heavy and I never actually did it when I had a pixie, but if you like your face, turbans definitely add interest. From what I’ve tried, pashminas don’t hold very well (too much material). T-shirts do, but they’re weird and bumpy and have holes in awkward places. Giant silk scarves work pretty well (I’m talking 35” at the very least), but I think jersey would actually hold better. (Silk looks fancier, though.) (For instructions on how to tie a turban, I actually suggest the pin curl video mentioned above. The silk scarf headwrap looks pretty presentable. Otherwise, Gala Darling has a clear tutorial too (although I never got my turban to stay using her instructions).)

Kübler-Ross. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. After you’ve spent enough time convincing yourself that you don’t need to see a hairdresser (when you really do), then getting mad at the initial trigger for your pixie decision (and defriending them on FB (oh wait, is that just me?)), then promising to study harder and stop impulse shopping if only oh my God my hair would grow faster, then lying on the couch crying through five episodes of Glee and eating your way through a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (Cherry Garcia), you need to sit yourself down (with your really attractive reference picture) and accept the fact that some days, you’re just going to wake up and want to cry, so at least until you feel 100% awesome about your hair again, remember that there are parts of you equally if not more important than a body and a pretty face.

Go to a hairdresser. Unless you went pixie in a crisis and feel the need to beat up your self-esteem in the process of crisising, a professional will probably help ease your pain. Unless you’d rather be ugly than broke. (Guilty, right here.)

GENERAL TIPS: While you’re faithfully chopping off the mullet before it resembles a piece of roadkill masterfully incorporated into the nape of your neck, scarves can be your best friend. (Although you’ll probably get an awkward face tan like me.)And you know that time frame where your hair’s growing over your ears again? Yeah, get that hair out of the way. Pin away from your ears! Or you can risk looking like your head is shaped like a box; it’s up to you.

Make sure your eyebrows look really good. And your glasses. And your skin. Basically your face. Now would be a really appropriate time to try redic makeup.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO NOT EMOTIONALLY CUT YOUR HAIR. Stay away from sharp objects. And keep that hot, mermaid-haired picture of yourself in plain sight. You’re gonna need it.

I really hope this helps someone…

43 Comments

  1. Emmaline said...

    I really liked both of your blogs about growing out your pixie. I think you have a very vivid and humorous style of writing that I hope you will continue to pursue.

    Don't feel too bad about your naturally straight hair; each hair type has its own tragic short-comings but kudos to you for finding thrifty ways to combat your own. =) (My pixie is a fizzed out chia pet attached to my skull if I don't blow dry, flat iron, gel, and shine serum the bejeesus out of it.)

    Friday, July 16, 2010 at 00:56
  2. Eagle said...

    Ugh, I am at the mullet stage, after pixie, before your hair in the pics. I want a bob/pageboy so bad it hurts. UGGHHH… must…. not… lob…. off… hair….

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 16:44
  3. I've had my hair pixied several times, and last about a year, then get tired of getting it cut. constantly. So, I start growing it out… and sometimes make it. The in-between stages, where the back is long and the front is… whatever, it just awful, isn't it?

    My hair is super wavy too, which REALLLLLY doesn't help things. I usually take to wearing a hat for several months.

    Hoping this time to make it through with some cool headbands, and I love the bobby pin look too. The more, the better.

    I'm at about "Miranda Stage 2" right now. Thanks for your tips!

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 13:07
  4. Samantha said...

    These comments make me happy.

    Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 22:19
  5. thank you for this. THANK YOU.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 22:37
  6. Its difficult at a junior high when hats are not allowed. Ugh, effort. Luckily, mu pixie is the same length, save the layers, so I hope the mullet phase isn't that bad. Thanks for the help!

    Addy Mae

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 16:50
  7. Samantha said...

    You're welcome. :( I hope you can wear beanies at least. (Actually I couldn't wear beanies with my pixie-mullet without looking even more awkward, so maybe it won't be so bad to go hatless.) GOOD LUCK!

    Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 22:24
  8. K said...

    You are bang on with your recounting of the various stages. Box head? My drivers liscence looks like i have LEGO hair.

    I have given in and chopped my tresses during the 'uglies' and hairdressers have been no help either. 4 times I've gotten butchered only to cry out in my head "What part of I WANT TO GROW THIS INTO A BOB do you not understand?" Is it Karma… what have I done to deserve this? I couldn't think of anything bad enough….. I'm sure I left one time iwth the 80's flock of seagulls hairdo.

    You humour in reminding me that I'm not alone helped me put my 8 year olds Crayola Scissors back in the drawer.

    Thanks!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 17:37
  9. I like you.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 18:06
  10. Samantha said...

