It seems like all the cool kids are rocking short hair these days, but while it's tempting to follow suit, those of us with thick hair have to take pause. Without the natural heaviness of long locks, will our manes devolve into a frizzy pouf after making the chop? Consider this article evidence to the contrary. As a matter of fact, strategically cutting your hair short can literally lift a weight off your shoulders and cut down on maintenance time, too—all while highlighting your kick-ass natural texture. It's all a matter of smart layering and selecting a crop that works particularly well with thicker strands. And for that, you don't need to look any further than these 50 short hairstyles and haircuts for thick hair, which happen to be both cool and practical.
Scroll on to check out some of the most stunning, celebrity-inspired short hairstyles for thick hair.
The great thing about having thick hair is that you're able to navigate the awkward growing-out phase a little more easily—especially if you have natural waves. "With newfound lightness, curls will appear curlier and have a lot of bounce," says Diana Macaluso, a Redken stylist at New York City's Cutler Salon.
With this in mind, we'd even say skip the initial ultra-short crop and go straight for this style, as seen on Michelle Williams, from the get-go. Just ask your stylist for longer layers in the front that shape and emphasize your curls. And after the cut, play up your natural texture with a lightweight styling paste, like Redken's Dry Shampoo Paste 05 ($20).
Lily Collins knows how to make a statement on the red carpet, and these old Hollywood curls on her lob are no exception. The cut and style highlights her thick hair perfectly. To create the look, use a large-barrel curling iron to curl your ends inwards. Finish with a high-shine hairspray, like CHI's Shine Infusion Hair Shine Spray ($8).
Mary J. Blige
This short haircut for thick hair packs a serious punch. We love the short, tapered sides and voluminous top. It makes styling thick locks much easier, since you only need to worry about the top portion of your hair. To recreate Mary J. Blige's hairstyle, apply a generous amount of volume mousse (try Drybar's Southern Belle Volume-Boosting Mousse, $27) to damp hair, then blow-dry the hair backward for the perfect swoop.
Anika Noni Rose
Anika Noni Rose's pixie haircut is similar, with even shorter tapered sides making styling her thick hair a breeze. Rather than swooping the longer, top portion of hair backward, it's brought to the front so it hangs just over her forehead. Use a small amount of R+Co's Sand Castle Dry Texture Crème ($29) for this look.
Iman's short, thick hairstyle has us swooning. The retro look is a great way to tame thick hair, keeping it smooth and manageable throughout the night. To learn how to recreate it, we turned to Mandee Tauber, Oribe educator and hairstylist. Start by misting Oribe's Invisible Defense Universal Protection Spray ($44) on hair for heat protection and flat ironing the hair for a sleek, straight look. "Apply Oribe's Star Glow Styling Wax ($42) around the hairline and all over the top layer for a glossy shine and flexible hold," says Tauber.
For a slightly longer look, take inspiration from Dua Lipa. Her lob falls just a few inches past her chin, emphasizing her sharp jawline. To mimic her hairstyle, first create a deep side part. Then, apply a small amount of Amika's Supernova Moisture and Shine Hair Cream ($25) to damp strands for the perfect wet hair look.
Take it from us (and Miranda Kerr), you can't go wrong with slicking thick, short hair into a sleek low bun. Not only does this short hairstyle for thick hair look sophisticated, but it's also a great way to hide oily roots from second (or third) day hair. Apply Bumble and bumble's Brilliantine ($25) to your hair before smoothing it back and securing it into a tight low bun.
Torn between wearing your hair up or down? Sarah Hyland rocks the best of both worlds with this half-up hairstyle. For the same carefree feel, pull a few face-framing strands loose and add some tousled texture to your ends with Ouai's Texturizing Hair Spray ($26).
Rosie's romantic updo is a beautiful way to style thick hair. First, part your hair down the middle and apply R+Co's DALLAS Thickening Spray ($30) throughout your hair for a volume boost. Then, twist your face-framing strands towards the back of your head. Twist the length of your hair into a low, messy bun and secure with bobby pins. For an added touch, pull a few strands loose at the front of your face.
Another updo, Emma Stone has her lob haircut swept into a loose bun at the back of her head. To still have hair around your face in the same manner, leave your fringe hanging free. Since the bangs are the center of this look, spritz on Drybar's Hot Toddy Heat Protectant Mist ($27) before using a curling wand to loosely wave your fringe.
To recreate this faux lob hairstyle, we turned to Howard McLaren, cofounder and creative director of R+Co. "Create the part to suit your preference. Then, on clean hair, apply R+Co's RODEO STAR Thickening Style Foam ($32) for shine and hold." Next, he says to blow dry with a round brush for volume and use R+Co's OUTER SPACE Flexible Hairspray ($32) and a curling iron set with a one-inch iron. "Let the set cool down and use your fingers to break up the set. Then roll the longer lengths under to achieve the length you want, and pin using straight pins to secure hair," he says.
