Short hairstyles for women – 50+ ideas from shag cuts to French girl bobs and pixie crops

Consider this your handy cheat sheet on the best short hairstyles for women

hairdressing scissors and tools on blue and yellow backdrop
(Image credit: VlaDee via Getty Images)

Short hairstyles have never really gone out of fashion, but they are definitely having a major moment right now. So if you’re debating a new short ‘do, the woman&home beauty team has interviewed dozens of the world’s most successful hairstylists over the years and are on hand with everything to know. 

Internet searches for hairstyles for short hair, from bob hairstyles to super short pixie hairstyles, have surged in the past year – something that is set to continue in 2021. To clarify, when we say “short” we’re talking hairstyles that end around the jawline, so head to our guides to medium hairstyles or long hairstyles if you’re after something longer. 

“We are starting to really see a revival for shorter styles that are choppy and textured and with a nod to the ’70s,” Adam Reed, celebrity stylist and editorial ambassador for L’Oreal Professionnel, tells us. “My signature look is the ‘Brick Lane Bob’, a blunt style with a lived-in, textural, shaggy finish.”

So, how do you know if short styles are right for your hair type? “Don’t worry – there is always a short style that suits every face and every head of hair,” Adam adds. “Ultimately it comes down to the technique in which it’s cut. 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 to give more options should you want to have a low maintenance style.”

For the cuts that will best suit your face shape, tips for styling short hairstyles and celebrity styles to inspire your new look, consider this your short hairstyles cheat sheet.

How to pick a short hairstyle to suit your face shape

Ask any top hairdresser and they'll tell you that the key factor when choosing any hairstyle, of any length, is to bear in mind your face shape. This is the make-or-break element in whether a specific style will suit you.

In most cases your hairdresser will be able to tailor a style to your face shape, whether you're round, square or oval, so it's always worth discussing your options at the start of your appointment.

Short hairstyles for round faces


Chrissy Teigen leaves "Watch What Happens Live" on September 19, 2018 in New York City

Chrissy Teigen

(Image credit: James Devaney / Contributor via Getty Images)

Round faces look great with longer layers or graduated bobs. They can also pull off blunt styles if a sharp bob style has caught your eye. “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. 

When it comes to pixie crops, Hare & Bone founder Sam Burnett warns that these may not suit some face shapes. “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


Viola Davis attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at Royal Albert Hall on February 10, 2019 in London, England

Viola Davis 

(Image credit: Samir Hussein/Contributor via Getty Images)

Lucky you, practically any short hairstyle will look fabulous, especially super short crops. “The most flattering face shape for a pixie crop is oval with petite features to balance out the sharpness of the cut,” explains Sam.

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


British actress Judi Dench poses for a photograph upon arrival for the UK premiere of "Victoria & Abdul" in London on September 5, 2017

Judi Dench

(Image credit: TOLGA AKMEN / Contributor via Getty Images)

Square faces look great with extra height on top, or added length at the bottom of a style to soften the jawline. Lots of soft, rounded layers are your friend here. “Long bobs can look great on square face shapes,” Adam confirms. “Avoid a sharp or blunt bob and instead look to soft layers that will elongate the face shape.”

If your end goal is to soften your face shape, consider adding waves or embracing naturally curly hairstyles, or opt for an asymmetric style to offset a sharper jawline.

Short hairstyles for heart shaped faces


Helen Mirren arrives for the Homage Helen Mirren Honorary Golden Bear award ceremony during the 70th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Berlinale Palace on February 27, 2020 in Berlin, Germany

Helen Mirren 

(Image credit: Thomas Niedermueller / Stringer via Getty Images)

Heart shaped faces are wider across the cheeks with a narrower jaw and pointed chin. “When styling for heart shapes, it’s important to keep the front section longer,” Adam explains.

“In addition, when styling, part in the middle with the hair blown forward to close some of the width while also highlighting the jawline.” This helps to balance out the narrower sections of your face shape.

The best short hairstyles for women

From Marilyn Monroe’s signature curls to Twiggy’s iconic pixie cut of the ‘60s, to Princess Diana’s layered style, there have been so many chic short hairstyles over the years that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to inspiration. So, how do you care for your new short hair once you've gone for the chop?

“A common misconception with short hair is that you don’t need to worry about damage, but that is not the case and heat protectors are still just as important, whatever your hair length,” Adam stresses. “L’Oréal Professionnel Pro Longer Lengths Renewing Cream ($28.99/£12.80) is perfect to not only provide heat protection but also nourish hair.”

