The Backstory
Christina Benitan, 51, an actress in New York City, traded her bob for a longish pixie last year. When she went to a different salon for a trim, she hoped the new stylist could follow the lines of her haircut. Unfortunately, she ended up with "an edgy Joan Jett rocker look and a Florence Henderson flip in the back," she says. Christina was so distressed by the frayed edges that she took to snipping them herself.

The Counseling Session
Hairstylist Patrick Melville of New York City's Patrick Melville Pipino Salon immediately noted that the proportion of Christina's cut was off. "It was too long in the back, and there was too much heaviness on top, which was giving it a helmet shape," he says. He also pointed out that Christina's hair had been over-razored, leaving her ends scraggly. The solution was to shorten the style overall and take weight off the crown. Instead of a razor, Patrick used scissors to cut into the hair for a piecey effect that replaced the wisps.

The Happy Outcome
"You can definitely see the bone structure in my face now," says Christina, who particularly loves her new short bangs. "My style feels more balanced and modern. There's something kind of fierce about it, but also feminine."

How Patrick Fixed Her Do
To reproportion the cut, Patrick snipped two inches off the flip at the nape of Christina's neck, tapering the hair to soften the look. She has a cowlick on the right side, so it was important to keep the hair long enough to weigh that down.

"Bangs that sweep to the side instead of pointing straight down are softer on the face and prettier," says hairstylist Patrick Melville. He clipped Christina's fringe to take out some of the choppiness, then brushed it to the right.

According to Patrick, heavy sideburns were making Christina's face look too small. He thinned them and trimmed them to ear length, so "they now frame her face and draw attention to her cheekbones."

A Trio of Styling Heroes
When it comes to short haircuts, it's all about texture.

Pantene Pro-V Full and Strong Powerful Body Booster Spray($6; drugstores)
Hydrates, volumizes, and strengthens strands against damage.

R+Co Motorcycle Flexible Gel ($26;
Great for creating piecey style without leaving a tacky residue.

Aveda Control Paste ($24;
Builds body, adds texture and sheen.


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