Allure June 19, 2021



50 Short Haircuts and Hairstyles to Inspire Your New Look


Less hair doesn't mean fewer options. No matter your texture or aesthetic, there's a style on this list that'll look amazing on you. 

Long hair is great in its own right, but we've really been digging shorter styles these days. Case in point: all the super-cool buzz cuts we've been seeing from the celeb set. And look, short hair is great because it draws more attention to your face, allowing your unique bone structure to be the star of the show. 

But the thing about short hair is that it does require a fair share of maintenance. Hair grows eventually, so in order to keep your style looking fly, it's important to give it the care it needs. That means treatments and trims, beloveds whether with a stylist or at home if you've mastered DIY upkeep.  

Then, of course, there is the question of styling. Some folks can get a little lost when it's time to actually do something with short hair, but trust us, there is a lot you can do with a little length. All you need is some guidance, and lucky you, we've got it right here.  

Whether you've been thinking of cutting your hair short, or you already have short hair and you're trying to decide on a style, you've come to the right place. We rounded up some of the dopest, fiercest short cuts and styles to inspire your next new look. There's something for every hair texture and no shortage of options. (Sorry, we had to!) 

With reporting by Wendy Sy, Hannah Morrill, and Amanda Mitchell

Classic Buzz Cut

Michaela Coel's buzz cut proves a little can go a long way. "There are times hair can add, but there are also times hair can be a distraction," says Emmy-nominated hairstylist Derick Monroe. For the star and creator of I May Destroy You, a short haircut like this helps bring the focus on her elite cheekbones. 

To style, Monroe suggests using Murray's Original Pomade and Lottabody Wrap Me Foaming Mousse. Brush it down with a boar bristle brush and mold with a scarf until dry, then finish with Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Softening Hair Oil. "Although pomades are great for hold, they also can build up on the scalp and hair," he notes. Wash away the buildup by using a clarifying shampoo once a month.

Classic Buzz Cut

Vickie Vidov, New York-based hairstylist and and founder of Vidov West salon, describes Tiffany Haddish's buzz as a "morning routine-friendly look," which is one selling point if we've ever heard of one. "[It's] very clean cut, but not recommended if there are deviations in your hairline that you are not fond of, as there is nothing to truly hide them." So if you're hiding a third ear on the back of your head like a character from Sideways Stories at Wayside School, you may decide to reconsider.

Classic Buzz Cut

Buzz cuts give your gorgeous mug the freedom to be great. "This short cut will help accentuate your facial features," says hairstylist Sienree. If you prefer to do it yourself, she says feel free to "go in with whatever clippers you use and shave it off." (But if you need a little more direction on giving yourself a buzz, you can find it here.) Finish off the style with a little smoothing cream or pomade.

Asymmetrical Bob

Michelle Williams's bob has a slightly longer front piece on one side. Jenny Balding, hairstylist and co-owner of Cutler x Arlo Soho Salon in New York City, says the overall length of this bob gives it an edge. "It's more powerful than, say, if [it was] an inch or so longer." The key to styling this haircut is to avoid volume and let it fall naturally. Balding recommends styling with the Redken Frizz Dismiss Rebel Tame Heat Protective Leave-In Cream.

Asymmetrical Bob

Taylour Paige's asymmetrical bob feels modern and is cut so that it won't make for a terribly awkward grow-out period. DreamGirls hair care cofounders Tonya Thompson and Sharie Wilson  say that a good hair oil is a must for a look like this. Just a small dime-sized amount will do to tamp down on frizz. In the market for a one? We've got tons of suggestions for every hair type right here. 

Box Braid Lob

Marsai Martin's braids are a fun twist on a classic lob. "It's fierce and stylish," says Takisha-Sturdivant Drew, hairstylist and owner of TSD Hair. "Some beads or hair jewelry and accessories can be added to glam up the styling." To lay flyaways down, Sturdivant-Drew suggests using a head wrap or scarf and protecting the hairstyle with a leave-in conditioner. We like the Phillip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Leave-in Conditioner, which softens hair, provides UV protection, and protects against damage with just a few sprays. It also just so happens to smell like heaven, too.

