Medium-length hair is the middle child of the beauty world. All the attention goes to show-off bobs and mermaid manes that fall far below the waist. While those spotlight-stealing lengths are all well and good, every once and awhile we like to give mid-length hair its time in to shine.
If you’re hunting for medium-length hairstyles, you’ve come to the right destination. Let our favorite updos, cuts, and ponytails inspire you.
When you’re dealing with medium-length hair, it’s far too simple to get sucked into the trap of wearing the same style every day. While a blowout is nice, it’s far from the only thing you can accomplish with your length. Case in point: the messy chignon.
Although this style might look an awful lot like the kind you’ve seen in salon stock photos, rest assured we’ve updated and simplified the style. Starting with your hair smoothed into a low ponytail, create a topsy tail by pulling your lengths up and through a hole directly above your hair elastic. Then, tuck what remains of your ponytail into your newly-created twist. Pin as needed, and finish with hairspray. We like to pull out a few face-framing pieces, as well.
Tucked French Braid
Here’s a style for days when your hair isn’t quite dirty enough to wash, but not salvageable enough to wear down. Tease your crown, backcombing each section before hair spraying it. Smooth over the top of the volume you’ve just created, then begin a French braid from the back of your head to the nape of your neck. Seal the deal with an elastic that’s the color of your hair, and pancake the braid all the way down.
Now, you’ll want to tuck your loose ponytail up under the braid so that even the elastic isn’t visible. Give the whole style a spritz, and don’t be afraid to make it looked a little lived-in. Bedhead chic is the goal.
Bun with Mega Volume
When you’re tasked with getting glam for a wedding or formal event, the idea of using roughly a million bobby pins to keep your hair in place is anything but appealing. So, we say skip the complicated updos in favor of something that won’t cause a cramp in your shoulder muscles.
Enter the humble bun. Although this style’s been interpreted a dozen different ways, we like it best when paired with serious volume. To attain that, backcomb and hairspray sections from your crown and the top of your head, focusing on height. Smooth over the teased hair, bringing it back into a low ponytail. Shape your bun, pin it, and give it a final spritz.
Half Top Knot
Top knots are a gift from the hair gods, permission to go an extra day without shampooing because the bottom of your hair still looks nice even though the top has become a disaster zone. On medium lengths, the style is a particularly useful way to look like you did an updo without having to spend the whole evening clipping stray hairs back.
Starting from just above either ear, gather the top half of your hair into a ponytail. Then, using a second hair elastic, wrap your hair in a messy bun shape and secure it. Fluff to your liking and finish the style with a little hairspray to prevent flyaways and frizz.
What is it about medium hair that lends itself so beautifully to waves? We love the look of hair that’s been spritzed with volume-enhancing or salt spray before being scrunched. The result is fresh, summer-like, and easy.
If you’re dealing with natural wave or curl, use your diffuser on its lowest setting to achieve the same results. Make sure you’ve applied a heat protectant and light curl-boosting cream, too. Within a few minutes, you’ll have a sexy, tousled mane.
Unlike the terrifying triangle layers you probably recall from middle school (the nightmares will live on forever), today’s layers are all about amping up the movement and shape of your do. For thick-maned ladies, that’s the difference between a cut that’s flat at the top, wide at the bottom and one that hangs beautifully around the face.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your cut, skip the celebrity photos on your iPhone. Instead, talk to your hairstylist about your daily routine and how much product you’re comfortable using to ensure you get a chop that’s suited for your lifestyle.
Freshly washed hair feels silky and smells divine. It plays nicely—that is, until you try to style it. If you have fine hair, clean strands can be a slippery nightmare. On days when your locks just won’t behave, try the no-fail party ponytail.
Starting with a tangle-free hair elastic, create a high ponytail that sits squarely in the center of your head. Once you’ve smoothed the style around the hairline and crown, it’s time to get to business. Backcomb the style, adding hairspray for hold as you go. Smooth your ponytail as much or as little as you’d like, aiming for volume over perfection.
