It might be hard to believe, but when I was in high school, I LOVED having long hair. I had a Pinterest board named “I am Rapunzel” and loved when my friends would brush or braid it. (Is that weird? I feel like most people enjoy having their hair played with, but maybe it’s just me.) It was definitely easier to deal with, too. I could throw it up in a high ponytail for dance practice and not have to deal with a million pins and barrettes slowing me down.
However, I did not love how long it took to do just about anything other than wear it in a ponytail. My hair is naturally pretty straight, but anytime I wanted a little extra sum sum it took ages to style. My usual go-to was a braid, but even that took at least 15 minutes to get just how I wanted it. And don’t even get me started on curling. (Fine strands + a lot of them = thick hair = an hour and a half with a hot curling iron over your head = burn marks on your forehead = not cute)
When I got to college, my long hair lasted all of about two semesters before I decided I wanted to go in for the chop. I hadn’t had short hair since my awkward middle school days and long hair had become a security blanket of sorts. I started off with about 8 inches, which took my overall length from my waist to just below my shoulders. Then a few months later, I went about 5 inches shorter. And then a little shorter. And then shorter. And then I grew it out a little. And now I’ve gone back to having an almost-pixie!
I love having short hair. As I mentioned in one of my last posts, there’s an incredibly freeing feeling I get when I can turn my head from side to side without having to worry about my hair getting caught on or under something. I have phantom pains of my hair being ripped from my scalp because I moved too quickly without checking to see if my hair was free. (To say I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that anymore would be an understatement.)
However, styling short hair is not as simple as the wash-and-wear long hair days of yore. Even just putting some detangling product and cuticle-sealing oil won’t suffice (though it definitely makes a difference). Between styling products and tools, my haircare routine has definitely stepped up its game since I’ve gone shorter. Check out some of my short hair must-haves below and let me know what your favorite hair products and tools are in the comments below!
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer – $29.62, amazon.com
As soon as I get out of the shower and hang up my Turbie Twist (trust me, you need one) I spray this magical solution all over my locks. I think it’s pretty comparable to the It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Spray in that it protects from heat and UV damage, seals cuticles, softens, tames fly-aways, and detangles. When I had super long hair, I was so bad about protecting it. I hardly ever used a single hair product, and it definitely showed in my split ends and broken strands. My hair was sad. It’s ironic that I’ve started caring more about my hair when I have less of it, but this styling primer is definitely one of the reasons I don’t feel so bad about using a bunch of heat tools on my hair!
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil – $42, amazon.com
After I use the primer above, I go over my ends with this oil to really seal up my ends and make sure none of those pesky fly-aways make my hair look like a hot mess. If you have fine, thin strands of hair like me, I highly recommend this product to prevent damage. Thinner strands are usually weaker, but with this guy putting in work for you, it’s much less of a risk when you go in with a super-hot iron. Not to mention – it makes your hair so soft you won’t want to quit touching it. (But you probably should stop because thin hair gets greasy quicker too. Sigh.)
Not Your Mother’s Whip It Up Cream Styling Mousse – $5.99, ulta.com
As most people with short hair can attest, the success or failure of a hair style depends on what kind of love it gets before it’s dry. If I were to just stick with the primer and oil above, it would be much harder to make my hair have any kind of volume whatsoever. (Yet another wonderful feature of having fine strands.) This mousse is a life-saver in the volume department – even if I don’t feel like styling with heat tools I know I’ll have at least a little lift because of this product alone. Add a little blow-dry and some flat-iron action and this product is definitely the foundation that keeps my hair perfectly voluminous.
Wet Brush Pro Detangler Brush – $8.98, amazon.com
If you haven’t heard of the Wet Brush, let me tell you now. It. Is. Magic. I honestly have no freaking clue how it works, but somehow it makes brushing your hair when it’s wet (or dry!) and tangled and knotted an absolute breeze! One pass through and it immediately removes any trace of a tangle (okay, maybe a couple passes if you’re hair is a rat’s nest like mine is sometimes). Seriously I don’t even remember what my life was like before this brush. It was probably sad. And tangled. If you have long hair, this brush’s use is kind of self explanatory; but if your hair is short like mine, this brush works wonders when you do a lot of styling. Between all the gel and hairspray and teasing that is needed to create some really sassy hair styles, my hair can get so difficult to detangle. I would be lost (and probably bald) without this brush!
Revlon Perfect Style Thermal Round Brush – $14.99, amazon.com
When I blow-dry my hair, simple finger combing doesn’t cut it. Since my hair is straight, using only a dryer makes it even straighter, which usually gives my short hair a 2008 Justin Beiber look. Cute, right? I’ve had this brush for a long time (like 10-ish years) and it’s held up so well that I haven’t even thought about replacing it. It’s perfect for adding a little bit of volume without making me look like a 5th Golden Girl and the bristles are amazing for making sure each strand is getting even heat.
Remington D8700 T Studio PROtect Dryer – $36.99, amazon.com
I don’t know anyone with hair longer than about 3 inches who doesn’t own a hair dryer. For the most part, they all get the job done… at some point. One of the reasons I take my hair dryer with me when I stay in a hotel is because I cannot stand how long it takes those built-in-the-wall hair dryers take to actually dry my hair. I think a lung cancer patient on their death bed can give more power in their exhales than those things do. When my old hair dryer crapped out last year, I did some research to find a replacement that had some power and wasn’t $100. This simple little piece of machinery is a workhorse. It has three speed settings and three heat settings with a cool-air button to freeze styled hair to perfection. It comes with all the standard attachments, and the narrow nozzle (I’m sure it has a more specific name than that) is the perfect companion for my big round brush.
