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How to Style Short Hair Like a Pro

Short hair is so versatile when it comes to styling! Whether worn curly, wavy, straight, up, down, to the side, spiked, or smooth, there are tons of options for everyone on how to style short hair.

Color combinations add to the depth and drama of each style, so go ahead and be adventurous there too. Check out these 20 amazing ways to style short hair and learn how to style your short tresses like a pro!

1. Curly Caramel

In this cropped look, beautiful ribbons of caramel highlights run through a rich chocolate brown that’s curled to perfection.

Curly Caramel Cute Cropped Style Curly Caramel Cute Cropped Style Front View

How to Style:

  1. Spray root lifter on hair.
  2. Use a 1-inch diameter round brush to blow dry hair and simultaneously style into curls.
  3. If you need to give curls an extra boost, use a ¾ or 1-inch barrel curling iron to define curls.
  4. Finish by working a styling paste through mid-length and ends for texture and a polished finish.

Recommended Products:

Try Redken Water Wax 03 separate and define hair with flexible control and brilliant shine.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear, round

Tip:

When round brushing, direct hair in the crown back. For hair in the fringe section, direct it forward as you dry with the round brush, but then gently sweep to the side.

2. High Contrast

A dark brown color underneath this short ‘do gives enormous depth to platinum blonde on top. Slight asymmetry in the front of this cut keeps things interesting!

High Contrast Blonde Style High Contrast Blonde Style Back View

How to Style:

  1. Work a golf ball-sized amount of styling mousse through hair.
  2. Part hair at an angle over one eye.
  3. Blow dry hair with a medium-sized paddle brush, aiming air from roots to tips.
  4. Finish by sweeping fringe to one side and spraying with a light to medium hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Try Sebastian Shaper Zero Gravity for a lightweight, completely brushable hairspray with a supple hold.

Best Face Shapes:

pear, oval, square, round

Tip:

You may choose to use a flat iron to give the ends a really straight finish. Just be sure to use a heat protecting spray prior to flat ironing!

3. Definition of a Curly Blonde

This amazing textured blonde crop boasts well-defined curls that give it a finish like no other!

Definition of a Curly Blonde Definition of a Curly Blonde Side View

How to Style:

  1. Distribute a nickel-sized amount of styling serum throughout hair.
  2. Using a small paddle brush, blow dry hair using a “wrap” technique. This means you wrap your hair around your head as you aim the air from the blow dryer in the same direction your wrapping.
  3. Part hair to one side.
  4. Curl small individual sections of the topmost layer of your hair. Do not brush or tousle, but rather leave them so that you see shape of each curl.
  5. Finish with a hard hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Bed Head Control Freak Serum used as a blow dry lotion will leave hair smooth and silky with a glossy finish.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, heart

Tip:

Use double-pronged pin curl clips, which can be found at Sally’s, to hold each curl as it cools. Remove the clips prior to using hairspray.

4. High Expectations

Modern pompadour meets rock and roll in this short edgy style.

High Expectations Blonde Style with Lift High Expectations Blonde Style with Lift Side View

How to Style:

  1. Work a golf ball-sized amount of styling foam through towel dried hair.
  2. Use a paddle brush to smooth hair on the sides back while you blow dry.
  3. Use a 1¼-inch diameter round brush to create lift in the crown as you blow dry the top section back.
  4. Take a teasing brush and tease the top section, stopping just short of the hairline.
  5. Lightly brush hair in the top section back, using the side of the teasing brush to direct hair into a pompadour.
  6. Finish with a medium to high hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Cricket’s Amped Up Teasing Brush is perfect for this style! Use OSiS Freeze hairspray to keep this look locked in all day or all night long.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear

Tip:

To keep this look edgy, don’t worry about being too perfect with your pompadour. You’ll want a bit of texture to it rather than a perfectly sleek and smooth finish.

5. Brownie Points

We love this short honey brown hue cropped close to the head with a shattered edge all the way around to soften the look.

