Medium haircuts and styles: 80+ ideas to inspire a mid-length 'do

Looking for medium haircuts inspiration? Here's everything you need to pick your perfect style

Claudia Schiffer with one of the best medium haircuts, a midi length style with loose beachy waves
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

Medium haircuts may be the middle ground of hair, but they're by no means average. This versatile length is long enough to sweep into an up-do, but short enough that it's easy to blow dry and style. There really is a mid-length hairstyle for everyone.

Society may have (wrongly) told you short hairstyles are the right choice. But we're all about sticking two fingers up to expectations and doing whatever makes us feel great. Usually falling between the collarbone and shoulder blades, medium haircuts are modern and flattering. "The mid-length haircut used to be seen as an awkward style that you would have to experiment with when growing your bob out," says Joana Neves, Editorial Director at Alterna Europe. "But now, it’s more on-trend than ever, with many people asking in salons for medium haircuts specifically. The beauty of this length is that it suits everyone and gives you the versatility to style the hair or leave it natural."

Medium haircuts can be worn in so many different ways, from a flattering U-shape haircut to medium haircuts with bangs or bouncy curls. Plus, shoulder-length styles are easier to manage than long hairstyles yet require trims less often than shorter bob hairstyles. Win-win.

How to choose flattering medium haircuts

The trick to perfecting medium haircuts is ensuring that your 'do suits your face shape: 

  • Long faces: Are flattered by face-framing layers such as the trending C-shape haircut as well as side bangs.
  • Oval faces can pull off blunt cuts and heavier bangs. "If cut bluntly, a mid-length cut looks super chic and stylish and this can further be enhanced with the help of volumizing products," agrees Neves.
  • Round faces: Opt for long layers and gentle waves. 
  • Square faces: will suit soft, rounded layers that sit around the jawline. “I think we’ll see a move towards a technique known as slicing, which is an alternative to layering where the ends of the hair create a softer appearance,” explains celebrity hairstylist and Global Ambassador for Redken Vernon François.

Of course, our hair type and face shape suggestions below are just a guide, and there are no hard or fast rules; your hairstylist will be able to tailor a style to suit you.

80+ medium haircuts our beauty team loves

Medium haircuts and styles with bangs

It's true what they say—bangs hairstyles are for everybody. The key is bearing in mind your natural hair type, versus how much time you're prepared to put into daily styling. If you're a wash-and-go woman, you'll need to factor in how your hair dries naturally. Many salons will trim your bangs for free, which is an essential step to keep medium haircuts looking fresh. 


1. The wavy style with feathered bangs

Face shape: any | Hair type: fine to medium; wavy


2. The shoulder length style with curtain bangs

Face shape: oval, square | Hair type: medium to thick


3. The curved bangs with loose waves

Face shape: square, oval | Hair type: fine to medium


4. The super curly style with bangs

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: curly, coily 


5. The feathered style with bangs

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: fine to medium


6. The soft layered style with side bangs

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: fine to medium


7. The naturally curly bangs

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: curly, coily, kinky


8. The classic shag haircut with bangs

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick


9. The shoulder length style with blunt bangs

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: medium to thick


10. The bob with curtain bangs

Face shape: square | Hair type: fine to medium


11. The rounded lob with messy bangs

Face shape: any, especially oval | Hair type: fine to medium


12. The sleek hairstyle with bangs

Face shape: round, oval and square| Hair type: fine to medium


13. The shoulder length style with choppy bangs

Face shape: round, oval and heart| Hair type: medium to thick


14. Subtle shag with long bangs

Face shape: all| Hair type: fine to medium


15. Curly with full bangs

Face shape: all, particularly round| Hair type: wavy, curly, coily, kinky


16. Long bob with side bangs

Face shape: all, particularly square| Hair type: fine to medium


17. Layered style with wispy bangs

Face shape: round, oval and square| Hair type: fine to medium


Layered medium haircuts and styles

Layers and feathering can be extremely flattering and lend themselves well to medium haircuts and styles (seek out one of the best hair dryers for fine hair for styling to add volume and definition). Rounded layers marry up well with a square face shape, while round face shapes can carry off blunter layers. Thick hair can pull off a load of choppy layers, while fine hair requires fewer layers to stop it from looking sparse. Jane Fonda's signature style is the perfect example of a layered cut done right.


