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Short Hair: Cropped Haircuts!


Melissa Etheridge recently went through a very successful battle with breast cancer. Part of the collateral damage in her brave fight was the loss of her normally long and beautiful blonde strands. The award winner songwriter is now wearing a very short hairstyle that is known as a cropped haircut.

From every bad experience there springs a promise of better tomorrows. For Melissa, besides her remission from cancer, she was rewarded with great new hair days. Her lost tresses grew back into a fabulous micro-mini short cropped style which shines the spotlight on her luminous brown eyes and her warm smile.

The short cropped hairstyle (also referred to as the short chop) is very flattering for Melissa's mostly oval face shape whichincludes a slightly rounded chin. This short sassy style works very well with her height and overall body shape.

Although this short hairstyle works great for Melissa, it doesn't always flatter every face shape, body type or hair texture without some thoughtful modifications.

The always fashionable short crop is surprising versatile. It can be worn a myriad of ways including shiny and sleek (see Melissa above), out-of-bed tousled (see Melissa to the side) or soft and feminine.

Short crop hairstyles can be blunt cut, razored or a combination of both techniques. For an edgy look, the crop should be randomly scissored.

To create a softer version, a crop should be cut with a razor so that each end is tapered. Razor cuts work best on straight hair that can be easily managed.

The chop works as well for icy blondes as it does rich chocolate brunettes and ruby redheads.

Many celebrities have played with the crop for years. Charlize Theron in the movie The Astronaut's Wife made hair headlines when she wore her buttery blonde tresses in a short heavily razored crop that was glazed to stunning separation with wax.

Halle Berry turned heads with a range of stunning chops during the years 2000 through 2003. A perfect poster girl for the short choppy style, Halle played with a wide range of variations including a less shattered version for her film role in Swordfish.

For her thriller co-starring John Travolta her rich chocolate brown tresses looked sexy with longer pieces sweeping across her forehead and lightly flicked along the sides.

Volume enhancing products provided Halle with crown lift and fullness. Pomade or wax styling products helped to create the soft flicks.

Alyssa Milano's Witchy Style

Alyssa Milano has also had life with a super cute chop style. The Charmed Sister shocked fans during the 2003-2004 season when she ditched her previously shoulder length locks for a super short crop. In typical Alyssa style, she found multiple ways to wear her sultry new style.

The stunning star mixed up the texture morphing back and forth between soft and sultry and ruffled rock n' roll.

She also wore a never ending array of cute hair accessories ranging from skinny headbands and tiny hair clips to small flowers tucked along her hairline.

Chop Candidates

Before you take either the scissors or the razor plunge, be sure to consult with your hairdresser to discover if such a drastic short style works for your face shape.

A crop leaves no facial feature unturned. If you have a gorgeous face, stunning eyes and beautiful lips, a crop will attract immediate attention to your face. An unlined neck and firm chin also work well with a cropped cut.

If you have any lines or extra chins that you are trying to minimize, a crop may not be the best cut for you unless your stylist can modify by leaving extra length, fullness on the sides or building in height along the crown.

Oval shapes look good in just about any style and length and in most cases would adopt well to a short crop.

If your heart is set on a crop but your face is square, be prepared to go with a longer styles that flatter your jaw line. A super short crop will only enhance jaw line angles.

Round face shapes may be able to pull off a crop if it's designed with height along the crown and enough fullness along the sides to provide a slimming effect for round cheeks.

Cropped styles may also magnify prominent chins that are often found on heart shaped, triangular or inverted pears.

Chop Styling Steps

The first step for creating any chop styles is to work with a great haircutter that can design the right look for you.

While chops work for most, they may not be the most compatible cuts for tresses that are super thick or extremely curly or wavy.

To style a crop completely the following steps:

1. Shampoo with products designed for your hair type, texture and current condition.

2. For a rough finish, skip rinse-out conditioners but finish with a cool/cold water blast to add shine and close the cuticle.

For a softer finish, use either a rinse out conditioner or a leave-in conditioner.

3. Towel blot to remove excess water drippage or use a water absorbant towel.

4. For a soft sleek finish apply an egg sized blob of mousse to the palms of your hands and distribute from roots to ends.

Mousse Products to Try:

Mousse - Rene Furterer - Volumizing Mousse Giovanni - Natural Mousse - Air-Turbo Charged Paul Brown Mousse Gel Jason All Natural Mousse

5. Use a paddle or flat brush and a blow dryer set on the slowest speed and heat. Direct all of the layers to one side of the head and direct air flow from ends to the roots to slightly ruffle. Then repeat and brush all hair to the reverse side.

6. When hair is completely dry, apply a tiny bit of shine serum to the palms of your hands, lightly glide the serum over the top of your strands for a super shiny finish.

For A Piecey Look

If you prefer a piecy finish like Charlize Theron's look in Astronaut Wife use a tiny bit of wax that is softened in the palms of your hands.

Apply the wax liberally from 1/2 inch from the roots down to the ends.

Finish with a light mist of shine enhancing hairspray or a tiny bit of shine serum.

Shine Products to Try:

Paul Brown Hawaii - Diamond Heads Cuticle Sealant - 4.0 Phyto - PhytoLisse (Formerly Phytodefrisant RelaxSerum) Philip Pelusi - Glisten - Anti-Frizz Spray & Sunguard - 4 oz (118ml)

For More Volume

Use a volume enhancing shampoo or treatment program. After towel blotting your strands, apply a volume enhancing mousse, gel, gloss, cream or spray to the roots.

Volume Styling Products To Try:

Mousse - Rene Furterer - Volumizing Mousse Gel - JF Lazartigue - Root Volumizer Gel Volume Spray - PhytoVolume Actif Volume Spray

Use a round brush or your fingers to lift and separate the strands along your crown as you direct air from the blow dryer from the ends up to the roots.

Skip the use of wax, pomade or serum that can weigh down strands. Opt instead for a light blast of soft hairspray to finish the look without weighing it down.

Soft Hairspray Products To Try:

Rene Furterer - Gentle Solution - Soft Hold Rene Furterer - Instant Hold Finishing Spray Phyto - Phytolaque Soie Hair Spray

To Add Halle Berry Flicks

Use volume enhancing products such as volumizing shampoo and root lift.

Blow dry on lowest speed and lowest heat using a round brush to build in lift along the crown.

Use the round brush to lightly flip the desired strands up into a flicked formation.

To achieve a more pronounced flick use a small barrel curling iron on 100% dried strands to lightly turn the ends up.

Finish with a soft hold hairspray.


Alyssa Milano is the queen of hair accessories. Even when her tresses super short and choppy, she decorated her locks with a spectacularly inventive array of baby barrettes, skinny headbands, tiny silk flowers, jeweled bobby pins and mini alligator, jaw and claw clips. Instantly dress up your cropped do with a few well placed sparkling hair accessories and you are ready for a naughty nightlife.


Crops require timely maintenance to keep them looking great. Depending on how quickly your strands grow, plan to visit your hairstylist every 3-5 weeks for a maintenance shaping and trim.

Even though the crop by its very nature is super short, you will be amazed at how many ways you can instantly create different looks.

Tousle it, spike it up or back, pixie it down or create mini demi bangs. Wear it soft, shiny and seductive or play with saucy curls. Whatever you do, take a walk on the crop wild side and enjoy the ride.

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

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