Brownie Points Brunette Pixie Brownie Points Brunette Pixie Back View

How to Style:

  1. Work a nickel-sized amount of volumizing styling cream through towel dried hair.
  2. Use fingers to tousel hair as you blow dry, lifting at the roots to give some volume to your style.
  3. Finish by using your fingertips to apply texture paste through the ends, especially piecing out the fringe and back of the neck.

Recommended Products:

Try Aveda Control Paste for a high-textured, low-sheen look that’s smooth, not sticky.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, heart, square

Tip:

A slightly longer version of this cut would be great on those with round faces! Style this cut around that face shape and be sure to create a bit more lift in the crown so that it complements your face shape perfectly.

6. Cream of the Crop

Go curly! These tight, natural curls are cut closely to the head and styled with gel to enhance their shape.

Cream of the Crop Short Blonde Highlighted Curly Look Cream of the Crop Short Blonde Highlighted Curly Look Over Ears

How to Style:

  1. Shampoo and condition with products dedicated to curly hair care.
  2. Wring excess moisture from hair with a towel.
  3. Work a quarter-sized amount of medium hold gel throughout hair, making sure to distribute through the sides and back as well.

Recommended Products:

Curly Sexy Hair’s Liquid Curling Gel supports and shapes curls while adding volume and providing medium hold.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear

Tip:

Use fingertips to distribute the gel through hair and only add more if necessary. Applying with fingertips first helps with even distribution!

7. Smooth ‘N Straight

Sleek styling on a jaw length bob gives a polished look to multi-tonal hair.

Smooth and Straight Shiny Bob Smooth and Straight Shiny Bob Side View

How to Style:

  1. Work a quarter-sized amount of blow dry serum through towel dried hair.
  2. Blow dry using a medium heat setting and the wrap technique described in “Definition of a Curly Blonde” above.
  3. Spray heat protectant on hair first as you work section by section around your head with a flat iron, smoothing where necessary.

Recommended Products:

Bed Head’s Control Freak Serum is perfect to use as a blow dry lotion on fine to medium textured hair.

Best Face Shapes:

heart, oval

Tip:

Use flat irons and other hot tools on a medium heat setting, especially with fine hair. Higher heat can cause damage to this more fragile hair texture.

8. Lift Me Higher

This cut has tons of texture with a side swept fringe and short layers.

Lift Me Higher Brunette Style with Bangs Lift Me Higher Brunette Style with Bangs Side View

How to Style:

  1. Work a golf ball-sized amount of styling mousse through hair, concentrating it at the roots.
  2. Part hair over one eye.
  3. Use a 1-inch diameter round brush as you blow dry hair, beginning near the nape or neck area, and work in horizontal sections towards the top of your head.
  4. As you blow dry, direct the hair in a pie-shaped pattern away from the part.
  5. Work a nickel-sized amount of texture paste to piece out the ends.
  6. Finish with a medium to high hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

OSiS Grip can be used for maximum style support on all hair types. Piece out ends with OSiS Aqua Slide for all the benefits of a pomade without being greasy or sticky.

Best Face Shapes:

pear, oval, square

Tip:

Use gator clips to section hair out of the way as you blow dry.

9. Up Up and Away

This is a piecy updo that can be styled in a snap and is perfect for a night out on the town!

Up Up and Away Stylish Updo with Highlights

How to Style:

  1. You’ll need bobby pins that match your hair color, a tail comb, flat iron, heat setting spray and hairspray. Texture wax will come in handy too for extra definition. Preheat flat iron.
  2. Begin by parting hair to one side over your eye.
  3. Section the fringe out. This is the area that will be left out to frame your face.
  4. Take a 3/4-inch section of hair in the front and twist it back, securing with a bobby bin.
  5. Repeat Step 4 in a random pattern on the top of your head, making sure to leave parts of the sections loose to create “tails” that are left out.
  6. When you get to the back section, work from the top down, building the twists up with the lower ones twisted and secured to the ones above them. Alternately, you can create a large French twist section in the back for a more classic look.
  7. Spray each loose “tail” of hair with heat setting spray then flat iron, bending the flatiron along the tail to give it a slight curve. Smooth with a bit of texture wax.
  8. Repeat Step 8 on each “tail”.
  9. Arrange loose ends and spray with hairspray to secure them where you wish. Teasing the base of each tail before flat ironing will give it lift, which will in turn give the whole style extra volume.

