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There once was a time when curly-haired beauties flocked to salons to do everything from relaxing treatments to Brazillian blowouts in an effort to flatten out their curls. Gone are the days of hiding your texture. Whether you’re looking for new ways to style your day-to-day ‘do or you have a party on the books, there are endless ways to style not just curly hair, but short curly hair—and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ahead, find 30 short curly hairstyles that prove short curls are super versatile.
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Rita Ora’s Messy Updo
Rita Ora’s messy updo is a lesson in using your curly texture to your advantage. An updo with cascading curls and face-framing tendrils will always look romantic and youthful, while also looking polished.
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Yara Shahidi’s Blunt Bob
Yara Shahidi’s blunt bob is shaped to perfection: the length hits right at the chin and is paired with side bangs. To recreate this, have your stylist cut your hair dry to get the shape just right.
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Issa Rae’s Curly Ponytail
If you’re lucky enough to have super tight, bouncy curls, our favorite way to style it is in a slicked-back ponytail with tons of volume at the back. As simple as it sounds, a curly ponytail like Issa Rae’s has the power to dress up everything from jeans to a ball gown.
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Alanna Arrington’s Curly Fringe
Stop pairing your ringlet curls with a blown-out fringe. Instead, let your bangs take on an equally textured curl pattern and wear them low on the forehead, like model Alanna Arrington.
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Ruth Negga’s 1920s Curl
Sometimes the best way to style your short, curly hair is to cut it shorter and wear it curlier á la Ruth Negga. The style boasts ‘20s vibes without looking outdated.
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Bella Hadid’s Curly Bun
The best part about a full head of curly hair is you have a leg up on straight-haired girls when it comes to fancy ‘dos. Pull your hair into a high ponytail and let your natural curls spill over to create a textured bun like Bella Hadid—no curling iron necessary.
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Rihanna’s Wet Curls
The wet look is here to stay, so break out the gel. A center part with soft, shiny waves throughout looks chic and modern as demonstrated by Rihanna.
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Lupita Nyong’o’s Snatched Ponytail
Not only does a tight ponytail give you an instant facelift, it also shows off your makeup and outfit, as seen on Lupita Nyong’o.
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Amandla Stenberg’s Statement Headband
Even on your most basic hair day, a statement headband can take a hairstyle from boring to beautiful in seconds. One in a metallic finish, like Amandla Stenberg’s, is sure to turn heads.
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Jourdan Dunn’s Braided Bun
Jourdan Dunn’s low braided bun is equal parts romantic and playful with a cluster of colorful bobby pins embellishing the final look.
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Beyoncé’s Blonde Lob
Beyonce’s wavy bob is dynamic enough on its own, but the blonde ombre dye job adds tons of dimension.
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Zendaya’s Vintage Finger Wave
Sometimes all you need is a tub of hair gel to take your hairstyle into another decade. Vintage finger waves like Zendaya’s will dress up even the most elegant of evening gowns.
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Yara Shahidi’s Micro Bangs
Who said curly-haired gals can’t get in on the micro-bangs action. Not Yara Shahidi! A super short fringe is an excellent way to frame the face.
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Jasmine Sanders’ Natural French Twist
Here’s proof that a French twist is the ultimate sophisticated updo. We especially love the curly flyaways on Jasmine Sanders’ updo, which add a romantic finish.
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Solange’s Soft Curls
Brushing out your curls into a soft, airy texture is just what you need to spice up a longer curly bob. To pull off the look yourself, part it in the middle like Solange and add a hair oil for shine.
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Naomi Campbell’s Highlighted Curls
Even Naomi Campbell knows short, curly hair is where it’s at. The supermodel swapped her signature pin-straight, waist-length locks for caramel-tinted curls.
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Alison Brie’s ‘70s Shag
Alison Brie brought back the best of the ’70s via her choppy, feathered, shoulder-length curls. Unlike the perms of the Studio 54 era, she brought the curls into 2019 by keeping them soft and sultry.
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Tracee Ellis Ross’ Slicked-Back Curls
We love how Tracee Ellis Ross wore the wet look in a slicked back style on the red carpet. Her glossy curls look fabulous, but pushing the hair out of the way allows her to serve some major face, and we can’t stop staring.
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Taylor Swift’s Faux Bob
If you’re interested in taking the shorter ‘do for a spin, but aren’t ready to commit, try faking a chin-length bob like Taylor Swift. Enlist the help of countless bobby pins and your natural curls to create one show-stopping look.
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Viola Davis’ Wavy Bob
Curling irons aren’t just for straight-haired girls. If you’re in the mood to try a new curl pattern, style your hair in big, bouncy waves. Just be sure to curl your hair back and away from your face like Viola Davis.
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Alia Shawkat’s Ringlets
Alia Shawkat’s surprisingly versatile cut can be worn both messy and sexy, or in this case, cute in tight coils.
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Rihanna’s Pixie Cut
Curly-haired ladies can wear a pixie cut like none other, thanks to their envy-inducing texture.
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Lupita Nyong’o’s Coif
Lupita Nyong’o is one of our favorite stars who wears her natural coils on the red carpet. Here, she shows off her texture via a tapered haircut and a dramatic side coif.
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Yara Shahidi’s Side Braid
Creating a deep side part and holding the hair in place with a braid looks just fabulous with a sequin gown, like Yara Shahidi, as it does with jeans and a tee.
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Jasmine Sanders’ Half-Up Low Pony
This half-up ponytail with curly tendrils cascading everywhere from the temples to the nape of the neck feels youthful and modern.
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Audrey Tautou’s Playful Pixie
For a whole generation of women, Audrey Tautou’s romantic curled pixie will forever be the height of hair goals following her performance in Amélie and iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume campaign.
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Keri Russell’s Dirty Blonde Curls
And for another subset of women, nothing will be more memorable than Keri Russell’s Felicity-era switch from long ringlets to a short, highlighted curly look.
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Hailey Bieber’s Choppy Bob
Adding layer to her locks, Hailey Bieber sported a happy medium between soft waves and beachy curl at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards.
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Tessa Thompson’s Old Hollywood Finger Wave
Tessa Thompson pays homage to vintage glamour while re-inventing just how chic a finger wave can be on the red carpet.
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Joey King’s Curled Pixie
A curly mane and a pixie cut are (and were never) mutually exclusive. Joey King’s playful look at the 71st Emmys is a textbook example of what happens when you expertly style those tousled curls.
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Stephanie Montes is a freelance contributor covering all things fashion and beauty.
Savannah Walsh is an Editorial Fellow at ELLE.com.
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