This messy updo also creates the illusion of a pixie cut. It'll work best on those who have a one-length haircut. First, create a deep side part and use a flat iron to straighten your hair. Then, add a bit of messy texture by using Moroccanoil's Dry Texture Spray ($28). Gather your length into a low, messy off-center bun to complete the look.
Charlize Theron embraces her thick hair with an even thicker headband. "This is a very strong look with a center part for added drama," McLaren says. To start, comb R+Co's WATERFALL Moisture + Shine Lotion ($29) through your hair. Part hair down the middle and let it dry, keeping it flat with a hairnet or a bandana. "This is a great look for a haircut with a short nape and longer front," McLaren explains. Middle part not your thing? He adds that you can do a similar look with a strong side part.
McLaren also walked us through this sleek bun with laid edges as seen on Yara Shahidi. Create a strong side part and slick the hair using a fine-tooth comb and R+Co's MOTORCYCLE Flexible Gel ($28) into the nape and then secure with an elastic band. "Either a small chignon or a braid will keep this look very clean. Then for a little drama, use a tail comb to create the kiss curls, or if you have longer hair in the front and sides, you can do a pin curl or a wave," McLaren says.
It's safe to say Kate Hudson can pull off any haircut, with this short haircut for thick hair being no exception. Roughly blow dry your hair straight, then use Ouai's Matte Pomade ($24) to bring the sides and top of the hair backward. Feel free to tease some of the underneath layers of the top of your hair for added volume.
Thick strands afford you the ability to play around with layers and texture, since thinning out your natural volume a bit is actually a good strategy for a bouncy, swingy lob or bob. For this particular look, which works well for straight or wavy hair, ask your stylist for blunt ends with a few wispy layers that highlight your natural texture. And the tousled look is all in the styling: Your go-to tool is Oribe's Dry Texturizing Spray ($48).
Take care not to go overboard with thinning the hair since thinning out too much can also lead to poofiness.
Selena Gomez decided to sweep her bob haircut into a messy, romantic updo. To replicate the look, create some wavy texture throughout your hair with a wide-barrel curling iron. Then, mist R+Co's BALLOON Dry Volume Spray ($32) throughout your hair to add some body. Smooth all of your hair back and twist it into a bun at the back of your head, securing with bobby pins. Pull a few face-framing strands loose and you'll be good to go!
This thick, curly short pixie is all about defining your natural texture. To help emphasize your natural curls, use your fingers to roll small sections of hair into pin curls, securing them to your head with bobby pins. Spray R+Co's Outer Space Flexible Hairspray ($32) over your hair to help set your hair. After letting your style set, removing the bobby pins to reveal tight, emphasized curls.
Claire Foy's short hairstyle for thick hair is simple and elegant. First, create a precise middle part. Then, straighten your hair and apply a hair serum, like Redken's Diamond Oil Glow Dry ($22).
A great way to style a bob is to flick it out for a throwback to the 1950s. To get the look, McLaren says to use R+Co's CENTERPIECE All-in-One Elixir Spray ($32) and blow dry hair with a medium round brush to smooth and create volume at the crown. "As you get to the ends, use the brush to turn up the ends or blow it under and then come back and use the bush and heat to flip it up. A large curling iron can also be used, but plan where you want most of the flip," he explains. To finish, apply R+Co's FOIL Frizz + Static Control Spray ($29) for shine.
Lupita's updo is all about embracing her natural texture and thickness. First, give your hair a boost with Amika's Thicc Volumizing and Thickening Styling Cream ($25). "Brush the hair with a flat bristle brush into a round shape. A gold ribbon or any other material like an elastic thread will shape the look and will push the front down to create a Nefertiti shape," McLaren explains.
Love a messy updo? Here, Amber Valetta embraces a carefree yet romantic look by leaving a large amount of her short, thick hair hanging freely. To get the look, spritz Bumble and bumble's Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer ($28) throughout your hair and create a wavy texture using a large barrel curling iron. Then, gather your hair starting behind the ears and pin your ends at the back of your head. Remember—it's meant to be messy!
Kate Mara left her bob haircut simple with the exception of an accent braid. Gather a two-inch section of hair at the hairline and French braid it backward until you reach behind your ear. Bobby pin the ends and situate your length so it covers where the braid ends. Repeat on the other side of your head with a one-inch French braid. To make sure your hard work doesn't go to waste, use OGX's Argan Oil of Morocco Shine & Revitalize Extra Strength Multi-Benefit Hairspray ($9) to set your look.