Recommended Products:

Redken Water Wax 03 shine defining pomade is perfect for polishing the loose ends of this style.

Best Face Shapes:

All face shapes will look great in this style!

Tip:

If you have a round face shape, add extra volume by teasing the loose ends as described in Step 9.

10. Wild Instincts

This super fun style with tons of random texture is fantastic on those short haired beauties who aren’t afraid to be adventurous!

Wild Instincts Curly Look Wild Instincts Curly Look View 2

How to Style:

  1. Start with a cropped cut that’s shorter on the sides and left about 5 to 6 inches long on the top.
  2. Preheat a flat iron and a 1/2 or 3/4-inch barrel curling iron.
  3. Spray heat setting spray on all hair in the top section.
  4. Alternate between curling and flat ironing 3/4-inch sections of hair. Spray each section of hair with heat setting spray for extra hold.
  5. Arrange texture towards the front of your head as you spray with high hold hairspray to secure.

Recommended Products:

Redken Spray Starch 15 heat memory styler curls, crimps and flattens with style memory technology.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear

Tip:

Opt for Hot Sets 22 if you’d like an even higher level of style memory.

11. Stylin’ Asymmetry

This curly texture swept over to one side and flipped up in the back creates a fun and flirty ‘do!

Stylin Asymmetry Cropped Curly Look Stylin Asymmetry Cropped Curly Look Side View

How to Style:

  1. Work a flexible hold styling gel through towel dried curly hair.
  2. Part hair to one side.
  3. Use a finger-pronged blow dry diffuser to scrunch and dry hair on the top. Use medium heat.
  4. To style the back, use a 3/4-inch diameter round brush while aiming the air stream from your blow dryer up and over the brush to create a flip.
  5. Use a spray wax to give curls and flips a bit of definition.
  6. Finish by securing with medium or high hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Aveda’s Be Curly curl enhancing hairspray intensifies and locks in curl with all day frizz control.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, heart, pear

Tip:

Angle the part from the hairline over the eye diagonally back towards the middle.

12. Flipping Out

This platinum blonde stack is flipped to one side to emphasize the asymmetrical fringe.

How to Style Short Hair Flippin Out Blonde Style Side View

How to Style:

  1. Shampoo and condition with products designed to keep this blonde color vibrant.
  2. Towel dry by wringing excess moisture from hair.
  3. Work a half dollar-sized amount of styling foam through hair.
  4. Part hair to one side on a slight diagonal.
  5. Use a 1 1/4-inch diameter round brush to lift and blow dry hair in the back.
  6. On the parted side, use the round brush the opposite way to flip hair up.
  7. Finish round brushing in the fringe section, blow drying hair up and straight out, then gently sweeping to one side.
  8. Work a bit of texture wax through the ends to create definition in the fringe and flipped side.
  9. Secure with a medium or high hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

To keep blonde vibrant, shampoo and condition with BC Bonacure Color Save Silver Shampoo and Color Save Conditioner. The shampoo contains an essential violet color pigment which supports and enriches the shimmer of cool blonde hair colors. Color Save Conditioner balances pH of the hair, keeping it shiny and healthy.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, round, square, pear

Tip:

When round brushing, keep turning the brush to get the maximum amount of bend at the ends.

13. Spunky Spike

Fall in love with this rich chocolate brown blown up with tons of spiky texture.

