20 Breezy Medium-Length Haircuts for a Simple and Chic Look

People tend to have a preference for either short or long hair. Don’t overlook the hairstyle that sits in between medium-length. We asked professional hairstylists to show that shoulder-length hair is not just a stop-over on the way to long hair.

Get ready to get inspired by these medium-length hairstyles for your next visit to the salon.

Why is the medium-length hairstyle so popular?

Joseph Maine, celebrity stylist and artistic director of Color WoW, says that mid-length cuts can be tailored to suit all hair textures. For fine hair, blunt cuts can create the illusion of thicker hair. Curly or wavy locks can benefit from layered cuts that add body and movement. Layers can reduce the bulk of thick hair and make it easier to manage.

You can easily adapt mid-length haircuts to suit any face shape. Maine says that side-swept bangs or longer layers can create an elongated face shape for round faces. “For square faces, soft layers can help soften angular features.” If you have a heart shaped face, like Reese Witherspoon, “a mid length cut that adds volume around the jawline will help balance the face,” says he.

Low Chignon

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A low chignon is a great option for medium hair, even if it doesn’t have much length. This style leaves a few strands to flutter and twirl in the wind for a romantic, undone look.

To create the same effect, move the brush at an angle away from the temples, creating a little lift. Make a low ponytail using a small elastic. Brush through the ponytail after applying more shine spray and hair oil with your hands. Attach another elastic at the bottom of your ponytail. Then twist and spiral the ponytail into a bun. Finish with hairspray and a bobby pin tucked in the base.

Waves with S-Shape

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Jonathan Colombini is a celebrity hairstylist, and L’Oreal ambassador, who says that flat irons are great for creating loose, S-shaped curls. They work best on shoulder-length hair because there’s not as much weight to pull them down. Colombini says, “I love natural textures and lived-in textures.” Try putting a small curve with either a flat iron wave or a curling iron. Avoid a traditional curly. This is the best way to make your style last at least two days.

Curly Topknot

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Ciara’s curly topknot adds a touch of ethereality to a formal updo. This is a good option for people who are growing their hair out or have a lot of angles and layers.


It’s a great way to go between washes, as it embraces the texture and has an effortless feel.

Blunt Bangs

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Beyonce’s micro-bangs, which are super blunt and short, are balanced with some length and a simple texture. If you have already textured hair, use a flat iron on your bangs to ensure they are flat against the forehead. Maine says that medium-length hair requires moderate maintenance. Regular trims are needed every 6-8 week to maintain healthy ends and length.

Half-Up Beach Waves

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Colombini says that at this length, you may find that the hair is not long enough to gather into a topknot. Try a top knot that is half up and half down. Style the coif normally, and sweep it into your desired placement. Kiernan Shipka’s soft beachy waves were created with a spritz of texturizing hair spray.

Messy side braid

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Volume is the key to Elizabeth Olsen’s side braid. The loose pieces, thanks to Olsen’s layered hairs, work well with the boho trend. Begin by parting the hair deeply on one side, then plaiting it loosely and securing with an elastic. Do not forget to use a volumizing mousse. It’s non-sticky and lightweight, so we like Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening Full Form Soft mousse ($32).

Spiraled curls

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@imaanhammam / Instagram

Imaan Hammam shows that curly hair can be styled in a variety of ways. Set it and forget it! Colombini. Use a curl-enhancing cream (or a moisturizing cream) like L’Oreal Dream Lengths Curls Leave-In Creme ($7) that has a slight hold, or a moisture gel with a slight grip. After your hair is completely dry, you can break the twist with the palms.


Colombini warns: “Never rake through with your fingers. This… can cause frizz.”

Curly Ponytail

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For super curly hair, a high ponytail with a slicked back look is perfect. Colombini says to “gather your hair into a ponytail and let the curls flow freely.” If needed, you can use gel to smooth down flyaways or comb baby hairs down along the scalp.

