Giving My Daughter a Pixie Haircut

Before I became a mom, I had all sorts of ideas of what parenting would be like, and even made a whole long list of things I'd want to do with my daughters, and another list of things I'd want to do with my sons.

Fast forward 8 years, and very few things of what I do are what I expected I'd be doing. For one, I'd always expected to have my daughters have long hair, which I'd style each morning. For another, I never expected that I'd be an unschooler, who doesn't just follow unschooling tenets for educating, but also sometimes when it comes to child rearing (often referred to as radical unschooling or whole life unschooling). We're definitely not complete radical unschoolers, but I do pick and choose certain things from the philosophy that make sense to me, and jive with my parenting style.
One of the big rules of radical unschooling is body autonomy, respecting your child's body, and letting them choose what they want to do with it, so long as they aren't hurting anyone else or themselves, and so long as it doesnt affect their health/hygiene. This makes sense to me. This, therefore, includes whatever hairstyles they want to have, even if it isn't the type of hairstyle you'd want your kids to have.

I've heard of parents that will not let their kids cut their hair. I don't think that is fair. It's the kids' hair, and the kids who needs to sit through the brushing, washing, styling of their hair, and for the parent to not let their kid cut it, simply because the parents can't bear to part with their kids hair- just doesn't seem right to me, and it seems that it isn't respecting the kid's feelings enough. Respecting a kid's body and choice over his own body is an important step in kids learning to take responsibility for their own body, respect their body, and not anyone take advantage of their body. Not guaranteed, but it certainly plays a part.
I'm also very into treating my kids the way I would want to be treated, and not deciding that the rule of "treat others how you want to be treated" doesn't apply to my kids. I can just imagine how I'd feel if I'd want to have my hair a certain style, and be told that I couldn't have that style because someone else doesn't want me to. I mean, excuse me- my hair, my choice.

So anyhow, why am I going into this?

Well, Anneliese, my 3.5 year old, has been asking me to give her a haircut for a while already.
Every single time she sees me cut her brothers' hair, she's asked me to cut her hair. Sometimes I oblige and give her a little trim.

But she has been getting upset at this.
She wants short hair, she says. Like her brothers.

A few days ago Ike had a haircut. With a hair cutting machine. And Anneliese was begging "Please cut my hair."
And that evening, I found her in the bathroom, door closed, attempting to cut her own hair. She cut off only two little snips before I found her.

But this apparently was something she really wanted to do.

I wasn't just going to cut it. Because as much as she wanted it short, she is still just 3.5, and she isn't mature enough to understand long term consequences of her actions on her own. So as a parent, it's my job to intervene and help her with her decision making process. We discussed it together, what it means to have short hair. That it means that she won't be able to make braids and all sorts of hair styles. And if she changes her mind, it takes a long time to have long hair again.
She didn't budge.

So we looked through the internet and found a bunch of pictures of short haircuts, pixie cuts, bobs, etc... and I asked her if she liked them and wanted her hair to look like them. She got so excited she would crack up from happiness and say YES!
For a few days I showed her such pictures, asked her if that was what she really really wanted, and she said yes every single time, then asked "When will you cut my hair?"

Last night, as I was putting her to bed, just as she was about to fall asleep, she said sadly "You still didn't cut my hair." So I reassured her and told her that we'd cut her hair today.

Now what about my feelings?

Well, as I said, I really did dream of doing fancy things with my daughter's hair.
But her hair is nothing like mine.
Mine is pin straight, always neat, and isn't hard to take care of at all.
Anneleise's hair is just "messy". Not straight, not wavy, not curly- it's a mix of them all, and her hair does not stay neat, no matter what. She'll develop a rat's nest in seconds, lives with a constant state of "bed head". Even after I style it and make it really pretty, within a very short while it's back to looking neglected and uncared for, and just detracts from her looks. And she really does hate brushing it.

So I figured that maybe a pixie cut really would work for her. Maybe it would look super cute, make her look even cuter, would keep her hair looking neat and not constantly a mess, and she won't regret it. Who knows? No way to know the future, no way of knowing what would be unless I do it.

