Right off the bat, let me break the bad news: I have no magical secrets for growing out a pixie cut in any shorter time-frame than that generally dictated by your hair. To grow out a pixie, you need two things: patience, and a sense of humour. OK, three things. You will also need a good hairstylist. I have no patience, my sense of humour is questionable, but I do have an awesome stylist. All in all, it could have been worse.

Let’s go back to the beginning: spring 2011. My hair was a little bit longer than it is now, a bit past my collarbone. I had just finished growing out pixie cut #1 (total time invested: almost 2 years). Naturally, my thoughts turned to cutting it, again. I’m gonna blame this one on pregnancy hormones, because get this – I became convinced that getting a bob would be the most practical thing to do in view of my son’s impending arrival. No time for long hair with a newborn, etc. Chop chop.

Except that I forgot to take into account the fact that, in order for a bob to look nice, my hair would still require straightening and whatnot. I was a perpetually panicked first-time mom, so the most basic of grooming tasks seemed overwhelming at the time. When my son reached the grabby, hair-is-a-fun-chew-toy phase of baby development, I used that as an excuse for pixie #2. So it began.

growing out a pixie cut
In the beginning … iffy style choices and all

I sported the prototypical first-time mom pixie cut for a good 6 months before the postpartum haze finally lifted, and I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. As I started to prepare to head back to work, I also started mentally preparing for the more tortuous task of growing out my pixie cut. Again.

Here is what it looked like, a couple of months in.

growing out a pixie cut
September 2012: the start of the long road

I can’t give you any technical details, but my stylist basically trimmed my hair every 8 weeks or so, making whatever slight adjustments she deemed necessary to allow growth to happen in a (mostly) becoming fashion.

I won’t lie. There were many, many terrible mornings. During the worst of it, I woke up every day looking like this:

Image via
Image via

I didn’t get to really celebrate growing out of that phase, because I moved right into this one. (I looked mostly like George, in case you were wondering. Sans ‘stache.)

Image via
Image via

Musically, at least, this was huge progress. But, basically, for what felt like the most eternal eternity (but was maybe something like 2-3 months), I did this every time I looked in the mirror.

Yes. Yes, indeed.
Yes. Yes, indeed.

Fiiiiiiiinally, I inched back into bob territory. This took about 9 months or so, counting from the time I decided to start growing out my hair. On the left side, you can see the tail end of my Bieber phase. On the right, pregnancy bob #2, which looks very much like pregnancy bob #1. Circle of life, etc.

growing out a pixie cut
Growing out pains

During my second pregnancy, I made another big decision. Thankfully, this one turned out to be a smarter one. I got a perm.

growing out a pixie cut
That looks … painful. The perm wasn’t bad, tho

I wrote about my perm before, but it was basically my attempt to make myself stick with the whole growing-out process. The perm adds texture and volume to my hair, and removes the need for styling on my part.

Strangely, there wasn’t much noticeable growth in the first 6 months or so after I got the perm. Still, my follicular situation was looking ok. (I got a re-perm in December 2013, but nothing drastic changed.)

growing out a pixie cut
Not much happening …

I feel like I “turned the corner” on the growing-out process sometime around March, when my hair started grazing my shoulders. After that, things started to pick up. This was the summer when I completely overdosed on beach spray, which gave me awesome Medusa hair, and also completely dried it out.

growing out a pixie cut
Getting there …

I finally got a re-perm in August, and was surprised when my stylist told me that my ends looked fine and didn’t need a trim. I guess I have indestructible hair, or something. (Not really. I’m assuming the “secret” is the fact that I’m too lazy to blow-dry my hair, and I rarely straighten it.)

growing out a pixie cut
Perm #3

And here we are. Just about 2 years in, my journey is complete. I’ve grown out my pixie. You know what this means, right?


I’m growing it some more. Maybe another 4-5 inches. Then I’ll cut it.

Just kidding.

I think.

