A guide to moving past the beach waves and shearing hair into chic bobs and pixies

Cameron Diaz may have cried immediately after hairstylist Lona Vigi cropped off inches upon inches of her blonde locks into a peppy, breezy bob earlier this year, but once the initial shock passed, “she was like, ‘I love it—it’s so freeing!’” says the stylist, a good friend of the actress. “I think it’s fresh and sexy. For the last couple of years it’s been extensions, extensions, extensions. Nothing against Kim Kardashian, but it’s nice for a change to see something new and fresh.” Diaz isn’t the only one boldly rocking minimal hair with big impact. Vigi, who also cuts Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore, counts Michelle Williams and Ginnifer Goodwin as pixie success stories.

So what does it take to cut it all off? Courage. And trust, for another thing. “Definitely go to somebody you really trust and know is good, and they’re going to do the right thing for your face shape,” says Vigi. When she’s trimming away, “I look at someone’s face shape and cheekbones, noticing if they’re heavier in one part or another, like a round face, fuller cheeks or a thicker neck. You don’t want the hair to land (end) on those areas because it draws attention.”

Another thing to keep in mind: hair texture. Vigi advises those with really curly hair to think before cropping it super short because “you’re going to have a little afro—I love it, but if you’re not ready for that you need longer, heavier layers.” Women may believe their thinner hair is better served long, but “when you cut it shorter with more layers, it gives it more movement and a thicker appearance,” says the stylist, adding that product can add even more thickness to a short pixie. Ultimately it’s about individualization and modification for one’s precise structure and look. “For a wider or rounder face, hair shouldn’t be too short or you’ll get lost in the face, so maybe leave it a little longer with a sweepy bang,” says Vigi. “If you have a longer face, more movement looks better, so shorter layers.”

When a woman is willing to make the big cut, says the stylist, “I really respect that; it’s a big deal—you feel different and daring.” Plus, adds Vigi, “hair is really important to people. They really feel it’s their crowning jewel, it makes or break a person.” Luckily, unlike actual jewels, hair does grow back.