Dear Virgie: I’ve been thinking about cutting my hair off, but am so afraid of not hiding my very round face behind my long hair.

Dear Virgie white swimsuit header

Dear Virgie,

I’ve been thinking about cutting my hair off, but am so afraid of having short hair or a fun haircut because I have spent almost my entire life hiding my very round face behind my long hair. Any advice?

 

Dear Friend:

Yes, I do have advice for you!

DO WHAT YOU WANT. IT IS YOUR HAIR. THIS IS YOUR LIFE.

I know. I knoooooow. Easier said than done. The idea that round faces need to be hidden is a product of the same old fatphobic lies I’m always talking about. Further, I think there’s a real aspect of gendered labor that fat babes are expected to do — there’s a lot of pressure to be as feminine as possible if you’re a fat lady, and hair is definitely part of that performance.

I personally just got my hair cut at a salon for the first time in about four years. I put it off because I had so many disappointing experiences at San Francisco salons. I had been cutting my own hair with safety scissors in my poorly lit entryway since, like, 2013 or something, using only painter’s tape to guide my hand while trimming my bangs. Then I got too lazy for even the tape!

The last few times I had gone to salons had been total nightmares. Getting something even mildly (barely) adventurous always felt like a fight. One of the last times I set foot in a salon, I spent 20 minutes getting berated by this dude with a German accent (who, by the way, had an iPad at his station with a slideshow of images of him which, honestly, I totally loved) because I wanted to dye my hair and get choppy bangs. He ended up shaming me into getting an ombre, ultimately frying my hair, and I ended up paying $90 for something I didn’t want. I found out that many salons here encourage their employees to push trending celebrity cuts and styles. So cost doesn’t guarantee you quality or even what your heart truly wants (unless it is also what Giselle wants).

I think the truly bummer truth is that most stylists don’t get to work with fat models and are taught the same industry BS about minimization that most people in esthetician and beauty related fields learn. This is just pure fatphobia. The truth is that faces shouldn’t be minimized! Faces are important and amazing and deserve to take center stage.

I don’t know if you’re thinking of cutting it yourself or getting it done, but I’m a fan of leaving hair to professionals, if you can afford it.

Related: My Journey to “The Perfect Curl”: Unlearning Antiblackness One Hairstyle at a Time

The only reason I got my hair cut by a professional recently was that I got a recommendation for someone who is fat-positive, open to doing adventurous cuts and has cut hair for fat babes before. I ended up booking Amy. It made a HUGE difference working with a fat-positive stylist. So, I think if you can get a recommendation, that’s amazing. If not, invest a few hours calling up places, asking questions and looking up images of the work that is done at the places you’re considering.

Whatever you do, remember that you can demand what you want if you get pushback while you’re at the salon. Don’t let anyone start cutting your hair until you feel like you are on the same page about what you want. You can also request to get another stylist or re-schedule if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable.

Be as clear as possible at the beginning of the appointment about what you want. It helps if you bring in images of the haircuts you’re considering.

I will leave you with the words of encouragement Amy gave me (paraphrasing): Don’t buy into the idea that the shape of your face or even the texture of your hair should stop you from getting exactly the haircut you want. There is always product that can give you the look you want, and no one should feel they have to hide their face.

Hope this helps!

Xoxo,

Virgie

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Virgie Tovar is an author, activist and one of the nation’s leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp, a 4-week online course designed to help women who are ready to break up with diet culture, and started the hashtag campaign #LoseHateNotWeight. 

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