19 Comments on Growing Out a Pixie Cut: A Visual Guide

  1. I always go from long hair to really short-keeps things interesting. One of my friends has the same hairstyle since high school (maybe even before). She’s beautiful but I don’t know how she can stand it. Although I have a pixie now and I feel like I will never go back! I guess just wait a few months πŸ˜‰

    • Yeah, I used to change my hair every 6 months or so – usually a colour change (highlights, or streaks, or different shade), and only occasionally a cut. But ever since I stopped colouring my hair (about 5 years ago), it’s been harder to keep things interesting because cutting my hair is so much more of a “commitment”, you know? I just buy more clothes instead πŸ™‚

  2. OMG you know I’m going through this right now and it’s tragic. I need to find a good hairstylist, because your hair looked cute while you grew it out. I have a TON of really fine hair that grows pretty quickly so getting my hair cut regularly is a must if I want to maintain any sort of style/cut/shape. Of course, it grows WAY faster in the back than the front so I’m constantly dealing with mullet πŸ™ πŸ™

    • I have the same hair type – fine, but a lot of it. My hair grows fairly fast (or so my stylist assures me, it always seems slow to me), so that was a downside of having a pixie, too – having to go for regular trims every 8 weeks. With long hair, I can now go a year in between trims. But, of course, I’ve got the perm to worry about …

      Mullet hair IS a tragedy. I feel ya! Hope you find a stylist you like (and trust)!

  3. I like the sept 2012 pic but I can’t imagine the maintenance required. I’m lazy with my hair so it’s long, it’s straightens itself, it’s thick & I just wash it & mostly air dry it – particularly now I’ve also got two kiddiewinks!

    • Actually, the pixie (even when it was a big shaggy) was easy to maintain, save for the regular trims. It was wash ‘n go for me. I have to say, though, having hair appointments every 2 months WAS a pain in the butt, even with just one kid, so I get where you’re coming from.

  4. The one thing I learned about my hair and my personality is that I cannot have hair shorter than my shoulders. I NEED to be able to tie it back and I hate taking care of any haircut.

    That said, my hair is super long right now.. we’re reaching waist-length territory now. I want to chop it so it becomes more manageable (it’s getting tangled in the vacuum cleaner and around Baby Bun’s fingers / toes), and easier to handle.

  5. After a traumatizing “wedge” haircut in 2nd grade (with my naturally very curly hair), I think I will never have short hair ever again. It seems like women over 50 all have short hair, so I’m hoping that stops being a thing by the time I get there. Or I’ll just be the weird old lady with elbow-length hair. That’s probably more likely.

    • I think older women can look absolutely beautiful with long hair … your hairstyle should be whatever makes you feel like “you”. Your hair is so gorgeous, I would seriously travel everywhere with my own portable fan (for those Beyonce/JLo moments) πŸ˜‰

  6. I have totally gone through this cycle. The only difference is that I have naturally curly hair, which made the growing out process worse. There is no amount of product that could convince my hair to curl nicely at that Bieber midpoint! I made it, but now I’m a first time mom and was thinking about the pixie again…facing the reality of your grow-out process is making me re-think though!

    • Oh man, I have serious curly hair envy, so I’m gonna tell you not to cut it (because I wouldn’t!). A pixie IS pretty easy to maintain (at least, I found it easy with my straight-ish hair), but you have limited styling options and … well, you’ve seen the downsides in this post πŸ˜‰ And, FWIW, your baby will grow out of the newborn phase way faster than your hair will out-grow a pixie πŸ˜‰

  7. My hair cycle typically looks like this:
    -grow out hair for ~ two years
    -cut into a short bob and donate
    -cut even more and come out with some kind of longish pixie
    -keep in that range for 6 months to a year
    -decide to grow it back out and repeat

    I’m currently on step 3 with a longer pixie. Most days I really like it, but I also find myself having total hair envy for long pony tails, top knots, and beachy waves. I may end up growing this out sooner than expected!

    • OMG, I have the same cycle! I keep trying to break it, and failing. This time better be the charm! I’m sick and tired of the growing out period, which is always the longest, by far.

    • Hahaha! I think pixie cuts can look AMAHZING on some people (and my first pixie was pretty cute), but I just wasn’t feeling it this last time.

  8. I love your pretty waves now, but I also really like it circa April 2013 so if you ever get the cutting itch (which I do every week) I say you go for that πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! I think a bob is as short as I’ll ever go again (but, never say never), so that would probably be my pick too. I’m pretty excited about having long hair right now, though, so no change is imminent πŸ˜‰

  9. I feel your pain so so so much. If you look back in my archives I have some truly heinous growing-out haircuts. I’m really glad that I documented that and put it out on the Internets.

    • I dunno … I think you always look cute. I’m the queen of documenting unfortunate moments of sartorial self-expression, so you could say that we have something in common πŸ˜‰