The #ClearTheShoulders Movement

Kristin Ess, co-founder of and hairstylist to the stars, sparked a revolution when she snipped Lauren Conrad’s signature long locks into an above-the-shoulders textured bob last season. Then she cropped Lucy Hale. Now Instagram is blowing up with a hashtag devoted to all the brave ladies doing the chop: #cleartheshoulders.

They all look effortlessly cool and perfectly tousled… And I’m over here like, “I’ma do it!

But I’m not gonna do it. Not just yet.

I had short hair through most of my teens and twenties, and loved it; but it was a lot of work. That effortless look actually takes, um, effort: daily washing and styling, regular salon visits for trims (think every 4-6 weeks in your stylist’s chair) and really good product.

If you want something fresh and don’t mind the maintenance, chop away! But here are a few things to keep in mind before you do:

1. Remember that you won’t have a ponytail or topknot as a crutch on mornings you don’t feel like doing your hair. You’re fully committed.

2. Find a stylist you trust who’s up on the latest styles and techniques and understands your hair texture. Otherwise you may end up with a super conservative mom bob or a hacked up haircut you can’t style to save your life. I’m speaking from past experience, on both counts.

3. Consider a progressive chop. Try a long bob (lob) and see how you like the change before you #cleartheshoulders. Lobs are much easier to grow out than bobs (the awkward grow-out struggle is real) and you’ll still have some length to pull back into ponies and up-dos.

About Keira Lennox

I’m a small town girl from the sunshine state with an affinity for bookstores, beauty counters and unfussy style.

I spend my days running my flower shop, and my nights blogging about what I love and what I wear.

(Or watching Netflix and drinking wine.)

68 thoughts on “The #ClearTheShoulders Movement

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  5. I have a pixie cut and I’m trying to grow it out. I’m thinking I’ll just keep my hair just above my shoulders. I’ve had a pixie cut for about 1.5 years. It does take a lot of upkeep and I’m sick of having to wash my hair everyday!

  6. I stumbled across this post by chance and have to admit that I loved reading it! I’ve just opted for the long bob myself after having long hair for years. I was a bit apprehensive and it’s taking some getting used to but after reading this I feel far more confident and comfortable with my decision :)


  7. I am so envious of how beautifully the lobs and bobs in these photos all sit! I wonder what kind of products you recommend for getting that kind of texture? It looks as if each section of hair has a life of its own, and it looks amazing and wild (yet perfectly styled, of course). Just recently chopped my hair too (straight to a bob, I’m proud to say), so I’m glad to have found your blog for further inspiration!

  8. Short hair is in! This look is so easy and effortless,my kind of style. It’s nice with the beach wave as well as straight and even curly. Great find, will be making suggestions for my clients this seasons.

  9. Love the lob!! I want to cut my hair like this, but my hair stylist says that my hair will end up like a triangle because of how thick it is. Decisions decisions!

  10. You are so so so right!!!! I see those hairs and I think why not?? Then …. I remember that time when I did it….with my curly hear… I my God, it was simply horrible. In pictures it seems so easy, but then it depends so much of your hair that with mine, simply it does not work, no matters how much do I work it or which products do I use. So thank you VERY MUCH for reminding me that they really need much care!!

  11. Just chopped mine this morning! Still kind of freaking out of it. It was only a four-inch change, but I was committed to growing out my hair. I recanted my original promise, and I am so happy I did. I love the way my hair frames my jawline, and it is actually easy to do. I do agree with you that it is so easy to just pony-up your hair, when it is long. I’ll miss doing that! :-)

  12. Amen to #1! I chopped my hair to donate a few months ago and I had no idea it was going to be so much damn work every day! I’m glad I did it, but I’ll be growing my hair out for the foreseeable future. Those cuts are amazing though! If only my hair would get the whole “effortless wave” look without all the effort.

