Short Cut To Beauty
Suddenly, every she-star of Hollywood is doing it, all the way from saucy Terry Moore to stately Deborah Kerr. Wearing very, very short hair, we mean. It all began, as all chic fashions do, with one daring originator.
In this case, the daring pioneer was Jean Simmons, who has a passion for cropping hair. The time was more than two years ago. The place was the Granger household. The beneficiary was Elizabeth Taylor.
Liz was beautiful when Jean began idly snipping, one dark ringlet here, another there from the exquisite Taylor head. She was still beautiful when Jean-stopped, about an inch and a half from Liz’s scalp. In fact, she was more than beautiful. She was original and darling and daring. She looked like a combined dark angel, Renaissance boy, and the most feminine thing on earth.
All because of Liz’s beauty, this hair style remained unique with her for many months. Then a model here and there tried it And like many another Hollywood-originated style, it then began coming back to us, via Paris. But it wasn’t really launched until a couple of months ago, when Jeanne Crain went wild, and red-headed, and short-curled.
Yes, the dignified Jeanne Crain! Look at the picture of her. Have you ever seen her looking so dashing and sexy? And what a change in attitude from two years ago, when she was cast in “The Model and the Marriage Broker!” At that time, Twentieth Century-Fox had a hard time with her. They wanted to crop all her hair off then, and get her out of her usual frilly, too-ladylike clothes.
She was finally brow-beaten into letting them cut off just some of her hair, and into dropping just some of her dress frills. When she first saw the rushes of herself as the Model, Jeanne cried, she hated her own appearance so. But when her fan mail began pouring in, all telling her how much smoother she looked, how much more alert, she began changing not only her mind—but her whole approach to life.
And this is the point. This is the whole point of fashion. That’s where we girls have it all over men. They really never know the deep refreshing excitement of a fashion change. They never can experience the sheer fun of looking really different from one year to the next.
But even so, lots of girls do not realize that there are just as many styles in beauty as there are in clothes. A girl like Liz Taylor will always be a pace-setter. A girl like Jean Simmons will always be an originator. A girl like Jeanne Crain typifies many of us, a little afraid of the new, until we try it.
The really exciting news about Hollywood new, new, extra-short hair cuts is that every girl can look becoming with it. It helps, unless you are terribly, terribly daring, like Leslie Caron and Jean Simmons, if your hair is naturally curly. Liz Taylor’s is, of course, very definitely so. Jeanne Crain’s has a wave, and so, too, has Ursula Thiess’s, Terry Moore’s and Joanne Gilbert’s—and Deborah Kerr says her mop has a “slight bend in it.” But Jan Sterling’s is straight as string, and we’ll admit here and now, we’re going to make a horrible example of that.
If you want to get your own hair cut in this high-style groove, here are some rules. Look at the pretty faces illustrating these paragraphs and decide which looks most like your own. Note, then, that the most elaborate of these cuts is Jeanne Crain’s, the simplest Liz Taylor’s, and next simplest belong to Mona Freeman and Ursula Thiess.
Next, before you cut so much as one lock, face these facts: if your hair is naturally curly, it’s fairly simple. If it isn’t naturally curly, these cuts cost a fortune in time and money. Either way, they must be cut on an average of once a week, not necessarily an over-all cut, but snipped off here and there. It is particularly important to keep the neckline clean, and in the case of straight hair, which has been given a permanent, it means cutting off the wave ends each time.
Jan Sterling, one of the naturally prettiest and most chic girls on screen, is—or was—the example of this. When she first cut her hair, she went too far. Unlike Mona Freeman, a natural curly-head, when she cut off her long locks, Jan didn’t look boyish. She looked mannish. She wore her hair straight and slicked down, with the back of it cropped close She did, that is, just one day until Paul Douglas saw it and let out a howl that could be heard from Hollywood to Philadelphia.
Paul insisted upon some curls or else, and Jan, who adores Paul, put ribbons and bows all over her head till her cut grew enough to become a poodle clip. This she had permanented, but because the hair was so short the curls had to be set tight. Paul is still howling, but less so, as her hair grows longer. It is getting almost back to cover-the-ears length now, and as Jan is letting it also get a little darker, it is infinitely more becoming.
