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If your hair has more bend to it than pin-straight strands, but less curve than a curl, welcome to the wavy hair club. Natural waves are as versatile as they are stunning, but depending on dozens of factors (like the weather, the season, and hair care products), styling your waves can be a daunting task. That's why we reached out to the experts to get their industry insight into the cuts and styles that best complement a wavy mane—both long and short—no matter your hair texture or face shape.
So whether you're looking to turn up the glam factor with elegant S-waves or would rather be keeping things casual with a more beachy feel, there is a wavy hairstyle for you. We've rounded up some A-list inspiration along with tips from pro hairstylists Kourtney Scott and Anastasia Stylianou to nail down the most flattering haircuts for wavy hair.
Meet the Expert
- Kourtney Scott is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago specializing in precision cutting and styling.
- Anastasia Stylianou is known for her work as a world-renowned hairstylist specializing in fashion, celebrity, and curly hair.
Check out some of the best celeb-inspired haircuts for wavy hair.
Blake Lively's long tresses ooze beach vibes. The slight bend, damp ends, and unstructured part complement the long length perfectly. To get the look at home, try Drybar's Seashore Spritzer Salt-Free Wave Spray ($27).
Laverne Cox's long bob is in good company with long layers and soft curls. Scott says that this is a great universal cut for both fine and thick hair, and is both low-maintenance and youthful.
Highlights, a pouf, and ultra-long locks? Count us in for this fun, flirty 'do. If you're starting out with sopping wet hair, use Conair's InfinitiPro Frizz Free AC Dryer ($53) for frizz-free drying. Then, follow up with a protective leave-in conditioner to keep flyaways at bay and hair shielded from damage.
We're all about a one-length cut that hits just above the shoulders. Coupled with a fringe and unstructured bends, this look is fresh yet sophisticated.
The beauty of these soft waves is that they work on most hair textures—it's all about finding the right styling products to help manage the length. If your hair is looking a bit dull and weighed down, work in a shine-enhancing serum like Az Haircare's Sooth Serum ($46).
The queen of layered haircuts gives hers a little lived-in feel with tousled ends and beachy waves. To prep hair, detangle, add shine, and run the Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasures Miracle Nectar 10-in-1 Leave-In ($6) through damp strands before styling.
Make like Viola Davis and give your cropped cut a retro feel with these glamorous waves. Amika High Tide Deep Wave Hair Crimper ($120) is what'll get the job done and keep hair looking crease-free.
We can't get enough of layered bobs and neither can Drew Barrymore. Scott touts this style as being great for medium to thick hair types. To ensure your layers are well-blended with the rest of your mane, add a slight curl to the top sections.
Thanks to Rachel McAdams, it doesn't take much convincing to chop your hair into a classic A-line bob. "This is a great style for medium to fine hair with straight or light texture," notes Scott.
You'd think Zendaya's one-length bob and baby fringe would come across as timid, but paired with her auburn color and bold brows, it's anything but. Keep a color like this looking fresh with Pureology Smooth Perfection Shampoo ($34).
Looking to own that model-off-duty cut? Take a cue from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who styles her full-length lob with tousled waves and a messy tuck behind the ear.
If you're all about the length, take a page out of Queen Bey's book and give it some personality with a barely-there wave. Long layers and highlights will create added movement and dimension. It's effortless and easy to achieve.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith is giving off retro vibes with this deep side-parted wavy bob. We love how it perfectly frames her face and allows her to show off her undulating texture. To give your curls structure and bounce, ask your stylist to incorporate strategic layers into your cut.
Leave it to J.Lo to make glamorous waves look attainable. Her sultry stare nearly melts away her icy makeup and accouterments. Meanwhile, a side part flatters her diamond-shaped face.
When Mila Kunis debuted her chic angled bob, we instantly turned into the heart-eyed emoji. Bobs are versatile, easy to style (and maintain), and the cut blends well with hair that has natural movement. "This hairstyle is so flattering, especially if you have a square jawline that you want to soften," adds Stylianou. She recommends styling with Bumble and bumble Invisible Primer ($29).
Give your lob an unexpected twist with a slightly asymmetrical cut. Paired with tousled strands and a bold brow, the look is statement-making all around.
Jennifer Lawrence's blonde lob with root to tip waves and feathered layers is serving up some serious hair-spiration. Philip B.'s texture-enhancing Maui Wowie Beach Mist ($30) will help you mimic the look.
Amp up your A-line bob with a bedazzled hair slide and crimped waves. They add volume and texture to fine tresses. This Gold Chain Link Barrette ($3) by The Hair Edit satisfies our need for accessorizing.
Let your hair do all the talking with this short 'do that doesn't skimp on volume. Ask your stylist for a cropped cut with longer pieces at the front. And don't forget the volumizing mousse.
Long, thick hair weighing down your look? Opt for long, layered cuts over blunt ones. To mimic Rosario Dawson's look, try NuMe's Classic Curling Wand Reverse ($99) —it's made with a 100 percent tourmaline ceramic barrel to deliver full-bodied waves.
We're all about hairstyles that suit all hair types, and this long-layered soft curl look donned by Iman fits the bill. Scott says to use a thermal protectant whenever applying heat to protect your color (and your tresses).
