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

Consider this all the inspiration you need for the best short hairstyles for women

short hairstyles for women main image rosamund pike bob
(Image credit: Future/Getty Images)

Short hairstyles have never really gone out of style, but they're definitely having a moment right now. So if you’re toying with the idea of short hair, the woman&home beauty team has interviewed dozens of the world’s leading hairstylists over the years to bring you the expert tips to know.

Online searches for hairstyles for short hair, from bob hairstyles to pixie crops, have surged over the last 12 months, something that will only continue throughout the year. To clarify, when we say "short," we’re talking cuts that end around the jawline; head to our guides to medium hairstyles and long hairstyles if you’re after something lengthier. 

“We're starting to really see a revival for shorter styles that are choppy and textured, with a nod to the ’70s,” says Adam Reed, celebrity stylist and editorial ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel. “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 hairstyles are right for your hair type? “Don’t worry—there's always a short style that suits every face and every head of hair,” Adam stresses. “Ultimately, it comes down to technique. 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, should you want a low-maintenance style.” The right tools also help immensely when styling short hairstyles, so this might also be a perfect time to consider picking up the best hair dryer out there or consider the Dyson Corrale vs GHD Platinum to help with your new 'do

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

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 should 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.

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 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

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)

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

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 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

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 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. 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 protectors are still just as important, whatever your hair length,” Adam stresses. “L’Oréal Professionnel Pro Longer Lengths Renewing Cream ($28.63/£11.90) is perfect to not only provide heat protection but also nourish hair.”

Adam also emphasizes the importance of hair masks in your routine. He recommends the L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Absolut Repair Mask ($33.99/£25.20), which contains gold quinoa + protein to keep your hair strong and healthy. 

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 graduated lob of the Early Aughts, 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 a brand new bob.


The loose wavy bob

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


The jaw length bob

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


The bob with braids

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


The ’20s-inspired bob

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


The undercut bob

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: thick


The side-parted bob

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


The short layered bob 

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


The short tousled bob

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


The short curly bob

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


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.


The short cut with choppy layers

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

The short shaggy layered cut

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


The short layered shag cut with bangs

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


The crop with long layers

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


The layered long bob

Face shape: square | Hair type: thick


The short layered shag haircut 

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


The long layered pixie cut

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


The long 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.


The pixie cut with sweeping bangs

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


The short bob with French girl bangs

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


The thick layered style with side bangs

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


The short choppy bob with bangs

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


The volumized bob with bangs

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


The '20s-inspired bob with full bangs

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: thick


The French girl bob with long layers

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


The classic bob with full bangs

Face shape: square | Hair type: thick


The long curly bob with bangs

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


The 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 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. 


The Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA)

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


The short finger coils

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


The extra short curls and coils

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily


The layered coily hairstyle 

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


The short cut on natural coils

Face shape: any | Hair type: coily, kinky


The extra short tapered haircut

Face shape: any | Hair type: coily, kinky


The barely-there shaved style

Face shape: any | Hair type: any


The very short curls

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily


The short natural curls 

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily


The 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 visit your stylist 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.”


The "thick on top" layered pixie cut

Face shape: any | Hair type: thick


The layered pixie cut

Face shape: oval, square | Hair type: fine


The French girl pixie

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


The "neat and tidy" pixie crop

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


The curly crop with micro bangs

Face shape: round, heart | Hair type: thick


The classic short pixie cut with feathered bangs

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


The choppy pixie crop with side part

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


The super short pixie crop

Face shape: heart, square | Hair type: thick


The classic pixie crop with side part

Face shape: square, heart | Hair type: thick


woman&home beauty counter La Mer

(Image credit: Future)

The tapered curly pixie cut

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


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

woman&home thanks Adam Reed of L’Oréal Professionnel and Sam Burnett of Hare & Bone for their time and expertise.