Spunky Spike Wild Full Pixie Spunky Spike Wild Full Pixie Side View

How to Style:

  1. Towel dry hair by wringing out excess moisture.
  2. Work a spray mousse through hair, concentrating it at the roots.
  3. Create a diagonal part that angles the fringe over one eye.
  4. Use fingers to tousle hair, lifting at the roots to create loads of volume, as you blow dry.
  5. Arrange hair randomly as you spray a texture wax for definition, pulling pieces here and there for a unique look.
  6. Finish with a high hold hairspray to support the strong shape.

Recommended Products:

Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus humidity-resistant volumizing spray mousse provides great style support as you blow dry. Add texture with Style Sexy Hair Spray Clay which provides a dry, texurized feel with a buildable, non-waxy hold.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, square, pear, round

Tip:

Style the fringe area to one side for a more ready-to-wear and office-friendly look.

14. Rally for Ringlets

This beautiful buttery blonde with ringlets gives a slight nod to the banana curls made popular by Shirley Temple.

Rally for Ringlets Blonde Cropped Look Rally for Ringlets Blonde Cropped Look Side View

How to Style:

  1. Towel dry hair by wringing out excess moisture.
  2. Preheat a 3/4-inch barrel curling iron.
  3. Allow hair to completely air dry or spray a leave-in conditioner through hair and blow dry with a 1 1/4-inch diameter round brush.
  4. Once hair is completely dry, use clips to section the topmost hair out of your way, leaving about two inches of hair near your neck free to curl for the next step.
  5. Work in horizontal sections beginning at the bottom. Take a one-inch vertical parting of hair and wind it around the iron on top of itself. Hold for a few seconds, gently unwind to release, and let cool in your hand before allowing the curl to hang. Repeat the winding in one-inch by two-inch sections all the way around the head.
  6. This next part is a bit tricky because you don’t want to completely get rid of the banana shape of the curls. Very gently tousle some of your curls to give the style a more modern feel.
  7. Finish with some medium hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Search folica.com for a fabulous selection of round brushes!

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear, square

Tip:

Wrapping the hair on top of or around itself on the iron is important. It means the difference between getting the banana curl shape as seen in the photos above or ending up with more of a spiral or wavy curl.

15. Curl Couture

An abundance of tight spiral curls gathered to the top side of the head for a fashion-forward style can be easily dressed up or down.

Short Blonde Gathered Curls Short Blonde Gathered Curls Back View

How to Style:

  1. Work a curl defining cream through dry hair.
  2. Gather hair at the front of the crown of your head and then move it off-center just a bit to whichever side you prefer, brushing ever so gently over the sides and back to smooth.
  3. Secure with a non-snag elastic.
  4. Arrange curls around the elastic and use bobby pins that match your hair color to secure the curls in different spots around the elastic. This will keep the hair looking like an updo rather than a floppy high ponytail.
  5. Finish with a light to medium hold shine-infusing hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Finishing Spray provides flexible, touchable hold, humidity resistance, UV protection and added shine.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, round, pear

Tip:

This style works best on those who have natural tight, spiral curls. Permed hair will work too, though the curls should be tight rather than loose and wavy.

16. Girl on Fire

Beautiful blazing red highlights woven through a base of rich red brown make this tousled look red hot.

Girl on Fire Brilliant Auburn Look Girl on Fire Brilliant Auburn Look Side View

How to Style:

  1. Work a quarter-sized amount of texture enhancing cream through towel dried hair.
  2. Use a 1-inch diameter round brush to create volume in the back and top of the crown. Round brushing as you blow dry will also give hair that bit of bend you see in the photos. Work in pie-shaped sections, aiming the air stream along the top of the brush as you turn it.
  3. Emulsify a nickel-sized amount of texture wax or paste with fingertips and piece out the tips of your hair to add defined texture.
  4. Part and arrange hair in the fringe to one side.
  5. Finish with a medium or high hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

KMS California Hairplay Design Wax separates and defines with flexible control and lasting shine.

Best Face Shapes:

round, oval , pear

Tip:

Keep red hair color vibrant by using Aveda Madder Root Shampoo and Color Conditioner.

