In 2013, friends and hair enthusiasts Garmai Momolu and Tahira Wright founded The Cut Life, an Instagram account dedicated to celebrating beautiful women with short haircuts. Shortly after the launch, women on Instagram started tagging photos of their fresh cuts, using the hashtag #thecutlife, and now Wright and Momolu have over 760,000 followers.
They've expanded their brand to include a lifestyle website, and they also sell T-shirts with phrases like "Dope Cut," "Short Hair Don't Care," and "#TheCutLife." In two years, Wright and Momolu have grown from avid Instagrammers to connectors; their Instagram account acts as a liaison between hairstylists and women interested in chopping off their locks and walking away with their dream haircuts.
"We're not stylists, just two women in love with short hair," says Wright. We talked to Wright and Momolu about finding the right stylist, avoiding bad haircuts, and how social media has influenced hair trends.
Garmai Momolu: I got my first haircut at about 10 years old, but reluctantly. I suffered from trichotillomania and had to cut my hair super low because I pulled out so much of it. I cried. It was heartbreaking. I got teased but I eventually found a lot of strength in it and as I got older, I really felt most like myself when my hair was short.
Tahira Wright: I got my first haircut my senior year of college. It was the old school Halle Berry flip cut. I had a really bad dye job with blonde highlights and wasn't taking care of my hair. It became damaged so I had to cut it. I didn't even like that cut, so I let my hair grow back long again. I got inspired a year later to cut my hair again—and haven't looked back since.
Wright: We found that there's a ton of content online for natural hair, extensions, color and so on but there was little to nothing on social media that provided inspiration for short hair. The Cut Life was birthed from our desire to fill that void in beauty.
Wright: Our hair philosophy is simple: "It's Just Hair." Whether you're relaxed, natural, rocking a bob, or bald, do what makes you happy and what makes you feel beautiful. We celebrate those who are fearless in their individuality and self-expression.
Honestly, we just embrace what we love. Short hair is our thing and we figured other people would be into it too. We always say women should cut their hair at least once in their life. There's this freeing feeling that comes with going against the traditional standard of beauty and not having hair to hide behind.
Wright: I don't think we even know how we got from zero followers to over 700,000 in two years. Mainly, we're consistent with posting quality images and every post uses the hashtag #thecutlife in the caption. People started tagging their friends to follow our page… [It was] a snowball effect.
Wright: The most amazing feeling is when stylists tell us their clientele has drastically increased because they've been featured on our page. It's a blessing that our love of short hair has turned into a platform to help other entrepreneurs promote their businesses.
Momolu: Halle Berry, Rihanna and Nia Long come to mind. Rihanna really is amazing with short hair. Grace Jones. I also really, really love Anne Hathaway with short hair.
Wright: Rihanna is one of my biggest hair inspirations. Her cuts always fit my face. Shout out to her stylist Ursula Stephen!
Momolu: Make sure you see work that is as close as possible to—if not exactly—what you want. Pay attention to their work so you know what to expect. I would also suggest reading comments and reaching out to the stylist, asking questions.
Momolu: It's really opened up many women to creativity and given them the courage to be a bit more bold. It's also really cool to see girls who look like you or who you relate to in some way rocking a cut or color you've been thinking about trying for yourself.
Momolu: 'Where are you located?' So many people think we're a salon, but we aren't. Maybe one day, though! Other than that, people just want us to help them find a hairstylist in their city because they really trust our opinion.
Aside from an Instagram following of over 700,000, where do you see The Cut Life going in the near future?
Momolu: There's so much more we want and plan to do. We're working on creating new content. The goal is to be the name people think of when they think of short hair.
Momolu: The bob is really hot right now—chin-length and even a lob [long bob]. As for color, purple is still leading the way in popularity. It just works on so many people, but I personally love seeing shades of red and brown for the fall.
Momolu: Nope. I think hair, just like the way you dress, is a personal thing and the key is finding a style that works for who you are and making it work whatever season it is. So many people still think short hair only works in warm months but we're here to show you that short hair is not seasonal. Your pixie cut can look just as good in the winter as it does in the spring!
Wright: The best way to avoid a bad haircut is to get a recommendation for a professional stylist who specializes in cutting hair. Schedule a consultation with that stylist to make sure the style you want actually fits your face shape—and be open to the stylist's recommendations. Once you and your stylist have agreed on the best cut for you, schedule an appointment and get ready to change your life! Remember, it's just hair, and it will grow back—and you can always add extensions.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.