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15 of the Best Hairstyles for Medium-Length Curly Hair

From glam bobs to messy lobs.

Today, we're showing curly girls some love—and we're proving that you don't have to default to long locks with this hair type.

That's right, this post is all about medium-length hairstyles for curls. With all things '80s and '90s being de rigueur right now, I think this hair type might be having a comeback!

From The Styling Edit Archives

There's lots of inspiration ahead, from short bobs just below the earlobes to lobs that end around the collarbones. I've got 15 celebs to show you; some have naturally curly hair and some used a small-barrelled curling iron or waving tool to achieve tight curls. 

In case you missed 'em, the other hair-spiration posts in this series include: long and straight, long and wavy, long and curly, medium and straight and medium and wavy.

Here's your medium-length curly hair inspiration:

Deep Side Part

Salma Hayek at the 2010 Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscars viewing party.

Part your hair deep on one side, touch up your curls with an iron and then fluff (but don't brush) them out. Voilà, you'll have Salma Hayek's glamorous, slightly retro take on the curly bob. Surprisingly flattering, huh?

Deep Side Part With Volume 

Stana Katic at the 2013 screening of 'CGBG'.

By now, you probably know about the "swoop"—the height near the part that you can achieve by flipping your hair way over to one side, or in the opposite direction to where it wants to go. Stana Katic's got it going on, and as you can see, it gives her curls automatic volume and style.

Side-Parted Layered Lob

Rita Ora at the 2013 Met Gala.

Remember when Rita Ora was all about the curly lob and red lipstick? I miss those days! This layered cut gives her curls a subtle rounded shape (although pretty sure they were achieved with a curling iron). The simple side part adds polish.

Side-Parted Bob

Lily Cole at the 2012 premiere of 'Snow White and the Huntsman'.

Lily Cole made her short strawberry bob look very Marilyn Monroe, equal parts cute and sexy. The key things are the big, almost ringlet-like curls, with a gentle side part and flirty pieces over one eye. 

Centre-Parted Lob

January Jones at the 2015 Costume Designers Guild Awards.

Lob-length curls take on a whole new vibe when you part them down the middle, as January Jones demonstrates. Again, the point was not to separate them. The straighter hair near the part is what keeps it from looking too wild. This would look great (maybe even better) all brushed out.

Centre-Parted Bob

Beyoncé at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Here's what the centre part looks like when you crop off a few inches and leave the texture au naturel. You wouldn't think this would look good—but leave it to Beyoncé to show us that yes, natural curly texture and a slightly triangle-shaped short bob can be amazing. Such a strong style statement, I love it!

Asymmetrical Bob

Maggie Gyllenhaal at the 2010 premiere of 'Nanny McPhee Returns'.

Another way to add interest at this length is to get an asymmetrical cut, where the bob is shorter in the back and longer in the front. This suits Maggie Gyllenhaal to a T, especially with her amazing shine and well-defined curls. You could touch up the ends with a flat iron so they are more straight.

Rounded Lob

Katie Cooper at the 2014 Wildlife show.

How fun is Katie Cooper's rounded, voluminous shape? This style is really coming back in fashion, and it creates such a cool halo effect around the face. I think the little side bangs are important to make it flattering... otherwise it would be a bit too round.

Rounded Bob

Vanessa Hudgens at the 2012 Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscars viewing party.

Here's a shorter version on Vanessa Hudgens, with lots of piecey, defined curls. This is quite an effortless, playful style that you could fluff with your fingertips or tuck behind one ear. Again, we have a bit of a bang pushed across the forehead to soften it.

Triangular Shape

Fearne Cotton at London Fashion Week Spring 2012.

At one point, triangle-shaped bobs were considered a beauty crime... not anymore! Suddenly, Fearne's (which was achieved with hot tools) looks incredibly cool and fashion-forward. Notice how the width at the bottom is exaggerated, with flat, straight hair near the part. I adore the fluffy texture!

Curly Bangs

Halle Berry at a 2012 Revlon event.

So fun to see Halle Berry's natural hair texture! This is another example of the new rounder shape, but with the addition of bangs. See, curly bangs CAN work sometimes. The more they match the rest of the hair texture, the better, and they should always end below the eyebrows when curled. (So don't pull them straight when you cut!)

Pinned-Back Lob

Audrey Tautou at the 2012 screening of 'Delicacy'.

Audrey Tautou is wearing one of my favourite looks for natural curls—a side parted lob, pinned back on one side. Even though the curls are wild, that bit of definition makes all the difference.

Pinned-Back Bob

Marion Cotillard at the 2013 Met Gala.

Probably my most-loved of all these curly looks is Marion Cotillard's (quelle surprise!). Hers is the shorter version of Audrey Tautou's style, with a bit more control to her curls and a more defined crop. So vintagey and pretty!

High Updo

Annie Ilonzeh at the 2011 Emmy Awards.

Updos don't have to be so precise when you have curls. It looks like Annie Ilonzeh just piled hers high and then let tons of tendrils escape. Add the headband across the forehead, and the effect is like a modern Grecian goddess.

Low Bun

Charlize Theron at a 2009 screening of 'The Road'.

The other updo option with curly, medium-length hair is to tie back what you can into a low bun. That leaves the shorter front pieces, which can be styled like Charlize Theron's brushed curls, with one side tucked behind the ear.

Medium-Length Curly Hair Cheat Sheet

15 of the best celebrity hairstyles for medium-length curly hair.