Have Naturally Curly Hair? The 24 Best Curly Hairstyles for Medium Hair

The best shoulder length curly hair ideas

Did you know you can fall in love with your shoulder length curly hair by adding texture and using specialized products? Whether you prefer a soft, romantic look or voluminous curls, these curly hairstyles for medium hair can take you from the office to an evening garden party.

With plenty of great products to help define your shape and remain frizz-free; you’ll be certain to embrace warmer temperatures.

Below I’ve put together some photos of the best curly hairstyles for medium hair that you’ll see this year!

Dark Brown Medium Length Curly Hair Style

Dark brown medium length curly hair
Instagram @wiliancortestilo

Shaping is key to achieve an on-point layered medium curly hair. It’s also all about texture, and these highlights and frizz are absolutely doing the work.

Naturally Curly Mid-Length Cut for a Round Face

Woman with naturally curly hair and mid-length haircut
Instagram @triciatmcfaul

Medium length curly hairstyles can totally work for women with round face shapes like this one. Consider adding subtle side bangs to draw attention more towards the narrower part of your face.

Deva Curly Hairstyle for Medium Length Hair

Deva Curly Hairstyle for Medium Length Hair
Instagram @hairbyjames

All medium-length naturally curly hairstyles can always benefit from getting a DevaCurl cut and treatment. This is such a gorgeous example of what this cutting technique and product can do.

Wonderful Shoulder Length Curly Bob

Q&A with style creator, Sarah Chaney
Hairstylist / Curl Specialist @ The Local Salon in Los Angeles, CA

How would you describe this look?

This look is a long curly bob that I cut to enhance her natural curl, which is really pretty all on its own, so we didn’t use hot tools at all to style her. I love that the layers give the cut a nice, strong shape with a nice drape as opposed to a wide triangle, which so often happens with mid-length curly cuts.

Any advice for someone considering it?

My advice to naturally curly girls looking for this look is to not be afraid! Many women considering medium length naturally curly hairstyles think that they are limited to only having long hair below their shoulders, but it just isn’t true. Find a stylist who specializes in curly cuts, and they can create a shape to enhance your curl instead of fight against it.

Smoking-Hot Medium Layered Curly Hair

Smoking-Hot Medium Layered Curly Hair
Instagram @adri_alb

Q&A with style creator, Adriana Albornoz
Co-owner / Curly Hair Specialist @ A+M Beauty Lounge in Tampa, FL


How would you describe this look?

This is a shoulder length curly hair with layers and face framing.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Don’t be afraid of layers! Medium hairstyles for curly hair look best when they have layers, or you’ll end up with the dreaded triangle.

Find a stylist who comfortable cutting curly hair dry and curl by curl, so they can give you a custom cut for your curls. For her, we used a medium hold silicone free (water based) gel, used a diffuser, diffused upside down, and tipped to the sides to achieve maximum volume.

Beachy Boho for Natural Curls

Q&A with style creator, Karlie Johnson
DevaCurl Advance Stylist @ Frangipani Hair Studio in Jacksonville Beach, FL


How would you describe this look?

I would call this look a beachy boho look for sure. It is so cute! When she came in for the cut, she had a pic of a boho girl in a bikini with this look. It had a very 60-70s feel.

I took off at least eight to ten inches before I gave her the Deva Curl Waterfall Cut with soft layers and these fun playful bangs! She squealed with excitement after I cut the bangs! Her friend who was with her automatically wanted bangs too, so I just couldn’t help myself. Both girls giggled as they walked out with their new bangs and snapped selfies. It made me smile the rest of the day!

Any advice for someone considering it?

This look is fun and playful and can last a couple of days with the right product and technique. I strongly follow the Deva Curl No Poo Transformation for this look. I left a good amount of Deva Curl Condition One conditioner in at the shampoo bowl after I detangled the curls so they could reform. I used the Deva Curl Light Defining Gel and followed with the Deva Curl Frizz Free Foam, then I started removing as much moisture as I could with the Deva towel (strongly suggest using if you have natural curl ). I cut it under the dryer and finished her ends with my diffuser for a fuller look. After fully dry, I flipped her head upside down and fluffed the curls!

This look is great for someone who wants to have fun with their curls and loves volume. Just be aware that bangs in the summer can be more work with the humidity, so always make sure you know what kinda of extra maintenance you will have to consider when styling. Bangs are just more work in general because you have to style them every day. If you are a wash and go kind of girl, they might not be for you.