Box Braid Lob

Another fun way to play with this style is to do it in a different color, as Amandla Stenberg demonstrates here. "The perfect shade of blonde not only inspires you to have more fun, but it complements the melanin in a brown girl's complexion like no other shade below a level seven can," says hairstylist Cataanda James.

Flipped-Out Ends

If you've already got a bob, and want Halsey's look, Lauren Thompson Baxter, hairstylist at Nunzio Saviano Salon, suggests starting by drying your hair then getting it as straight as possible with a flatiron. "Next, use a one and a quarter-inch barrel curling iron at the bottom to give the ends a little bit of a flip." Part your hair where you want, then use a gel like Ecoco's Eco Style Olive Oil Gel and a fine-tooth comb to distribute the product evenly. "Make sure you are pressing your hair down with the palm of your hand, and following with the comb. Do this as many times as you need until it sets into place."

Curly Bob

"This jaw-length hair accentuates her beautiful bone structure," Balding says of Viola Davis's curly bob. The length also gives the illusion of more volume. When you're styling a cut like this, Balding notes that an anti-humidity leave-in cream works well to polish up and smooth strands, even on humid days. We like the Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave-in Conditioning Spray for this — it's moisturizing and helps tamp down on frizz on the days you need it most.

Curly Lob

For those with curly hair, Wilson loves a short, fashionable lob like this one worn by Nathalie Emmanuel. To style, “just twist your locks back and leave out a generous amount of loose tendrils in the front — [it's] it's very wash-and-go, which is great for the summer, especially on day two of unwashed hair,” he shares. "Pin it back and it'll look great." 

Modern Mullet

Business in the front, party in the back. The mullet was the hairstyle of the '80s, and Miley Cyrus is bringing it back with a modern twist. "This has a very edgy, punk rock vibe," says Thompson Baxter. "The straight and fine natural texture of her hair is great for this kind of cut." The best way to style, she says, is to blow-dry the hair back and forth with a Denman styling brush. "I would then flip the ends slightly with a smaller round brush, and bevel the ends of the bangs." 

If your hair is naturally curly, try a boar bristle round brush that grabs the hair, making it easier to get a smoother and straighter blowout. To finish, use a flatiron if needed and add definition with styling products like the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and Ouai Matte Pomade.

Modern Mullet

Look, whatever Bretman Rock's been doing these days, it's been working for him. And that includes this hair. The reality TV star hit the MTV Movie & TV Awards with a beautifully textured mullet. "Someone with fine straight texture can turn it into a fun punk cut, [while] someone with medium wavy texture could rock a '70s modern-day shag," says Sienree. She recommends rubbing pomade in your hands and running it through your hair with your fingers to give it a piecey, textured look. (Try the R&Co Dart Pomade Stick.) Finish it all off with some dry shampoo to give it a little body.

Soft Curls

Longer than a pixie yet shorter than a bob, Amandla Stenberg's curls are just the right length to accentuate the shape of her face. The key to getting textured hair like this to look soft and shiny is keeping it moisturized with the regular use of a hydrating conditioner (like the Philip Kingsley Moisture Extreme Conditioner) after shampooing. "Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair and part it the way you want. Then, let it air-dry if you don't want the curls out of place," says Sturdivant-Drew. Lastly, she recommends spritzing with a lightweight setting spray such as the Ouidad Finishing Mist Setting and Holding Spray. "The more product you use, the more controlled and defined the curls are."

Soft Curls

Alia Shawkat's cropped curls are cute as hell, if you ask us. We love the little ringlets that gather around her forehead too. To be sure your curls are staying intact when you style them, Thompson and Wilson say the right tools are an absolute must. Since curly hair tends to be more fragile, they suggest using a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle your hair. 

Strong Bangs

Zendaya might have just slipped on a wig for this occasion, but we love how the strong bangs of this pixie frame her face. The sideswept fringe makes the cut look less severe and doesn't overpower her bold brows. "This easy pixie can be styled smooth effortlessly," shares Chicago-based hairstylist Jenna Spino of Maxine Salon. She recommends using a leave-in heat protectant and blow-drying your hair with a Denman brush, or just use your hands and run them through your hair as you dry. "Using a Denman brush makes it easy to 'flat wrap,' meaning you dry your hair side to side keeping your hair smooth as you go," says Spino. Finish with a flexible styling cream to lay down any fuzzies or to add a little texture.