“Also include a hair mask in your weekly routine to ensure hair is kept in optimum health. L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Absolut Repair Mask ($35.62/£28.80) contains Gold Quinoa + Protein to keep hair strong and healthy.”

Below we’ve rounded up the best short hairstyle ideas for women, along with recommendations for face and hair type – although there are no hard or fast rules, as a good hairdresser will always be able to tailor a style to your face and hair.

Short bob haircuts

Easily one of the most iconic hairstyles in the beauty history books, bobs are the world’s most popular hairstyle. From the original 1920s style to Victoria Beckham’s signature lob and Audrey Tautou’s French girl bob, there's a look to suit every face shape and hair type. Plus, you'll cut your blowdrying time in half! Read our guide on how to style a bob for the need-to-know tips and tricks for your new ’do.

Loose wavy bob

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

Jaw length bob

Face shape: heart or square | Hair type: fine and straight

Bob with braids

Face shape: round or heart | Hair type: curly, coily or kinky

’20s-inspired bob

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

Undercut bob

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: thick

Side part bob

Face shape: oval and square | Hair type: thick

Short bob with layers

Face shape: round, oval, square or heart | Hair type: fine and thick

Short tousled bob

Face shape: oval or heart | Hair type: fine or thick

Short curly bob

Face shape: oval, square or heart | Hair type: wavy and curly

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.

Short haircut with choppy layers

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

Short cut with layered side bangs

Face shape: oval or heart | Hair type: thick

Short layered shag cut with bangs

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

Crop with long layers

Face shape: oval or square | Hair type: fine to thick 

Layered long bob

Face shape: square | Hair type: thick

Short layered shag haircut 

Face shape: all, especially oval and heart | Hair type: thick

Long layered pixie cut

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

Long bob with choppy layers

Face shape: any, especially oval or square | Hair type: thick

Short hairstyles with bangs

Everybody dabbles with bangs at least once in their life – even Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge sported full bangs at one time. Feathered styles suit most face shapes, but can be especially softening on a square jawline. Keeping layers longer in fine hair will stop it looking too thin, while thicker hair can make the most of its natural volume with lots of choppy layers.

Pixie cut with sweeping bangs

Face shapes: square and heart | Hair types: fine to medium

French girl bangs with short bob

Face shapes: oval, square | Hair types: fine to thick

Side bangs with thick layers

Face shapes: all, particularly oval and heart | Hair types: thick

Short choppy bob with bangs

Face shapes: oval, square, heart | Hair types: fine

Volumized bob with bangs 

Face shapes: oval, square | Hair types: fine to thick

'20s-inspired bob with full bangs

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: thick

French girl bob with long layers

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

Classic bob with full bangs

Face shape: square | Hair type: thick

Long curly bob with bangs

Face shapes: oval, heart | Hair type: thick, curly, coily

Wavy/curly bob with bangs

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

Short natural hairstyles

Whether you want to go shorter so that your hair requires less maintenance, or you’re making way for healthy hair, there are loads of short natural hairstyle options out there, however short a length you’re after. Lupita Nyong'o and Viola Davis are great celebrity examples of shorter natural hairstyles.

Very short cut with coils

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

Short finger coils

Face shape: any, particularly heart and square | Hair type: curly, coily, kinky

Extra short cut on curls/coils

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily

Layered coily hairstyle 

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

Short cut on natural coils/kinks

Face shape: any | Hair type: coily, kinky

Extra short tapered haircut

Face shape: any | Hair type: coily, kinky

Barely there shaved style

Face shape: any | Hair type: any

Very short curls

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily

Short natural curls 

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily

Super short natural coils

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 pop into your hairdresser every 4-6 weeks. "I love a texture product for shorter looks," Adam says. "L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Super Dust ($19.90/£13.20) is a fantastic product to scrunch into the roots or through hair to give a natural, lived-in feel."

Thick on top layered pixie cut

Face shape: any | Hair type: thick

Layered pixie cut

Face shape: oval, square | Hair type: fine

French girl pixie crop

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

'Neat and tidy' pixie crop

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

Curly crop with micro bangs

Face shape: round, heart | Hair type: thick

Classic short pixie cut with feathered bangs

Face shape: round, square, heart | Hair type: fine

Side part choppy pixie crop

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

Super short pixie crop

Face shape: heart, square | Hair type: thick

Classic pixie crop with side part

Face shape: square, heart | Hair type: thick

woman&home beauty counter La Mer

(Image credit: Future)

Tapered curly pixie cut

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: thick, curly

Consider your crash course in the best short hairstyles for women complete.