Half Crown Braid
On medium-length hair, it’s easy to feel like you wear an identical look every single day. If you’re tired of blow drying and curling, turn to a style that will add volume and visual interest to your mane: the crown braid.
Start with a deep side part, then begin a Dutch braid (always braiding away from your part) that follows your hairline. Once you’ve reached your temple, transition into a three-strand braid. Just above your ear, tie off the braid and pin it. Finish by either disguising your pins or topping them off with a statement hair accessory.
Sometimes, a girl just needs a ponytail that looks as if a professional artfully styled it. This look is also ideal for second-day hair that’s been brushed through, since extra oil only makes the hair seem glossier.
After brushing through your hair, create a pin-straight center or side part with the handle of a comb. Gather the hair at the very base of your neck, smoothing as you go, and secure it with an elastic. Using a strand of hair from the base of your ponytail, hide the elastic by wrapping the piece around until there’s no more left. Pin to secure, then hairspray any flyaways.
Break up your mid length style with beautifully tapered layers. As an added bonus, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well this cut frames your face.
Tousled Waves With Bangs
If you haven’t heard by now, thick bangs are making a comeback. Try out the retro trend, pairing it with some very relaxed waves.
Sleek Low Bun
Whether you don’t have time to style your hair or you’d just rather not, the sleek low bun can save the day. Use a comb to create a sharp part and ensure no bumps marr your chic style.
Lob With Loose Curls
Put your curling iron to use styling loose ringlets. If you’re not so fun of the pageant girl style, use your thumb and forefinger to gently tug on each curl after releasing it from the iron’s clamp.
Deep Side Part
Whether your hair naturally falls flat or just isn’t agreeing with you, a deep side part is the quickest way to create high impact volume.
If the name of the game is movement, the choppy lob nails it. To recreate this look, use a texturizing spray on a freshly curled style before using your fingers to break up the individual ringlets.
Bouffant Side Ponytail
When in doubt, bouffant it out. A little backcombing goes a long way, particularly in an otherwise average style.
The sleek lob is incredibly professional without being too severe. Achieve this look with the help of a quality blowout cream and the concentrator nozzle of your hair dryer.
Blunt bangs add an edge to even the most basic cut. To ensure you leave the salon loving this style, ask your professional for a quick styling tutorial that you can recreate at home.
Tousled Low Knot
This style may seem basic, but it’s one we spot on influencers and models all the time. There’s just something about the nonchalant texture that’s very appealing—particularly if you start with a spritz of texture spray at your roots.
Blunt cuts practically scream for pin straight styling. Show off those freshly snipped ends with a sleek, beautiful look.
Inverted Textured Lob
Many women want to know the secret to the effortless waves that have taken over social media. It’s this: Before you curl each strand, twist it gently before wrapping it around the curling iron.
Beach waves never go out of style. If you already have some waviness to your mane, create this style by pairing a light curl cream with the diffuser attachment on your hair dryer.
Twisted Half Updo
Romantic is the name of the game, at least when it comes to this updo. An ethereal half updo is perfect for date night—particularly if you want to show off your freshly done makeup.
Slicked Back With Glitter
Don’t feel like playing it save? This glitter look is all you need to ensure you’re the most memorable girl at the party.
If you’re lucky enough to have a natural curl pattern, let everyone take it in! Encourage extra volume with a quality curl cream and a diffuser. The less you touch, the better your curls will turn out.
The shag has made its big return and now there’s no avoiding trying it. We like this look best with paired with a beachy, sunny color.
Knotted Updo With Rope Braid
Unlike other braids, the rope braid just requires the ability to twist two strands in opposite directions. If you need a lazy style that still seems polished, make this one your go-to.
Low Pigtail Buns
Not sure what to do with your hair? Braided pigtail buns are the middle school standby that’s been making us look cool since the year 2000.
Braided Half Ponytail
This braided half ponytail is basically your old standard—except all grown up and stylish.
Still not interested in styling your own hair? Call your stylist. In just about half an hour, he or she will give you the perfect bombshell blowout.