Many dismiss pursuits of beauty as superficial. Clearly, those people haven’t grown out a major haircut. Though the character gained from getting a bold new haircut is immeasurable (it can inject confidence and change the way you carry yourself, for starters), so is the incredible discipline and patience one must exhibit when growing that cut out.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we all can’t use a little extra help during these more challenging style moments.
When sleek pixie cuts morph into mullet territory and once face-framing layers devolve into wonky ‘70s wings, we call upon the masterful hair-handling tricks of celebrity stylists Nikki Lee (who has worked with Demi Lovato and Emma Roberts) and Marc Mena (who has styled Hilary Swank and Olivia Munn). Here, they share the key to styling three distinct cuts in transition.
From a pixie cut to a layered cut: Both stylists admit that the progression from a close-cropped pixie cut to a longer, layered do—a transition that Jennifer Lawrence has made—is a rough one. The biggest obstacle? Ensuring you don’t move into mullet territory, our pros say. “The back of the hair grows most quickly,” explained Lee, which means you could be rocking a party in the back if you don’t stay on top of your hair game.
“To prevent hair from growing into a mullet, trim the hair on the back of your head every six weeks, until the hair closer to the crown grows to match the length of your hair on the base of your head,” Mena instructed.
While waiting for your tresses’ magical, length-matching day to come, Mena suggested styling the cut in a deep part and tucking hair behind the ears. Another option? Tap into the slicked-back hair trend seen on Gwyneth Paltrow and Julianne Moore during awards season: Use a dime-sized dollop of styling gel, like Warren Tricomi Orange Gel, to control unwanted tufts and smooth hair close to the head.
From a bob to a textured lob: If going from a sharp, editrix-style bob to a loose, textured lob like Ciara has done, you’re in luck: This is one of the most simple style transitions to take, according to our pros. With this style evolution, months of wait time are dashed when enlisting the illusion-producing skills of a stylist. “Most of the time, this transition just requires adding texture into the haircut to make hair appear longer,” Lee said. This is often achieved by cutting hair at the crown of the head, Mena added.
Creating the guise of longer hair isn’t only achieved by the salon; when styling this cut at home, make hair look even longer by adding bend. First, spray a heat protectant, like Alterna Caviar RepairX Multivitamin Heat Protection Spray, on the shafts of the hair. Next, Lee suggested wrapping the hair around a 1-inch curling iron at mid-shaft (leaving ends untouched) to create curve and movement.
For even more texture, Mena suggested applying a bit of mousse to the hair. The alcohol and aerosol-free Wen Sweet Almond Mint Nourishing Mousse aims to nourish the hair with rosemary, wild cherry and chamomile extracts.
“Different hair types will require different styling, so just play with it a little to find the right texture for you,” he said
From textured lob to long hair: If you want something to grow in length, common sense says don’t cut it, right? As it turns out, the strategy for this hair transformation defies all logic. The fastest way to flowing and healthy hair (like Keira Knightley) is by trimming it every six weeks, Mena maintained.
“When going for a long hairstyle, you don’t want the hair to be sparse at the ends like you might for a lob,” he said. With regular appointments, a stylist will be able to put weight back into the ends and alter the shape into something more balanced and smooth.
To style post-lob hair, blow it dry with a large round brush and apply a smoothing serum to ends. TIGI S Factor Silk Smooth Moisture Serum can add shine to hair and help tame wiry ends.
Above all, resist the urge to tie your hair back in a perma-ponytail. With a little styling wizardry, you can make your once-great cut work for you—even after you’ve outgrown it.