Curly Half Up Half Down

Curly Half Up Half Down
Instagram @st_biton

Q&A with style creator, Esti Biton
Hairstylist & Makeup Artist / Educator @ in Tel Aviv, Israel


How would you describe this look?

I love this look because it preserves the natural curls. It defines them and creates a lush backdrop that wraps the face of the bride.

The asymmetrical lift of the hair from the direction of the temples gives an elegant and easygoing appearance.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This look is great for girls who want to keep their natural curls, recognize themselves on their wedding day, but still be the best version of them self. For girls with thin or not so full hair, I recommend using hair extensions like in this example.

For this look, you need to have some patience because you have to work on the curls one by one. To maintain durability, I recommend that you use hair spray with stronghold formula.

Flattering Very Curly Hair

Flattering Very Curly Hair
Instagram @tbcurlgirl

Q&A with style creator, Teresa Badolato
Salon Owner / Certified Deva Stylist @ Curl Hair and Wellness in Bryn Mawr, PA


How would you describe this look?

This haircut for curly hair was achieved using the DevaCut method, which is a tension-free (but balanced) dry haircut on textured hair. It is more than a haircut, it’s a culture, a lifestyle, and it is not about trends. It is about embracing your natural texture, which is liberating, especially if you’ve been struggling with your natural texture.

My goal was to give her a more flattering shape that complements her face and head shape without it looking stiff, wet, or crunchy. That is my favorite thing about this look. Her curls look and feel soft, and are defined without the frizz.

Any advice for someone considering it?

If your hair responds to humidity in an unfavorable way, and/or you are left feeling disappointed after every haircut, give the DevaCut a chance! It is a game changer for people with naturally wavy/curly hair. Go to someone really good too! You’ll be able to see your hair transform before your eyes while getting schooled on how to care for your hair yourself.

A well trained DevaCurl stylist will be able to recommend the right products for your curl type. Most importantly, when you’re browsing different haircuts online, remember that you want to find a photo of someone who has hair similar hair to yours to avoid disappointment. Read about the stylist you are going to before making the appointment. If they cut wavy/curly hair WET, run for the door!

Easy Big Curly Hair

Q&A with style creator, Anjelica Dabrowski
Curl Specialist / Stylist @ Brocatos in Baltimore, MD


How would you describe this look?

This style is all about natural, lived-in texture with soft control and romantic wearability. It’s that uber-popular look so many clients are requesting lately.

My favorite part about this look is the versatility. The cut is long enough for a multitude of different styles, yet short enough for easy management. The layers allow for some volume in the crown to elongate the shape, and the angled pieces in the front open up the face frame and draw attention to the eyes and cheekbones. The hair looks shiny, healthy, and full of life.

Any advice for someone considering it?

The best advice I could offer someone wanting to recreate this look is to know what ingredients are going into the products you choose. Harsh sulfates are going to strip vital moisture from the hair, leaving it dry and very difficult to style. Silicones are going to leave a film on the hair strand and build up over time, creating a cast that interferes with shine, vibrancy, and elasticity.

This look is great for so many different textures of hair and complements all lifestyles. Once you set up this style it will last you for days!

To achieve this look, our focus is hydration, flexibility, and control. Prepping curls with the right amount of moisture is vital to allow our looks go from day to night and from work to play.

For our curly textures, hydration starts in the shower. To start this look off, a deep cleansing of the scalp was done with DevaCurl Low-Poo Original Cleanser followed by DevaCurl One Condition. The mixture of two products allow for easy slip while detangling and because no sulfates were used, essential moisture was not stripped away during the process.

For parched strands, leaving in a good bit of conditioner is a great secret weapon to aid in fighting frizz. After I finger detangled with the conditioner, I very lightly rinsed then scrunched to expel out excess water while encouraging the curl pattern.

Flexibility was achieved by using DevaCurl Styling Cream which contains botanical conditioning agents that create touchable texture and control frizz. I often have my clients flip their head over as I run the cream over their curls like I am icing a cake. I don’t disrupt the curls, but I make sure each one is properly coated.

For an added control factor that helps curls last for days, I apply DevaCurl Light Defining Gel. I gloss this over the entire shape and scrunch upwards to enhance definition. This gel creates a zero crunch protective moisture barrier that adds shine and repels frizz. The end result is curls that are touchable and controlled.

