When it comes to hair, some people are capable (read: brave enough) to make spontaneous decisions.
For most of us, however, any major changes require research, assessment and weighing up the pros and cons with military-worthy precision — especially when it comes to considering a chop. If this sounds familiar, here are the six factors to take into consideration to help you find your perfect hair length.
1. Your face shape
One of the first things your hairdresser will look at will be the shape of your face.
“You need to pick the most flattering length for your face shape and consider the best shape to show off your features,” explains celebrity stylist Kevin Murphy.
"People’s eyes are drawn to straight lines, so you need to make sure the length and the ‘lines’ within your hair cut show off your best features to draw attention to your eyes, cheek bones and jawline."
For rounder faces, sharper or blunt lines can give shape while shorter pixie crops can be styled to add angles and accentuate cheekbones; for those of us with oval faces, strategic layers look great. Both long and straight or short and wavy lengths can help soften square shapes.
2. Your lifestyle
If you're a roll-out-of-bed-and-go kind of person, there's no point going for a high-maintenance length.
"You need to make sure you have a style that suits your lifestyle. If you only have five minutes in the morning, don't get a cut that only looks good when you straighten your hair," says Murphy. (Post continues after gallery.)
3. Your hair's texture
How one particular length looks on one person won't necessarily look exactly the same on you, largely thanks to texture.
Murphy encourages working with your natural texture rather than against for best results. "If you have a strong curl, don’t get a cut that only looks good when you straighten your hair," he says.
Remember too, that texture can change with hair length. Thinner hair can look thicker when it's shorter, while curls will look very different long than they do short due to the weight of the hair.
Like finding a good tailor, it's well worth finding — and then sticking with — a hairdresser who has expertise in your hair type.
4. Your hair colour
For the perfect hairstyle, length and colour should work in unison.
"Colour is a great way to show off texture in a haircut, so if you are after a look that has a lot of movement and texture in it, you wouldn’t have a solid all-over colour where you lose dimension," says Murphy.
Find examples of cut and colour combinations you like, then have a play and talk with your hairdresser to see what will work best. (Post continues after video.)
5. Your height
Generally, we all want to look longer and leaner, and considering your height when your opting for a chop can actually help achieve this. But contrary to what you might thing, having long hair isn't always the trick to looking taller — and can also swamp taller statures too.
"Sometimes really short people with super long hair can look even shorter because there is less gap between where their hair ends and the floor!" says Murphy.
"Shorter lengths can elongate your neck and can be a lot more flattering."
6. What you want
Ultimately, the fun of hair is doing what you want with it. While there are some things you can consider to work out whether you'll be happy with a cut, there's really no perfect formula; sometimes you just don't know until you try.
Are you a spontaneous chopper or serious planner when it comes to hair changes?