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Curly Ringlets

19 Short-to-Medium Cuts for Curly and Wavy Hair

Every woman out there with luscious curly hair knows her tresses can get unruly when they’re long. Some handle it well (we’re nominating you for sainthood), but for most of us having a long curly mane is like walking around with a fussy baby sasquatch on your head. Cute as that sounds, it’s a lot of work. Every morning you massage in product, diffuse it, twist misbehaving strands around your fingers, and add additional volume with a curling iron. Though it usually ends up looking great, you can’t forget the limp arms, sore neck, or oodles of time spent primping. You were bested by the beast.

A short ’do is the answer, but sometimes getting that chop is intimidating. Seeing the cascades of curls on the salon floor is basically like losing a piece of your soul. And of course in less than capable hands, your cut can result in the dreaded Triangle Head. Thankfully these 19 short-to-medium-style curly and wavy cuts will keep the drama of your natural hair while cutting down on the length of your morning routine.

1. Medium Cut with Loose Full Curls and Lots of Layers

Medium Cut with Loose Full Curls and Lots of Layers
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This cut is super sexy while remaining super manageable. It’s got all the glory of long locks without all the hassle.

2. Silky Shoulder-Length Curls

Silky Shoulder-Length Curls
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Olivia Palermo’s gorgeous brown curls look somehow glamorous and ultra-wearable at the same time.

3. Wind-Swept Waves

Wind-Swept Waves
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With a style like this, everyone’s going to think you just got back from a week in the Caribbean. The beachy waves look even better with a simple center part and a length that’s barely past the shoulders.

4. Tight Curls with Side Part

Tight Curls with Side Part
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Garcelle Beauvais’s fluffy but sumptuous curls barely graze her shoulders, letting her show off some skin in what we bet is a glamorous evening gown. If you go for this look, you’ll also be able to do the same — though you’d look just as cute wearing it with casual summer tank top.

5. Messy Hipster Waves

Messy Hipster Waves
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This cut is perfect for anyone who wants a wash-and-go style. Angled around the face and layered throughout, it’ll have your waves looking stylish and your whole look appearing haute couture as heck.

6. Wavy Bob with Side Part

Wavy Bob with Side Part
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For a more subdued look, try Scarlett Johansson’s relaxed bob. It’s a chill but fancy style that hits just below the chin, keeping it from overwhelming the face.

7. Spunky Medium-Length Curls

Spunky Medium-Length Curls
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Selena Gomez’s messy, chunky waves would make anyone’s mop fresh and fun. And best of all, these curls will complement any look from “keeping it casual” to “go all out” glam.

8. Pretty Shoulder-Length Waves with Center Part

Pretty Shoulder-Length Waves with Center Part
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Pretty, sophisticated, and yet easy to wear, this wavy bob will have you jumping for joy each morning at the time you’re saving getting ready for your day.

9. Big Brown Curls with Blond Highlights

Big Brown Curls with Blond Highlights
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You can’t talk about curly hair without mentioning Keri Russell. A hair icon for decades, here she’s sporting a classic layered bob that highlights each perfect ringlet on her gorgeous head of hair.

10. Long-in-Front Wavy Messy Lob

Long-in-Front Wavy Messy Lob
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This cut keeps things funky by going long in front. The unexpected length really accentuates those stunning natural waves. 

11. Short Waves with Side-Swept Bangs

Short Waves with Side-Swept Bangs
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Short and sweet — that’s this haircut’s mantra. You’ll look pretty and put-together, since you won’t have to constantly fuss with runaway strands.

12. Ringlets Rule: Short Brown-to-Blond Curls

Ringlets Rule: Short Brown-to-Blond Curls
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For those of you who are blessed with super-tight curls, going short with chunky layers is a great option. It’s fun while still looking beautiful. (But, really, how could those adorable ringlets possibly not look beautiful?!)

13. Short Brown Curly ‘Do

Short Brown Curly 'Do
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This one’s another classic: short, curly, lots of layers, and lots of natural charm.

14. Messy Dark Brown Bob

Messy Dark Brown Bob
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Until seeing this cut, we didn’t know it was possible to be cute and sexy at the same time, but this fun just-above-the-shoulders cut pulls it off effortlessly.

15. Medium-Length Platinum-Blond Waves with Long Bangs

Medium-Length Platinum-Blond Waves with Long Bangs
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Adding long bangs to wavy hair can punch up a standard shoulder-length cut. This look has volume and dimension, plus the overall color and soft coppery highlights are perfect for Emma Stone’s peachy skin.

16. Brown Curls with Soft Blond Highlights

Brown Curls with Soft Blond Highlights
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Talk about touchable—these spunky curls have a bit of a rock-star edge to them. The longest they get is just past the collarbone, so it’ll still be easy to manage (and totally tempting to play with).

17. Tousled Barely-There Waves with Center Part

Tousled Barely-There Waves with Center Part
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If your hair has only a bit of a wave, a lob with a center part is the way to go. It’s an uber-versatile style for showing off your hair’s natural flow.

18. Low-key Short Cut with Soft Waves

Low-key Short Cut with Soft Waves
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For hair that’s a bit thinner, try this sweet cut. You’ll have supreme playfulness without all the extra weight.

19. Perfectly Wavy Short Ombre Haircut

Perfectly Wavy Short Ombre Haircut
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This makes us think of a song: “What a wonderful wave.” OK, so that’s not a thing. But we don’t really care. We’re just happy to behold these soft yet sassy waves with their subtle ombre color.

Kay Wilson

Kay Wilson works your typical beige-collar office job by day (the collar used to be white, but she repeatedly spilled coffee on it). By night she keeps things interesting by spilling red wine, runs, reads, and blogs at Hairstyle Guru.

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