fashion savvy 3 - Shellie Bowdoin
How To Be Fashion Savvy
February 13, 2019
facing painful emotions
Five Steps To Face Painful Emotions
March 27, 2019
fashion savvy 3 - Shellie Bowdoin
How To Be Fashion Savvy
February 13, 2019
facing painful emotions
Five Steps To Face Painful Emotions
March 27, 2019

When a group of girls get together, it’s only a matter of time before the conversation turns to hair. And, there’s not one of us that doesn’t have a story of woe to tell.

how to get the short haircut you want

Today I’m talking about my best tips for getting the short haircut you want.

Let’s face it…our relationship with the hair salon is a love/hate one at best.

Oh yes…we love, love, love to have a standing appointment with a trusted stylist…until that fated day when she says what usually starts with “Sorry” and ends with the bombshell that she will not be available in that salon to cut your hair six weeks from today!

Why is it so hard to find someone to cut our hair?!!

I think it boils down to this…we just don’t know what we want or what to ask for! That’s why it’s essential to arm yourself with the right terminology and a game plan before you head to the salon; especially if you plan to get a short haircut.

how to ask for the haircut you want and get it!

Here are my best tips for getting the short haircut you want.

1. Confer with the stylist before your hair is washed.

The stylist needs to see how your hair lays when it’s dry. If you don’t like something about your hair, it’s much easier to point it out when your hair is dry.

Plus, something happens to a women when she sits in a salon chair with a towel wrapped around her head…it makes her blurt out things like, “do whatever you think is best”…and none of us want that!

2. Do not expect the stylist to read your mind.

Show a picture of the exact hairstyle you want; including the back view. And then, ask the stylist if she thinks that hairstyle will work with your hair texture and face shape.

3. Use the correct terms for what you want done to your hair.

Terms To Know For A Short Haircut

  • Asymmetrical – hair is cut shorter on one side than the other
  • Bevel – the hair is cut with a slight curve that tapers in at the ends
  • Graduated – refers to hair that is longer in the front and shorter in the back
  • Undercut – cutting an area really short and allowing a top layer of hair to fall over it (this removes volume on the bottom)
  • Texturizing or “Point cutting” – cutting the ends of the hair at different lengths, usually done by cutting into the hair at an angle (I recommend this be done with scissors, not with thinning shears)
  • Weight – Area of the hair that you want to have the most volume
  • Pixie – a short hairstyle typically short in the back and on the sides of the head and slightly longer on the top with very short bangs (this is NOT my hairstyle).

tips for getting the short haircut you want

4. Explain exactly where you want the most weight or volume.

Often, a good and bad haircut comes right down to unbalanced weight. Spend some time looking at your hair in the mirror before you go to the salon.

Does your current hairstyle flatter the shape of your face? For example, if your face is round, then balance the fullness with straight lines. If your face is long (like mine), then choose a hairstyle that draws the eyes outward to balance length of your face.

I’ve had two typical issues with my own haircuts in the past:

  • A-Frame – The weight of the hair is concentrated in the bottom third of the hair and there are not enough layers cut into the top portion of the hair.
  • Puppy dog ears – The weight of the hair is concentrated in the bottom half of the hair and usually looks too full behind my ears.

5. Do not let the stylist use thinning shears on a short haircut.

I don’t care what they say…thinning shears don’t work on my fine hair and they don’t work on my kids’ thick hair. And yes, only two years ago, I went in for a haircut with a new stylist. I told her that I did not want thinning shears.

She convinced me that she would use her shears in a way that was far different from all other stylists. I caved…needless to say, her method was NOT revolutionary. I ended up having to re-trim all the little hairs sticking up all over my head.

Ask your stylist to texturize your hair with scissors. Point cutting allows the stylist a lot more control.

6. A good stylist will know the correct terms for various styling techniques.

Discuss what you want, then ask the stylist to explain her plan for cutting your hair before she begins…just to make sure you are both on the same page.

I actually have a harrowing story of a stylist who gave me a haircut based on a picture above the one I had pointed to in a magazine. We were literally not on the same haircut!!

How To Get My Exact Haircut

It’s one thing to see a picture of a great haircut in a magazine or online, but it’s not always easy to walk out of the salon with a haircut that resembles the one you wanted.