Stewart Granger wasn’t this violent about his Jean’s hair, when she came in à la small boy. For one thing, Jean didn’t get a close-cropped hair-do, and she left it its natural dark brown. Nevertheless, he inferred, in his charming British way, that he would prefer it longer. So longer it is, though Jean still wears it straight. If you want the truth of it, Jean would wear it twined around in garlands of roses, if Stewart insisted.
So, if you have a husband or boyfriend to consider, think of his reaction even before you’ve faced the curly or straight hair decision. Paul Brinkman, Jeanne Crain’s husband, is delighted, not only with Jeanne’s cut but with her new orangy-red color. And on her, this color that would be almost impossible on any one else, is truly gorgeous.
And this involves another decision. Try hair tints, if you want to. Unlike cuts, these can be changed in a day, if need be. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t try a drastic change on your own. A professional is better at this, if for one reason only: she can look down on your hair—and its shade—and you can’t. But it’s fun and easy to experiment with temporary rinses or to step up your natural color one or two shades with a mild bleach.
Now that you’ve made up your mind on all these factors and decided that a short, short hair-do is for you—proceed with caution! Your smartest move is to head for your favorite hairdresser with these pages in your hand. She’ll help you decide which star’s hair-do will be most becoming to your particular type and shape of face. Even more important—she’ll know which style will be easiest to handle with your texture of hair.
Of course, if you’re the girl who always cuts her own hair, or who has done so successfully in the past, you may want to attempt this one yourself. But remember, this seemingly careless simplicity takes more skill than daring. If possible, cut your hair before a three-way mirror that permits you to see front, sides and back all at the same time. Good sharp manicure scissors are best—though there are bold girls who use the old-fashioned straight razor. Regular scissors cut too much at once.
Jeanne Crain’s cut, as you can see, has a ducktail in the back, a crown of curls at the front, “love locks” on her cheeks. This is involved, though beautiful—and remember if you go in for it, those curls must be curled daily. You make high-standing curls, anchored down by bobby pins for the top locks, flat pincurls for the “love locks.” To keep the line of such a hairdo, you have to crop it, delicately, at least every three days.
Ursula Thiess and Joanne Gilbert, whose hair-cuts are fairly similar, have natural black-brown hair and waves, and cut theirs once a week. Those up-standing angel locks, atop their pretty heads, are made by up-standing, bobby-pinned curls, set at least once a day, and sometimes twice, if, as in Ursula’s case an almost-every-evening date with a man as handsome as Bob Taylor comes up. Except for these top-knots, both beautiful Ursula and pert Joanne, wear their hair as nearly straight as natural waves will permit. The effect is delightful.
Every one of these girls washes her hair at least three times a week, and when shooting most of them have it shampooed daily. This gives the light delicate look to their haircuts, and since they are so short, they dry almost instantly.
Also remember, if you are cropping your locks, that the big idea is not to look like anyone else, but very much like yourself. You may want to make the change as radical as did Jeanne Crain, or as conservative as did Deborah Kerr when she lightened her red hair into its present golden blonde. Incidentally Deborah adores it this way, and so, fortunately, does her husband, Tony Bartley. Her cut is longer than it appears, as she pin-curls it tightly every morning, so that when brushed out it will barely cover the tops of her ears. However, the longer length, curled up that way, gives it “body,” which is effective around her delicate face.
Another point to note is that you have the chance of creating both a long and a short effect, simultaneously, if you desire. Note Terry Moore’s cut for this. It has massed curls above Terry’s forehead, straight sides, but is cut low on the nape of the neck. Gorgeous, if you’ve Terry’s pertness. The same thing is true of Mona Freeman’s lovely short cut.
The greatest thing about these cuts is that you can be you as never before. Your crowning glory can be as distinctively you, May Jones, as Liz Taylor’s is Liz. The men in your life will generally adore it, because they think it looks “completely natural.” Don’t tell them it takes daily, if non-costly attention. Remember, what they don’t know can bring you a lot of fun—particularly in the romance department.
(Liz Taylor is in “Elephant Walk,” Deborah Kerr’s in “From Here to Eternity,” Jeanne Crain’s next in “Dangerous Crossing,” Jean Simmons’ next is “She Had to Say Yes,” Ursula Thiess will be in “Gambler’s Moon,” and Terry Moore’s in “Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef.”)
—BY RUTH WATERBURY
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1953