1 Pixie Cuts: The Right Financial Choice for Your Head | The Billfold

Pixie Cuts: The Right Financial Choice for Your Head

I whacked all my hair off out not out of youthful rebellion but out of laziness and general follicular ineptitude. After a lifetime of bad straightening jobs and ringlets that were somehow both frizzy and limp, I told my hairdresser I wanted to look, and I quote, “like Hermione when she went to college.” And not to get all zealot-y on you, but having short hair is THE BEST. Everyone (girls and boys alike) should do it. And now Miley Cyrus has made it trendy (again)! But going nearly bald isn’t just a last hurrah before becoming Mrs. Gale Hungergames; it is also fiscally responsible.  Here are nine ways that short hair saves you both money and time, which is also money! (There are also two ways that it doesn’t save you time and money, but two is such a small number.)

Ways That Having Short Hair Definitely Saves Money
1. Cheaper shampoo. When your hair is a stubby 3/4 inch long, it’s damned difficult to tell the difference between the effects of 2-in-1 bottom-shelf shamditioner and John Frieda Brilliant Brunette (which counts as a Luxury Purchase for me, okay). I have even used Dr. Bronner’s in a pinch with no ill effects besides a slightly rubbery feeling to my hair. And whatever you use, you use less of it! Instant $avings.

2. Cheaper highlights. For those of you who like to paint your hair cool colors with chemicals, most salons charge less (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) to do pixies. And the even better part about hairdresser visits is…

3. No fancy salon services. Your short hair cannot be blown out or Japanese-straightened or updone. You don’t have to pay for those things because you don’t even get to consider them. Savings by brute force.

4. No hair clips, sticks, and elastics/ties/scrunchies/gummies (this is what my mom called them?). You don’t need them! You can stop hoarding them around your wrist and doorknob! You will never darken the “Hair Accessories” aisle of CVS again! Unless you really want some clip-in extensions for costume parties or undercover missions!

5. Shorter showers. Less of a water bill! Except I share mine with three roommates and we don’t pro-rate based on length of hair (or shower). Yet.

6. Less air-conditioning. Okay, again, maybe not measurable. But heat is way easier to bear unadulterated if you don’t have a drooping knot of frizz stuck to your neck.

7. Sleeping in. This really requires a strong belief in the “time-is-money” credo. But you know what? Not having to spend 40 minutes in front of a humid bathroom mirror with a spazzy, sparking blow-dryer makes my mornings noticeably more pleasant. Would I pay for this? Probably.

8. No temptation for impulse purchases of leopard-print flatirons on eBay. This is a thing I would occasionally web-window-shop for when my chin-length hair was doing That Thing That It Did (everyone’s hair has one, it’s okay) and my roommate wasn’t around to fix it for me. Now, using any kind of hot hair implement would give me a scalp-burn. Savings by pain avoidance!

9. Theft deterrent. Assuming that chain email my aunt sent me about wallet-stealing muggers whose initial method of assault is yanking victims by the ponytail is legit, anyway.

Ways short hair does not save you money (Only two, and also HOT TIPS for having these two ways not cost you that much more money)
1. Trims. Yes you need to get more of these, but here are a couple hot tips for to maintaining a pixie that looks like an actual pixie and not like Florence Henderson’s shag.

  • Get it cut a little too short, like skullhuggingly, Mia-Farrow short. Do not fear! Yes, I have had someone take buzzcut clippers to the side of my head. Yes, it was a little weird looking, but yes, it afforded me a little extra time between visits. And yes, I tried to channel Demi Moore in G.I. Jane and no, it did not magically give me the ability to do a pull-up.
  • Cheat on your salon. This really works for any kind of haircut, I guess, but salons are popping up on Grouponesque sites every damn day. Most of their deals are for first-time customers only, but if you live in a major metropolitan area, you physically cannot grow enough hair in your lifetime to exhaust all of your salon options. Alternatively…
  • Make friends with your stylist. If they like you, a lot of times they’ll do bangs/neck trims for free or cheap, which is really all you need with a short haircut and is great for buying you time. OR:
  • Buy some hair scissors. I have cut off chunks of my burgeoning mini-mullet using nothing more than a bathroom mirror and some drugstore snippers and no one can tell (or no one said anything). But go slowly, evaluate after each cut, and definitely do spring for actual hair scissors because a blunt pair of Fiskars will give your homemade haircut the distinctive cowlicked look you want to avoid.

2. Product. I didn’t use it before, and now I do. Hair doesn’t fauxhawk on its own, alas.


Blair Thornburgh has great hair. 


28 Comments / Post A Comment

Interesting – I had a completely different experience of short hair.

It was, for me, MORE expensive, because I had to get it trimmed every month, and more trouble because I woke up with bed-head every morning, so I’d have to wash and style it every single day.

Now I have long hair. I cut it twice a year, put it up in a bun/ponytail when I’m feeling lazy and wash it every two or three days. WIN.

