The best short hairstyles for women are like a great little black dress. They never go out of fashion, always look chic, and once you find a style that works it'll see you through any occasion with minimal effort. Sound appealing? Whether your signature crop could do with a refresh or you're toying with the idea of short hair for the first time, we've got every inspiring image and hairstylist tip you need to make the right choice.
When we think about short hairstyles for women, a few classic cuts come to mind, namely bob hairstyles and pixie haircuts. But there is a whole spectrum of shorter styles that end at the jawline or above to choose from, many of which combine timeless appeal with a tick in the seasonal trend box.
"A good haircut for winter is definitely a short, strong bob. It works amazingly well with high collars and coat, helps to frame a face, and looks effortlessly chic," says Zoe Irwin, ghd Global Ambassador. "A 90s influenced French bob strengthens up a soft jawline and elongates the neck, and the Pixie crop is big for this season, in a short tousled style. Really prominent in natural hairstyles are very texturized short crops in an array of colors. Those really tight 70s curls, with little hairs flying around which gives it a cool freshness."
Not sure which short hairstyle will suit your hair type? “Don’t worry—there's a short style that suits every face and every head of hair,” says Adam Reed, celebrity stylist and L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador. “If your hair is fine and straight, a blunter cut would give a very defined end result, whereas if your hair is naturally curly, you might want to opt for something with texture for more options.”
How to pick short hairstyles to suit your face shape
Ask any top hairstylist and they'll tell you that the key factor when choosing any hairstyle, of any length, is your face shape. This is the make-or-break element in whether specific short hairstyles will suit you, or how they can be tweaked to do so.
In most cases, your stylist should be able to tailor your style of choice to your face shape, whether you have a round, square, or oval face. That's why it's important to discuss a few options at the start of your appointment. If you're looking for inspiration and really don't know where to start, try this general guide:
- Square face: Go for something soft with height and layers as blunt cuts that hit at the jaw can emphasize sharper angles.
- Heart-shaped face: Longer front sections that balance out wider cheeks and a narrower chin will suit.
- Round face: Sweeping fringes, longer layers or a blunt bob that hits below the jaw will elongate your shape.
- Oval face: Almost anything works, you lucky thing. You can pull off a pixie crop if you dare.
Another consideration is how you style your 'do, which is almost as important as the cut itself. Even the best short hairstyles for women may not be right for you if they are too high maintenance (we're looking at you bangs hairstyles) and a little bit of reading up on the best hair straighteners and best hair dryer will go a long way to helping you wear your style, not have it wear you.
Short hairstyles for round faces
Round faces really suit longer layers or a graduated bob when it comes to short hairstyles. They can also pull off blunt styles, if a razor-sharp bob has taken your fancy. “When styling for round face shapes, we will normally look to elongate the face by adding in side-swept bangs, volume at the crown or even changing the parting to ensure there are clear angles in the look,” Adam advises.
Pixie crops may not suit all face shapes, however, Hare & Bone founder Sam Burnett warns. “Round faces find this cut difficult to pull off as it can accentuate the roundness, throwing off the balance of the face.”
Short hairstyles for oval faces
If you have an oval face shape, you've struck gold, as almost all short hairstyles will look fabulous on you—especially a super short crop. “The most flattering face shape for a pixie crop is oval with petite features, to balance out the sharpness of the cut,” Sam explains.
Adam adds, “When styling for oval face shapes, opt for layers to frame the face, angles to highlight cheekbones and the jaw, or even bangs if you’d like to cover the forehead.”
Short hairstyles for square faces
Square faces look great with extra height to their hair; lots of soft, rounded layers are your friend here. “Long bobs can look great on square face shapes,” Adam says. “Avoid a sharp or blunt bob and instead look to soft layers that will elongate the face shape.” If you'd like to soften your jawline consider adding waves, embracing your curl type, or picking an asymmetric style to offset your face shape.
Short hairstyles for heart shaped faces
Heart-shaped faces are characterized by wider cheeks and a narrower jaw and pointed chin. “When styling for heart shapes, it’s important to keep the front section [of short hairstyles] longer,” Adam tells us. “In addition, when styling, part in the middle with the hair blown forward to close some of the width while highlighting the jawline.” This helps to balance out the narrower sections of your face shape.
The best short hairstyles for women
From Twiggy’s iconic pixie cut of the ‘60s to Princess Diana’s signature layered style, there are so many chic short hairstyles in the history books that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to ideas.
Below we’ve rounded up the best short hairstyles for women, along with recommendations for face and hair type—although remember that there are no hard or fast rules, as a good stylist will tailor a style to your face and hair type.
Short bob haircuts
Easily one of the most iconic hairstyles in the beauty history books, bobs are one of the world’s most popular hairstyles (and far easier to blow dry than long hair). From the original 1920s Flapper style to Victoria Beckham’s famous graduated "Pob" in 2006, there's a look to suit every face and hair type. Our guide on how to style a bob has all the need-to-know tips and tricks for a brand new bob.