Spiky Bangs

Chopping off your hair can be nerve-wracking for some, but Zoë Kravitz is making us want to grab a pair of clippers, like, right now. Her super short pixie looks extra cool with those wispy, spiky baby bangs — proof that a micro fringe can look amazing. It's giving a Rosemary's Baby vibe, just with shorter bangs. 


"When you have this type of gorgeous chiseled bone structure, the best way to accent it is with a short cut," says hairstylist Matt Fugate, who has worked with stars of The Bold Type and Riverdale. "Plus, [her hair] gives this look a perfectly disheveled feel — even at this length." Style using your fingers by twisting, raking, and massaging in a product like Original Mineral K-Gravel Texture Clay into your hair. "Just let it rock — make it messy and unique."

Spiky Bangs

Asia Kate Dillon's spiky bangs are just slightly longer than Kravitz's, but they're still super impactful. If you've got very straight hair, adding a bit of texture is a must. "Using a lighter pomade or wax type product will give the pixie more piecey-ness and separation," explains Chicago-based hairstylist Shelly Aguirre of Maxine Salon. "If the hair is colored, you can create more depth with the wax/pomade as well. Take a pearl-sized amount and disperse the product in your hands. Don't overthink the 'style,' just have fun with it. This is meant to be a more whimsical look."

Slick Side Part

Hairstylist Missy McDaniels sats Halsey's cut is "very versatile [and] low maintenance." Create a deep side part before blow-drying drying your hair with the concentrator nozzle attachment and a paddle brush. Next, you'll want to take small sections and lead a flatiron with a fine-tooth comb to smooth, setting the entire look with gel.

Blunt Pixie

Just when you thought you'd seen all the pixie haircuts out there, here's another variation. Rooney Mara shows us that short, blunt bangs work nicely with the style as well, particularly if you have a heart or oval-shaped face. As you can see, the top of her hair is a bit longer, but it gradually gets shorter and shorter. "Oribe's Fiber Groom Elastic Texture Paste is a perfect pomade [for a style like this] because it'll give you hold, while still allowing you to run your fingers through your hair," explains Vidov. "You can use it to make the bangs a bit piecey and to help smooth the back and keep it in place." To add an instant dose of elegance, slip on a velvet headband.


Forget what you thought about the bowl cut, because Brigette Lundy-Paine makes it look absolutely badass. Their hair has a slight wave, and we love that the texture is defined at the fringe here. You can, however, still see that the cut itself is rather blunt. 

Aguirre recommends avoiding using a round brush to blow-dry your hair with this cut. "That can cause the shape to look too round — this look [works better] when styled less," she explains. Try using a cream-based product on dry hair and use your fingers to let the hair dictate the direction it would like to go. "Adding a bit of texture softens the whole thing, and gives you more styling options if you choose this cut."

Blunt Bob

Sharp angles and a very slight bend give Kelly Rowland's bob a polished look. If your hair is thick or curly, have your stylist thin it out a bit to create texture without the extra volume. 

"A blow-dry is imperative with this look and a heat protectant is a must‚" shares Aguirre, who recommends one with a lightweight silicone. "It keeps the hair shiny and will help combat the humidity." 

Blunt Bob With Bangs

A style like this isn't necessarily low-maintenance — unless you trust yourself with a pair of scissors to cut your own bangs — but it's an easy look to explain to your hairstylist. Ask them to point cut the bangs at an angle then finish off the rest of the hair with an A-line bob, and voilà: you're channeling Barbie Ferreira and looking like a boss.

Aguirre makes one important note: "You will definitely need to style [your bangs] every morning to achieve this look," she says. "A perk of this style is its versatility — you can wear the rest with a little tousled bend for a lived-in look, or completely straight for an edgier statement."

Razored Pixie

Fugate says this kind of pixie looks great on most face shapes. If you have longer hair, you just have to be ready for a big chop. "If you and your stylist are feeling confident, I would razor cut this as short as [possible]," he adds. Using a razor helps add softness to the look.

