Having wavy hair means having natural movement and texture. If that’s you, then you want a haircut that celebrates your waves, not one that fights them. So take a break from heat styling and let your wavy mane do its thing (with the help of the right products, of course). Not only is this hair type incredibly versatile, but it also looks especially flattering with shorter lengths (think: more bounce and movement). That’s exactly why so many wavy-haired people end up going short.
Whether you’ve got fine, medium, or thick tresses, there is a short, wavy-hairstyle that’s right for you. To prove it, we reached out to hairstylists Melanie Bolton and Trey Gillen for their industry insight and expert advice. From piecey pixies to tousled bobs, these are best cuts and styles to suit your every wavy hair need.
Keep scrolling for 24 celeb-inspired short haircuts to complement wavy hair.
Margot Robbie’s simple, choppy waves are as easy on the eyes as they are to style. Whether you embrace your natural wave or use a flat iron to achieve a more refined look, this cut is perfect for those of us who prefer a no-fuss approach to styling.
Jourdan Dunn’s bob is the high-fashion take on wavy hair. We love how her waves are low-key and disheveled for an “I woke up like this” vibe. To get her fluffy texture, work a small amount of styling mousse into strands.
Alexa Chung’s wavy lob gets a makeover with this slicked-back style. The contrast of texture lets her undulating mids and ends shine. For added gloss and control, Bolton instructs applying a cocktail of JVN Complete Nourishing Hair Oil Shine Drops ($22) or any other dry oil and a medium-hold, cream-based texture product—we’re fans of Living Proof Amp Instant Texture Volumizer ($27)—to loose waves.
Janelle Monáe’s sculpted bob is utter perfection. The soft waves in her hair are what keep this style looking dimensional and textured. Cleanse with Devacurl Low-Poo Delight ($26) and style by working a small amount of R+Co Turntable Curl Defining Crème ($32) through strands to define and shape.
Jennifer Lawrence made headlines when she chopped off her lengths in 2014. We love the deep side part and feathered texture, too. To replicate her look, try using a smoothing product like Amika The Shield Style Anti-Humidity Spray ($26).
We like the texture of Winnie Harlow’s pixie cut; there’s something very ’60s about it. You can see her soft waves in her textured bangs. To replicate her piecey separation, style with Oribe Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste ($39).
Kendall Jenner’s short style with a center part is all about loose waves and shine. If your hair is wavy and fine, a shorter ‘do can help to take your locks from limp to lifted. Gillen suggests running Sachajuan’s Shine Serum ($36) throughout your lengths and ends to achieve a similar gleam.
Lily Collins’s asymmetric cut is equal parts edgy and refined. We haven’t figured out how that’s possible, but we’re thinking it has something to do with the pairing of the smoky eye and the leather jacket.
Sevyn Streeter’s layers make her short hair multidimensional. While a blunt cut can make a thick mane feel harsh and heavy, long layers remove hair’s weight, lending it body and movement. Pair with a ruby-red lip for an extra-glamorous finish.
A bob doesn’t have to be poker straight. This look on Vanessa Hudgens is just as chic and looks even cooler with the strands of balayage throughout her hair. Bolton agrees: “A fresh, just-above-the-shoulder bob is a fabulous choice to rejuvenate and show off curls. Soft layers that frame the face create great movement and texture for curly hair and are easy to style.”
If old-Hollywood glam is more your style, then look no further than Sienna Miller for inspiration. While the rest of her hair is smoothed back, she keeps a single loose ringlet out front. We’re obsessed (obviously).
Depending on the length of your hair, your stylist might opt for fewer or longer layers to prevent the waves from shrinking, but don’t let that steer you away from trying a choppy shag if the rocker look is more your vibe. Camila Alves pulls it off without a hitch.
Halle Berry’s bob-bangs combo just works. “This is also a great look for subtle balayage highlights as this technique gives a natural-looking, strategically placed boost to curls around the face,” adds Bolton. Not to mention, the caramel color also serves to brighten Berry’s complexion. To carve out separation, spray a bit of Joico Beach Shake Texturizing Finisher ($22), which works especially well on medium to thick hair.
Gina Rodriguez keeps it classic with a refined cut that ends in piecey waves. The shoulder-hovering length also works to frame her face beautifully. To achieve that texture and separation, we would swipe a little of Ouai’s’s Matte Pomade ($24) through the ends of hair.
Ashley Benson’s middle part gives the illusion of curtain bangs framing either side of her face. C’est très Française, non? Opt for ombré to highlight the texture and movement of your waves.
Victoria Beckham sports her signature dark sunglasses complete with loose, textured waves that we love. This chin-length bob is as classic as it is cool. For added texture, style with Ouai Air Dry Foam ($28).
Bold, beautiful, and blonde, Zoë Kravitz’s pixie seems to have it all. While wavy strands can at times grow frizzy and unruly with a close crop, waves remain soft and textured. Just keep in mind that while pixies are typically low maintenance, platinum is not. We recommend using Olaplex to restore and reverse hair damage from bleaching.
What better way to embrace your hair’s natural texture than with a visually effortless look? Beach waves with shattered ends “is a great easy, lived-in style, where the wilder the better,” says Gillen. For the perfect beach hair, spritz some Balmain Paris Texturizing Salt Spray ($45) throughout strands.
Is it just us or can Christina Hendricks do no wrong with her gorgeous red mane? This time she goes retro with brushed out S-waves that barely graze her shoulders. By pinning bangs to the side, she shows us just how easy and elegant styling a fringe can be.
Taraji P. Henson
Classic, timeless, and easy to maintain, a tapered lob is a great styling option that allows you to show off your waves. “Curly hair springs up with less weight on it, so trimming those extra inches off puts a spring in your curl,” explains Gillen.
Rose Byrne shows us how ombré is done with short, wavy tresses. Even though her hair is cut above the shoulders, the undulating color makes it look full and lush. If you’re looking to color hair and want a low-maintenance cut, this look is for you.
Empire actress Serayah McNeill wears her waves loose à la lob. “Use your curling iron or flat iron to create the waves and collapse the bulk ones of thick hair. Sachajuan’s Intensive Hair Oil ($47) will give shine and moisture to keep this style healthy and gorgeous,” says Gillen.
The loveable Mindy Kaling rocks a wavy bob with a side part that complements a round face shape. To keep strands hydrated, Bolton recommends “applying leave-in conditioner on wet hair to enhance curls and avoid frizz.” After air-drying, she instructs adding a touch of hair serum throughout waves to take them to the next level.
Meagan Good shows off her gorgeous face and hairstyle with this ultra-elegant pixie cut. The shorter sides and the length on top showcase texture via thick blonde waves. Tailor this look using our picks for the best pixie styling products.
What’s the best way to naturally dry wavy hair?
The key to air-drying your hair is to pat, rather than rub, with a towel. Then, comb through the hair before adding a light oil to your ends. Let dry and voilá!
What products are needed to style short, wavy hair?
You should invest in a high-quality texture spray (to play up your natural texture), as well as a shine spray and a flexible-hold hairspray.
How often should those with short, wavy hair get a haircut or trim?
That depends on how short your hair is. If it’s ear-length or above, 3-4 weeks is necessary so hair doesn’t look overgrown. But if it’s shoulder-length or a little longer, you can go up to 8 weeks between trims.