1. The loose wavy bob
Face shape: any, especially square | Hair type: medium to thick
2. The jaw length bob
Face shape: heart or square | Hair type: fine and straight
3. The long bob with braids
Face shape: round or heart | Hair type: curly, coily, or kinky
4. The super sleek ’20s-inspired bob
Face shape: oval, heart or square | Hair type: fine to medium
4. The asymmetric bob
Face shape: oval, round, heart | Hair type: thick
5. The side-parted bob
Face shape: oval, square | Hair type: medium to thick
6. The short feathered bob
Face shape: any, particularly oval or square | Hair type: fine to thick
7. The tousled bob
Face shape: oval or heart | Hair type: fine or thick
8. The glam waved bob
Face shape: oval, square, or heart | Hair type: thick, wavy
9. The French girl bob
Face shape: oval or heart | Hair type: medium to thick
Short layered hairstyles
Layered cuts are a great way to enhance volume, but it’s important to keep layers on the longer side if you have fine hair, otherwise you could end up making hair look sparser. Thicker hair, on the other hand, lends itself well to lots and lots of choppy layers, à la Halle Berry or Jane Fonda’s iconic styles.
10. The short cut with choppy layers
Face shape: oval, square, or heart | Hair type: thick
11. The short layered shag cut with bangs
Face shape: round or oval | Hair type: fine to thick
12. The tousled bob with long layers
Face shape: oval or square | Hair type: Fine to thick
13. The layered crop
Face shape: Heart, oval | Hair type: Medium to fine
14. The layered french bob haircut
Face shape: all, especially oval and heart | Hair type: thick
15. The long layered pixie with side bangs
Face shape: oval or heart | Hair type: fine to medium
16. The bob with choppy layers
Face shape: any, especially oval or square | Hair type: thick
Short hairstyles with bangs
Pretty much everybody gets bangs at least once in their lifetime—even the Duchess of Cambridge had full bangs once. Feathering suits most face shapes, but can be especially softening with a square jawline. Keeping layers longer in fine hair prevent it from looking too thin, while natural volume is enhanced in thick hair with choppy layers.
17. The pixie cut with sweeping bangs
Face shapes: square and heart | Hair types: fine to medium
18. The short bob with French girl bangs
Face shapes: oval, square | Hair types: fine to thick
19. The crop with side-swept bangs
Face shapes: all, particularly oval and heart | Hair types: fine or medium
20. The short curly bob with bangs
Face shapes: oval, square, or heart | Hair types: curly, thick
21. The blunt bob with bangs
Face shapes: any, particularly oval and square | Hair types: fine to thick
22. The '20s-inspired bob with micro bangs
Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: thick
23. The curly shag with bangs
Face shape: oval, square, or heart | Hair type: Curly
24. The short crop with side bangs
Face shape: square or oval | Hair type: thick
25. The curly bob with bangs
Face shapes: oval, heart | Hair type: thick, curly, coily
Short natural hairstyles
Whether you want to go shorter so that your hair requires less maintenance or are making way for healthy tresses, there are loads of natural hairstyles for short hair out there, however short a length you’re after—including tons of braided hairstyles, like box braids. Lupita Nyong'o and Viola Davis are great examples of celebrities embracing shorter natural hair.
26. The close-cropped natural hairstyle
Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily and kinky
27. The undercut top crop
Face shape: any, particularly heart and oval | Hair type: curly, coily, kinky
28. The ultra short buzz
Face shape: any | Hair type: Any
29. The high puff hairstyle
Face shape: any, particularly oval and heart | Hair type: coily, kinky
30. The short cut on natural coils
Face shape: any | Hair type: coily
31. The short tapered haircut
Face shape: any | Hair type: coily, kinky
32. The statement afro
Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily
33. The short braided style
Face shape: any | Hair type: thick, curly or coily
34. The natural bob with bangs
Face shape: any | Hair type: coily, kinky
Short pixie crops
Pixie haircuts require regular trims to keep them at that crucial super short, super chic length, so be sure to visit your stylist every 4-6 weeks. “I love a texture product for shorter looks,” Adam says.
35. The "thick on top" layered pixie cut
Face shape: any | Hair type: thick
36. The French girl pixie
Face shape: oval, square, heart | Hair type: fine to thick
37. The "side slick" pixie crop
Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: medium to thick
38. The pixie crop with micro bangs
Face shape: round, heart | Hair type: any
39. The classic short pixie cut with feathered bangs
Face shape: round, square, heart | Hair type: fine
40. The sleek pixie crop with side part
Face shape: oval, square | Hair type: thick, straight
41. The super short pixie crop
Face shape: heart, square | Hair type: thick
42. The curly pixie
Face shape: heart, oval | Hair type: curly
43. The classic pixie crop with quiff
Face shape: square, heart | Hair type: Fine to medium
44. The slick "behind the ears" pixie cut
Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: fine, straight
Consider your crash course in the best short hairstyles for women complete.
How to care for short hair
Then once you've gone for the chop, the next question is how to care for short hair.
“A common misconception with short hair is that you don’t need to worry about damage. But that is not the case and heat protection for hair is still just as important, whatever your hair length,” Adam stresses.
L’Oréal Professionnel Pro Longer Lengths Renewing Cream | RRP: $28.63/£11.90
"This is perfect to not only provide heat protection but also nourish hair," says Adam.
Adam also emphasizes the importance of the best hair masks in your routine.
L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Absolut Repair Mask | RRP: $33.99/£25.20
Contains gold quinoa and protein to keep your hair strong and healthy, Adam recommends using this once a week,
woman&home thanks Adam Reed, Zoe Irwin, and Sam Burnett for their time and expertise.
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