True Ballerina Bun

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It is a beautiful and elegant way to dress up any outfit. It is best for hair that is thicker and slightly longer, as it can fill out the silhouette of the bun (think from just below the shoulder to the collarbone).

Center-Parted Volume

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@marsaimartin/ Instagram

Curls are best achieved with a center part and lots of volume. Colombini advises to be liberal when applying product. After you’ve achieved an even saturation of the product, twist small sections of hair. This will help your hair fall in a particular direction rather than flying away.

Thick Dutch Braid

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@thevicstyles / Instagram

The back can be braided (or brushed) in a thick braid. It’s cool and classic for any hair length. Maine says that braids are fun, but they can be more difficult on short hair. If you want to add a braid into your hair, create a three-strand braid. After you’ve tied the elastic, begin at the top and work your way down, pulling the braid outwards to give it more fullness.

Bejeweled Mermaid Waves

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Consider adding rhinestones and pearls for fancy occasions to create a mermaid vibe. This jewelled look is overwhelming for longer hair, but looks great on a lob cut like Aimee’s. You can enhance your beachy texture with a diffuser while slightly scrunching strands. Dot hair gems to give your mermaid style an ethereal glow.

Funky Highlights

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Laura Polko

You want to experiment with color, but you don’t have the time to maintain a dye job. Charli’s playful and fun look is achieved by adding a few peeps hidden in your natural color. Ask your stylist to add highlights that only show when your hair is tucked in behind your ears. Or, for a more temporary look, try L’Oreal’s Colorista 1-Day Hair Colour ($5).

Chunky Lowlights

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@mileycyrus/ Instagram

Miley Cyrus’ grungy rock’n roll lowlights are a great example of a darker contrast. A deeper blend can add dimensional depth to thin strands, giving them the appearance of fullness. You can also use the color on a single strand or a “money-piece” in front.

Milkmaid Braid

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This milkmaid braid worn by Lucy Boynton, is a great example of a style that does not require much length. It’s also easy to do. Bonus: This style is simple and does not require French braiding. Divide your hair into two sections, and braid each section’s ends using the regular three-strand technique. Pull the first braid over and secure it with bobbypins. Repeat on the opposite side, paying attention to the adjustment of the braids.

Sleek, Straight

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Maine’s favorite way to style her medium-length hair is sleek and straight. Maine says that her favorite tool to use is a two-in-1 blow dryer/brush like Trademark Beauty Easy Blo ($49), as it simultaneously smoothes and detangles. Prep hair with Dream Coat by Color Wow ($26.50), and you will block out humidity and make hair extra shiny.

Smooth waves

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@zoeydeutch/ Instagram

Don’t overthink styling. Medium-length hair is chic in and of itself. Maine says that simple waves, or sleek and stylish can be very stylish. Zoey’s structured, glossy waves have an Old Hollywood feel. Michelle O’Connor is a professional hairstylist at Matrix and the Artistic Director. She suggests adding angles and layers around the face to add extra detail.

Full Curls with Bangs

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Tracee Ellis Ross has full shoulder-length curly hair that is very defined and shiny. Curly bangs are a great way to enhance your look. Curls can be prone to drying out, so moisturizing curl enhancers such as Oribe Styling Butter (37 dollars) and Oribe curl gloss ($42) will help hydrate the thirsty strands.

Grown Out Shag

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@bleachlondon / Instagram

The shag hairstyle is a classic, medium-length style. Maine says that these cuts are all texture. Use a texture spray and scrunch to create a lived-in, messy look. Color Wow Style on Steroids (28 dollars) is my personal favorite. It is a texturizer with a lot of volume that also provides thermal protection when used with hot tools.” This look is easy to maintain with its choppy layers and bangs that have grown out.

Bow Pony

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Kristen Ess

Kristin Ess elevates a low ponytail with a black velvet bow, dramatic curls and a luxurious black velvet bow. To create this look, secure your hair with a hair tie after pulling it back into a low ponytail. Let some loose tendrils hang around your face, and then attach a large bow to your hair tie.

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