The best part about this look is that you can choose to air dry or warm dry with a diffuser for extra volume.

Lovely Curly Layered Hair

Lovely Curly Layered Hair
Instagram @devadoll10

Q&A with style creator, Lynne DaSilva
Deva Certified Curl Specialist / Deva Curl Educator @ Acappella Salon in Temecula, CA


How would you describe this look?

This is a lovely layered cut. One of my favorite things about haircuts for curly hair like this is how seamless the layers are. It’s perfect for creating lift and lightness with heavy hair. It also brings volume and fullness to fine or thin hair.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This style embraces a variety of hair types, face shapes, and lifestyles.

The amazing finish was created with DevaCurl products. Super Cream added moisture to help smooth the hair texture and the Ultra Defining Gel was used for definition and hold.

Luscious Curls for Over 60

Luscious Curls for Over 60
Instagram @jordanaveryz

When you’re at that age where everything that you put on is an epitome of elegance, these fringing curls are the best way to show that.

Layered Curly Lob

Layered Lob hairstyle
Instagram @s.bryzow

Q&A with style creator, Bryzow
Hairstylist @ Parlor Hair Salon in New York


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as a layered curly lob.

My favorite thing about it is the way it enhances the guest’s natural curl. When her hair is longer, the waves tend to be looser and a little more weighed down. By adding in structured layers we were able to achieve more volume on top and that “perfectly undone” texture.

Any advice for someone considering it?

First of all, consider your natural texture. If your hair is straighter or curlier than this, it will be hard to achieve this look without a ton of extra styling. Also, consider when you wash your hair. If you like to shower at night and go to bed on wet hair, you’ll lose all the volume and texture overnight.

I recommend using a curl-enhancing product (I love Aveda’s Be Curly Style Prep on fine hair or Be Curly Curl Enhancer for coarser hair) and a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer. If you prefer to air dry, your best bet is to twist small sections around your finger with some curl cream, give it a light scrunch for volume, and then don’t touch it again until it’s dry. If you touch your hair too much during the critical drying period you’ll end up with more frizz and less curl definition.

To refresh your next-day curls without having to shampoo, use a spray bottle to lightly mist your curls with water, scrunch again, and finish with a light layer of Aveda Curl Enhancing Hairspray.

Curly & Thick Shoulder Length Hair

Long Layered Curly Haircut hairstyle
Instagram @jjlynn34_hair

Q&A with style creator, Jessica Johnson
Hairstylist @ Immortal Beloved in Richmond, VA


How would you describe this look?

This is a layered cut for thick curly hair. It is designed for someone who wants to remove some weight near the length of their hair but still have movement and volume.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This is a low maintenance style that works best for someone with medium to thick hair. It is suitable for most face shapes as the layering naturally elongates and creates a nice silhouette. Keeping the layers long enough to still easily pull back into a bun or simply away from the face makes this a versatile and easy style to maintain.

A great leave-in conditioner and a medium hold curl gel are all you need to recreate this shape at home.

Layered Curly Bob with Thick Curls

Q&A with style creator, Tina Wherry
Hairstyist @ Christopher J Salon in Plymouth, MN


How would you describe this look?

I like to cut my curly girls dry so that I can see the immediate results for stubborn curls. This layered bob creates a serious bounce in her curls to give this curly girl a sophisticated and flirty look!

Any advice for someone considering it?

Some looking to achieve this hairstyle for curly hair will be happy with the ease of this style! With the right cut, this style simply takes a heavy dose of moisture and a curl defining product like Living Proof Curl Defining Creme. Diffuse or air dry, and voila!

If you have a looser curl, I would create texture in the crown with the cut and throw in a few loose curls with a curling iron.

Medium Length Layered Cut

Q&A with style creator, Heather Hall
Master Stylist and Curl Whisperer @ Heather Hall at Salon Lofts Clintonville in Columbus, OH


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as a medium length layered cut that allows the curls to fall beautifully and naturally where they need to lay.

The cut was done dry, and I love the way dry cutting brings out the best in naturally curly hair. It allows me to see where each curl wants to live and will thrive the best in the cut.

Any advice for someone considering it?

The curly hair journey is a lifetime commitment! To achieve beautiful curly hairstyles like this, you first have to get rid of ingredients such as silicones and sulfates that will be damaging and weigh down curly hair. You also need to consider the hair’s porosity and balance between moisture and protein in order to really give your hair what it needs.

