Short Hairstyles

From layered cuts to fashionable crops, celebrities are rediscovering how alluring short hairstyles can be.
Radiant Mariska Hargitay, the Emmy Award-nominated actress who plays Detective Olivia Benson on the NBC hit drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, started out her show-business career with long hair.
What very few people realize is that the 40-year-old actress, who first became a recognizable face when she played hospital clerk Cynthia Hooper on ER during the 1994 season, is the daughter of legendary 1950s blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield, who died tragically in a car accident in 1967. (Mariska and her brother were in the backseat.) Place pictures of Mariska and her mom side by side, and the resemblance is uncanny.

Just married to actor Peter Hermann (who occasionally guests as an attorney on his wife’s show), Mariska (pronounced Ma-rish-ka) has a progressively shorter haircut since her L&O debut in 1999. Preferring short, layered cuts, with both red and gold highlights to augment her medium-brown hairstyle, Mariska has been seen lately with her short hairstyles pushed back, styled away from her face, with the ends flipped up. To duplicate her sleek look, apply a styling cream to wet hair, blow-dry hair away from the face, use a round brush to flip the ends, and clip side and back tendrils to the back of the head with a designer clip.

A great cut is the secret to exquisitely coiffed short hair. For many celebrities, like Oscar-winning Dames Judi Dench and Julie Andrews, the “short crop” has never gone out of style. In fact, it’s their trademark hair do. And while both actresses are among Hollywood’s more mature elite, age—long blamed for the dearth of roles for female actresses—hasn’t slowed their careers. Dame Julie is charming audiences of all ages. Don’t let the short crop fool you. It’s ideal for women of every age, according to Joey Battisti, artistic director for Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in New York City.

“This style works for almost all face shapes,” he tells “I feel it works best for people who have softer facial structures. It is very short, which means it will enhance any flaws or protruding facial and head shapes. For example, someone with a longer face may need to keep the edges around the hairline longer to soften the look a bit.”

When Joey creates a short crop, he relies on his razor for precision cutting.
“The razor is an amazing tool,” he explains, “but it has to be used carefully. The blade has to be replaced very often to make sure it is properly texturizing the hair. The razor helps add a soft, deconstructed finish—rather than the bluntness you receive from scissors. You can use it on all hair types—though not necessarily on thicker, curly or wavy hair because of the natural texture these hair types already have. It works best on fine to medium textures that lack movement.”

While Joey agrees that women of all ages—does the name Halle Berry ring a bell?—can wear this look, he thinks short hairstyles are the ideal style for older women.

“On someone like Judi, it is quite extraordinary,” he says. “More mature women like it for its easy, carefree style, yet it is very modern and sophisticated.”

He also believes it’s a winning style for clients who lack the time to fuss with or pamper their short hairstyles: the wash-and-go set. He advises them to use a volumizing shampoo, towel-dry hair, apply a spray-on conditioner for detangling, and dab a touch of pomade on select chunks of hair. If there’s no time for blow-drying, simply let hair air-dry.

“Pomade is usually made of wax or a silicone/dimithicone base,” Joey says. “This is not good for naturally oily hair types. It works best for definition, separating hair, and adding shine, texture and movement.”

He adores one of his salon’s own products, Paul Labrecque's Shea Butter, because it “shapes the style while conditioning the hair at the same time. It can be applied to wet or dry hair. The shea butter helps protect, moisturize and nourish the hair, while bringing out the natural shine.”

Publications: Febstore