Razored Pixie

According to James, a pixie style like this is great if your hair is naturally straight or blown out to look straight. Plus, you can style it in a few ways. "A sideswept bang gives it a classy feel, [while] the gelled-back wet look gives sexy and chic," she explains. If you do want to wear your natural texture, though, feel free. "When you want to add some drama to your look, natural textures 3 and 4 will literally speak volumes when you just let your naturalness defy gravity."

TWA With Defined Curls

Don't let anyone ever tell you Afros aren't chic and fashionable — clearly, that person doesn't know what they're talking about. Case in point: model Samile Bermannelli with her texture let loose. The layers of her cut are consistent throughout, giving it dimension and bounce. Vidov describes this style as "a modern throwback with a sexy '80s vibe," but has a warning: "Beware if you're bothered by hair being in your face — the shaggy bang makes this look." 

Tapered Sides

Samira Wiley has never been afraid to embrace her natural texture. We love her short sides which give way to a crop of tight curls on top.  It allows her to keep her hair short, but to also show off those glorious coils by simply adding a curl definer. We like the Best of Beauty-winning Curls So So Def Vitamin C Curl Defining Jelly. 

Hairstylist Clint Wilson, a co-founder and stylist at Salon SCK in New York says, "don't be shy because curly hair drinks the product." After you prep the hair, pull the sides back, twist them, secure them, and pull some pieces out on top. 

Wilson does have one piece of advice for those who may be lacking patience: "If it's too hard to brush both sides back into a twist, you can brush them both back into a tight ponytail, secure it with an elastic, and then twist the top of the tail into a twist that covers the elastic."

Sideswept Bangs

There's something sexy — and even a little bit coy — about bangs that just barely graze the eye. And it also happens to be incredibly easy to achieve at home. Hairstylist Kerrie Urban likes to blow-dry this style using the drying technique we mentioned for Zendaya's look.

Urban uses a paddle brush, first pushing the hair down and to the left, and then down and to the right, and back and forth. "This helps get the swoop of the bang." Finish off with a sculpting balm.

Sideswept Bangs

Even a bayang works beautifully for curly-haired folk when they want to wear a wig or heat-straighten their hair — the choppy bangs on Jada Pinkett Smith add a beautiful definition to this style, while also giving it structure and depth. The key to maintaining a look like this, according to Wilson, is a good quality shine product, like Kérastase L'incroyable Blowdry Crème. "Starting with a clean center part, round-brush your hair and set it in loose waves using a large curling iron," he explains. "All the curls should flow away from your face."

Spiky Pixie

Jennifer Hudson's spiked pixie emanates a rocker vibe, and the layers are part of what makes it work so well. To re-create Hudson's texture, start by running a flatiron over sections of hair and then rake a volumizing cream through it for separation. 

"When you flatiron the hair at the crown, give it a nice bend so it accentuates the head shape," explains Wilson. "Use a really thin flatiron on the sides where the hair is shorter." His preferred flat iron is the Black Diamond Mikro Nano Titanium Flat Iron. Try this technique with the Philip Kingsley PK Prep Plumping Cream.

Wavy Lob

This wavy lob looks hard to maintain, but it's actually fairly easy. "Your hairstylist should adjust the allover layers to fit your face," says Fugate. "That's what makes it feel so lived-in and organic." Loosely wrap one- to two-inch sections of hair around a curling rod (like the Best of Beauty-winning T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand), then flip your head upside down and mist on a light-hold hair spray (our favorite is the Tresemmé Compressed Micro Mist Hairspray). Flip back over, tousle a little, and boom! You're Jennifer Lawrence. Well… one step closer, anyway.

Wavy Lob

 Thompson and Wilson say that your best bet with styling a lob is to make it look as effortless as possible.  Take cues from Jourdan Dunn here, whose lob is softly tousled. To achieve this look, they recommend using a loose barrel curling wand — like two-time Best of Beauty winner T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand — through the hair haphazardly, leaving the ends out for a done-but-undone look.