We love the choppy texture of Angela Bassett's short haircut for thick hair. While her hair is styled with a slight wave, there's one thing that really stands out about her mane: shine! Apply Kenra Professional's Shine Spray ($18) for a high-shine finish.
Embrace your natural texture with a cool—literally and figuratively—braided pixie à la actress Amandla Stenberg. Just be sure to keep it hydrated with a weekly oil-based mask, like Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque ($17).
Nicole Richie's short hairstyle is kept simple with a half-up bun. First, use a texture mist, like Sexy Hair's Texture Beach'n Spray Texturizing Beach Spray ($19), to create a bit of definition. Then, part your hair from ear-to-ear and bring the top section into a messy bun at the top of your head. All done!
Kylie Jenner's look is both sleek and simple. McLaren says that you can add drama to a bob with a very strong part and shine for an updated 1920s look. First, create your deep side part and apply a thickening spray. "With the parting in place, blow dry the hair using a medium flat brush, giving a little root lift at crown and part," he explains.
Then, a small flat iron can be used with frizz-fighting spray to finish hair and the ends. "Using the flat brush to get that very clean finish, you can also pin the sides back to keep the look clean," he says. "A quick alternative is to use R+Co's WALL ST Strong Hold Gel ($28) to comb damp—not wet—hair into place, and let it dry with a hairnet for hold."
The It cut of the season happens to be perfect for thick-haired gals since, again, the layers help thin out your hair while also emphasizing your curls or waves. Just scrunch in a styling cream (like It's a 10's Miracle Styling Cream, $15) after showering, and be sure to check out our guide on air-drying thick hair.
This rocker 'do is blissfully low-maintenance and perfect for anyone with textured strands.
This beautiful updo is another option that's on the messier side. Part your hair down the middle, then apply Moroccanoil's Hydrating Styling Cream ($34) to your strands and use your fingers to comb the hair backward. Depending on the length of your short hair, secure the ends with bobby pins at the back of your head or twist into a bun.
Tina Fey's updo is full of volume with a sleek, shiny finish. First, use a flat iron to straighten your hair. Mist Paul Mitchell's Extra-Body Boost Root Lifter ($16) throughout your roots and use a fine-tooth comb to tease and build volume at the crown of the head. Smooth the top layer of hair and gather the length into a low bun at the back of your hair. If you have bangs, allow them to hang freely—but make sure they're sleek like the rest of your hair!
Reese's hair is swept into a bun at the back with a heavy side bang left hanging at the front. Straighten your hair and section your fringe away from the rest of your hair. Working with the remaining hair, sweep it back into a low bun. Then, mist IGK's No More Blow High Speed Air Dry Hairspray ($15) over your hair.
The wispy, curly texture of Rita Ora's updo has us swooning with envy. Use a small barrel curling iron to create tight ringlets throughout your mane. To add a bit more texture, spritz OGX's Aspen Extract Dry Texturizing Spray ($6) throughout your hair. Gather your curly locks and loosely bobby pin them at the back of the head. Don't worry about perfection—the messier, the better.
This voluminous ponytail and long fringe is gorgeous on Halle Berry's short, thick hair. To learn how to recreate it, we turned to Tauber, who says to start with dry hair and mist a texture spray at the roots before pulling the hair into a messy ponytail at the back of the head. "Split the ponytail in half, spray a texture spray on ends, and backcomb loosely with a brush to create volume and texture," she says. To create piecey definition, Tauber suggests applying Oribe's Airstyle Flexible Finishing Cream ($42) on the fringe and around the hairline.
Rihanna's sleek topknot is a great option for taming short, thick hair. First, straight your hair with a flat iron. Then, apply a liberal amount of hair gel (we love Matrix's Biolage Styling Gelée, $18) to your roots and slick your hair backward. Twist your length into a topknot and secure with an elastic and bobby pins.
It's safe to say Zendaya can pull off just about any hairstyle—and short, thick hair falls under that statement. And Kien Hoang, Oribe director of training and content, told us just how to get it. First, layer on Oribe's Gel Sérum Radiance, Magic and Hold ($63), and blow out the hair. "When it comes to the hairline, make sure to stretch out the hair with a tail comb for a polished look," he adds.
Then, create a classic curl set with a two-inch barrel tong. Brush out the curls and part your hair to the side before applying Oribe's Gold Lust All Over Oil ($66) to the ends for shine.
If you like to wear your hair down, take cues from Anne Hathaway with this wavy side-swept look. First, create a deep side part. Curl your hair using a one-inch curling iron and apply Redken's Rewind 06 Texturizing Styling Paste ($20) to add some messy texture. Bring all of your hair to one side to finish the look.
