You get the perfect haircut. You leave the salon feeling (and looking) like a supermodel. Then, you wash and try to style it for the first time, but it looks nothing like it did the day you left the salon (sigh). The sad fact is that not all haircuts are wash-and-go. Some of the best-looking styles are also the most time-intensive. But who has the time to spend an hour in the bathroom straightening and curling every morning?
We don’t. To help you avoid a repeat of the above scenario, we consulted expert stylists to round up 20 low-maintenance styles that won’t add precious minutes to your morning routine. The following cuts will afford you minimal if no styling commitment, no matter your texture.
Scroll through to find the right low-maintenance haircut for your hair type, bring the photo to your stylist, and prepare to save a lot of time.
Meet the Expert
Thick: Blunt Bangs
Since a thick mane can take a long time to dry and style, consider going short to cut down on maintenance time. Tyra Banks's bowl cut is dare-we-say "fierce." She pulls off a blunt bang to a T since the weight and density of her hair—plus a little gravity—naturally allow it to drape across her forehead (read: no stringy separation here).
Thick: Tiered Layers
Although blunt bangs tend to flatter thick hair, an overall blunt cut doesn't pose as the best option for this particular texture. Choose long layers instead, which will take off some of the weight to speed up styling. "Long seamless layers give internal movement, so you can't tell where one layer starts and/or ends," says Holly Dear, stylist and founder of House of Dear.
Thick: Choppy Bob
Olivia Wilde's layered bob is edgy meets elegance. "A chin-touching bob with choppy layers is a great look that is easy to maintain if you’re blessed with thick locks. The cut removes bulk making it easier to manage," comments Gina Rivera, founder of Phenix Salon Suites. To get the most out of this look, she suggests applying a styling cream like Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Air Dry Crème ($11) to damp hair—no blowdrying required.
Thick: Frace-Framing Layers
Ask for long layers around your face to create movement and a flattering, face-framing shape. Have your stylist tailor your layers to best complement your natural texture and face shape. "Find a stylist that takes the time to listen and understand your hair and your lifestyle," says Leigh Hardges, stylist and natural hair specialist at Maxine Salon. "Also good, professional products and tools will make your life a breeze."
When it comes to thin or fine hair, you can't go wrong with the ever-versatile and low-maintenance lob. "To really emphasize fullness, add a small amount of mousse, turn the head upside down, and scrunch the hair slightly while drying. To finish, flip hair upwards and use your fingers to tousle the hair from underneath rather than combing it out. Finish with a spritz of Clutch Hairspray ($17) for a fun edgy look," instructs Rivera.
If you have thin hair, your aim is to enhance body and density. Allow a little length to the collarbone because it adds the appearance of fullness, especially if the ends are slightly turned under.
Thin: Blunt Shag
The shag is back and better than ever. Although it has traditionally been worn by those who have medium to thick hair, Dear says that fine-haired folks can also rock this cut: "Blunt ends give integrity to this shape and the shag allows a face-framing and carefree movement for an overall fuller look." To style, "add Living Proof Texture Volumizer ($27) and Dry Volume Blast ($32) for hold and texture. Dry hair back and forth using your fingers or a paddle brush."
Thin: Blunt Bob
Thin hair has a hard time maintaining volume, so instead of fighting to create fullness with lots of layers (and styling products), embrace an easy, one-length cut. Ask your stylist for a blunt cut—blunt ends create the illusion of thickness. For all hair types, but straight hair especially, "a stylist should focus on the problem areas for the client like cowlicks or thinning hair because those can pose bigger problems as they grow out," says Hardges.
Thin: The Updated "Rachel"
Hair that falls just below the shoulders weighs itself down just enough so you won’t have to fuss with a ton of product and heat styling. If you do want to speed up the drying process, Hardges recommends using a blow-dry brush like the Trademark Beauty Easy Blo ($49). "The combination of heat and varied bristle lengths provides the tension needed to really smooth the hair. Plus it’s super lightweight, making it very easy to maneuver."
Curly: Angular Lob
An a-line or angular lob that’s longer in the front and slightly shorter in the back adds shape to curly hair, giving it a built-in style even when you wash and go. "Medium hair is all in the layers. This is what will keep your hair from looking triangular as it grows," notes Laura Polko, celebrity hairstylist and NatureLab.Tokyo ambassador. Follow Chrissy Teigen's lead and take your long bob to the next level by wearing it "wet." We can't stop screenshotting these long bob haircuts.
Curly: Long and Layered
Opt for curls that fall below your collarbone, and ask for plenty of layers throughout to remove some of the bulk. "For curls, length is important. Curly hair has a more awkward grow-out pattern, so the longer it is, the easier to maintain," comments Polko. To achieve Salma Hayek's effortless waves, Dear says to apply curl cream while hair is still wet. Scrunch and let dry naturally or diffuse if in a hurry.