Slicked Back

Kristen Stewart's hair looks super polished, but it actually takes minimal effort to execute, works well with second-day hair, and looks undeniably cool. Think of it as refined lazy-girl hair — edgy without all the maintenance. "You're going to need a gel with a strong hold to achieve this look," says Branch. "This has lots of dimension as well because of the color of her roots, but if you have even color, you can add dimension with a glossy gel. It will give you the needed hold while boosting your hair's shine."

Slicked-Back Pompadour

Rachel McAdams's hairstyle is great because it is sleek without looking overly styled. "To recreate this look, I would recommend a texturizing spray for your roots and a bit of teasing near the scalp to achieve this amazing volume," says Miko Branch, hairstylist co-founder of hair-care brand, Miss Jessie's.

Slicked-Back Lob

Hairstylist Ryan Richman broke down how to get this sleek, wet look for anyone who has a lob and a straighter hair texture. It begins with creating a deep side part with a comb. Dry the hair with a flat brush and a blow-dryer with the concentrator nozzle attached to get the hair to lay flat. Then, use a flatiron to smooth any errant strands out. 

Now, the fun part: Apply a generous amount of hair gel — Richman likes Monat Studio One Flexible Hold Gel — and distribute with a comb while tucking the hair behind the ears. Add the diffuser nozzle to your dryer and dry on low to dry and set, and head down the red carpet of your mental dreams.

Fluffy 'Fro

"The key to this style is keeping hair in top condition so the ends don't look [scruffy]," says Urban. 4C textures like Lupita Nyong'o's need a deeply moisturizing leave-in conditioner like our Best of Beauty fave, the Creme of Nature Pure Honey Knot Away Leave-in Detangler. Follow up with an oil like argan or coconut to seal it all in, and let your texture do its thing.

Fluffy 'Fro

There's a certain type of magic in having type 4 hair, and Kiki Layne's is a halo of textured greatness. Here, her coils are brushed out to a cotton candy-esque texture that looks soft to the touch. This style is great for anyone who loves their curls and wants to turn up the volume, for those who want a look that embraces their texture and has a more lived-in feel. 

Glam Lob

Millie Bobby Brown has Old Hollywood hair down perfectly. The Stranger Things star chose a cut just above the shoulders, long enough to curl big waves. The various layers give her hair volume in a subtle yet dramatic way. "To style, I would keep it retro and use either hot rollers or a curling iron to get that volume, movement, and shine," says Fugate. He suggests finishing by spraying Together Beauty Wax Poetic Texturizing Wax Spray to get a flexible hold then brushing it out to make it modern and not too coiffed.

Glam Lob

Paris Hilton rarely wears her hair above her waist, but here, she's nailed the glamorous, sleek lob look. This is the kind of style anyone can recreate at home, but you want to make sure you have the right tools and accessories to do so — a good flatiron and shine spray can go a long, long way.  Thompson and Wilson stress the important of using a heat protectant and keeping the temperature setting on your flatiron low when you're trying to recreate this style.

Edgy Pixie

Scarlett Johansson is serving a steaming dish of rocker refinement with how her hair is styled here. "Don't go overboard with product to re-create this look," warns Urban. "Just apply a dab of styling cream [for] hold and blow-dry with a large round brush. Then run your hands through the top and lightly spritz on a medium-hold hair spray."

Edgy Pixie

The length and style of a pixie can totally change the entire look, so be sure you're taking that into consideration when you talk to your stylist. For a cut like Bex Taylor-Klaus's, consider leaving some length on the top. "Some prefer it shorter so the waves can pop, but a little length on the top creates textured height for a more architectural shape," explains James.

Textured Bob

Looking for a low-maintenance style that still looks put together? Go for a textured bob à la Demi Lovato. "You can achieve this swept-back look by using Oribe Gel Serum on dry hair by simply working the product through your hair with your hands," says Thompson Baxter. "If you need a little extra volume at the roots, use a little texture spray and tease your hair around the crown and then work the gel serum throughout."

Textured Bob

Joey King shows off her natural curls in a way that feels glamorous and cool — just like her. This looks like she just ran her fingers through her hair, gave it a quick tousle, and ran out the door. To copy this look, Wilson recommends focusing on hydration and definition for stunning curls. 

