When I think about Black beauty, I think about how timeless and innovative it is. I think about the fact that it’s the blueprint to everything from new products to trends in the beauty industry and throughout mainstream society today. Images of Lil’ Kim’s iconic looks from the ’90s and early 2000s live rent-free in my head, and so does the iconic pixie cut, which, in my opinion, is synonymous with Black culture and Black beauty.
Not only is it a timeless look, but it’s radical and it challenges European beauty standards that make Black women feel that in order to be deemed beautiful, they have to have long hair and be in close proximity to whiteness.
The pixie cut took off amongst women of color when they started seeing entertainers like Halle Berry and Toni Braxton sporting it, according to Kim Kimble, celebrity hairstylist, founder of her eponymous hair-care line. “I think women just wanted something stylish,” she says. “When they saw Toni and Halle rocking the short hair and how good they looked, I think it gave them, the courage [to cut their hair] and they wanted to look like that.”
Photo: Laci Jordan | Graphic: W+G Creative
“It feels classic to me…it’s almost nostalgic, too, because I think about the ’90s, Black ’90s stars like Nia Long, like Jada [Pinkett Smith]. I think about Toni Braxton,” says Laci Jordan, a Los-Angeles based artist who says Braxton, Long, and Rihanna—”women who hold the torch in confidence and sexiness”—inspired her to get a pixie cut.
She experimented with different hair lengths throughout college and had reached a point where she was experiencing breakage and decided to cut her hair. “I would do shaved sides and keep it longer in the middle so I could do braids and shaved sides, or I’d do like a bowl cut type of pixie thing.”
But no matter what styles she experimented with, she always felt bored with them, and would eventually go back to the pixie because it made her feel more free and expressive, and she didn’t have the weight of thinking about her hair. “I knew I was made for a pixie,” she says.
Over the past year, Jordan experienced challenging life events, explaining that “everything just felt super heavy.” So in December 2020 when she went back home, she decided to get a pixie again. “I was like, I just want to release all the stress and anger and sadness and things that I had in 2020 and really just start 2021 with a fresh start…and I’ve been so happy.”
The pixie has helped her feel more confident, more self-assured, happy, and back to herself. “This time, at the space that I am at in my life, I mentioned just building my self-confidence up, growing myself into the woman that I’ve always wanted to become, it fits where I am in my life. I think it fits the energy that I want to carry for the rest of my life,” she says.