And so today, I meant to get her hair cut with a local hair dresser. Since I didn't know what I was doing, and if I was doing a drastic hair cut on my kid, I didn't want to mess it up.
Only the first one I had her wrong number. And the second one didn't answer her phone.
But I told Anneliese we'd get her hair cut today, so I looked on the internet for tutorials on how to cut a pixie cut.
And it seemed pretty easy and straight forward. (I have cut hair before. I cut my boys hair all the time, used to cut my mom's hair, and give myself my own hair cuts.)

Following this tutorial I cut Anneliese's hair. First I cut it a little longer because I was afraid of messing it up, but then when I saw it was ok, and wasn't messing up, I went over again and did it shorter.

I think the results came out terrific.

Front view.

Back view.

When I showed her in the mirror how her hair looked, she was so excited, you can't even begin to imagine. She was giggling from excitement and couldn't stop looking in the mirror. "Do you like your haircut?" I asked her. "Yea! I love it!" she answered, with a really big grin!

You can see what a drastic change it is! Mike and I are both happy we listened to Anneliese's desire to cut her hair. She looks so much better now, and her hair is simply so much easier to take care of. She can tussle her hair, and not only does it not look like a rat's nest- it looks even better than it did untussled.

This really is the perfect haircut for my daughter.
And I feel great about two things.

Also that I respected my daughter's feelings and desires and let her have the haircut she wanted.
And that I managed to do the haircut myself. Since a pixie cut is a high maintenance haircut, so paying a hair dresser repeatedly to keep it looking decent wasn't something I wanted to have to keep on doing.

So if you want to know how I did it- here's how.

First I wet her hair and combed it out, to make it more manageable during the cutting.

First I sectioned off the upper part of her hair, and divided it into two pony tails, which I then made into buns. This was to keep it out of the way while I layered the rest.

Then, section by section, I took my daughter's hair and I held it between my fingers, and cut down, parallel almost to her scalp. In this picture the scissors were too far away- this was the first cut I made and I was afraid it would be too drastic. To get the pixie cut I repeated this, but about 1.5 inches closer to her head.

I did this all around.

Then I took the buns, and opened them up, so they were just pony tails. I cut them about 2 inches past the pony tail. 

I took out the pony tails, and voila- all done!

All I needed was a few adjustments for hairs that I missed.

But it really was very easy, and free, and I think the results came out better even then I hoped.

Lesson to self- trust your kid.
Other lesson to self- pixie cuts look really cute on kids!

Do you cut your kids' hair? How do you decide what length to make their hair be at? Do you give your kids the haircuts that they want, or that you want?
Have you ever given your daughters pixie cuts? Did they ever regret it?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. my dd had a buzz cut when she was 18 months it was a lot easier to take care of. she hated brushing etc. mil did the cutting-old world thoughts that shaving hair makes it grow in thick, lol now I have the opposite, I want to cut my dd's hair and she wants it long.

    1. She had been asking me to buzz her hair. That I wasnt willing to do. Pixie cut was our compromise and she loves it.

  2. I also did some cutting this week. Not wanting to shell out the money for my youngest who really needed just a bang trim to hold her over, I cut her hair, then her sister wanted me to redo a face frame on her long hair. I was nervous, but managed to do an angled cut in the front, for which I was proud and made it a little bit cooler and away from her face. But, when another daughter wanted her long hair cut into a bob, I remember being emotional about it too, but I let her---then she didn't like it and grew it out again, but I think it was important for her to make the decision and follow through and live with the consequences.

    1. Good for you! Did she like the hair cut you just gave her?

  3. She looks l a lot like you with her new haircut. I think it's funny she wanted short hair since you said she's very girly. Kudos to you for listening to her and you did a great job with the haircut!

    1. Thank you. You think so? Everyone says she looks like Mike.
      Yes, because she's super girly was why I was concerned about cutting her hair- I was worried she'd regret it because she won't be able to make "Anna braids" and "Elsa braids", etc... But we'll see. For now, anyhow, she loves it. And I hope she keeps on loving it.

    2. I cut my family and friends' hair, and in college, I used to cut my dorm mates - we were exchanging favors (for example, a friend would come to look at my computer and fix a little thing now and there, and I cut his hair). So, as the amateur hairdresser, I think you did a really good job - and it suits her, too, she looks even cuter now, and as someone with similar type of hair, I can relate with problems of maintaining a nice hairdo. I also think it is wonderful that you let her decide how she wants her hair to look, I will look into radical unschooling as it sounds very interesting to me. Well done! :)

    3. I forgot to add - and that is why I am commenting below Leila's comment: I also thought she looks so much like you with her new haircut!