17. Classically Smooth

This short, angled bob with lots of layers in the back is styled smooth for a classic and shiny finish.

Classically Smooth Deep Brown with Red Highlights Classically Smooth Deep Brown with Red Highlights Back View

How to Style:

  1. Towel dry hair by wringing out excess moisture.
  2. Work a quarter-sized amount of styling serum throughout hair.
  3. Part hair to one side.
  4. Blow dry using a paddle brush and the “wrap” technique as described above in “Definition of a Curly Blonde”.
  5. Straighten the front a bit more with a flat iron and use the iron to bend some of the hair in the crown back, giving it a bit of height.
  6. Finish with a shine infusing hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Paul Mitchell’s 427 Paddle Brush is lightweight for easy styling as you blow dry.

Best Face Shapes:

All face shapes would look great in this style!

Tip: 

18. The Long and Short of It

This is a fantastic crop cut with a short back and length left around the front and sides to frame the face.

The Long and Short Auburn Cropped Look The Long and Short Auburn Cropped Look Back View

How to Style:

  1. Emulsify a quarter-sized amount of styling cream with fingertips then rake through towel dried hair from mid-lengths to ends.
  2. Part hair deep to one side.
  3. Using a paddle brush and the “wrap” technique, blow dry hair to give it body and movement.
  4. When you get to the front fringe section, use the paddle brush in the same manner you would a round brush, lifting the hair and blow drying it straight up and out.
  5. Use the paddle brush to then flip that front section over and back, giving it the lift you see in the photo.
  6. Secure with a medium hold hairspray and a bit of shine spray.

Recommended Products:

OSiS Sparkler aerosol shine spray provides a weightless natural shine. Layer it for additional sheen.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear

Tip:

For extra lift in the front, use a 2-inch diameter round brush to blow dry hair back and away from the forehead, then let it fall to the parted side.

19. Fireworks

A flash of bright red adds an edge to this uber-texturized crop.

Fireworks Super Texturized Crop

How to Style:

  1. Spray a workable styling spray generously through towel dried hair.
  2. Use fingers to tousle hair as you blow dry using a medium heat setting.
  3. Work a matte finish paste through hair, creating random texture by pulling hair in different directions.
  4. Finish with a high hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Try Paul Mitchell Fast-Drying Sculpting Spray. Add texture with Alterna Hemp Natural Strength Concrete,which is an ultra-hold styling mud that provides texture and separation with a firm, matte finish. Lock in your style all day by finishing with Alterna Bamboo Style Ultra Hold Hairspray.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear, square, round

Tip:

Lift, lift, lift as you blow dry! This will give you volume where you want it, especially in the middle if styling exactly as seen in the photo. Use a flat iron to bend some pieces for a more natural look.

20. New Heights

This ultra texturized blonde is styled with volume all over and a short fringe that frames and brings attention to the eyes.

New Heights Blonde Style New Heights Blonde Style Side View

How to Style:

  1. Work a golf ball-sized amount of styling mousse through towel dried hair.
  2. Use a 1-inch diameter round brush to create lift, volume and bend in the hair as you blow dry.
  3. Turn the hair in the crown towards the back and in the sides down and to the back. Turn hair in the fringe straight up and out in front of you, then under for essential volume.
  4. Finish by creating separation with styling fibers and a strong hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Redken Rewind 06 pliable stying paste lets you twist, shape, rearrange and texurize hair. Forceful 23 super strength finishing spray provides ultimate strength, lasting lift and frizz-free shine.

Best Face Shapes:

heart, pear, oval, square

Tip:

Don’t be afraid to really get into hair with your fingertips to work styling paste and creams through hair. A light touch won’t be enough. You’ll need a bit more of a rough-and-tumble approach to get this texture!

Now that you officially know how to style short hair, keep your cut fresh by switching up your styling methods often. As you can see, not only are there tons of phenomenal short hairstyling options, but there are also many ways to style the same haircut. Accessorize with a smile for best results!