Here, Natalie Portman styles her bob haircut with a middle part and loose waves. First, part your hair down the middle and apply Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray ($28) throughout your hair. Then, use a wide barrel curling iron to add a loose, wavy texture to your strands. Finger-comb your hair for a looser feel.
This pixie hairstyle for thick hair is super easy to recreate. Since the sides of Scarlett Johansson's hair are kept short, all you need to worry about styling is the top section of hair. Create some loose waves throughout your length. Then, apply Sexy Hair's Healthy Sexy Hair Styling Paste ($19) and use your fingers to comb the hair backward.
Shailene Woodley's messy bun is a step up from a traditional messy bun thanks to the accent braids running along her ear. Section off a two-inch section of hair at your hairline going back toward your ear. Working on the hair you sectioned off, create two one-inch French braids stopping behind your ear. Then, bring the remaining hair into a messy bun at the back of your head. Seal your style with Bumble and bumble's Spray de Mode Flexible Hold Hairspray ($32).
For a carefree style, sweep your bob haircut backward and put it behind your ears like Kristen Stewart. "Apply Oribe's Matte Waves Texture Lotion ($42) through damp hair and tousle dry the hair to give it a beachy texture," says Tauber. "Finish off the style with Oribe's Flash Form Finishing Spray Wax ($42) all over for buildable texture, separation, and a light sheen."
This messy bun is full of texture and life. Apply Paul Mitchell's Invisiblewear Undone Texture Hairspray ($20) to your hair. Then, bring your length into a bun at the back of your head and secure with bobby pins. Pull a few face-framing strands loose to complete your style.
Katy Perry's short bob is brought to life with her defined waves. Rather than using a curling iron, a hair waver will be your best friend for recreating this hairstyle for thick hair. Create a deep side part before using Bed Head's A Wave We Go Adjustable Deep Waver ($40) to give your strands that waved texture.
This high topknot is giving a new twist with thick, face-framing strands. Tauber recommends pulling your hair into a topknot using Oribe's Free Styler Working Hairspray ($42) and a large boar brush. To add a satin finish to the hairline and front pieces of hair, apply Oribe's Airstyle Flexible Finishing Cream ($42).
Emilia Clarke's thick, bob haircut is brushed backward into a simple and edgy style. Allow your hair to maintain its natural texture and focus on adding extra volume at the crown by teasing your roots. Then, apply Amika's Got Grit Dry Texture Paste ($25) to your hair while combing it backward with your fingers for just the right amount of texture.
This short haircut for thick hair is centered around a piecey fringe. To replicate the look, you'll want to apply IGK's EXPENSIVE Hi-Shine Gloss Treatment ($29) to both your bangs and length to create high-shine texture.
To bring Taylor Swift's short thick hairstyle to life, start by working with towel-dried hair and applying Oribe's Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse ($39) to the roots and Oribe's Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream ($52) from mid-shaft to ends. "Blow out the hair using a round brush to create volume, making sure the bangs have a slight bend so they frame the face," says Hoang.
"Once the hair is dry, apply Oribe's Swept Up Volume Powder Spray ($42) to the crown and backcomb to lift the roots and enhance the texture," adds Hoang. Next, pull your hair back and create a low inverted twist and use your hands to pull out natural, wispy pieces around the face. To set the look and protect against frizz, Hoang says to use Oribe's Impérmeable Anti-Humidity Spray ($42).
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith's updo for short hair includes multiple sections that added definition. To style, Hoang says to run Oribe's Crème for Style ($42) through the hair and part hair in the center. Then, create four separate three-strand braids and tie the ends with an elastic band. For that wispy, effortless look, pull out a few face-framing strands.
Nia Long's pixie cut is styled in a clean and edgy manner—and it's super easy to achieve. "Prep your hair with Oribe's Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler ($38) to detangle and set the hair up for styling," says Hoang. Then, blow dry your hair while simultaneously smoothing it down with a flat brush.
"Split your hair into sections and apply a coating of Oribe's Soft Lacquer Heat Styling Spray ($36) to each one. Then, flat iron each section with a small, detailed iron," he explains. To create added height and volume, use Oribe's Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste ($39) on top.
This updo for short, thick hair is both sleek and effortless. Apply Shu Uemura's Sheer Laquer Hair Spray ($39) to your hair before combing it backward into a sleek, bump-free low bun. Then, pull a few strands loose around your face for a perfectly imperfect updo.
Ruby Rose's pixie haircut is brought to life with some gorgeous wavy texture. Since the sides of her cut are kept short, all of the focus is on the top portion of her hair. Take a small amount of Paul Mitchell's Firm Style Super Clean Sculpting Gel ($12) on your fingers and comb the hair backward, tousling as you do to create that slight wave.