    4. Ahhhh.... the Frozen curse! Lol

  4. Win-Win all the way around! You did such a good job -- I would even let you cut my hair! :)

  5. When my oldest was 4(over a decade ago) someone taught me how to do a basic boys haircut so it'd grow out nicely and only need to be done twice a year.
    I stuck to that until two years ago. Now @ 15 he won't let anyone touch his hair & it's all dirty/scraggley & when it's above 90 he is flushed & looks very hot/uncomfortable. It's an odd thing to deal with.

  6. BTW - nice job on the cut. Never would have thought of doing the 2 ponytails to help control it.

  7. I cut my 3 girls hair however they choose, and always have. I cut and dyed my own hair radical colors and styles for years and recently got an under cut with bright red steaks. For the summer I let my two oldest girls choose a bright color to dye a small section of their hair (lilac and turquoise). I use hair cutting scissors and YouTube :)

  8. She looks absolutely adorable! It really frames her sweet face. I cut all 4 of my boys' hair and also my husband's. He's in the army Reserves, so he has to have his hair cut very regularly. Even though it's much less expensive to take boys to get their hair cut by a barber, it adds up quickly for the 5 of them! I learned years ago and have done it since. My younger ones prefer their hair "buzzed", but my 16 year-old likes his styled longer on the top.

  9. I have 2 girls and they are both growing long hair. Their choice. When my youngest was small (she's 3 now) I used to cut her bangs, but she has straight hair and it looked like crap. So I would not do it myself anymore. My oldest has thick curly hair, never been trimmed (but needs it) because she wants them "long like princesses". Fine. When I was young my mom used to cut my hair short (horribly, I might add!), because I have thick, curly hair. So I teach my oldest to enjoy and care for her curls instead of making it appear like a nuisance.
    I do cut my husband hair, with a clipper.

  10. I think kidlet looks best with long hair, so I'm letting it grow out (we were at a wedding a while ago so I had it trimmed, but it looks really weird) until he can tuck his bangs behind his ears. I don't think it I'd let it go beyond his shoulders.

    All that being said, though: if he told me he wanted a buzz cut I would respect his wishes. I might not be happy about it, but it's his hair.

  11. she looks adorable! you did a great job!

  12. I have two young children, both boys and while they are young, I will give them their haircuts. Right now they like it short, but have worn it longer on top during the school year. So rather than clippers, it is scissor over comb blended in with shorter sides. I am flexible as long as it is a boy's haircut. If they told me they didn't want a haircut and wanted to grow their hair long like a girls I would say no, when you are older then you can decide. I don't have a daughter, but wish I did. My approach with a daughter would probably be the same with the boys. I would keep hers longer, braid it, ponytails, bows, etc, and explain the difference between how boys and girls wear their hair. As a Christian woman, the Bible tells me that my hair being long, is a symbol of my love and trust in God. So as part of upbringing of a child, I would guide in in our faith. For those who are not Christians, I cannot dictate to others how to raise their children

  13. I remember shaving my daughters beautiful curls off when she was 3. We had to, she had gotten lice from pre-school and with baby fine blond hair, I couldn't get rid of the nits no matter what I did (both store bought and home remedies failed me.) My child wasn't happy and wore a bike helmet for about 6 months straight where ever we went to hide her lack of hair. Got some great pics and found out she looks just like her cousin when his head was shaved. She's now 20 and wears her hair to her waist. Still doesn't take care of it tho. Sigh.

  14. It's really amazing hairstyles..Thank you for sharing such stylish hairstyle.I would definitely try on my child.I used to try hairstyles from hair braiding styles where I have seen various trending styles and hair care products.Now I would try this and please try to share more posts.

  15. Your daughter is so sweet with this pixie. Sometimes, pixie haircuts look amazing on young girls.

  16. There are many option haircuts except pixie like on newaylook. My younger sister was miserable after her short cut.

    She had a head full of gorgeous curls that went well below her shoulders.

    She was sad, all the time- unless she was angry. She'd had a tough childhood by many standards and she was a bit spoiled to top that. We moved to a new place, though- got away from everything that brought her down. She started getting better; her new school was very helpful.

    But she was still sad. Sad, angry, withdrawn, and having a rudeness that was mistaken for a bashful personality.

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