    @K, like most Asian children, I had Lego hair for the first six or seven years of my life, until it became apparent that I wasn't that cute anymore. GOOD LUCK AND GODSPEED ET CETERA.

    @Total EclipseTunes, why thank you. I might like you too.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 23:19
  11. I am growing out my pixie cut and am so glad Google lead me to your blog. I have been reading it non-stop for about an hour and am hooked! Your stories remind me to always find the beauty in myself, while always keeping a sense of humor. Thank you for making me feel better about my current hair situation, even if I do currently resemble George Harrison a la 1960.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 13:49
  12. Jocelyn said...

    This is hysterical. I have tried to grow my hair out several times and I am trying once again. I came across this article and I literally snorted with laughter. You're amazing. I'm definitely bookmarking this so when I get to the shit-face part of growing my hair out, you will make me laugh.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 13:42
  13. Fazed-girl….you have helped me through some of the roughest pixie cut situations. thank you! I was actually inspired so much, I started a blog and a page for curly-haired girls with pixies. Check it out! Mine isn't as through but I'm still in the midst of the pixie! haha Thanks again for all your fun ideas!

    Sincerely,

    Kate

    Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 20:23
  14. Samantha said...

    @peachie_sweets YES! CURLY-HAIRED PIXIES! The blog/page needed to be made! Your documentation will probably be much better than mine because you can update while you're still in the throes of a mullet! (Hahahahaha, I like your term "baby mullet.") Best of luck!

    Monday, June 13, 2011 at 11:48
  15. Lauren Jean said...

    Oh, this is fantastic! I'm in the middle of deciding if I want to grow my hair out from my pixie cut because I'm bored of it, and this just made my day!

    Monday, June 20, 2011 at 19:40
  16. Kaitlin said...

    Thank you SO much for this. While the tips are things I'd heard before, the solidarity is something I needed. I keep having to resist the urge to chop off all my hair again. While I know my pixie looks great on me, I get too bored with it to keep it. So thanks for this! Will definitely be reading a lot when I need that extra 'I can do this" attitude.

    Monday, July 4, 2011 at 22:29
  17. Anonymous said...

    this article made me laugh my guts out and i needed it because youre right, i wake up feeling like an ugly shithead mullethead everyday this goddam haircut i did is growing out, i have never felt less attractive and more beastly than now, you are witty, intelligent and hysterical and than you for your honesty and humour!!!

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 17:05
  18. Samantha said...

    @Kaitlin I'm glad this can be of use to you!

    @Anon BEASTLY IS THE RIGHT WORD HAHAHA! You will get through it, though, and then your hair will be luscious and lustrous and lush and glorious.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 07:02
  19. Anonymous said...

    Thankyou so so so much. Such an amuzing blog. i've been trying to work the hairbands and today had my first beanie day. Plus i am only 8 weeks into growing out the pixie. so i'm gonna read this blog and the hilarious comments through the growing out process as a pick me up for the beastly mullet days. in saying that i'm going to do some mullet management myself.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 03:22
  20. Samantha said...

    GODSPEED, ANON!

    Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 20:43
  21. Anonymous said...

    No offense, but your hair in these photos is not anywhere near a pixie or even a grown out one! This is like a shoulder length bob. I was googling grown out pixies to get an idea of what it might look like…and this was misleading! :)

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 18:32
  22. Samantha said...

    @Anon I KNOW! I'm sorry it was misleading, but at the time I decided to write the post, that's how long my hair was. I hope the words are more useful than the pictures for you, then. :(

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 19:11
  23. Anonymous said...

    I am in hell with a terrible pixie. I did it and I have really really really think wavy hair. I then came home and tried to thin it with my own tools. I freak out every night. I have to wake up at 430 am to shower blow dry and try to style the thing I wake up to. God help me beaver head grandm-too-soon. I have the mullet thing forming. Holy why. I was told I looked like I have a cat wrapped around my head. Thanks for showing off your long hair after the trauma. I see the light at the end of your tunnel.

    ~BEX

    Friday, September 9, 2011 at 23:42
  24. flameislove said...

    I really wish I had that long hair photo. I last has long hair in 5th grade. I'm 29. Therefore, I have no clue if this mess on top of my head is worth it in the end. *sob*

    Monday, September 12, 2011 at 16:24
  25. Samantha said...

    @BEX, YOUR HAIR PROBABLY LOOKS FABULOUS WHEN IT IS LONG! (Or in a bob!!! – signed, a cooked-noodle-limp-haired girl.) I wish you the absolute BEST of luck and self-confidence! OWN THAT CAT ON YOUR HEAD! (On the styling note, I can't speak from experience because my hair isn't textured at all, but maybe if you change your texture, you'll find new ways to work with it? Either by flat-ironing/straightening or washing your hair less (which may or may not change the texture). In any case, I personally would go for a "metric tonnes of plastic barrettes upon my head" look, so at least the cat on my head looks deliberate.)

