My bathroom vanity is littered with the latest skincare products. I have a collection of fragrances that's slowly overtaking my apartment, and the number of makeup products I own is roughly comparable to that of a single Sephora aisle. I'm a self-confessed beauty addict, yet I almost never style my hair. Actually, now that I think about it, I almost never even apply product to my strands unless it's a hair serum or some other tried-and-true favorite. Does that make me a bad beauty writer?
My medium-length hair is naturally wavy and dry, which is why I've historically strayed from heat tools. Instead, I wake up, comb through it, grab a hair elastic to sling around my wrist, and, yeah, that's about it as far as any semblance of a hair routine goes. That's all well and good most of the time, but lately I've been feeling like I'm stuck in a hair rut. I'm bored with my style (or lack thereof). In other words, I'm in major need of some good old hair inspiration—styles that I can turn to when I'm short on time and motivation in the early mornings. That's why I combed contacted two experts, Kourtney Scott and Joseph Maine, for the easiest hairstyles for medium-length hair. Keep scrolling for 35 easy hairstyles for medium-length hair.
Meet the Expert
Volumized Low Pony
This low ponytail worn by Erica Lavelanet is a little bit '60s and a little bit early 2000s (remember the notorious Bumpits styling accessory?). We're obsessed with its effortless vibe, especially when it's paired with fresh no-makeup makeup. To us, this is quite literally the perfect, easiest hairstyle to turn to in the hot, languid days of late summer.
Is there anything more classic (not to mention chicer) than a low chignon? We don't think so. This one, worn by Stephanie Liu Hjelmeseth of Honey and Silk, leaves just a couple of strands out to flutter in the breeze, giving it an undone and romantic feel.
Celeb Stylist David Lopez Shows Us 2 Low Bun Styles For Day & Night
Sure, it's a far cry from the romantic chignon that we highlighted just before it, but Ciara's textured topknot is just as glorious, don't you agree? Scott likes "a messy bun or bohemian dutch fishtail braid" for a more formal look for medium-length hair.
This is a great style to turn to when you are between washes as it embraces texture and gives off an effortless vibe.
Super blunt micro-bangs are balanced out with a bit of length and perfect waves. "Wavy mid lengths can sometimes go too curly with a curling iron," says Maine. "Instead, I recommend creating waves with a waving iron like Trademark Beauty Babe Waves ($56) which comes in three sizes so you can find one that’s perfect for any length or texture."
A slicked-back, high ponytail is a great look for super curly hair. Comb down baby hairs along the scalp and keep the bangs straight for cool contrast.
Loose, S-shaped waves (as seen here on Rose Byrne) are easy to achieve with a flat iron. It's a quick way to add texture to straight hair.
Here's yet another easy-to-replicate style from Hjelmeseth. It's proof that a traditional half-up, half-down style only needs a modern hair accessory to become fresh and updated. "Half up styles like top knots, space buns, and half ponys all look great on mid length hair," notes Maine.
Messy Side Braid
Elizabeth Olsen's side braid is all about volume. Start by parting your hair deep on one side before loosely plaiting your hair and securing it with an elastic. Don't forget to add a little volumizing mousse along the way. We like Bumble and bumble Thickening Full Form Soft Mousse ($31) since it's lightweight and non-sticky.
We're hesitant to call these space buns since, to us, those are the tightly coiled glitter-covered ones we see at outdoor music festivals. These ones by Aaryn Christine are bigger and more effortless. This style is so quick, so easy, and so cute.
Messy Bun With Bangs
Got bangs? Do as Sienna Miller did at this year's amfAR Gala, and leave your fringe loose as you gather up the rest of your locks in a high messy bun.
To disguise your hair part, take a ribbon or headband and tie it around the crown of your head.
A simple braided crown like the one Nine Zero One stylist Nikki Lee did on Hilary Duff is the perfect bohemian up 'do for medium-length hair. Leave a few loose pieces around the face for a more casual appearance.
Face-framing bangs instantly take a simple, medium-length cut to the next level. As far as how long is medium-long, different stylists will have different definitions. To Scott, "medium length hair is shoulder length to armpit length." Maine's definition is a bit shorter, "from right past collar bone to shoulder length."
To us, there's no single easier way to update a tired high ponytail than by slicking it back like Jamie Chung does here. It only makes sense considering glass hair is the newest and buzziest hair trend in Hollywood.
We think natural curls need to be shown off more often, which is why we like seeing them front and center, like in this style by model Jamea. She proves that sometimes a patterned head scarf is all it takes to bump up a look and make your hair brunch-ready.
A sleek ballerina bun gets a trendy upgrade by moving the placement from the nape of the neck to the top of the head. Think of this as your formal topknot.
