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The days when you used to bemoan your hair being in that awkward mid-length stage are gone. We'd argue that the popularity for medium-length hairstyles all started with Jennifer Aniston's must-have "Rachel" cut in Friends, and we've now reached the peak with an abundance of people desperate for their own shoulder-length look. And how do we know this? According to our beauty insiders, this hair length is one of the most requested looks in salons right now.
We spoke to leading hairstylists—Henna Khalid, Scott Ade, and Ahn Co Tran—about the trends they've seen and what their clients are asking for at the moment. But perhaps most importantly (because this is totally what we do, too), we wanted to know which celebrities their clients are bringing into the salon.
Keep scrolling to find out the current most popular mid-length hairstyles, and how to go after this look.
Meet the Expert
- Scott Ade is a hairstylist at Larry King hair, with more than a decade of experience at John Frieda, and five years spent working at Hershesons, along with countless fashion shows in London.
- Anh Co Tran is the Global Creative Director for Milbon & expert celebrity hair stylist in Los Angeles.
- Henna Khalid is a hair stylist that has experience working with a variety of hair textures and lengths.
Olivia Palermo's glossy, tousled tresses are paparazzi perfect. It should come as no surprise then that most of Khalid's clients reference her when they come into the salon. Overall, he is "seeing more and more mid-length styles" being requested.
But it's not just Palermo who is popular with clients. Khalid also reveals that Khloé Kardashian is being requested a lot. And the best way to get her look? We know that Jen Atkin regularly tends to the reality star's tresses, so we suggest investing in some of her Ouai haircare products, such as the Volume Spray ($26).
The longer your hair, the fatter your curling iron should be. A curling iron, clamp or not, is what you need in your hair tool arsenal. And if your goal is to look somewhat undone, always leave the ends out when curling.
Keeping with lived-in styles, this wavy, layered 'do on Joan Smalls is casual and cool. By tousling hair ever so slightly and curling waves outward, she achieves a look that is visually effortless—and classy (thanks to that red lip).
Everything we thought about the medium-length hairstyle trend—that it's especially popular with those who already have long hair but are fearful of going too short—is confirmed by Ade. Gwyneth Paltrow is a name that customers drop on the regular.
We've made no secret of the fact that we love Constance Wu and her beauty looks. But her hair is also a winner, too. The slight curl makes this cut wearable for any day or evening event as it can be dressed up or down.
We've often lusted after Léa Seydoux's tousled blonde hair that rests on her shoulders. This is how French girls do mid-length. Francophile or not, you can't deny that the French know what they're doing when it comes to hair—among other things, we might add.
It's no wonder Victoria Beckham was deemed Posh Spice, after all, she is the embodiment of elegance. Exhibit A: her iconic hairstyles. Ade reveals that "clients want a slightly '70s shape, such as the Lo-LA" as seen here on VB.
While Emma Stone often changes up her hair color, she's quite the stickler for a medium-length cut. We're loving how she plays up wavy texture with this deep-parted side-swept wet-look that is all the rage.
When wondering how to ask for a medium-length hairstyle, Ade advises, "mid-length haircuts are generally left slightly longer in the front and kept squarer at the back—think Rosie Huntington-Whiteley." Although she's had some stunning hair moments, this is RHW's signature look that she comes back to time and time again.
Always the same length and always imitated, Alexa Chung's hair is the ultimate it-girl cut. If you're looking to add a fringe, but want to keep it low-maintenance, curtain bangs are the way to go. Add layers, but leave them slightly undone, to give off a not-trying-too-hard (read: cool-girl) vibe.
Switching up the part in your hair is an easy yet effective way of changing up your look. If you've got fine tresses, a side part like the one seen here on Tessa Thompson can add extra oomph to your mane.
Highlights serve to underscore the wavy texture of Jasmine Tookes' undulating 'do while simultaneously brightening her complexion. Layers add dimension and movement that enhance this flattering mid-length cut.
Maisie Williams looks awesome with her accessorized pink lob and fringe combo. "The mid-length haircut is one that has been around for a while and is a great stepping stone for people who want to do something that feels a bit more risky/edgy with their hair, especially after a long spell of being committed to the long hair trend," explains Ade.
Salt spray adds texture without any of the stickiness as Karrueche Tran can attest with this undone wavy number. According to Khalid, "Not many customers are really going for straight hair anymore. One of our most asked for styles is now the undone beach wave. This tends to suit and hold really well on mid-length hair."
Laura Harrier nails the girl next door look with her gorgeous natural waves. If you're aiming to amp up texture but your hair is on the finer side, Tran recommends Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray ($28) to induce volume and add height to roots.
While we love Lady Gaga's daring 'dos, these effortless waves are simply stunning—not to mention the platinum and dark root pairing is undeniably in. The middle part helps to frame your face with the soft curls and long layers.
Tran suggests mussing your hair by massaging the roots and scrunching with your hands—not a brush or a comb—in order to achieve a textured, lived-in look.
Ana de Armas
Ana de Armas's glossy waves are pure perfection. Try incorporating long layers into your mid-length cut to encourage texture and movement. Tran suggests running Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream ($52) through hair mid-shafts to ends.
Can't decide whether to go chic and refined or natural and flirty? Then follow Logan Browning's lead and do both. The contrast of a sleek crown and voluminous curls makes for the ultimate half-up, half-down style.
Keri Russell complements her heart-shaped face with a deep side part. The effect is one of beautiful cascading layers and body. Pair with a sexy smoky eye and you're ready for a night out.
Apart from being universally flattering, the lob is also incredibly versatile. It's long enough to throw into an updo, but can also be worn down and styled to fit any occasion. Alesha Dixon opts for a sleek and sculpted look with a berrylicious lip.
Call it pizazz, but Natasha Lyonne has that special something about her that just draws you in. Her strawberry blonde hair—soft, airy, and tousled—keeps you there.
Krysten Ritter's jet black hair is head-turning, especially against her fair complexion. Curtain bangs add a little something-something to this raven-haired beauty's mid-length cut.
Not too long and not too short, a medium-length cut is Padma Lakshmi's preferred style—and it's not hard to know why. She looks like a work of art in this middle-parted blunt cut (the interplay of pink and red accents might also have something to do with it). Tran says to apply Oribe Balm d'Or Heat Styling Shield ($45) to damp hair to smooth and protect lustrous locks.
If want this sleek and shiny look, but your hair has some curl to it—you may need to use a flat iron to achieve this style. Make sure you spray on a heat protectant to try to prevent damage.
Wondering how to style medium-length hair to get those perfect beachy waves? Tran let us in on his secrets: Roughly blow dry hair about 75 percent (more or less depending on the hair's texture), then work in one-inch horizontal sections when curling hair, starting from the bottom up. For fine hair that needs volume, Tran swears by Shu Uemura Texturizing Spray ($42).
What mid-length hairstyle is best for a round face?
Medium length hair looks great on any face shape, including round faces. Part your hair down the middle or have a deep side part to best flatter round faces. Use a root-boosting spray at your crown to create lots of volume on top to further elongate and slim your face.
What medium-length haircut is best for thin hair?
Mid-length hair is a great length for thin hair, as longer hair tends to look stringy, while super short hair can look sparse. A blunt cut helps maintain the thickness of your hair. If you opt for layers, keep them light or subtle and just around your face to create volume and movement.
How can I get beachy waves in my mid-length hair?