But whatever works for you…

wearitcounts (#772)

@londonistheplaceforme agreed. it requires SO MUCH MORE MAINTENANCE.

dotcommie (#662)

@londonistheplaceforme ditto. i never had a pixie–it would not be kind to my weak chin–but i had chin length hair and it was SO MUCH MORE WORK and money. i have crazy thick, wavy, kind of dry hair that, when it’s shoulder-length or longer and layered, looks best when largely left to its own devices. i put some curl cream and moroccan oil in, scrunch it up, and let it air-dry. with short hair, i had to keep trying to wrangle and flat-iron it so it wouldn’t stick out at weird angles, not to mention the fact that i had to get hair cuts 3x as often as i do now. i did start buying salon dye on weird websites and dyeing my own hair because dyeing long hair is sooo expensive, but on the whole i’m saving a bunch of money. also, if you have bangs, it’s really easy to teach yourself to do bang trims.

singstrix (#1,974)

I love (love) having short hair, but it costs me more than having longer hair ever did:

1] Stylists*. It seems like fewer people are good at cutting a decent pixie that is neither a man’s cut or well-meaning Mom Hair, let alone a cut that grows out the 8-10 weeks I will dawdle before coughing up for a trim. This means I actually have to pay $40-50 (SCREAM) for a salon cut, vs. the $14 I WANT to pay. I have been burned by several Hair Cutteries and Master Cuts, yes.

*I did recently discover a local Floyd’s Barbershop, which is cute, unisex, and $21 for a cut. I like the job they did, but have to see how it grows out.

2] Frequency of cuts. As a long-haired person, it didn’t seem like a curse that my hair grew quickly. As a short-haired, impoverished person, it seems cruel that if I want my hair to look a specific way, I should be paying to have it cut every 4-5 weeks.

3] YES, product. I have to quell urges to try every reasonably cheap texturizing paste, pomade, styling wax, etc. Not to mention that now dry shampoo is an option, too (and gosh, you gotta find the right one.. )

Short hair is still the best, though.

krystalkairi (#1,975)

Yes! Cutting my hair off was absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done with my hair! My hair was a curly and frizzy mess and I was way too lazy to do anything with it so it just stayed a curly and frizzy mess. Now I’ve cut it so short it can’t curl but it still gets a lot of body and it looks fantastic even when I don’t do anything to it! And I only need to get it cut every 6 or 7 weeks, which isn’t so bad.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

When I shaved my head, it was cheap. Actually, it was essentially free. Those were the days.

When I had a pixie cut, it cost me like $55 a month to maintain in trims alone. Saving a few cents on shampoo doesn’t really rate when you are dropping that kind of cash on a cut every 4 weeks. And yes, it needs to be trimmed every 4 weeks or else you look like a crazy homeless person. Plus, it is guaranteed that no matter how awesome your stylist is, s/he will fuck up at least every 3rd cut (apparently short hair is hella hard or something), and so you’ll spend a good chunk of your year poor AND looking like crap.

City_Dater (#565)


Yep. I grew my very very short hair out while I was in grad school because I was too poor to spring for the frequent good haircuts necessary to maintain it attractively. Trims into a “boy’s regular” at the barbershop were cheap and looked it. Long hair is way cheaper to maintain well, and even looking like a cavewoman every so often is less scary than Bad Short Haircut.

This only works if you have a head large enough to carry off a pixie cut. Me, I do not. Le sigh.

lavendergooms (#1,978)

I’ll agree with the article! I go the hairdresser every 4-5 weeks, which is about $50. But! I never run out of shampoo, I no longer use conditioner, and for product I use (ymmv here) whatever moisturizer is leftover on my hands after I apply it to my face. My hair responds fairly well to being left alone, aside from the occasional bobby pin (which is like 5 bucks for 100 or so) to keep my bangs to the side while they dry.

My hair is in that nebulous state between straight and wavy, but isn’t really either, so I used to dry it, straighten it, and spend money on new products constantly only to spend the majority of the day with it in a ponytail. In the long run, it has worked out for me.

And @Jake Reinhardt, I have an extremely tiny head as compared to my shoulders. It still looks fine. I’ve also given up on caring whether sunglasses look too big on me as well.

My stylist is also fabulous and has never done me wrong.

mof (#342)

Here’s a quick cost comparison between shampoo and conditioner for long hair vs. hair cuts for short hair.

Shampoo and conditioner:
$9 for 33 oz bottle of Head and Shoulders
0.5 oz per wash gives you 66 washes per bottle.
If you wash your hair 4 times a week, you are using 33 oz every 16.5 weeks.
That is 3.15 bottles per year.
That comes to $28.35 for shampoo for a year.
Do the same for a $13 bottle of Pantene conditioner and the total is $40.95 per year.
Total for hairwashing for long hair for 1 year = $69.30

Short hair maintenance:
1 cut per month at $50 per cut comes to $600 for a year.
[Dial it back to every 6 weeks and you get $433.33 for a year.]

Difference: $530.70 [or $363.63]

lindseykai (#1,544)

I chopped all my hair off two weeks ago, and it’s the best. Also the best: washing your hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I gave up shampoo and conditioner almost a year ago, and I’m never going back.

glow bug (#1,606)

I loved short hair when I was at a normal weight, but 40 lbs overweight me is afraid of it. Thoughts?

