Short Hair Is The Worst—Or: 7 Hair Accessories Essential For Short Hair!

short hair accessories

Once upon a time, I had long, beautiful hair. It was a brief (and then-underappreciated) triumph—most of my life, I’ve loathed my hair, or at least mildly disliked it. It’s thick, coarse and wavy; holds curl like a mo’fo but will seldom stay straight and has never once shined. I spent my teens fighting it (and making it worse) with straighteners, and my early 20s trying to pep it up with all sorts of curl-enhancing mouses and gels. Then, one glorious year, I realized my hair looks best when I do absolutely nothing to it. Nothing. I do not blow dry it, style it or use any products and I only wash and condition it once a week.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown - Long hair vs short hair

LONG HAIR! Why would I ever cut this?

When it was long, here was my whole hair routine:

• Get out of the shower.
• Scrunch it in my hands a bit as it dried.

If I needed to enhance the wave a little I could stick it in braids for a few hours. If it was sticking out at weird angles from my head, I could throw it in a ponytail or messy bun. You know that messy top bun look women’s magazines are always instructing about? Mine just did that. “Beach waves?” That, too.

So, for this amazing time period, I genuinely liked my hair. And then for some reason I cut it.

I’m a bit of a compulsive hair changer (Facebook profile pics and outfits throughout the day, too). I’m beauty moody. Low-maintenance, for the most part, but also a chameleon. I’ve had blond, red, brown, black, pink and turquoise hair. Last summer I decided I was over long hair, and cut it to about shoulder-length.

Then, on New Year’s day this year, I went for the full pixie cut. I’ve always wanted to see how I looked with short hair. I was reading a Town & Country article on pixie cuts. I was bored. And since I’ve always cut my hair myself, this was no exception.

By all accounts, it went well. I thought it looked good, people told me it looked good and I put on a lot of Twiggy & Audrey Hepburn inspired outfits … for a few weeks. Then it started growing out.

the trouble with short hair

what I am now dealing with

This is a process I’m committed to not interfering with, because here is what I learned about short haircuts on women with thick, wavy or curly hair: It is not easy. It’s actually really inconvenient. All the time-saving benefits of short hair that people preach do not apply to big-haired girls.

Do you know what is easy? Ponytails. Braids. Letting your hair hang down long and natural. But when my hair is short, it requires effort. Anything around the ears or nape of my neck curls up all Florence Henderson-like. Anything around the top of my head lays totally flat. Or it sticks up and out from my head in manners resembling: David Bowie, lead singers of 80s New Wave bands, Medusa. Combing or brushing only results in shrooming-out a la someone on “Melrose Place” (is there a remake? if so, I don’t mean that one) or a middle-aged suburban mom’s.

Short hair is not easy, at all, for me. And so I am growing it out—which of course only enhances the awkwardness and potential for crazy people hair (CPH, as my college friends like to abbreviate it) in the interim. Since January, I have bought an array of hair goods in an attempt to mitigate this effect—which I am about to share with you! If you, too, are in the midst of growing out short hair, it might behove you to invest in …


Barrettes. Once something used to hold the odd stray hair in place, barrettes become, to a short-haired girl, an intricate scaffolding used to approximate the up-dos we once took for granted. It's not at all up to up-do safety code—pieces are prone to let loose at any time; but you learn to make do.


Headbands. Just get a lot.

Fancy barrettes

Elaborate barrettes. This is different than the maintence/hair scaffolding barrettes. A few flowered or feathered clips will work wonders when you need to hold random flyways in place in a way that looks intentional.

Hair spray

Product! Ugh. But it does sometimes become necessary with short hair. I begrudgingly bought some sample size hair spray.

Banana clips

Banana clips. Kind of. Banana clips are good for sweeping up all the random-lengthed side pieces of hair into some semblance of a french twist. But where long hair flows from a banana clip's center like a beautiful mod/June Carter Cash-esque waterfall, my hair now pokes out of it pointily like some cross between a rat tail and a badass late 70s rock chick. This is cool, I guess, but not a look I'm often going for.


A bump it. Well, you should just always have one of these. But especially if you have short hair, bump-its can create volume while holding back front hair that's too short to be secured in a ponytail.

Something that covers your whole head

Something that covers your whole head. Very wide headbands. Hats. Scarves. Bandanas. One of mine is this large brown headband on the left here (though there are others). The trick is to find something that can be worn indoors, because once that sucker goes on you are not gonna want to take it off. It will not be pretty. But your head covering? Make sure that is.

A wig

Just in case.
Share This Post:
    • Slinxie

      I used to have long hair that I did nothing with so I cut all off, I actually prefer my short hair but MY GOD the upkeep! Whereas I could never get any volume with long hair, I have entirely way too much now esp after rolling around in my sleep. And talk about trying to grow it out!! That semi-mullet stage is not fun.

    • Eileen

      My main problem is that when I had long hair, I could easily go several days without shampooing it because the ends stayed clean longer and if all else failed, a high ponytail or bun was an option. Now I have to wash my hair pretty much every other day.

    • Katie

      I do love low maintenance long hair, but I’ve always been told I look best with short so I guess I’m keeping it that way. I was evening looking through my wedding pictures the other day (long hair) and I was like “goodness I’ve lost weight” and my husband goes “well, also you look thinner with short hair”. Oh. Thank you for telling me now. Post-wedding.

    • Kato6

      This was a great article. I too have thick hair, and its quite long right now. I wash my hair 2-3 times a week and just comb it when I get out of the shower to let dry naturally. I used to blow dry and straighten it but it really does look at its best when you don’t use any products or heat. I’ve had short hair before too and looked a right donut while letting it grow out… If yiu have thick hair it is so much more managable when its long. I’ll never cut mine any shorter than a bob again lol