The Most Flattering Short Haircuts for Thick Hair

medium short thick curly hair portrait

Javier Diez / Stocksy

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 as 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. To show you just what we mean, we rounded up 50 of our favorite short hairstyles and haircuts for thick hair, along with pro styling tips from experts Howard McLaren, Mandee Tauber, Kien Hoang, and Diane Macaluso.

Meet the Expert

Scroll on to check out some of the most stunning, celebrity-inspired short hairstyles for thick hair.

01 of 50

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

Jim Spellman / Getty Images

Michelle Williams is giving us full-on '90s vibes with this simple, yet edgy pixie cut. Its deep side part and volume up top pair perfectly with her round face shape. To keep straight hair from falling flat, work in a small amount of Verb Volume Texture Powder ($18) and then John Frieda Frizz-Ease Straight Fixation Styling Creme ($9) for a silky-smooth finish.

02 of 50

Lily Collins

Lily Collins

Anthony Harvey / Getty Images

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 ($6).

03 of 50

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige

George Pimentel / Getty Images

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, $29) to damp hair, then blow-dry the hair backward for the perfect swoop.

04 of 50

Anika Noni Rose

Anika Noni Rose

David Livingston / Getty Images

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 Kristin Ess Dry Finish Working Texture Spray ($17) for this look.

05 of 50

Iman

Iman

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Iman's short, thick hairstyle has us swooning. The retro look is a great way to style thick hair, keeping it smooth and manageable throughout the night. To learn how to recreate it, we turned to Tauber. 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 ($34) around the hairline and all over the top layer for a glossy shine and flexible hold," she instructs.

06 of 50

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa

Toni Anne Barson / Getty Images

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. If your hair isn't naturally wavy, you can also wave your hair first with a heat-styling tool or braid your hair overnight (and add product after).

07 of 50

Miranda Kerr

Miranda Kerr

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

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.

08 of 50

Sarah Hyland

Sarah Hyland

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

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).

09 of 50

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

Rosie's romantic updo is a beautiful way to style thick hair. First, part your hair down the middle and apply Not Your Mother's Plump For Joy Thickening Hair Lifter ($7) 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.

10 of 50

Emma Stone

Emma Stone

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

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 ($29) before using a curling wand to loosely wave your fringe.

11 of 50

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling

Jason LaVeris / Getty Images

Not ready to commit to a full chop? Then follow Mindy Kaling's lead and opt for this faux lob hairstyle instead. McLaren instructs, "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, 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.

12 of 50

Lana Condor

Lana Condor half-up, half-down bob with flipped-out ends

Daniele Venturelli / WireImage / Getty Images

With short hair, sometimes it's difficult to gather it all into an updo. But if you don't feel like wearing your hair down, Lana Condor's half-up, half-down bob is a nice compromise. To add a flirtatious touch and effortless finish, flip out ends and create a bit of messy texture with Moroccanoil's Dry Texture Spray ($28).

13 of 50

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

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," he adds.

14 of 50

Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

Yara Shahidi transforms her whispy baby hairs into stylishly laid edges and we are in awe. To recreate this slicked-back style, begin with a strong side part and slick the hair using a fine-tooth comb and a flexible hair gel 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," says McLaren.

15 of 50

Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson

JB Lacroix / Getty Images

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.

16 of 50

Lucy Hale

Layered Lob

George Pimentel / Getty Images

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 Playa Endless Summer Spray  ($24).

Take care not to go overboard with thinning the hair since thinning out too much can also lead to poofiness.

17 of 50

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez

 Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty Images

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 Alterna Caviar Professional Styling Perfect Texture Spray ($30) 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.

18 of 50

Ruth Negga

Ruth Negga

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

This thick, curly short pixie is all about defining your natural texture. To help emphasize your curls, use your fingers to roll small sections of hair into pin curls, securing them to your head with bobby pins. Spray IGK 1-800-Hold-Me No-Crunch Flexible Hold Hairspray ($29) over your hair to help set your hair. After letting your style set, remove the bobby pins to reveal tight, emphasized curls.

19 of 50

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington half-up, half-down natural hair

Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Kerry Washington's natural lob is simple and elegant. By pulling the top portion of her hair back, she creates a lovely half-up, half-down 'do that lends style and shape to this cut. Work a small amount of hair serum, like Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil ($11), to strands for shine and definition.

20 of 50

Jourdan Dunn

Jourdan Dunn

Luca Teuchmann / Getty Images

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 a lightweight styling spray—we're partial to Oaui Hair Oil ($28)—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 Kerasilk Control Rich Protective Oil ($23) for shine.

21 of 50

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o

Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images

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 ($15). "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.

22 of 50

Amber Valletta

Amber Valletta

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Love a messy updo? Here, Amber Valetta gives off a carefree yet romantic vibe 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 ($29) 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.

23 of 50

Kate Mara

Kate Mara

Mike Marsland / Getty Images

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.

24 of 50

Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

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: high-octane shine. Apply Kenra Professional's Shine Spray ($19) for added luster.

25 of 50

Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg

John Shearer / Getty Images

Rock your natural texture with a cool—literally and figuratively—braided pixie à la Amandla Stenberg. Just be sure to keep it hydrated with a weekly oil-based mask, like Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque ($19).

26 of 50

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie

JB Lacroix / Getty Images

Nicole Richie's short hairstyle is kept simple with a half-up bun. First, use a texture mist, like Cuvée Beauty Champagne Hair Spray ($35), to create a bit of definition. Then, part your hair from ear to ear and bring the top section into a high messy bun.