    1. I need a good chop myself because I’m trying to grow out last-year’s highlights, but I’m putting it off as long as possible to save as much length as I can. It’s seriously such a job styling short hair every day! Check out They have lots of great tutorials for hair of all lengths, including some easy up-dos.

      1. Thanks! I need to check out TBD. I’ve just gotten to ponytail length and I’m afraid I’ve been sporting that a little too often recently…

  13. Oh I only realised the problem that is not having that extra length to wrap my hair up in a bow and out of the way but I haven’t regretted my chop yet! Only a week more before it gets to that awkward length where I have to decide whether I want to grow it out once again or chop it. Choices choices!

    The Little World of Linda |

    1. Oh, I remember that stage well! I think that’s why I had short hair for so long; that grow-out is brutal. I’m curious, what are your favorite products for styling your shorter hair?

      1. In all honesty I’m not too savvy about keeping my hair in check. I use a bit of Organix Argan Oil to keep my hair sleek and perhaps some Redken curl perfecting lotions on the tip when I use a flat iron to flick the ends inwards to my face. I think the style is incredibly easy to look professional in. That’s it really!

  14. I went for the LOB recently and while I love it, I’m already growing it out again. I’d love to try an even shorter ‘do, but just don’t think I can commit at this stage in my life. Maybe we’ll finally be together one day, but I love my top knots waaay too much for now! x

    1. I have an unnatural attachment to my top-knots, so I totally get this. I think I’m going to do a lob soon, because I need to cut off some highlights I’m trying to grow out from last year.

  15. I cleared the shoulders and I love it! Your tips are dead on though– gone are the days of 3-4 day unwashed hair and an easy topknot (which I do miss). However, I love the freshness of a short chop, and I feel pretty dang trendy having taken the plunge before a bunch of other girls in my office :) With the right product, styling can be quick (just a blowdry and a run through a few pieces with my flat iron). Love it!

  16. I went for the lob because of those points. I love it but realized that yes, it was some work (and I had to get some expensive products) so I decided that that was as short as I can go.

  17. After lusting after LC’s hair, I finally ‘chopped’ my hair off! I love the effortless beachy waves but they in fact require a lot of effort. I haven’t quite mastered it.

    I do agree that getting a progressive cut is a good idea. That’s what I did and it helped me decide to cut even more off but only after I get the hang of styling short hair!

  18. Great post. Loving short hair lately.
    I finally cut my hair into a long bob but it doesn’t look all that great on me because my hair is thick and wavy. Any advice?

    1. This has always been a challenge for me. I either have to go all-the-way with a bob, or keep it below my collarbones; otherwise it’s impossible for me to style. Try a wave with a big barrel curling iron and some texture spray. I LOVE Oscar Blandi ‘Pronto’ Dry Texture & Volume Spray.

  19. Reblogged this on Julienne and commented:
    I couldn’t agree with this more! Definitely try the “lob” first, then cut it shorter… if you like it. If you just go for the cut right off the bat, it’s within my past unfortunate experience, of having MAJOR (buyer’s) cutter’s remorse. Just. Don’t. Do. It!

  20. Hi! I was one of those who took the drastic change, used to have my hair down my waist when I got crazy and cut it right above my shoulders, loved it!…I’m not going back to long hair, at least not for now…advice: if you are going to do this, make sure to commit to it you’ll have to take care of it A LOT!

  21. Great tips! I recently chopped my hair up to my shoulders due to damage. I’ll admit that I really miss my long hair, but it had to be done! Meantime in the growing out process, my go-to look is a simple loose wave topped with some Toni & Guy texture spray. It only takes 5 minutes and I’m good to go. :)

    1. I need to do that myself. I’ve been putting off a chop to cut out all my highlights. I’m going to check out the Toni & Guy texture spray. Thanks for the recommendation!

  22. Great advice! Those shorter styles are so tempting…I mean, they all look amazing! But, like you, I have had that short hair, and it’s no easy feat. I have finally grown mine out to a few inches past the shoulders (similar to yours now), and I think I’ll stick with that for a while!

What do you think?