Margot Robbie's traditional side braid was updated for the red carpet by adding a simple detail—that is, swooping the top part of her hair back to the crown of her head before braiding down. To us, it's extremely reminiscent of Frozen's Queen Elsa, and we're not mad at all. All it takes is some teasing and maybe a little hair spray for extra staying power. We like Living Proof's Flex Hairspray ($27).
The Wet-Look Style
What, you don't think wearing your hair all the way down can still be considered a style? Well, it is if it's the wet look, as demonstrated here by Kourtney Kardashian. Achieving this glistening, tousled look is much easier than you think. For proof, check out our wet-look hair tutorial with Kardashian hairstylist Chris Appleton. Also, be sure to see Kourtney Kardashian's other top hairstyles.
Yara Shahidi's curls may be braided back, but her look is easy enough to replicate sans braids if you're short on time. Simply give your hair a deep side part, twist the hair back on one side, and secure with bobby pins. It will give the same super-chic effect.
Add interest to a basic ponytail or bun by leave texture at the crown of the head. We love the strands by the ears.
A center part and a whole lot of volume work beautifully for this woman's curls. Have your stylist cut layers to prevent triangular poofing.
One Thick Braid
One thick braid down the back is classic and cool. We love how this look incorporates her natural curls and flyaways for a textured appearance. "Braids can be fun but more challenging on short hair," says Maine. "If looking to incorporate a braid just create a small three strand braid. Once you have tied it with an elastic, start at the top of the braid and move your way down the length pulling it outwards for more fullness."
Jeweled Mermaid Waves
For fancy occasions, consider adding some rhinestones. or pearls to subtle waves for a mermaid-inspired vibe.
Want to play with color but don't want to commit to the maintenance of a full dye-job? Consider contrasting your natural shade with a few face-framing highlights in a fun color.
Another braid style that doesn't require a whole lot of length. This romantic milkmaid braid worn by Lucy Boynton is perfectly red carpet appropriate while remaining unfussy.
Sharp Center Part
"Sleek and straight" is Maine's favorite way to style medium-length hair. "My favorite way to achieve this is with a Blow Dryer/Brush 2 in 1 like Trademark Beauty Easy Blo ($49) which simultaneously detangles and smoothes. Prep hair first with Dream Coat by Color Wow ($28) and you’ll block out humidity and the hair will be extra shiny."
True Ballerina Bun
A true ballerina bun looks so elegant and takes any outfit to the next level. It works especially well for thicker, slightly longer hair that can really fill out the bun silhouette.
Glossy, structured waves give Zoey Deutch a sophisticated, Old Hollywood vibe. "Medium-length is a chic style all in itself so I’d say don’t overthink it with styling. Simple waves or nice and sleek can be super stylish!" says Maine.
Tracee Ellis Ross' full, shoulder length curls have a whole lot of definition and shine. This is absolute proof that curly bangs can look fabulous. "Curly hair is dry and loves moisture. I like to start with a moisturizing curl enhancer like Oribe Styling Butter ($46) topped with Oribe Curl Gloss ($42) for a soft hold. Comb your products through with a fine tooth comb and twist sections to air dry or diffuse," says Scott.
The shag is a classic medium-length hairstyle. Choppy layers and grown-out bangs make this look effortless to maintain.
Anne Hathaway takes a classic wavy style and makes it unique by slicking back one side for an asymmetrical vibe. Choppy waves deliver a whole lot of shine. "For straight hair I like using a good thermal protectant and thickening spray like Oribe Maximista ($39) to add texture to your hair to show movement," says Scott.
Stylist and Virtue Labs creative director Adir Abergel takes a low ponytail to more formal heights (heh) with a lush black velvet bow and a dramatic side part with smooth bangs. For creating dynamic styles, Scott switches between two brushes. "Ion Paddle Brush ($14) is great for straightening longer lengths and the 9 Row Vess Brush ($28) is great for smoothing and light volume," she says.
"Play with half up styles like top knots and space buns to switch it up even when it may feel too short to get it all up," says Maine. "Dream Coat by Color Wow has epic sprays for both curly and straight looks that offer a ton. of weightless moisture and shine."
"Invest in a great haircut. Medium length curly shapes can really vary from triangular to boxy to round or oval. It’s important to find one that fits your face shape," says Maine. This is a great example of a curly, mid-length style that is balanced.
Gorgeous Shoulder-Length Locs
Shoulder-grazing hair like Halle Bailey's still gives ample opportunity to play with texture. Twists at her scalp create an intricate side part.
"I always recommend simple top knots or low buns adorned with a chic hair accessories. Pearl pins or twists always elevate a simple style," says Maine. Saoirse Ronan pairs a simple bun with a jeweled butterfly.