18. The rounded layers with side bangs

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick


19. The shoulder length style with soft bangs

Face shape: oval | Hair type: medium to thick


20. The layered coily hair

Face shape: any, especially heart or oval | Hair type: curly, coily


21. The feathered style with side bangs

Face shape: oval or heart | Hair type: medium to thick


22. The wavy-curly chin length style

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick, wavy/curly


23. The choppy layered style

Face shape: any, particularly oval, square | Hair type: medium to thick


24. The tousled layers with side part

Face shape: round, oval | Hair type: fine to medium


25. The choppy volumized layers

Face shape: any, particularly oval, square | Hair type: fine to medium


26. The long and thick layers

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: thick


27. The thick layers with centre part

Face shape: oval, square | Hair type: thick


28. The short curly layers

Face shape: any, especially heart or oval | Hair type: curly, coily


29. The feathered layered style

Face shape: oval, square | Hair type: medium to thick


30. The natural coily layers

Face shape: any, especially round | Hair type: curly, coily


31. Bob with sweeping layers

Face shape: any | Hair type: medium to thick


32. Face framing layers

Face shape: any, particularly round | Hair type: fine to medium


33. Tight coils with short layers

Face shape: any, particularly oval and round | Hair type: curly, coily, kinky


Medium haircuts and styles for curly hair

One of the best bits about curly hairstyles, whether wavy, curly, coily or kinky, is that they have enviable natural volume. Cutting curls dry will enhance your natural curl type and ensure the ends hit in the best spot. Use a diffuser attachment and learn how to plop hair for frizz-free curls. Whether you're after wavy hairstyles or natural hairstyles there are plenty of medium hairstyles for your texture to work with. 


34. The shoulder length curly lob with side part

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: curly


35. The layered natural curls with centre part

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: curly


36. The natural hairstyle

Face shape: any, especially oval, heart | Hair type: coily, kinky


37. The curly chin length bob with side part

Face shape: any, especially oval | Hair type: curly


38. The shoulder length twists

Face shape: any, particularly oval or heart | Hair type: coily, kinky


39. The lob with voluminous curls

Face shape: any, especially oval, square | Hair type: curly


40. The medium box braids

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: naturally curly, coily or kinky


41. The shoulder length loose curls with centre part

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: wavy to curly


42. The naturally coily hair with tapered layers

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: coily, kinky


43. The beachy curls

Face shape: any, particularly square or heart | Hair type: curly


44. The half-up half-down curly hairstyle

Face shape: any| Hair type: curly, coily


45. The shoulder length loose curls

Face shape: square, round, oval | Hair type: curly 


46. The curly lob with deep side parting

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: curly, coily, kinky


47. Loose curls with short bangs

Face shape: any, particularly round and heart | Hair type: curly, wavy


48. Loose curls with side parting

Face shape: round, square, oval | Hair type: curly, wavy


49. Curly graduated bob

Face shape: any, particularly square | Hair type: curly, wavy, coily


50. Braided roots with curly ends

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, kinky, coily


Medium haircuts and styles for thick hair

Thick hair gives you a lot to work with when it comes to medium haircuts and medium hairstyles: a super blunt look that keeps your hair all one length can be seriously chic. But thick hair also works well with tons of layers because it has natural volume. Keeping thicker hair nourished with the best hair masks is super important, especially if your strands are prone to becoming coarse or dry.