So, I decided to take things a step further for you today. Not only will I show you pictures of all sides of my hair, but I will also explain the exact wording I use when discussing this haircut with my stylist.

Even though I go to the same stylist every time, I go over my expectations every time, so there is no misunderstanding. Just remember, your regular stylists has cut dozens of other people’s hair since your last appointment.

I will give one disclaimer for this post…the pictures were taken inside the salon, so I didn’t actually style my own hair. I usually find that no one else quite knows how to work with my hair like I do. But, I think you can still get the idea.

My hairstyle is…

  • Asymmetrical cut, the shorter side has a 1″ undercut above the ear and across the back bottom. The undercut is short, but not short enough to allow the skin to show through.
  • The back of my hair is graduated or shorter than the front. The top layers are cut at a diagonal angle (like an inverted V in the back). The neck line is cut straight across the bottom and the neck is shaved with a straight razor.
  • The long side of my hair is beveled. The side fringe is 5″ at the shortest point from the side part. The under fringe or bangs are cut at a diagonal across the front, the shortest (when pulled straight) is cut to mid-eye and the longest is cut to the lower lash line).
  • The weight or volume of my hair behind the ears is cut to end at eye level (this works especially well for me because I have a long oval face). A lot of attention is paid to this particular area of my hair; texturizing is done before and after the hair is dried.

Well, there you have it, I have laid out everything I know about the art of asking for and receiving a great short haircut.

I hope it works for you! If the idea of a short haircut is new for you, check out my post on how to rock short hair.

Finally, I leave you with this thought.

 1 Peter 3: 3-4

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

A great haircut can never replace the beauty of what’s cultivated on the inside!

Catch all my posts by subscribing with your email in the right side bar of the blog page, footer of the homepage or Follow with Bloglovin’! Check out the other fabulous fashion linkups I’m joining this week – My Linkups!

~ Shellie


  1. Alessia Austin says:

    These tips are really amazing for short hair cuts. Mostly people like short hairs but they don’t know how to do short hairstyling. If you can write about hairstyle for short hairs so it will be more helpful for many women. I founded a blog that is also about Short Hairstyles. You may have to look, it has some ideas about short hairstyle:

  2. Pam says:

    Such great tips! I have always been so nervous about haircuts. When I was in my early 30s, I had a short cut I loved. I’ve never been able to get that cut again, for some reason! Your tips would have helped, I’m sure! Thanks so much for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things!

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Hey Pam,

      Short hair is great, but it has to be cut right. If you’ve done short hair before then you know you can do it again! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Carolyn says:

    The important thing is to find a stylist that will listen to what you tell them, confirm they understand and focus on doing what you ask, not just as they please. I have had way too many bad haircuts at the salon. In my experience, the worst are the premadonas that think they know everything, run their mouths and act like they are doing you a favor and that you are an inconvenience to them, rather than a paying customer that they need to please. The worst experience I had was about eight years ago, at a salon where an acquaintance had said was really good. Well the stylist I had was a real jerk. After my hair was washed he jerked my head around and was yanking my hair when he was combing it out. My hair wasn’t very long at the time, just about to my collarbone, but he started right at the roots, rather than towards the ends and work his way up. As he was cutting my hair, he forcefully jerked my head around rather than moving himself or asking me to turn my head, look up, down, etc. . I told him upfront I did not want him to use a razor or thinning shears on my hair. Well he took the razor and I could hear it tearing my hair and I asked him to stop, but he continued and I repeated that I didn’t want him to use the razor. Well he screamed at me in a high pitched, shrill voice that I don’t tell him how to cut hair, he was a licensed professional. Well he cut my hair too short and it was uneven and there were chunks out of my hair. I paid at the desk, it was $60, about $20 more than I expected, then I went to my car and cried. I went about a year before I had my hair cut again. Believe it or not, the person who I let do my hair after that was my new boyfriend, now husband just after we started dating. I told him about my nightmare experience at the salon and how I was going to grow my hair to my ankles rather than go to the salon again. He laughed and told me I would still need to trim my hair otherwise it was would be a straggly, uneven mess. So I asked if he was volunteering and he told me he could give me a haircut if I wanted him to. Really? He was going to cut my hair? He explained he had a friend who was a stylist that would cut his hair, and she taught him to cut hers for her being she didn’t trust any of the people she had worked with and figured he was getting free haircuts, why shouldn’t she as well. He showed me he had the really good hair shears, clips, comb and explained how he would do it. So I took him up on his offer. The first time he used a sheet, for follow on haircuts, he bought a good cape. He combed out my hair which was still damp working from the ends, sectioned it, pinned it up, then started trimming my bottom layer. He was very meticulous and focused as he let down each layer and trimmed the successive layers at a 90 degree angle so my hair would lay right and not have the Christmas tree shaped look. I told him it was bad, take off four inches, he said he didn’t need to cut off that much. He used his sharp hair shears only, he said he wouldn’t waste his money buying thinning shears or a razor as there is no reason to use them as they only destroy the hair and cause splits. He was very gentle, he asked me to turn my head, moved around me and I was actually enjoying having him do my hair. When he finished, he swept up the clippings, uncaped me and I dashed to the bathroom mirror to inspect his work. I was impressed, my hair looked great! I informed him he was now my regular stylist. At work later that afternoon, I kept checking my hair in the mirror when I walked by and I got compliments from a couple coworkers and friends on my hair. He has been the only person allowed to cut hair since, I have him give me my free haircut every other month. I have had him cut a couple of my friends’ and my mom’s hair and they were very pleased. So I am very happy with my personal stylist. The important thing is he is very gentle, focused on what he is doing, and a perfectionist cutting hair. He doesn’t treat me like it is a chore to do it. It is wonderful one on one bonding time.

