Real Simple April 19, 2023

Real Simple


13 Shoulder-Length Haircuts to Show Your Stylist


Don’t shrug off these hairstyles.

If you’re thinking about making a chop, but don’t want to go full pixie cut or bob, shoulder-length haircuts are a versatile length that can still be put up into a topknot or styled with cute curls. We love this length not only because it’s pretty low maintenance, but also because it looks great on all hair types and textures. Below, we’ve asked two stylists for their favorite shoulder-length haircuts for every hair texture.

For Straight Hair: Blunt Cut

For those with straight hair, Andrew Fitzsimons, celebrity stylist and founder of Andrew Fitzsimons Hair, recommends a blunt haircut. “Adding layers to strictly straight hair will cause the hair to look thinner, so a blunt cut will help to aid in a thicker look,” explains Fitzsimons. “Karlie Kloss has been known to rock this straight blunt cut.”

For Straight Hair: Layered

Shoulder-length hair with layers gives life and movement with volume. “You can also add curtain bangs for a more playful and youthful look,” suggests Raven Hurtado, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “When you curl the hair, you’ll be able to see the contrast within the layers.” 

For Straight Hair: Adding Volume

For folks with thick, straight hair, Fitzsimons always recommends adding volume to the hair with the addition of layers. “It’s important to incorporate them throughout the hair to prevent the hair from looking too heavy,” he says. 

For Straight Hair: Feathered Layered

“For those with thin, straight hair, I recommend a feathered layered look to keep the hair looking full,” explains Fitzsimons. “The light layers create volume within your hair making it look extra voluptuous.” 

For Straight Hair: Lob

Bebe Rexha wore her hair shoulder-length and can be considered a lob. “This style of cut works great with thick, straight hair because it’s not too long and not too short,” says Hurtado. “Adding face framing around the face will remove any heaviness and will give softness and soften up the features of the face.”

For Wavy Hair: Side Part

For wavy, shoulder-length haircuts, a side part with textured ends will give body to the hair. “Wavy hair can sometimes fall flat, especially if it’s one length,” explains Hurtado. “So by adding a side part, it’ll give the illusion of volume.”

For Wavy Hair: Simple Bob

According to Fitzsimons, the best shoulder-length haircuts for those with wavy hair is a simple bob. “It is elegant, timeless, fairly easy to style, and will really show off your natural waves,” he says. “Zendaya has definitely mastered the wavy bob.”

For Wavy Hair: Wispy Layers with Texture

For shoulder-length, wavy hair, having wispy layers that are texturized can give a natural airy and beachy look. “A full, lightly texturized bang will add softness and bring attention to the eyes,” says Hurtado.

For Curly Hair: A Few Layers

Curly hair looks best when it’s shoulder-length, according to Fitzsimons. “I recommend adding in a few layers to keep it from looking too heavy at the bottom, which will add more movement to the look,” he explains. “See Kerry Washington doing it with ease.”

For Curly Hair: Round layers

“Shoulder-length curly hair looks great with round layers,” says Hurtado. “The layers are uniformed to give the curls a shape that’s rounded and not so boxy and bulky on the length/ends of hair, so the ends are left a little lighter.” 

For Textured Hair: Face-Framing Layers

It’s always a good idea to embrace your natural hair. “With this, a shoulder-length cut with face-framing layers is perfect for those with thick hair or coils because it highlights your features while enhancing your natural texture,” says Fitzsimons. “It keeps the hair simple, easy to style, and chic.” Naomi Osaka rocked her natural hair at shoulder-length, framing her face beautifully.

For Textured Hair: Bangs

According to Hurtado, shoulder-length haircuts for natural/texture hair can have long layers to show off the curls and also for bounce. “Adding bangs can also add more style and extra oomph to your look,” she says. 

For Textured Hair: Natural Shoulder-Length

Tamera Mowry wore her hair natural shoulder-length, which can be low maintenance. “This can also be versatile by parting it on the side for volume,” explains Hurtado.