51. The thick and sleek lob

Face shape: oval | Hair type: medium to thick


52. The thick and coily hair layered style

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: coily, kinky


53. The long and rounded layers

Face shape: any, particularly square | Hair type: medium to thick


54. The side parted waves

Face shape: square, heart or oval | Hair type: medium to thick


55. The thick long bob

Face shape: any, particularly oval or square | Hair type: medium to thick


56. The chin length rounded bob

Face shape: square, oval, heart | Hair type: medium to thick


57. The long bob with layered ends

Face shape: any, particularly oval or heart | Hair type: medium to thick


58. The graduated bob

Face shape: any, particularly oval or square | Hair type: medium to thick


59. The loose waves with side part

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick


60. The subtly layered bob

Face shape: heart, oval or square | Hair type: medium to thick


61. The thick tousled lob

Face shape: round, oval or square | Hair type: medium to thick


62. The sleek long layered lob

Face shape: any, particularly round | Hair type: medium to thick


63. The thick choppy lob

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick


64. Long feathered layers

Face shape: any | Hair type: medium to thick


65. Graduated layers with bangs

Face shape: any, particularly square | Hair type: medium to thick


66. Choppy cut with side bangs

Face shape: round and heart | Hair type: medium to thick


Medium haircuts and styles for fine hair

Yes, our hair tends to thin with age, but that doesn't mean you have to compromise on finding chic medium haircuts that make the most of your strands. Volumizing products and heat tools that add texture are your friends here. Editor's tip: dry shampoo also doubles as a root-lifting volume spray. For more medium hairstyles inspiration, look to celebrities like Helen Mirren, whose fine hair looks chic on every occasion, as well as our guide to youthful hairstyles for over 50s.


67. The mid length shag haircut

Face shape: heart or oval | Hair type: fine to medium


68. The classic blunt bob

Face shape: oval, round | Hair type: fine to medium


69. The shoulder length lob

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: fine to medium


70. The shoulder length layered style

Face shape: oval | Hair type: fine to medium


71. The lob with layered ends

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: fine to medium


72. The classic shag haircut

Face shape: any, especially square or oval | Hair type: fine to medium


73. The asymmetric bob

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: fine to medium


74. The classic lob with side part

Face shape: any, particularly oval or heart | Hair type: fine to medium


75. The French girl lob

Face shape: any, particularly oval or round | Hair type: fine to medium


76. The inverted lob

Face shape: any | Hair type: fine to medium


77. The feathered lob with deep side parting

Face shape: square, oval or round | Hair type: fine to medium


78. Textured lob with layers

Face shape: oval or round | Hair type: fine to medium


79. Loose curls with side part

Face shape: any | Hair type: fine to medium


80. Choppy lob with face framing layers

Face shape: round and heart | Hair type: fine to medium


81. Textured cut with long layers

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: fine to medium


How to style medium length hair, by a pro stylist

Mid-length hair can require more intensive heat styling than shorter styles and the ends will have been grown over a longer period of time, so it's even more crucial to keep it in good nick. Ghd ambassador Zoë Irwin has shared her healthy hair commandments below to nurture medium hairstyles now and forever.

  • Freeze dry your blow-dry: "With a powerful hairdryer the airflow means that you don’t need to rely on heat for drying your hair as the power itself is enough. Always flash cool each section of your hair and dry with a round bristle brush to add moisture and shine."
  • Treatment layering: “Supercharge your hair by layering hair treatments, this technique is equivalent to a facial but for hair. Simply apply a mask and leave it for 15 minutes, rinse off and towel dry, then repeat twice until you have used three masks in total. The secret is to start with a protein mask which helps to bind broken fibers together and strengthen fragile, damaged hair. Then follow with a conditioning mask and finish with a color mask to retain and enhance color and shine."
  • Bigger is better: "Swap small brushes for big paddle brushes. As you sweep it along the scalp it will lightly massage and increase blood circulation, helping to stimulate healthy hair growth. Plus, the wide surface means that more hair is being brushed at once, so less brushing is needed overall and thus less stress is put on the hair.’" 
  • Cold rinse: “By rinsing or washing your hair with cold water, you close and seal the hair cuticles which helps add extra shine and combat frizz. So always turn your shower to cold for a quick cold rinse before getting out. This also benefits your skin!"
  • Gently does it: "When hair is wet it is fragile and vulnerable to breakage so brush wet hair very gently. Use a wide-tooth comb. The wide tooth design allows for delicate detangling on damp hair which is fragile and more prone to damage.” 

woman&home thanks Zoe Irwin, Joana Neves and Vernon François for their time and expertise 

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.

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