When we think of curtain bangs, we think of Alexa Chung. Here, she styles hers with undone, messy waves and a cropped shoulder-length cut. "Two things stand out with this hairstyle: texture and attention to detail," notes Stylianou. Simply put: it just works. "Ask your hairstylist for some subtle freehand layers and bring the layers to life at the end with a dry texture spray. Cool Girl ($36) by Sam McKnight is my favorite," she adds.
Look closely and you'll see that RiRi's slight lift at the roots adds height to her lob and middle-parted fringe. Plus, her wet-looking curls are so red carpet. Stylianou recommends spraying a little Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse® Oil Spray ($15) on the roots and combing down to get a similar finish. If your hair is a tight curl, Devacurl Super Stretch will help relax it, she notes.
We can't tell you if blondes have more fun than brunettes, but Jessica Alba's chic ombré may be able to. Her shoulder-length cut won't weigh down finer hair textures, and the mid-shaft waves will fake volume in all the right places. "This hairstyle is great for diamond or oval face shapes. To create this finish, I recommend the T3 Convertible Collection. They have a great variety of different size tongs that will all create this style," says Stylianou.
Twist the hair once in a barrel, wrap it loosely around the tong, and leave it for a few seconds. Then pull out at the end as it cools down. You're not curling the hair, you are creating bends and movement.
Mary J. Blige
When it comes to putting in the effort, we're willing to take the plunge if it means good hair days are in our future. "This graduated bob with soft curls can be worn by anyone with fine to thick hair, but it is definitely higher maintenance," warns Scott.
Could Jessica Biel look any more elegant? She exudes old Hollywood glamour with her sleek retro waves. If you have fine hair, use a thickening spray to fake texture—we like Boldify Hair Thickening Spray ($22).
Looking for some short bob inspo? Janet Jackson plays up hers with a warm caramel color. Scott recommends using a smoothing blowout cream before styling with a molding paste for hold, definition, and texture.
Winnie Harlow works it with her statement-worthy tresses. A chic middle part and long, cascading waves make for the perfect head-turning look. Work a small amount of R+Co Turn Table Curl Defining Cream ($32) throughout hair to define waves and induce shine.
We can't tell what's hotter: Sofia Vergara's hot pink lip or her swift layered haircut. Her bangs hit right at the chin, making a center-part, side-part, or sleek pull-back all great options.
When in doubt, flip it out. Especially ideal if your hair is lacking in the volume department, a wavy lob like this one on Olivia Culpo works well with blunt ends and a side-swept parting.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
If there ever were a time to get layer-happy, Priyanka Chopra Jonas has proven it's here and now. Rather than a thick head of hair weighing down her look, the layers help to add balance and structure. Plus, we love that she paired her feathered ends with a simple side braid.
Laura Harrier is giving us some major hair envy with her voluminous natural curls. Since curly hair tends to skew dry, Scott recommends adding lots of moisture by way of Oribe's Styling Butter Curl Enhancing Crème ($46).
(Note: This product is currently out of stock. For something similar, we recommend Oribe Curl Control Silkening Cream, $42).
Hats off to Adele for taking our breath away with both her voice and her red-carpet beauty looks. Here, she's sporting long layers and a medium-length with tons of volume and a bold flip-out at the ends. It frames her face perfectly.
Vintage waves get a modern makeover with this hovering shoulder-length bob. The smaller the curling iron you use, the tighter the curl will be. To replicate Jessica Chastain's waves, use Conair One-Inch Instant Heat Curling Iron ($13).
Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson takes her shoulder-length lob to the next level with this fiery red hue. We're totally digging the straight-back part and perfectly-coiled bends all throughout.
Growing out your pixie? This ear-grazing crop looks fabulous paired with long bangs and a slight go-over with a curling wand. Plus, the warm blonde color makes it a show-stopper no matter the length.
Looking to keep your length—and then some? Let Demi Lovato's long, undulating tresses serve as your inspo. Long layers beginning just below the chin help to bring out your natural waves and lend movement.
If you have fine to medium hair texture, opt for a versatile blunt shoulder-length bob—it's equal parts fun and fresh, yet can be sleek and chic when the time calls for it. Douse hair with a dry texturizing spray for a more matte look like Katy Perry's.
A messy fringe and layered shoulder-length cut are all you need to look effortlessly cool like Halle Berry. Work in Eva NYC's Lazy Jane Air Dry Shampoo ($13) to achieve maximum thickness and texture while air-drying.
Fine-haired folks, listen up: if you don't want to go full-throttle with face-framing layers, opt for a longer one-length cut with light face-framing layers. Scott says it keeps the hair looking thick but the addition of shorter pieces around the face gives it style.
Should I get layers if I have wavy hair?
If you have medium to thick hair density, incorporating layers into your wavy 'do can be flattering. Layers can remove some of your hair's weight and further lend movement and dimension to waves. Long layers, face-framing layers, and even heavily layered cuts like shags are all great options.
How should you style a wavy bob haircut?
Wavy bob haircuts are incredibly versatile. When deciding how to style yours, make it customizable to you. That means first considering your face shape and what features you want to highlight. This will help determine what hair part you decide to go with. Also, is there a mood or occasion to fit your look? Tousled beach waves will give off a more casual vibe while chic retro waves are ideal for a night out.
What is a good low-maintenance haircut for wavy hair?
Cuts that are mid-length and shorter typically require less styling time for wavy hair. Incorporating long layers will allow you to work with your natural texture while removing bulk and creating shape. And with the right products, wavy haircuts can look great when air-dried. In general, avoid bangs since they will add more time to your hair routine.