Once upon a time, it felt like hair “down-to -there” was the only option to channel your inner badass. Now, women are feeling sexier and more empowered than ever to rock shorter styles (or nothing at all!)  Hair muses ranging from Twiggy to Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson to Lupita Nyong’o  might offer visual inspiration, but there’s nothing like the advice of a professional hair stylist.

With 20 plus years in the game of hairdressing, television, film and photo shoots,we couldn’t think of anyone better to answer all of our burning questions than the DaRico Jackson. Jackson’s work has been featured throughout Hollywood and on hit shows and films such as, Love That Girl (TVOne), The Wendy Williams Show, CSI Miami, and Why Did I Get Married Too. His celebrity clientele boast names like Tasha Smith,Tichina Arnold, Raven Simone, Paula Abdul, Dawn Robinson,and  Eartha Kitt to name a few.Read on to here his exclusive answers to a few of my burning short hair style questions.

TTL: There comes a time when women want, OK, need a great new haircut, what factors should consider before making the decision to go short?

DJ: Before making the decision to go short, there are a few things to consider. First, determine how short you want to go, based on your hair texture, face, head shape, and lifestyle. Next, take into consideration your  hair’s porosity meaning  its ability to stretch or shrink. For example, if you have curly hair and you want to wear it natural, keep in mind the climate—and how short your hair becomes when it’s curly.  You should also consider whether or not you’ll need a relaxer, plus what products you’ll need to maintain and achieve  your desired look.

TTL: Who are the best  candidates for a short cut?

DJ:  Working women, housewives and ladies “on the go” are the perfect candidates for short hair. In short, every woman is a candidate for a short cut! Most short styles are quick, easy fix when you don’t have a lot of time. In most cases, short hair offers versatility in style and texture. For middle age or older women, it can make them look a little younger by keeping the focus above the shoulders—providing a “face lift” illusion if you will.

TTL: Can short hair work for anyone?

DJ: There’s a short haircut for everyone, but it takes a professionals to help you decide what would work for each individual.  Don’t believe the myths that say “only certain styles can work for certain face shapes.” It’s like lipstick, with a good liner, any color can work for any skin tone.

TTL: People often consider a short cut to be less maintenance—is this true or false in your opinion?

DJ: Maintenance period is personal and relies on the individual. The fact of the matter is less hair means less drying time, less curling time, less styling time, your shampoo and conditioner will last longer and etc. So, in my opinion it is less maintenance! Not to mention if you get the right haircut, you can just get up and go!

TTL: Are some of our favorite “no-fuss” looks really as simple as they appear?

DJ: Some of my favorite ‘no-fuss’ cuts are bobs, pixies, and crops [Editor’s Note: a cut that’s styled very close to the head]. I absolutely love a good bob! A bob haircut looks great on just about everybody and the possibilities are endless! Whether straight, curly, wavy or kinky, there’s nothing more flattering on any woman. I love the pixie because of its sassy nature.  A true pixie cut has short bangs and is usually cut at three-inches or less.  This haircut is definitely for a more confident woman because it the shortest in the spectrum.  It’s also very versatile; you can spike, smooth, curl or even finger wave a good pixie.  With a nicely cut crop (think bowl cut) all you have to do is wrap and go!

TTL: How important is it to create and follow a consistent hair regimen to maintain short cuts? What are some essential steps to maintaining one’s cut?

DJ: Maintaining a good hair regimen is very important because healthy and well-maintained hair at any length is “good hair”—plus, consistency is essential. To maintain a shorter cut, make sure you shampoo and condition your hair at least once a week.  When your hair is short, it’s closer to your scalp so the hair has a tendency to get oily faster. Make sure you freshen up your cut every 6 to 8 weeks to maintain the length. At night, be sure you wrap your hair with a silk or satin scarf  to prevent breakage and minimize excessive heat styling.

TTL: How necessary is it to invest in new styling tools when you get a new cut (i.e. brushes, combs, flat irons)? What are some must-have products/tools you recommend for shorter styles?

DJ: It’s extremely necessary to have what you need.o, if there is a tool or a product that will help you achieve your look at best you should make the investment.  I don’t think any lady with short hair should be without the DaRico Jackson flat iron, a styling rake and a little edge control!

TTL NOTE: We are obsessed with Madam CJ Walker Beauty Culture Jamaican Black Castor Edge Control.

TTL:  How vital is heat protectant when styling your hair?

DJ: Heat protection is a must on all lengths. With a regular regime of heat styling, you run the risk drying your hair out, which causes excess breakage. It’s very important to replenish the moisture and protect your hair with a good heat protection product or a natural food based oil (consider carrot, coconut or olive formulas).

What is your top advice for women embarking on their short hair journey?  

DJ: The best advice I can offer to all the women embarking on a new shortcut is to consider your lifestyle and time commitment. Make sure it’s the best thing for your situation, choose a cut that best suits your hair texture and face shape, and finally make sure you consult with a professional to learn how to best care for your hair!’

Check out Darico Jackson’s short hair must have products!