Pixie haircuts for women—21 ideas to inspire your next 'do

The best pixie haircuts are timeless and elegant. Browse the woman&home edit of the most on-trend styles for 2021 to inspire your next salon appointment

Back view of a woman with pixie haircut that is longer on the top. The head is surrounded by illustrated putty pink painterly swirls
(Image credit: Future / Getty)

Pixie haircuts are a timeless classic of a hairstyle, and that’s a fact. From sixties starlets like Mia Farrow and Twiggy, to modern day muses like Zoë Kravitz, the pixie crop’s popularity has barely wavered through the decades.

So what makes these particular short hairstyles for women so very appealing? Much shorter than bob hairstyles, the key is in their simplicity; a pixie cut is effortless and chic, with a bit of androgynous charm thrown in. Not to mention your wash-and-dry time is considerably lessened when you have such short hair. Win-win.

"Lockdown has forced some to grow out their pixie and, having come through the other side of the dreaded ‘in-between’ stage, we are seeing a lot of people embracing length on top and going for an all-round softer look," Bobby Collier, hair stylist at Larry King Salons, tells woman&home. "Think Gwyneth Paltrow circa ‘97."

Gwyneth Paltrow with Brad Pitt in Paris in 1997

Gwyneth Paltrow's iconic pixie haircut from 1997

(Image credit: Getty)

Michael Shaun Corby, Global Creative Director for Living Proof, adds: "The pixie of this season is actually a bi-level pixie that’s a little longer in the back—think Miley Cyrus. This gives you so many more options when styling, for example pulling some hair forward on the neck, or being able to tie the longer pieces up into a style."

What face shape can pull off a pixie cut? 

Generally speaking, your hairstylist will be able to tailor a style to your face shape and hair type, so have a consultation before you go for a big chop. That said, there are some shapes that lend themselves to the pixie crop more easily than others.

"The pixie can be one of the most liberating cuts to get, yet often only works with very specific features," Michael explains. "It’s best to keep in mind that it will accentuate a strong nose and chin, as well as round and square face shapes. But the cut usually works great for classic oval, heart and diamond face shapes."

The best pixie haircuts for women

The pixie is characterized by its "short and sharp" aesthetic, therefore requires regular trims to keep it looking fresh. "Maintaining short or pixie hair is a commitment, as this usually means a haircut or reshape every four to six weeks," Bobby confirms. 

On that note, we’ve rounded up the best pixie cuts for women for you to browse now and have cut in later. We reckon this may be the push you need to go for the chop

Short pixie haircuts

Short pixie haircuts are seriously stylish—just look to celebrities like Michelle Williams, Charlize Theron, and Rihanna, who have all dabbled in elfin crops, if you don't believe us.

To keep the style looking fresh, you’ll probably need to visit the salon closer to four weeks if your pixie cut is on the short side, or it'll start to resemble a long pixie or bob before you know it. Having one of the best hair dryers for fine hair on hand is also a good idea for some DIY styling.


The super short pixie haircut


The pixie cut with feathered bangs


The boyish pixie cut


The short and spiky pixie cut 


The pompadour pixie cut


Long pixie haircuts

Longer pixie crops give you a little more to work with in terms of styling.  “With length on top, the pixie is a little more versatile as you’re able to flip [the hair] from side to side,” Bobby explains.

“You can maintain length on the sides and sometimes tuck behind the ear to create some great silhouettes. For me, the ‘nape’ has to come in and hug the neck for profile and head shape, but this can also be left with a softer edge.”


The long layered pixie cut 


The bowl cut pixie


The long side-swept pixie cut


The pixie cut with full bangs


The French girl pixie crop


Layered pixie haircuts

Textured pixie haircuts with layers add an extra "lived-in" element to this classic style. One of the most iconic layered pixie cuts of all time is Oscar-winning actor Halle Berry's style from the early '00s, whose choppy style inspired many women to take up the hair scissors (read: ask their hairdresser to do so). Grab your texture spray or dry shampoo and tousle away!


The sweeping pixie cut


The choppy pixie cut


The pixie cut with feathered layers


The long shaggy pixie cut


The 'long on top' pixie cut


Curly pixie haircuts

Many curly-haired women are still reluctant to give shorter hair a go. But not only is curly hair seriously on trend, with women all over the world embracing their natural texture, in 2021 styling products are so good that a defined, curly pixie crop is actually the epitome of stylish.


The classic curly pixie cut


The tapered curly pixie cut


The coily pixie cut 


The choppy curly pixie cut


The short back curly pixie cut 


How to style a pixie cut

As for what our experts recommend for styling your newly-chopped pixie? "You should always have a cream-based product with some hold. I'd recommend our Perfect hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment ($16/£10) for this. I also love Living Proof’s Curl Defining Gel ($28/£27) to give that bit of extra hold and shine.

"Speaking of shine, now that your hair is shorter, you won't need as much product in it. Try the No Frizz Vanishing Oil ($30/£31) to lightly tame flyaways and make sure you always have a good hairspray like for sweeping up the front, or even giving it a high-drama wet look!”

“Texturizing sprays and creams can give the pixie a real 90’s grunge feel,” Bobby adds. "Larry King’s Texturizing Clay ($26/£22) and Redken’s Windblown ($21/£12.10) are some of the products I’d use."

Armed with these expert styling tips and inspiration for your next salon appointment, we predict you'll be rocking a pixie cut very soon.

Lucy Abbersteen
Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy Abbersteen is a digital beauty journalist and news writer, and has written for the likes of Cosmopolitan (UK), OK! Magazine, Yahoo, and other Future websites including Marie Claire (UK), goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.