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Ask a Hairstylist: The Best Short Haircuts for Fine Hair

It's all in the details.
Short haircuts for fine hair

Q: Hi Bill, I have no idea what to do with my short hair. I've had cuts that I loved in the past, but I've had no inspiration for a while and I'm feeling blah.

From The Styling Edit Archives

Short haircuts for fine hair

Adrienne wants a new short haircut for her fine hair.

My hair is straight, thin and fine. Unless it is cut very short, it tends to flip under nicely on the right side, but flip out on the left side. When it's longer, it tends to get clumpy, stringy and tangled. That said, it's quite healthy: never coloured, and I rarely blow-dry.

I don't have time for complicated styling, so I keep it simple. My routine: wash, towel-dry and comb or finger-comb. Then, I tousle or fluff it as it air-dries for a little volume. The last time I had it shorter than this, I used a texturizing cream most days.

Short haircuts for fine hair

Adrienne doesn't have a lot of time to spend styling her hair.

I have to admit that when I do want to kick it up a notch, I don't know what I'm doing and it takes forever. How can I make my hair look amazing with little effort?

I prefer short hair in general, so for now, I'd like to stick with short. I'm willing to learn some new skills, try new products, and even try a different colour, but my time will still be limited most mornings. So I'm primarily concerned with getting an awesome cut. Thank you so much for your advice! — Adrienne

Short haircuts for fine hair

Adrienne wants to keep her hair short, but is open to trying a new colour.

A: Adrienne, thank you for your request about short haircuts that will be easy and super-cool. As with every design, it's all in the details, and those are what make the finished product.

For short hair, there are a few detail rules. The most important one, since there is not much hair to play with, is that there needs to be a major feature that stands out. This could be a longer fringe, a longer crown, a longer nape or a few of these variations combined.

Let's start with the fringe being slightly longer than the rest of the hair.

Michelle Williams My Week with Marilyn New York City premiere 2011

Michelle Williams at the 2011 New York City premiere of 'My Week with Marilyn.'

Emma Watson BAFTA Awards 2011

Emma Watson at the 2011 BAFTA Awards.

To go with this cut option, I would suggest colouring the tips of your hair to add depth to your colour. Always remember that tips cut out quickly, and are off-scalp for those who have sensitivities.

Then we have the option of a short back with a longer fringe. 

Ginnifer Goodwin Something Borrowed Los Angeles premiere 2011

Ginnifer Goodwin at the 2011 Los Angeles premiere of 'Something Borrowed.'

Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games Catching Fire Los Angeles premiere 2013

Jennifer Lawrence at the 2013 Los Angeles premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.'

Combing your hair forward is the way to go with this style.

I would recommend using a product that I love for short hair, Oribe Rock Hard Gel.

Oribe Rock Hard Gel

Oribe Rock Hard Gel

It is a very concentrated cream-gel that dries clear. Be careful not to use too much. 

When styling short hair, it's best to get it to freeze-frame in your shape while wet with gel, and then leave it to air-dry. Keep your hands off until it is completely dry, and then leave as is, or ruffle it and continue to step two.

At this point, you might want to define the ends or add more texture and volume. A molding paste like Oribe Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste should do the trick here.

Oribe Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste

Oribe Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste

Rub this product in your hands thoroughly before applying, and use what is on the tips of your fingers. Then rake your fingers through your hair for separation.

Here are some styling options with this cut that I'd like you to play with.

Emma Watson Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 world premiere 2010

Emma Watson at the 2010 world premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1.'

Halle Berry Jenesse Silver Rose Awards Gala and Auction 2012

Halle Berry at the 2012 Jenesse Silver Rose Awards Gala and Auction.

Now comes the option of a longer crown with possibly a longer fringe in your future. Seeing a little hair behind your ear will be quite attractive as well. On your way to a longer length....

Kimberley Wyatt Hair Magazine Awards 2009

Kimberley Wyatt at the 2009 Hair Magazine Awards.

Elsa Pataky Fast Furious 6 Los Angeles premiere 2013

Elsa Pataky at the 2013 Los Angeles premiere of 'Fast & Furious 6.'

Kate Mara SAG Awards 2016

Kate Mara at the 2016 SAG Awards.

Emilia Clarke My Dinner with Herve Los Angeles premiere 2018

Emilia Clarke at the 2018 Los Angeles premiere of 'My Dinner with Hervé.'

Please do not limit yourself with colour, because it can add so much character to a shorter cut. It's also easy to get rid of it when you are keeping it short. 


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