27 of 50

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson sleek, pinned back bob

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson'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 to styling this 'do is using a strong-hold gel to comb damp—not wet—hair into place, and then letting it dry with a hairnet for hold, says McLaren.

28 of 50

Sandra Oh

Sandra Oh

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

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 a styling cream (like It's a 10's Miracle Styling Cream, $16) into your shag post-shower, and be sure to check out our guide on air-drying thick hair.

29 of 50

Jenna Dewan

Jenna Dewan

Jean Baptiste Lacroix / Getty Images

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.

30 of 50

Halsey

Halsey voluminous bob

John Shearer / WireImage / Getty Images

Halsey's copper-colored bob is everything we could ever want—and more. To get her voluminous curls, section hair and begin curling each with a 1 ½-inch wand. Then, mist Paul Mitchell's Extra-Body Boost Root Lifter ($16) throughout your roots and use a fine-tooth comb to tease and build height at the crown of the head. Flip hair over to one side for even more volume.

31 of 50

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

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 Kristin Ess The One Signature Hair Water ($10) over your hair.

32 of 50

Rita Ora

Rita Ora

David M. Benett / Getty Images

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 definition, spritz DevaCurl Devafresh Scalp & Hair Revitalizer ($20) 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.

33 of 50

Halle Berry

Halle Berry

JB Lacroix / Getty Images

This voluminous ponytail and long fringe are 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 a finishing cream on the fringe and around the hairline. Odele Air Dry Styler ($12) should do it.

34 of 50

Kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland natural lob

Gregg DeGuire / Getty Images

Kelly Rowland has sported a lot of hairstyles over the years but this natural lob is a keeper. With shorter lengths, thick, textured hair runs the risk of appearing boxy and heavy—but that's not the case here. Thanks to long layers and the right protein-moisture balance, Rowland's lob looks as light as air.

35 of 50

Zendaya

Zendaya

 JB Lacroix / Getty Images

It's safe to say Zendaya can pull off just about any hairstyle—and short, thick hair falls under that statement. To get the look, Hoang instructs first layering a gel serum and blowing out 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 a hair oil to ends for shine.

36 of 50

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

If you like to wear your hair down, take cues from Anne Hathaway with this wavy side-swept look. Start by creating 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.

37 of 50

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

Here, Natalie Portman styles her chin-length bob with a center part and loose waves. To replicate, 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.

38 of 50

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

This pixie hairstyle for thick hair is super easy to recreate. Focus on the top section of hair by creating 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.

39 of 50

Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley

JB Lacroix / Getty Images

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).

40 of 50

Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart

Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images

For a carefree style, sweep your bob haircut backward and put it behind your ears like Kristen Stewart. Tauber instructs applying a texture lotion, such as Enjoy Texture Cream ($20) through damp hair and then tousling dry the hair to give it a beachy texture. For all-over buildable texture, separation, and a slight sheen, she suggests finishing off the style with a lightweight wax. We like KMS Hairplay Dry Wax ($20).

41 of 50

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

This messy bun is full of texture and life. To get JLaw's style, apply Paul Mitchell's Invisiblewear Undone Texture Hairspray ($21) 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.

42 of 50

Katy Perry

Katy Perry

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

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 undulating texture.

43 of 50

Kat Graham

Kat Graham curly lob

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic / Getty Images

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 Macaluso. 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). 

44 of 50

Emilia Clarke

Emilia Clarke

Gary Gershoff / Getty Images

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.

45 of 50

Nina Dobrev

Nina Dobrev

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

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.

46 of 50

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Steve Granitz / Getty Images

To bring Taylor Swift's short thick hairstyle to life, start by working with towel-dried hair and applying a volumizing mousse to the roots and a moisturizing cream 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 recommends using an anti-humidity spray.

47 of 50

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith

Robin Marchant / Getty Images

Jada Pinkett Smith's braided updo for short hair includes multiple sections that add definition. To style, Hoang says to run a styling cream—we're fans of Andalou Naturals Argan Oil & Shea Styling Cream ($11)—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.

48 of 50

Nia Long

Nia Long

Michael Buckner / Getty Images

Nia Long's pixie cut is styled in a clean and edgy manner—and it's super easy to achieve. Prep your hair with a leave-in conditioner to detangle and set the hair up for styling, advises Hoang. Then, blow-dry your hair while simultaneously smoothing it down with a flat brush. Next, apply a heat protectant to strands before flat ironing. To create added height and volume, Hoang recommends using a molding paste on top.

49 of 50

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Taylor Hill / Getty Images

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.

50 of 50

Ruby Rose

Ruby Rose

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

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 ($13) on your fingers and comb the hair backward, tousling as you do to create that slight wave.

FAQ
  • Is short hair better for thick hair?

    If you have thick hair, you can go with a short haircut since it can help to remove some weight. At the same time, if you have a curl or wave to your hair, you might want to incorporate layers since this will lend shape to your cut and avoid having it appear too boxy.

  • Is a blunt haircut good for thick hair?

    A blunt cut (no layers) can make hair appear thicker and is a popular choice for those with thin fine hair. If you have thick hair, layering can actually help to create movement and add dimension to your cut.

  • Is a bob haircut good for thick hair?

    Yes, a bob can make thick hair appear less heavy by removing some of its weight. Adding layers can also lend shape to you 'do.

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