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Our 3 Go-to Methods for Styling Short Pixie Cut Looks

Running out of ideas for styling short pixie cut looks? We’ve got you covered with 3 go-to methods you can tweak and use over and over for cute, dynamic styles. 

Having Trouble Styling a Short Pixie Cut?

  • Sleek and clean: Low volume, tight sides, neat lines
  • Full and voluminous: Lots of volume and height with texture
  • Messy and casual: Medium volume with lived-in texture

Once you go for a pixie cut, you’re in for a treat when it comes to styling your hair! Styling short pixie cut looks couldn’t be easier thanks to the short length and the range of styles you can create with it. 

Finding really cute short pixie styles that elevate your cut and make it feel “you” is such a confidence booster.

If you’re running into issues when you try to style your pixie, you might need to recalibrate and learn a few easy, go-to styles that you can wear any day of the week. 

Even better if you can learn how to do a few different looks that let your personality and vibe shine through! 

The 3 basic pixie styles that every pixie cut wearer should know are as follows. 

The Sleek and Clean Pixie

If your pixie cut is super short, you have straight/relaxed hair, or you just love a mod, clean look, you’ve got to learn how to style a sleek and clean pixie.

These styles feature minimal volume, tight sides, and clean lines. The front might be slicked back, brushed neatly to the side, or brushed forward. 

For the back and sides, a simple mousse or gel application with a quick brush down is all you need. 

The Full and Voluminous Pixie

For pixie cuts with more length on top, a full and voluminous style is absolutely essential to have in your toolkit. 

Height, volume, and texture are major components of a full and voluminous pixie cut style. You want plenty of lift at the roots, texture with a little grit, and a lush, full look for this style. 

The back and sides can be styled by pinching outward for a little more volume and texture or brushed down to keep all eyes on top. 

The Messy and Casual Pixie

Pixie cuts of all lengths and types can rock the messy-casual pixie style. This textured, laid-back look is ideal for everyday looks. You can give it an edgy or carefree vibe – it’s up to you! 

Criss-cross hair texture in different directions and a little volume on top and around the back and sides are what you need to create a quick, messy pixie style. 

3 Go-To Methods for Styling Short Pixie Cut Looks

It’s great to have tons of options, but if you can master just 3 different looks for your pixie cut, you’ll find that there are endless ways to tweak and rearrange them for new looks. 

Check out the 3 go-to styles you need to know when styling short pixie cut looks. From sleek to laid-back and casual, there’s a style for every occasion!

Find the steps, products, and tools you’ll need below. 

Styling a Sleek Short Pixie Cut

Mixed race woman with hand on her shoulder wears a black v-neck top in front of gray wall for a piece on styling short pixie cut


A sleek style is a must-have for your pixie styling toolkit! This style is timeless and can look as elegant or edgy as you want, depending on what you wear with it. 

Add signature style elements of your own, like vintage Hollywood finger waves around your face or brushing the top forward to give you the look of baby bangs! 

What You Need

  • Spray bottle with water (optional)
  • Medium to firm hold mousse or gel
  • Fine-toothed comb
  • Hair dryer with optional nozzle attachment
  • Anti-frizz serum (optional)
  • Hairspray (optional)


  1. Wash or wet your hair. After shampooing, towel dry your hair so it’s damp, not wet. If you’re not cleansing, use a spray bottle to dampen your hair thoroughly.
  2. Apply your products. Apply a small amount of anti-frizz serum (if using) followed by a dime-sized amount of mousse or gel to your damp hair. Work it in throughout. Use a fine-toothed comb to begin slicking your hair down, to the side, or straight back according to the look you want.
  3. Blow dry in your styled direction. Use a precision nozzle attachment (if possible) with your hair dryer to dry and set the style. Keep it a few inches away from your hair and point the nozzle so it blows evenly down, not up, the hair shaft. 
  4. Finish with hairspray. Once your hair is totally dry and set into the clean, sleek style, you can finish with a fine mist of hairspray to give the look a little more hold. 

Styling a Voluminous Short Pixie Cut

Blonde woman with arm raised wearing a galaxy sweatshirt showing tips for styling short pixie cut with volume


A full, voluminous pixie cut gives you a gorgeous style option when you want to rock a big, bold look. This style works best with pixie cuts that have more length on top. It won’t work with super-short cropped pixies. 

Add volume to your hair with every step for the biggest, fullest look that won’t fall flat throughout the day. If you can start with volumizing shampoo and conditioner, even better! 

What You Need

  • Spray bottle with water (optional)
  • Volumizing mousse
  • Dry shampoo or volumizing spray
  • Hair dryer
  • Round brush
  • Light hold hairspray (optional)


  1. Wash or wet your hair. Start with freshly cleansed, damp hair that’s been towel-dried. Alternatively, you can mist your hair all over with a spray bottle filled with clean water. Make sure your hair is damp, not wet. 
  2. Apply your volumizing products. Start with a few spritzes of volumizing root lift spray aimed directly at your roots. You don’t need much! Use a dime-sized amount of volumizing mousse and apply it throughout your hair. 
  3. Blow dry with a round brush. Tuck a round brush under each section of your hair, lifting it as you aim the dryer downward to direct hot air down the hair shaft. Don’t brush down over your hair – lift the roots up as you dry for maximum volume. You can start directing your hair to create the style you want in this step. 
  4. Tousle and fluff the style. Once your hair is totally dry, finish arranging the style by re-directing pieces for the look you want to create. Muss the style up a bit with your fingers, separating your hair for texture and arranging the pieces around your face. 
  5. Finish with hairspray. Once your style looks the way you want, finish with a light mist of hairspray from a few inches away. Don’t apply too much, which will prevent the style from having the full, voluminous movement it needs. 

