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
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
Olivia Palermo’s gorgeous brown curls look somehow glamorous and ultra-wearable at the same time.
3. Wind-Swept Waves
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
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
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
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
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, 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
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
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 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
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
This one’s another classic: short, curly, lots of layers, and lots of natural charm.
14. Messy Dark Brown Bob
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
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
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
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
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
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.