"Gently section a horizontal parting in the nape, and layer [a curling creme such as] Kérastase Crème De Jour first, then [a gel like] Kérastase Gelee Curl Contour and twist curls into place." Working in small horizontal sections from the bottom to the top, layer the products onto each section and twist the curls in place.

Structured Pixie

Yes, it's a super short cut, but the full top and thin sides of Keke Palmer's pixie give it more structure than most. To re-create it, "blow-dry the hair forward with your hands and take a flatiron to really polish it smooth," says Urban.

Structured Pixie

The front of Ruby Rose's structured pixie verges on a pompadour, and we are 100 percent here for the throwback look. To achieve the style, Richman suggests using a medium round brush to blow-dry one-inch sections, lifting the hair directly off the head and rolling the hair down with the brush from the ends to the base of the section. When dry, back-comb each section to create a strong base and a lot of volume, and then gently brush the hair to smooth. 

Finger Waves

Jodie Turner-Smith is regularly turning heads on the red carpet, but here she truly gives something new to a cropped hairstyle. Recreating this look will take some time and patience. Richman recommends starting by prepping wet hair with a medium gel such as Monat Studio One Flexible Hold Gel or Fekkai Sheer Sculpt Styling Gel. Next, using a fine-tooth comb and your fingers, create a finger wave. To finish, use a blow-dryer on low with the diffuser nozzle attached to set and dry.

Blunt Lob with Bangs

The lob is everywhere, but leave it up to Bella Hadid to give the short cut an upgrade. Here, her blunt bangs are the center of attention. "If you have an oval, heart, or diamond-shaped face, bangs would be a great look for you," says Thompson Baxter, who notes it can also make pronounced foreheads appear smaller. 

"To style this lob, blow-dry with a smoothing cream and a boar bristle round brush. This will help give you a smooth and sleek blowout with a little bend on the ends." If your hair needs to be flatironed, make sure to bevel the hair at the ends so that it curves under slightly. After, she suggests adding Ouai Finishing Crème to add shine and protect from frizz.

Blunt Lob with Bangs

Mila Kunis's lob here is styled with one seriously deep wave, which doesn't take away from the bluntness of the overall look. What it does is give it a healthy dose of movement with a little tinge of old Hollywood glam, updated for a new era. Achieving a style like this depends on your hair type, according to Spino. 

"For those with straight hair, a mousse for body can be helpful. Do a quick rough dry, and if more texture is needed, finish it off with a texture spray, [adding] a wand curling wand for bend if necessary." She explains. "For those with a little wave, use a mousse or a leave in that can be applied wet. Air drying can be possible if you have some texture naturally, or a quick rough dry."

Ombré Lob

Okay okay, so we know this is technically a hair color, but hear us out — adding a bit of color to a lob haircut can really be transformative. Rose Byrne's lob has a gentle ombré, one that shows off her gorgeous skin tone.  Because it's so subtle, the ombré and the cut together bring a focus to the center of her face. It also frames her face beautifully and accentuates the jawline, giving off the effect of a fresh haircut.

"Make sure to ask your stylist for a consistent length all around the head for versatility in styling and more of a sleek look," suggests Branch. "You could also talk to your stylist about cutting the hair shorter at the back for some added interest. Try not to apply heavy products too close to the scalp for this cut, since the weight could cause hair to fall flat."

Ombré Lob

An ombré doesn't always have to be a drastic color change.  When paired with a cut like Kristen Wiig's, it makes the grow-out period slightly less frightening. "This gives her dimension at the root and brightness around the face, which complements her fair skin," says Thompson Baxter. Another plus? Due to the intended low color contrast, it's not super high-maintenance. 

Disconnected Undercut

If you're looking to go super edgy, Tommy Dorfman's undercut is a fun, modern option. "The undercut gives the edgy appeal, while the length up top is the catalyst to the personality the style will denote," explains James. With a haircut like this, it's important to be sure there is texture throughout, so on straighter hair types, a pomade is a must. If you're working with some curls, be sure they're moisturized and set with a curl cream.