Styling a Messy Short Pixie Cut

Blonde woman with short hair wears a striped red and blue shirt in front of gray wall to show how she's styling a short pixie cut


Casual, messy pixie cut styles are clutch when you want to shake things up a bit! Messy styles let you inject a little flattering volume on top without entering into the “fully coiffed” category.

These styles have that confident, lived-in look that makes them a great staple for your repertoire. 

Make this look your own by trying unique variations like a loosely-arranged faux hawk, soft spikes, a messy styled quiff, and more. 

What You Need

  • Hair pomade
  • Volumizing mousse
  • Sea salt spray (optional)
  • Hair dryer
  • Hairbrush
  • Flat iron
  • Hairspray


  1. Wash or wet your hair. Start with freshly shampooed hair that’s been lightly towel-dried so it’s damp. You can also spray your hair with a little water from a spray bottle if you don’t plan on washing your hair. 
  2. Apply your pomade and mousse. Pomade is a great product for adding texture and hold to a style without the potential “crunch” of gel. Work a small (dime-sized) amount into your damp hair, rubbing it between your palms to warm it up first. Follow it up with a small amount of volumizing mousse for a little lift. 
  3. Blow dry with a brush. You don’t need a round brush – any small hair brush will do. Blow dry your hair, lifting it at the roots a bit and directing the airflow down the shaft for smoothness. Dry your hair in the part line you want to wear with the style. 
  4. Finish with a flat iron. Once your hair is fully dry and loosely arranged in the style you want, use a small, thin flat iron (smaller than 1″ plates) that works well with short hair. Take small sections and pull the iron upward to encourage more lift and textured separation. 
  5. Tousle or spike and mist with hairspray. Use your fingers to muss up the style a bit, or pinch small sections with your fingers to create a softly spiked look. Pinch and pull small sections out along the top sides to add a little more volume there. Mist with hairspray (light or medium hold) to finish. 

Things to Consider

Redheaded woman with short hair wears a clean casual hairstyle for a piece on styling short pixie cuts

Olga Ekaterincheva/Shutterstock

We’ve covered the 3 must-know methods for styling short pixie cuts. But what else is essential to know when you’re trying to create the cutest pixie looks? Here’s a look at things you should consider. 

  • The possibilities are endless. The 3 looks above are great to know and suit all types of occasions, but they’re only the beginning. Put your own spin on any of the above styles to create new and different looks! Try a softly curved, clean cut pixie style like the one pictured above. Go with a rocking faux hawk or gelled spikes. Tease and lift your longer bangs for a voluminous, edgy quiff! 
  • Upgrade your styling toolkit. Your style can be held back by inferior styling tools and products. If you haven’t bought products made for your hair type or have been using the same hair dryer or flat iron for a decade, this is your sign to upgrade the kit. Be sure to grab tools that are small enough to style a pixie without burning you! 
  • Experiment with unfamiliar styles. If you’re always rocking the sleek look or have become synonymous with the voluminous, full look, you’ll love the novelty of trying something new. Go with a style that you’ve avoided or didn’t feel would suit you just to see how it works. It might be a new signature look for you!
  • Try an air-dried style. Is it awesome to have a range of cute styles that don’t take a ton of time to do? Yes! But is styling short pixie cut looks possible without a hot tool or 2+ products? Absolutely! Experiment with air-dried styles using just a touch of lightweight mousse or anti-frizz serum. It’s a great option to have when you’re running late. 

Anyone rocking a pixie cut needs to know these 3 staple styles. Sleek, voluminous, and messy looks are totally perfect for a short pixie cut.

They really take advantage of the cut’s sassy, short length and face-framing angles! If your closet isn’t yet fully stocked with the products and tools you need, start grabbing the suggested items from our list.

Key products like volumizing mousse, root lift spray, pomade, and hairspray will help you create dozens of cute looks with a pixie. 

As for your styling tools, you’ll definitely want a quality hair dryer and flat iron at minimum to create a full range of looks.

It’s a good idea to use a heat protectant spray throughout your hair before you use any type of hot tool. This will help minimize the damage heat does to your hair while you style it. 

Ready to Start Styling Short Pixie Cut Looks?

You’ve got 3 cute new styles up your sleeve (4, if you count air-drying with your natural texture)! Are you ready to start styling short pixie cut looks that elevate or add an edge to your outfit?

These looks are great for a range of occasions and events. You’ll love having a few simple options that can work no matter where you’re headed. 

This week, take some time to try out each style and get familiar with the steps. After doing each one once or twice, you’ll feel comfortable to start doing these looks with your own unique spin on them. 

After all, that’s when you look the most gorgeous – when you’re totally in your element, rocking styles that make you feel like a short-haired Superwoman.