Making the cut: bold hair at Cal

Illustrated by Katherine Velicki/Staff

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Here at Berkeley, it’s hardly a surprise to see a girl with a rainbow mohawk among your classmates. Or a guy rocking a gelled-up “Macklemore” cut. Or a head adorned with dreads lounging on Memorial Glade.

As we constantly shift among majors, living situations, friend groups and activities at Cal, many of us cling to a consistent physical appearance. We keep the haircut we had in high school because it’s predictable and intertwined with our identities.

But suspended between the social hostility of high school and the pressure of job interviews, college is the perfect place to test out a daring new haircut. A sophomore at Cal, Elizabeth Khouri bid farewell to her long blond “princess hair” last summer and welcomed an “Emma Watson” short pixie look. And shocking her stylist with a photograph of a men’s “undercut” hairstyle, junior Kylie Reed recently satisfied her desire to know how it feels to have “the majority of her head shaved.”

After consulting these two experts, we’ve uncovered some interesting facts about audacious haircuts; whether or not you’re considering “making the cut,” we hope you enjoy these insights!

1. Boys matter.
Although we hate to admit it, most women are conscious of how changes to their appearance affect their attractiveness in men’s eyes. For instance, Elizabeth retained her long blonde locks because her boyfriend at the time preferred this look. Likewise, Kylie worried about how her significant other would react to her new style, but when he announced, “Your face is still the same, and that’s what I care about,” Kylie knew she had worthy partner. “It’s like an instant resume,” she giggled, “the haircut weeds out the ones you don’t want to date anyways!”

2. Justification is a catalyst.
While a growing number of women are embracing short hair, “making the cut” is still considered a bold move. For this reason, events or goals can be powerful motivators for a new style. When Elizabeth’s relationship ended, she seized the opportunity to rock her pixie look. And donating a 14 inch braid to Locks of Love, Kylie combined her desire for shorter hair with a noble cause.

3. Yes, there’s a shock factor.
As you’d imagine, losing a pound or so from your scalp can be pretty shocking. Elizabeth and Kylie felt mentally prepared for the change and experienced no regrets, but both encountered a few surprises. Kylie relished her newfound “shampoo Mohawk” during her first shower, and Elizabeth watched a host of hair-curling videos before remembering they were no longer applicable.

4. You’ll get a deluge of compliments.
“People never say, ‘I love your medium-length brown hair!’” Kylie explained, “But I get tons of compliments now.” Similarly, strangers consistently praise Elizabeth’s pixie cut. Challenging the traditional standards of glamour, these daring haircuts are unsurprisingly received with open arms by the Berkeley community.

5. And what liberation!
After “making the cut,” Kylie and Elizabeth no longer feel a significant attachment with their hair. They waste less conditioner, experiment with dyes and even let friends trim their hair. It’s liberating to discover that those luscious locks aren’t the source of your true beauty!

Contact Katherine Velicki at [email protected]