Sure, the blunt bob always seems to be a top pick in Hollywood—and most everywhere else—but for those of us who've been growing out our lobs since last fall (raises hand), you know the difficulty in trying to style ribcage-grazing hair. It isn't short enough to embrace a short, voluminous chop, and it isn't long enough to execute styles that require the added inches (like an iconic Kardashian ponytail or a Blake Lively braid). But according to hair industry pros Adir Abergel and Anastasia Stylianou, layered, medium hair can be extremely versatile and fun. By working in some long layers, adjusting your part, or styling it "just so," you'll be falling in love with your not-short, not-long hair in no time.
Below, we've rounded up 30 chic medium-length hairstyles for varying textures, inspired by celebrities who wear them best.
Meet the Expert
- Adir Abergel is a celebrity stylist and creative director at Virtue®. His A-list clients include Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, and Kristen Stewart, among others.
- Anastasia Stylianou is an internationally acclaimed hairstylist and creative director, artistic director of Umberto Giannini. She is the founder of Rehab Styling and is a specialist in curly hair.
We can't get Miranda Kerr's collarbone-length cut out of our minds—or our hair inspiration boards. Long, polished layers add extra volume and dimension to her shiny locks. The effect is fun and flirtatious.
"Hello," from dreamland, where we can't stop thinking about how perfect Adele's haircut is. Abergel agrees: "This textured shoulder-length bob is flattering for almost everyone and it will always be in style." He adds, "Breaking down the texture on a shoulder-length bob makes it modern."
To get Adele's look, "Prep the hair by spraying Virtue Labs Volumizing Primer ($36) from roots to ends on towel-dried hair. Then, take a medium-sized Ibiza round brush ($44) and blowdry, rolling the ends slightly tucked in. Finally, apply Virtue Labs Texturizing Spray ($18) to give it an undone finish," says Abergel.
Georgia May Jagger
Georgia May Jagger is rocking a choppy shag with face-framing layers. The uneven layers are very rock 'n roll albeit with a pink feminine flair. "To style this effortless look daily, use Virtues Labs Texturizing Spray ($18) to add definition and movement," says Abergel.
Shanina Shaik complements her just-to-the-shoulder cut with gorgeously defined curls, shine, and a dramatic side part. Abergel adds, "The shag is making a huge comeback with many celebrities. The modern-day shag has an effortless, rock-and-roll feel to it. It’s all about the cut when it comes to achieving the perfect shag. Ask your stylist to give you a modern shag with tons of texture to frame your face softly."
Soo Joo Park
If you're looking to upgrade your medium-length locks with a bit of edge, look no further than Soo Joo Park's rock-and-roll-inspired look. The model's layered, wispy ends pair brilliantly with a light dusting of eyebrow-length fringe. Although this 'do is mostly platinum, Park leaves her bottom layers a darker shade to play with color contrasts.
For gorgeous volume like Chanel Iman's, spritz freshly dried ends (from the mid-shaft down) with a hearty dose of IGK Beach Club Texture Spray ($29). It adds a ton of mega-watt body without the crunch or stick.
From chin-length bobs to silver-platinum hair color, Karlie Kloss always keeps us on our toes when it comes to her ever-evolving locks. We especially love this layered take (pre-bleach job).
Like Kloss, Zendaya seems to have never met a cut or style she didn't like—or that didn't suit her. "I’ve always been a huge fan of embracing your natural texture. Bangs look so chic worn curly and natural," says Abergel. To achieve Zendaya's style, he instructs, "On towel-dried hair, apply a combination of Virtue Labs Unfrizz Cream ($20) and Healing Oil ($42). Apply from mids to ends, and diffuse or air-dry for bouncy, defined curls."
Stylianou adds, "If you're a natural babe and you just want your curls to look effortless and healthy like Zendaya’s, I recommend paying extra attention to your curly hair routine." As to what exactly that entails, she says, "Invest in a microfiber towel, a silk pillowcase, and oiling and treating your hair regularly."
Famously known for her long and luscious strands, we applaud Elsa Hosk for trading in length for a shorter, mid-length cut hitting just passed her shoulders. Abergel comments, "This length looks great on anyone. It’s lower maintenance and fresh, and youthful."To get Hosk's tousled look, he says, "Use a Marcel Iron ($48) and alternate the curl pattern. To finish, use Virtue Labs Un-Frizz Cream ($20) and apply from mids to ends to create a piece-y, deconstructed look."