In this photo, we styled the hair wet (not dripping), and finger raked DevaCurl’s Frizz Free Volumizing Foam from roots to ends, followed by Jessicurl’s Spiralicious Gel. I finger raked until curl clumps begin to form and all the hair was as smooth as silk. I then scrunched the hair using my hands or a cotton t-shirt to bring out the curls. I diffused the hair until dry using my Babyliss diffuser attachment with the dryer setting at low heat and low airspeed. Flip the hair upside down, right side up, and back and forth while drying to achieve lift at the root!

Natural Curly Blonde Hair

Natural Curly Blonde Har
Instagram @tressesbytiff

Q&A with style creator, Tiffany Ivey
Hairstylist @ Renee’s Day Spa & Salon in Modesto, CA


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as natural and beautiful! My favorite thing about it is the fact that a woman is embracing and accepting her natural hair and beauty. She not trying to change it to be like anyone else or what the latest trendy style is.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Let nature take its course, let your hair do what it wants to do, and work with what you’ve got! Define your natural texture by cleansing with a no-poo, detangling with your fingers while conditioner is still in the hair, then rinsing and applying a moisturizing styling cream to lock in the hydration.

Let your hair air dry 80% (or completely dry) before taking a diffuser to it. Like I said, let your natural hair do what it wants to do. Natural is beautiful!

Shoulder Length Curly Hair with Side Bangs

Shoulder Length Curly Hair with Side Bangs
Instagram @beautybyalasia

Admit it, you’ve always wanted to try donning a curly crown. Go for the full young look with a medium cut and some bangs.

Sweet Curly Shag with Curly Bangs

Q&A with style creator, Christina Valenzuela
Hairstylist & Devacurl Advanced Specialist @ Luxe Parlour in Studio City, CA


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as the modern messy curly shag. It’s edgy yet sweet. I love the bangs because they totally make the whole look complete.

Any advice for someone considering it?

When looking at hairstyles for medium-length curly hair, modern and low maintenance are what it’s all about. Adding product when the hair is super wet helps distribute the product evenly throughout the hair. I used DevaCurl Supercream and Ultra Defining Gel.

Diffuse dry the hair to bump up the body. To prevent the bangs from splitting, diffuse them dry first. Finish with Mirror Curls for extra shine.

Conservative Curly Locks

Conservative Curly Locks
Instagram @hairmajestiii

Q&A with style creator, Alisha Rodrigues
Hairstylist @ Lavish Salon in Providence, RI


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is a before and after of a Deva Cut which is dry cut for curly hair. She told me she likes her curls more conservative and less unruly, but she wanted shape. I gave her long round layers specifically for her natural curl pattern. I cut her hair one curl at a time to ensure the accuracy of the haircut.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

I used the Deva Curl Super Cream to style her hair. This is a light moisturizing cream that is perfect to style the hair on clients with fine to medium texture hair. It gives you that softly subtle look and feel. I cut her hair right under the collarbone which is a trendy length. It’s the perfect length to brighten up your face and is still long enough to tie back.

In the before picture, you can see her hair was long and drab with very few long layers. This look gave her curls no life on top, leaving them flat and straight because of the weight of her hair. With this new haircut, her curls spring back to life and brighten up her finest features. I was in love with her cheekbones, so I brought up some layers around her face to accentuate them.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This is a perfect haircut for someone that wears their hair curly and wants some definition in their curl pattern that brightens them right up without too much volume.

Cascading Curly Wavy Hair

Cascading Curly Wavy Hair
Instagram @bristleandprim

Q&A with style creator, Krystle Sosa Kirchgessner
Master Stylist @ Bristle&PRIM in Lancaster, PA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I love the dimension we were able to achieve by painting in natural lowlights and brightening up her previous highlights. It not only helps make the waves pop out more, but it also creates a low maintenance hair color. It is a great look for the busy gal!

My second favorite thing about this look is her new shape. By picking up the heavy top layers, it removes the bulky triangular shape she came in with and adds movement back into the cut. Hair should move with you and not feel boxy. I love these cascade waves!

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

Like all curly gals, the hair needs moisture. From wavy to corkscrew curls, they all deal with the dreaded frizz factor so the products have to keep all moisture locked in. It’s important to use a sulfate-free cleanser (which keeps oils in) and a silicone-free conditioner (silicones = synthetics and they are water blockers!).