Curly: Mid-Length U-Cut
If you're looking to maintain your length and a style that will allow you to show off your curly texture, a U-shaped haircut is a great option. "Mid-length U-cuts are great for naturally curly hair," Rivera tells us. "The cut allows you to remove some bulk, making the hair easier to tame and it also serves to emphasize longer loose curls," she says.
Mid-length U-shaped cuts provide a myriad of styling options like the fashionable and foolproof high ponytail. Dress it up or down by selecting the right elastic or ponytail holder—and don't forget a bit of curl cream to define curls and add bounce.
Curly: Extra-Long Layers
To get Kelly Rowland's super-tight curls, keep your layers extra-long in front to avoid having to fight with curls in your face. For the ultimate curly girl method, Dear suggests a Deva cut, which is specifically geared towards those with natural waves or curls. "It is a technique used to help your curls be supported and grow out effortlessly," she explains. "A good curly haircut is all about the grow out—how the shape will look and transform once it starts to grow," emphasizes Hardges.
Wavy: Tousled Pixie
If you have wavy hair and aren’t afraid to go short, choose a tousled pixie cut. Waves lend texture to this classic style which requires little to no upkeep. "Any strong shape in a haircut shouldn't require a ton of styling," says Hardges. "Undercuts and pixie cuts are my faves though, just a little finger tousling, maybe a spray wax for texture, and hold and then out the door you go."
Wavy: Asymmetrical With Deep Side Part
An asymmetrical cut with a deep side part is perfect for wavy hair if you’re looking for ease of styling. Rivera says, "Add some styling mousse and a bit of root booster for texture. Partially dry the hair focusing on the roots and then allow the remainder to air dry. Style with your fingertips for a natural look. If you’re going for sleek, tuck one side behind your ear" à la Keri Russell.
Wavy: Shoulder-Length Shag
Lucy Hale's '70s-inspired 'do has the perfect lived-in texture. For longer, wavy hair, a shoulder-length shag that you can just scrunch with salt spray (we love Ouai Wave Spray, $26) is the ultimate in low-maintenance hairstyles. Equally low-maintenance are accessories. "I love using accessories, like snap clips, headbands, or giant scrunchies. They can elevate your style and tie it all together without much work," says Polko.
Wavy: Face-Framing Layers
Ask for lots of face-framing layers (or DIY) to prevent your natural texture from overpowering you. Believe it or not, the right cut—and not just the right products—can help to keep your waves effortless, cool, and even frizz-free. Got second-day hair? "You can create an easy slicked-back look by working with your natural oils and even adding a hair mask at the very front to slick your hair down in place of hairspray," says Polko. She recommends NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Repair Treatment Masque ($17) to get the job done.
Straight: Cascading Layers
Cascading layers create the illusion of volume with minimal styling. And since great hair starts in the shower, "Focus on hair health by using a treatment masque, and using a protective leave-in (NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Repair Leave-In Treatment, $17) to reduce dry time and have a better air-dry result," says Polko. Just keep in mind that you'll still need to keep up with the breakage to avoid the tell-tale V-shape in the back, she notes. "It’s better to sacrifice a little length to have a more blunt end than to keep the tail."
Straight: Classic Lob
Emma Roberts's lob possesses a timeless elegance that has us mesmerized. "The beauty of a lob is the straight lines and emphasis on the neck accentuating the lines of your jaw and lips," says Dear. When styling, "utilize smoothing serums for shine and to keep from getting tangled. Dry with a paddle brush."
To create beautiful waves, Hardges likes the Dyson Air Wrap ($550). "It totally eliminates the blow-dry and curl steps by making a blowdryer that curls like an iron."
Straight: Long Layers and Choppy Bangs
When shopping for straight styles, look no further than Heidi Klum. Her long, choppy bangs and longer layers bring out the best of straight tresses, comments Rivera. "The cut looks perfect with highlights, balayage, or a subtle ombré. You can also gain volume with the use of a round brush when drying," she notes. "For straight hair, the most important thing to look out for is the layering," adds Polko. "That’s what makes your cut able to grow out and last. Environment and heat can cause breakage, but layers can camouflage it and make it last longer between cuts."
What is a wash-and-go haircut?
A wash-and-go haircut means you don’t use styling tools, such as hair dryers or curling irons, to style your hair. You simply wash it and let it air dry. There are many different haircuts that are considered wash-and-go, including long layered hair, lob and the pixie, however talk to your hairstylist to find out which cut would work best as a wash-and-go according to your hair texture.
Is a short bob low maintenance?
It depends on your hair texture and how you want to style it. For example, if you have wavy hair and want a straight bob, then that would require styling tools which would make it more high maintenance. If you embrace your natural texture and let it air dry, then it would be low maintenance. Keep in mind you will also need to trim your hair every three to six weeks to maintain the style.
Is short hair or long hair more low maintenance?
Many people are divided on this question. Very short hair, such as a Pixie, is often easy to style, however requires frequent haircuts to maintain it. Long, straight hair is low maintenance as it can easily be put in a ponytail or braid and doesn’t require frequent trims, however it takes longer to blow-dry and curl.
Are lobs easy to maintain?