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Model Iris Law rocks her buzz cut at the recent Cannes Film Festival. More women are choosing to shave off their hair. Photo: Reuters/Eric Gaillard

The buzz about buzz cuts: why Iris Law, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Kristen Stewart shaved their heads, and tips for shaving yours

  • Shaving off your hair is a dramatic way to change your look, and those who do say it can be empowering, and even life-changing
  • Actresses like Gossip Girls’ Jordan Alexander and Natalie Portman had buzz cuts to play roles; Jada Pinkett-Smith shaved her head to mark a milestone birthday

A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life, so Coco Chanel once famously said. But what about when she buzzes it right off? Now that is really a way to change course.

Just ask Iris Law. The 20-year-old model (and daughter of actors Jude Law and Sadie Frost) recently walked the Cannes red carpet with a platinum blonde buzz cut.

The dramatic do was debuted two weeks prior in British Vogue. As Law told the magazine: “The day I shaved my head, I changed my life. I’ve never done anything like that before. I looked in the mirror and thought it was going to be emotional, but it wasn’t. It felt so positive.”

Then there’s the buzz cut worn by queen bee Julien Calloway in the reboot of Gossip Girl, a sharp (and cool) deviation from the preppy headbands worn in the original.


Meanwhile actor Jada Pinkett-Smith recently celebrated a new chapter of her life, entering her 50s by getting a buzz cut at the encouragement of her daughter, Willow.

She posted a pic of her new ‘do’ on Instagram. “Willow made me do it because it was time to let go,” she wrote. But … my 50s are bout to be Divinely lit with this shed.”

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The trio join a slew of famous women who have buzzed off their hair.

Some have spoken about the positive impact of a buzz cut. In an essay for Teen Vogue, model Adwoa Aboah wrote that shaving her hair made her feel empowered, while actress Kristen Stewart told The Today Show of shaving her head for a role that she had “wanted to do this for a long time”.

The same cannot be said for Britney Spears shaving her head in 2007. Now that we know the reasons for the singer buzzing her own hair off, and as the unbearable details of her conservatorship come to light, the act of cutting off one’s hair feels even more potent.

Charlize Theron (right) in a still from Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Iconic buzz cuts include that of Demi Moore for her 1997 role in G.I. Jane, Natalie Portman’s shaved head for V for Vendetta and Charlize Theron’s for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Hairstylist John Pulitano, co-owner of high-profile Sydney salon HeadCase Hair and a regular backstage stylist on the international fashion weeks circuit, is a big fan of a buzz cut.

I love the boldness of a buzz cut. It really brings out all the beautiful face features, [emphasising] the cheekbones, eyes and jaw. It is cheeky and rebellious. A bit of a bada** hairstyle,” he says.

Gossip Girl’s Julien Calloway, played by Jordan Alexander. Photo: HBO Max

If you’re toying with taking the plunge, Pulitano says the style best suits those with small oval and heart-shaped faces and nicely contoured head shapes, and while it works with most hair types, those with fine hair might need to reconsider.

“You need a certain amount of density to create a strong enough silhouette,” he says.

“Always take the hairline into consideration and avoid it if your hairline is high or receding at the front or very long at the back (when the hairline comes down very low down the neck).”

Actress Demi Moore caresses her shaved head on the Late Show With David Letterman in 1996. Photo: AP/Alan Singer

Pulitano also loves that the look is low-maintenance, with just shampoo and conditioning required. He advises adding a scalp scrub and moisturising scalp oils to maintain the scalp, such as Christophe Robin sea salt scrub and Oribe Gold Lust all over oil.

Ultimately, says Pulitano, the look is “empowering and liberating, [even if] you may feel a little exposed and will have nothing to hide behind”.

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