    @flameislove, if you're not totally sure you want to grow out your pixie, OH GOD DON'T PUT YOURSELF THROUGH THE PAIN OF GROWING IT OUT! If, on the other hand, you definitely don't want your pixie anymore, PUSH THROUGH! It is totally worth the growing pains to wait it out than to keep a pixie cut you don't want. As for a long-haired photo, maybe you could fake it using one of those online/virtual hairstyle thingies. (Like, Google "online virtual hairstyle hair" and one of those fashion/lifestyle magazines should have one where you can upload your own photo and paste hairstyles onto your head.) THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

    Monday, September 12, 2011 at 23:36
  26. rene said...

    Oh man, you are funny and helpful. Seriously, I look like a boy or something, grr…. But I will get through this. Lol ^-^

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 11:30
  27. Anonymous said...

    You just made me laugh my ass off. i also am adoring a pixi.

    not the worst decision of my life but growing it out is a pain

    thank you so much for this humorous blog you made my night haha

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 19:11
  28. Samantha said...

    @rene, yes you will! I'm glad I could be of help. (Also… I definitely looked like a boy. Like a five-year-old boy.)

    @Anon, YOU'RE WELCOME!

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 23:15
  29. Léonora A said...

    This post has seriously helped and encouraged me to finally start growing out my pixie. It was fun while it lasted, but all that's been preventing me was that damn mullet stage.

    You're seriously hilarious! I also referenced one of your mullet pictures in one of my own blog posts (http://cloudshapedcloud.blogspot.com/2012/02/growing-out-pixie-cut-and-five-things.html)

    It was also awesome how you posted your hair growth pictures. You looked great with short hair too, btw! Thanks again xo

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 19:32
  30. Samantha said...

    @Léonara, HAHAHA I just looked at your post and I don't know if I should be flattered or offended that you used my mullet picture, but I'm glad you could find a use for it. Thank you!

    Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 13:10
  31. DaneDame said...

    Fabulous blog! I feel your pain.. I am on my 3rd, and FINAL pixie grow out in this lifetime… Mullet, ugh… headbands & hair pins – great idea. And yes, keeping the picture of perfect hair from my past on hand helps keep me patiently inspired! :)

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 01:29
  32. Samantha said...

    @DaneDame, thank you! And THIRD PIXIE CUT?! THAT IS AMAZING. I wish you good luck and good hair!

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 10:24
  33. Anonymous said...

    how long did it take you to grow your hair from the pixie ( that you had in the last post that was “an excuse to tell us about your life”) to the shoulder-length hair you have in this post? thanks!

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 12:46
  34. Samantha said...

    @Anon, almost an entire year. I gave myself a pixie in May 2009, and I stopped cutting it sometime in June 2009 I think, and these photos are from May 2010. So 11 months. Give or take.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 14:12
  35. Anonymous said...

    thanks for your response! right now i’m not trimming my hair, but it’s in that stage where my hair just lies FLAT against my head, so I look like an ostrich. :-/ so, in an attempt to give my hair SOME shape, pomade and hairspray are my best friend. (and sometimes even then the shape won’t hold. sigh…)
    …I can’t wait 4 my hair to be longer. ur hilarious though, keep it up!

    Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 13:06
  36. Sammi said...

    omigosh my hair is like shoulder length and i decided to grow it out like really recently and its so hard!!! its been a painful 17 minutes. :(

    Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 00:01
  37. Samantha said...

    HAHA HANG IN THERE SAMMI

    Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 07:06
  38. Jessica said...

    i have the exact same Pj :)

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 16:25
  39. Samantha said...

    @Jessica HAHA! I have to admit they are quite cozy…

    Friday, October 5, 2012 at 17:56
  40. This is brilliant. YOU are brilliant! Thank you for posting this!!! I’m starting the growing now. The goddesses help me. Every day.

    Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 14:58
  41. Samantha said...

    Thank you! Best of luck to you for the growing out! :)

    Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 09:05
  42. Jae said...

    Haha thanks for this! I definitely needed new ideas for what to do with my pixie cut. I’m attempting to grow it out, but had a fit of weakness about a month and a half ago and cut it again (not as short as when I first got it, but cut off the bob-part that was growing in! NOOO!)
    I just want hair back! haha

    Monday, July 1, 2013 at 21:07
  43. Samantha said...

    nnNOOOOOOO!!!! I know that feeling! But you can do it! I believe in you!

    Friday, July 5, 2013 at 20:51
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