T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron – $89, amazon.com
I discovered this flat iron in this video from one of my favorite YouTubers, Milabu! She has such an endearing presence yet she’s not annoying or caught up in drama, which if you’re big into YouTube can be kind of hard to come by. Definitely check her out if you want to up your hair game! his straightener is so great, too. After my CHI crapped out (RIP) I needed a replacement flat iron ASAP (is it a coincidence all of my heat tools died at the same time??) and I was so glad I found this one! It’s so perfect in so many ways – the length is perfect for getting under the short bits of hair at the nape of my neck and it’s so compact with it’s case so it travels like a breeze! Plus, it’s so pretty, isn’t it?? Though it’s not quite as expensive as a CHI, it’s definitely an investment piece – but one that’s well worth it!
Kevin Murphy Easy Rider Crème – $49, amazon.com
So this product has kind of a funny story. My sister, Lauren, worked as a receptionist at a hair salon last year. One day she texted me saying that one of the owners of the salon was looking to practice a super short razor cut on someone and wanted to know if I would be interested. I’m not one to say no to a free haircut – especially one from such a seasoned stylist! Zac, if you’re reading this, I still have wet dreams about the cut you gave me… Anyway, when he was done cutting, he started styling my hair with this product and I was super pleased with the results, so I splurged and bought some to take home with me. (Something rare in my experience at salons – I’m usually interested to know what products the stylist is using on my head, but I’ve never purchased anything as a result.) This crème is the bomb.com!! It’s definitely a flexible hold, but gives a hold nonetheless. A little goes a long way as with Brilliantine below, but it’s a regular fixture in my styling routine!
Bumble and bumble Brilliantine – $26.35, amazon.com
After I’ve finished styling with all of my hot tools and I’m ready to put the finishing touch on my ‘do, I reach for this secret weapon for that polished-sex-hair look. Especially on nights out, I LOVE this product to give my hair a little extra oomph. It really is hard to define, as the packaging says! Just be careful not to use too much – a little goes a long way!
L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray – $13.85, amazon.com
Okay so I know I’m kind of late to the Elnett party, considering it’s been around since 1960, but HOLY WOW this hairspray is amazing. I think I used it once when I was on the dance team in high school and was slightly traumatized by how it glued my hair to my skull, but in all honesty, nothing holds quite as well as this stuff. It truly is a secret weapon when you have a hair that you don’t want to move an inch. Professionals use it on the runway, so… need I say more?
Cricket Amped Up Teasing Brush – $5.97, amazon.com
I actually have this teasing comb in black, but I couldn’t find the black version anywhere and pink is the new black, right? What I love about this brush particularly is that it can tease the sh*t out of my hair and then calm it back down to reality. It leaves a nice finish when used like a regular brush and with a little bit of that Elnett, any of the fly-aways left after the Bumble and bumble products are no match for this tool. When I need to create a different kind of edgy look with sky-high volume, this comb is my right hand man. Give me volume (and tamed fly-aways) or give me death!
Batiste Dry Shampoo in Clean & Light Bare – $5.99, target.com
So I’ll be the first to admit that dry shampoos and I have a bit of a strained past. I think this Dove dry shampoo was the first one I ever used and it left this icky layer of gunk on my scalp (I think it was because I didn’t shake it) so I was kind of traumatized and didn’t go near another dry shampoo until I cut my hair shorter. On long hair, dry shampoo does exactly what it says – cleans your hair (well, absorbs the oils at least) without any water. But with short hair, dry shampoo feels like a completely different product. Obviously, it does make 2nd- or 3rd-day hair last just a little bit longer, but it also adds crazy volume and texture that can be hard to come by sometimes.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, volume is the key ingredient to keep short hair from looking too masculine and we short-haired folk would probably sacrifice our first-born child for some extra height (the higher the hair the closer to heaven, right?). I’ve said before that my short hair has a tiny window of peak volume when it’s not too greasy but just dirty enough to really hold some grit and product. This dry shampoo definitely expedites that process.
I’ve tried so many dry shampoos and for some reason this is the one I keep coming back to. Maybe it’s the price (compared to this $50 one from Elizabeth & James, the $6 Batiste price tag doesn’t seem so bad) or the scent, which is delightfully simple and fresh, or maybe it’s just the fact that it gets the job done (unlike this one from Living Proof). Maybe it’s because I can toss it in my cart when I’m at the grocery store and not have to worry about making a special trip to Ulta or Sephora because I’m too lazy to wash my hair. Either way, my short locks would be sad (and greasy, let’s be honest) without this can of magic.
Your turn! Do you have short hair? What are your ride-or-die hair products? Do any of them match the ones on this list? Leave a comment and let me know!
Note: I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from some of the links in this post. I understand that might make some people uncomfy, but just know all of my opinions always have been and always will be my very own. Like the fact that I think mustard is a government conspiracy to thwart the condiment industry and I AM NOT AMUSED.