Shay Mitchell is never short of head-turning hair moments. Here, her layers are dispersed throughout to give her mane a fresh, dimensional touch. As for her secret to great hair? For starters, try ditching your blow-dryer.
With a sleek nod to Old Hollywood glamour, Emma Stone wears her layers with flattering waves inspired by Veronica Lake. However, her shorter length gives the iconic style a refreshing update. "Ask your stylist to always add Olapex when lightening your hair to avoid breakage," recommends Stylianou. She adds, "Another top tip to keep hair looking clean and not brassy is to use a toning mask, Christophe Robin - Baby Blond ($53) is my favorite."
Actress Parisa Fitz-Henley embraces her natural texture and lets her curls just be. Her soft layers lend form and style to her 'do, which is important when working with curly natural texture. To keep curls nourished, Stylianou swears by Olaplex treatments. She recommends, "Do this on a weekly basis, leave overnight to get maximum effects, and apply Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil ($7) to your roots."
If you're looking for the perfect antidote to unpredictable strands that is also au naturel then give these DIY curl cream recipes a shot
We'd be silly to say that we don't unabashedly drool over Chrissy Teigen's otherworldly cheekbones. And though it does seem impossible, her flattering length and beach wave layers only make them look better.
Brazilian bombshell Adriana Lima pulls off this layered, wavy style without even trying. If you've got thick tresses, layers are a surefire way to remove some weight while adding softness and movement.
Leave it to Wonder Woman to blow us away with her luscious, big barrel curls. For a sheeny finish, apply a gloss-inducing product like Chi Enviro Smoothing Shine Spray ($15).
There's blonde and then there's neon yellow. Cassie makes this bright tone work as it complements her skin tone and her classic tapered lob. While she opts for subtle nude makeup, you can always take this sunny shade one step further with yellow eye makeup, that is, only if you dare.
Mid-length cascading undulations look lovely on Gemma Chan. To get her loose waves, opt for a 1 ½-inch wand like Bed Head Curlipops Curling Wand ($26). And if you're looking for more ways to style center-parted hair, look no further than Kendall Jenner.
Constance Wu shows us how a wave can take choppy layers from edgy to romantic. Finish off with a deep side part and pin back a few strands with your hair accessory of choice.
Wet-look hair, whether worn slicked-back or side-parted, is trending thanks to its many celebrity wearers. Normani opts for a curly version which is softer than its straight counterpart. Use a gel and cream product combo to not only give strands that wet finish and shine, but also much-needed definition.
You don't have to be a Swiftie to appreciate this American music icon's hits—be them music or hair. Taylor Swift modernizes her medium-length mane with feathery layers, texture, and full-on fringe.
Hungarian model Barbara Palvin's glossy lob comes complete with face-framing layers. Fine-haired girls take note: Flipping ends inward is a fast and easy way to create fullness and body.
Victoria's Secret Angel Jasmine Tookes shows off pretty face-framing layers, which are offset by dimensional chocolate and caramel-hued highlights. The medium-length hits just right.
With a fiery red mane like Christina Hendricks, it would seem that any cut or style would look good against this color canvas. Her loose, romantic curls are feminine, sophisticated, and can be achieved with retro rollers.
January Jones looks California cool with her wavy blonde mane and long, wispy bangs that evoke brushstrokes. Choppy ends add texture which results in a more lived-in finish.
Consider your hair texture when deciding whether you want a cut that's blunt or one with texture. Blunt cuts work well with fine hair since they add structure and fullness while those with thick tresses may want to opt for a textured style to remove weight and create movement.
Chic and sophisticated, Winnie Harlow's long-layered tapered lob is stunning. The subtle ombré effect adds dimension to an otherwise sleek and classic style.
Equal parts chic and equal parts grunge, Aussie actress Rose Byrne brings two seemingly opposite styles together in this layered look. Her sleek platinum strands complement her dark roots and choppy ends that leave us wanting more.
Aja Naomi King
Soft, glossy curls that hit at the collarbone are elegant, not to mention simple to replicate. It only takes six easy steps to get loose, effortless waves that last all day.
Actress and animal rights activist Maggie Q shows us the versatility of layers. By blowing her ends outward, she not only showcases her layers but also creates fullness and body with a flirtatious finish.
Stranger Things' Natalia Dyer modernizes this sleek retro wave by leaving her roots dark. Her deep side-part is flattering for heart-shaped faces since it works to create facial symmetry and balance.