I cleansed her scalp with DEVACURL DELIGHT LOW-POO, hydrated and detangled with DEVACURL DELIGHT ONE-CONDITIONER, then scrunched in DEVACURL BELIEVE-IN leave-in conditioner on sopping wet hair. I finished the style by scrunching in DEVACURL ULTRA DEFINING GEL.

The client can choose to either diffuse or air dry. In a salon setting, I usually sit them under an ionic hair dryer to create the look of a natural air dry. When fully dry, I shake and re-scrunch the product “cast” out.

To maintain the look for 2-3 days more. Sleep with a “pineapple” ponytail and spritz with a water/conditioner mist.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

As far as the cut goes, this is a universal look for many curly girls. Elevating layers so they cascade over the other removes bulk along with proper styling. When hair reaches collarbone length and past, this a great low maintenance look for any curly girl with any face shape to consider. When the hair is shorter than collarbone length, that’s when we’ll have to consider face shape, texture and lifestyle in our consultation.

As far as color is concerned, I haven’t met a curly girl who couldn’t pull off a dimensional look! How else better to show off curls?

Big Bouncy Curls

Q&A with style creator, Starresha Renae
Salon Owner and Master Stylist @ The Curl Whisperer Chicago in Chicago, IL


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This looks is curly and big!

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

I recommend any curling gel layered with a cream.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look is ideal for any client with any lifestyle. The color is neutral and easy to maintain.

Medium-Short Curly Hair

Medium-Short Curly Hair
Instagram @larnkieninger

Q&A with style creator, Lauren Kieninger
Co-owner & Stylist @ Barbara & Barbara in Chicago, IL


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as a modified Prince-style curly shag. I love that retro looks are coming back and allowing for all sorts of reinvented styles.

It’s been so inspiring and fun to be able to modify a look based on curly texture. I absolutely love being able to add height and volume to curls. Making shapes with curly hair and this kind of cut, in particular, provides  a lot of versatility on the daily that a client can have fun with.

What products do you recommend to maintain and recreate this look?

First and foremost, curly hair needs hydration. It’s best to start with good sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. After conditioning, if you’re looking for a soft and touchable curly shag, I would start by scrunching a foam as the base product. Two of my go-tos are Devacurl foam or Eleven foam. Then I would layer a little texture cream like Kevin Murphy’s Killer.Curls.

These products work best with a little bit of heat, so I would diffuse for a few minutes after applying. You can leave the hair to air dry the rest of the way, or finish with the diffuser. You can also use Kevin Murphy’s Powder.Puff for added volume.

To keep this look sharp, maintain it with a reshaping cut every two to three months. If the top layers start to get too long, you won’t be able to get as much height and the shape will start to droop.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

The best type of client for this is anyone who wants to rock a sweet shag! If anyone has the confidence in a look, they will pull it off. What’s nice about this shape is that it can be cut on straight or curly hair. You can also modify it to have bangs or not to frame your face.

So if you want the fun of a shag, but maybe not the maintenance of having bangs, it’s a totally doable look. This cut requires regular trims, so if you can’t make it to your stylist every two to three months, it may not be the best choice for your lifestyle. Try it out and see because you never know, it could be the most perfect look for you!

Tight Curly Hair

 

Tight Curly Hair
Instagram @andrea_gildedfox

Roller up those locks to create kinky hair from roots to ends.

Flattering Shoulder Length Curly Hair with Bangs

Q&A with style creator, Sara Maria
Owner / Styist @ The Beatnik Box in Coral Gables, FL


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as light-hearted and sassy at the same time. My guest wanted to keep her length while maintaining the ultimate volume and movement.

Her highlights were very grown out and had turned brassy. She is a girl on the go and didn’t have time for a retouch so we opted for a cooler, darker tone until she can make a future appointment.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Really embrace their hair. Curly girls are sometimes terrified of volume, but here’s the thing, curly hair will always have volume. It’s just where that volume is distributed. I’d tell them to choose wisely.

There are various reasons that cause our hair to act up, so different products help different situations. With that said,  take advice from a stylist they trust rather than a YouTuber.

Romantic Curly Updo

Romantic Curly Updo
Instagram @celinehairartist

A fancy dinner? A night out with friends? Or just casually feeling elegant? Grab your favorite curling iron and get on with creating a beautiful low knot.