Curly-haired gals, we salute you. We know that maintaining that mane is no easy task: Every shower presents the brutal choice of either spending a lot of time (and product) defining and styling each coil or taking a gamble and quite possibly ending up with a frizzy pouf on top of your head.
But when they behave, curls are a gift. And you already know at this point that the right haircut is probably the most important factor of manageable, pretty texture. But you'll need two things: a stylist experienced in curly cuts and an idea of the kind of looks that work best with your hair. We've got you covered on the latter—just take a look below—plus tips from expert stylists Benjamin Mohapi and Ashley Streicher.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for 25 of the best cuts for those with curly hair.
Shoulder-Length With Bangs
Curly hair tends to be much thicker, which can dictate the style that looks best. "If cut too short, thick hair can appear brush-like and lose all sense of flow," says Mohapi. "It’s important when cutting thick hair short to remove lots of weight from the ends of the hair, to allow the hair to move and appear soft."
Here, Zendaya's shoulder-length cut with bangs look fresh, thanks to ends that appear shaggy rather than weighed down.
If you want a bit more length to your bob, a layered cut provides a beautiful shape that makes for more laissez-faire styling. This haircut is perfect for girls looking to painlessly grow out their bob into a lob or longer.
Julia Garner's classic bob is a great style for curly hair, as it allows for the coils to frame your face effortlessly.
For added dimension, pair bangs with a classic bob.
Mid-Length Layers With Bangs
Sandra Oh's mid-length layers are balanced with her shaggy bangs. For this look, it's essential to see a stylist who has experience with curls since expertly cut layers ensure that your coils remain light and bouncy despite your overall length.
A Geometric Lob
For a more editorial look, lean into your natural volume to play with different shapes. Here, Yara Shahidi's lob is cut in a blunt, almost triangle-like shape, with bangs that add further interest.
A Short Afro
A slightly grown-out crop is always chic and looks especially lovely with hydrated curls. Try a moisture-boosting conditioner, like the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie Conditioner ($4).
A Medium-Length Afro
The good news: Your natural texture eliminates the awkwardness of transitioning from short hair to long. Opt for a shapely structure, à la Amara La Negra, or switch it up by brushing your coils out. Either way, make sure your hair is hydrated and healthy with regular leave-in treatments. We recommend the Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque ($8).
Curl-Enhancing Pixie Cut
The beauty of a textured pixie: It's minimal input for maximum output, as your natural beauty has nowhere to hide. Take a cue from Alia Shawkat and add a colorful ribbon or headband for extra oomph.
Nathalie Emmanuel's side part adds some interest to her bob-length natural curls. To style, comb your hair from the bottom up, to avoid split ends, and use a cocktail of coconut oil and styling gel. We like Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Extra Strong Hold Styling Gel ($4).
For the healthiest curls, visit the stylist every six to eight weeks for a trim.
Danai Gurira's asymmetric afro adds an element of fun to the classic look. It can be achieved by either cutting one side shorter than the other, or simply pinning one side of the hair back, to give the illusion of an asymmetric 'do.
Curls With Bangs
As Riele Downs demonstrates, sometimes curls are best enhanced with bangs. To style the look, take a cue from Downs and try an accessorized updo. "For medium-length hair, I love to pull hair loosely back into a low chignon, leaving some height on crown and pulled out, loose pieces around the face," says Streicher.
Extra-Long With Razored Ends
Vick Hope's long locks are extra-voluminous thanks to their razored ends. Hope's look great as-is, but the addition of a colorful barrette—which holds her hair back and shows off her bold earrings—is even more on-trend.
Mid-Length Curly Combover
Ballerina Misty Copeland's mid-length look is great, and even more voluminous with a side part, which works to acts as a natural combover to showcase her natural curls.
Indya Moore's voluminous bob frames their face, thanks to a dramatic side part, and stays bouncy and light, thanks to solid styling.
Curly Lob With Side Bangs
Model Jasmine Sanders showcases her curls by wearing her hair to her shoulders with extra layers and bangs around her face. For this romantic look, try letting hair air-dry before you apply a curl-defining cream. Set with hairspray such as Kenra Professional Platinum Diamond Deflect Spray 10 ($23).
Medium-Length Curly Layered Cut
Nicole Richie's layered style looks particularly great thanks to her length, which hits right at the shoulders. The best haircuts for curly hair shape your mane in a way that allows your tendrils to naturally fall in a face-flattering way with bouncy definition—and minimal styling time.
Taraji P. Henson's half-bob is uber-trendy, and requires little more than lots of bobby pins, and plenty of curl cream. Try Lush Curl Power Hair Cream ($17) to add definition.
Mica Arganaraz's incredible natural curls are on full display in this classic shaf, which sees hair with a curtain of bangs and plenty of layers surrounding the face.
Long Layered Cut For Loose Curls
Winnie Harlow's long, layered cut looks great with her loose curls. Harlow tames her natural curls a bit here, by relaxing them and wearing them in a retro, side-swept style. The volume is still there, however, which makes this a stellar choice for the curly-haired set. After curling, smooth the hair with a wax such as MoroccanOil's Molding Cream ($28).
Long V Cut
Leona Lewis's center-part helps balance her voluminous curls and show off her V-cut, in which hair is tapered just slightly, so that it falls slightly longer at the back. "I love really healthy, natural hair if you're going to wear it long," says Streicher, who recommends R+Co. Dreamhouse Cold Pressed Watermelon Wave Spray ($29), "to enhance curls."
Medium-Length Layered Cut
Emmy Rossum's medium-length cut, along with her deep side part and loose curls help frame her face and show off her gorgeous accessories. For a similar look, mist roots with dry shampoo like Living Proof Dry Shampoo ($36) and back-comb the pieces of hair along your part, for extra body.
Short, Pulled-Forward Curls
Rachael Holder's natural curls get a boost by being cut so that there's more volume up top, with the bulk of the hair pulled forward. Keep strands sleek with a de-frizzing product such as Prose Leave-In Conditioner ($25).
Shoulder-Length Cut With Center Part
Elaine Welteroth's center part lets her voluminous curls shine. For hair that is both color treated and curly, use a product such as Devacurl No Poo ($46), which contains no sulfates. With thick hair like this, Mohapi advises to narrow the ends a bit. "It’s important when cutting thick hair short to remove lots of weight from the ends of the hair to allow the hair to move and appear soft," he says.
Longer Layered Cut
"I happen to love this timeless classic," notes Streicher. But remember: curly hair needs moisture – so don't be afraid to dip in to something rich, like the ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner ($1).
Layered and Loose
Keri Russell's naturally curly mane gets toned down here, but her texture is still visible. A spritz of OGX Aspen Extract Dry Texturizing Spray ($9) will help keep hair flexible but still tousled.