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      Haha, you loved your hair so much you married your stylist…love it! Thank you for taking the time to share your story.

      • Carolyn says:

        Yes, I knew it seemed like an odd story, but when discussing it with a friend of mine she said hair is very emotional for a woman and she said bad haircuts have left her with very bad memories and she had great hair days where she was feeling on top of the world. Getting a haircut has always been something I would worry about and there are women who have anxiety attacks just thinking about a haircut, it is a very emotional thing. So being my new boyfriend whom I was in that initial phase of just wanting to be with him every minute, took the time to do a great job of taking shears to cut my hair, a very intimate thing, and there were feelings of nervousness as I heard the shears snipping away at my locks and then pure elation when I saw the final result was a very emotional event. So yes, I think that first haircut where I was very vulnerable, made me feel special and I trusted him and that he respected me. And each time he combs my hair for me, I just feel so relaxed and I love the back rubs that come with it. So it is a good thing and I am glad I did marry him.

  4. Shellie, this is a most helpful post with great ideas for visiting a salon. I am guilty of expecting them to read my mind. LOL, the latest man that has been cutting my hair likes to do his own thing. He is semi-retired but used to be a high-end ladies stylist. I liked a scatter fringe, he would not do it, I must admit that I like the way he has done it now, but I am thinking of not going back there anymore.
    We will feature your popular tips for a short haircut on the next Blogger’s Pit Stop. I love the verse on the bottom, so true.

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Hi Kath,

      Going to the salon can be quite an intimidating experience and women so often go mute in the chair. Thanks for featuring my post!

  5. Very good tips. It’s worth it to educate yourself to get the cut you want. When I was younger I didn’t speak up for myself enough. This is a cute haircut on you, a tried an asymmetrical cut a fee years ago and didn’t care for it on me.

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Hi Kimberly,

      Thanks for stopping by! True, the asymmetrical doesn’t work for all face shapes. I stopped by your site and noticed that your hair is quite wavy and you’ve found a sassy cut that suits it well.

  6. beautiful post my friend. Your hair looks lovely too xo

  7. Thank you for straightening out the fact that a hairdresser really cant read our minds, and knowing the terminology is “key” I cant tell you how man times I have gotten home and found I was not happy, but then what do you do, the hair is gone. I think its a good idea to learn the terminology for a particular haircut. Next time I have a hairdresser I will go armed. But almost always, I have cut my own hair for over 40+ years. I was and am a wannabe hairdresser. My life took a different turn and I did not go to beauty school.
    Thank you for sharing your experience!

  8. You’re right about using the correct terminology, Shellie. I find that telling stylists I want “feather bangs” means different things to different people. I have also called them “blow back bangs” and gotten different results. Last week my stylist referred to them as “birdwings”. I think I give up!! I know what I want, but it’s hard to get it across sometimes.