@pigforker I got an accidental super short cut a few months ago, when my stylist somehow took “just above my shoulders” to “chin length.” I am about 50 lbs overweight, and I was worried that my face looked so fat, but I got SO MANY compliments on how flattering the cut was! And I did eventually start to love it. It’s now grown out a bit, and I’m considering going and having quite a bit chopped off. (I’ve also lost about 10 lbs since then, so I’m less scared of the “fat face” now.)

LizF (#1,399)

I have long hair and it is very inexpensive and very little work. The key is cutting it myself (about every 4 months or so, with occasional split end maintenance in between)and having straight hair that requires very little daily upkeep. Wash, comb, go!

I also use cheapo hair products- store brand all the way.

My mother for YEARS tried to convince me that short hair was so much easier until I convinced her to go longer and she was like “Oh, I was totally wrong.”

I would so much rather use the 60 bucks a month I would spend on a haircut and styling products to do something fun. Like go on vacation once a year (because that would be a savings of $720) or buy beer often.

I loved my short hair. I don’t think it’s cheaper than not cutting your hair for months and throwing it in a ponytail, but it’s certainly way way faster and probably similar in price to a nicely done, maintenance-heavy long style and looks just as good.

lora.bee (#1,904)

@MilesofMountains I loved mine too! I felt pretty badass with it. I like how long hair lets me have a different style any day if I want one, but boy did I spend a lot less time worrying about my hair when it was short. Pixie cut, I miss youuuu.

lobsterhug (#43)

Another cheap salon alternative is a salon or beauty school. They often give free haircuts and all you have to do is tip.

If you’re in Boston, the Dellaria at Kenmore Square has a salon school on Monday nights. Just call up and ask to make an appointment at the school. The stylists are a mix of people finishing up their schooling and those going back for a refresher.

When I went, I chopped off about 10 inches to get a chin length bob and I love it. Short hair is the best.

editrickster (#279)

@lobsterhug Whoa, good tip! Another good place in Boston that’s not outrageously priced is Rock Paper Scissors on Newbury. I know it’s on Newbury but I thought their prices were very affordable for cut and color and they did great work on my baby-fine, short hair.

blueblazes (#1,798)

I’m about to blow all your minds: My stylist does trims for free. When I went to short hair, she told me to come in anytime my bangs or neck hair bugged me and she’d fix it for free between major overhauls. And she totally does!

But short hair hasn’t been super cheap for me because of the color. When I went short, I also started doing all that peekaboo highlighting business. And product. So. Much. Product.

I had short hair from ages 15-23 and again now at 28. Honestly for me short hair is the easiest, cheapest thing ever. The trick is: cut it yourself. I’ve been cutting my own hair for a long time because I could never find a hairdresser that would cut it the way I wanted, and with a set of hairclippers I could do all my own trims for free!

So yeah, $100 one-time purchase of a decent set of clippers with different guards = a lifetime of free pixie cuts.

honey cowl (#1,510)

If only, if only.

hero worship (#447)

Slightly off-topic-Has anyone ever sold their hair to a hair trading website? I could really use the money and am interested to see if people actually got paid a decent amount for it. Then I would definitely consider rocking a pixie.

@hero worship I am currently trying to do this! I have (had) very fancy hair that lots of people ACT like they want, but currently my most serious-sounding buyer has disappeared off the face of gmail, so IDK. When I finally sell it I’ll def write it up for The Billfold.

blair (#1,962)

@hero worship Hair trading?! I’m obviously ineligible but still very intrigued

I have been contemplating short hair BUT I have had long hair forever that took a long time to grow out. Also I have had like ear/chin length hair throughout middle school and high school and even though it is totally not the same thing, I look DUMB like that. I have a super round face with not really a chin so I feel like having a pixie cut would just make me look moony and super round. And the task of growing it out someday. NO THANKS

pekoe (#980)

I’ve had a pixie since mid-high school (except for a few dark months senior year of said high school where I panicked that maybe I SHOULD have long hair for prom, and that was terrible and depressing and NEVER AGAIN). I don’t plan on going back to long hair anytime soon. I feel positively dumpy when it grows beyond like, 2 inches.

Having said that, my hair maintenance is hella cheap because I’m one of those reckless types who after watching her stylist bought a haircutting razor and went at my own head. I now own that, proper scissors, those toothy scissors, and a fairly freshly purchased clippers from Wahl- all pretty dang cheap, and I expect them to last for a good while. I don’t dye my hair anymore, but the few times I did, I either hair-modeled or had my friend do it in her bathroom. So if your greatest hair ambition is to want to look like Billy Idol (and who DOESN’T?), that is all you need.

But yeah, the fearlessness about self-barbering (partly brought on by fatigue with scaredy-cat stylist who would ignore photos of past haircut and Jean Seberg I brought for reference, HOW MANY times can I keep saying “no, shorter, please”? Sigh.) is what got me here and people keep complementing me on my hair, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. SHORT HAIR FOREVER!

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