22 Flattering Shoulder-Length Hairstyles

01
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The Most Flattering Length on Everyone

January Jones
Getty Images

Shoulder-length hair is perfect for every woman. It doesn't matter if your hair is thick or thin or what your face shape is, either. This medium length haircut will look great on you and the best part is that there are many ways to style it to fit your personality, lifestyle, or any occasion.

Whether you enjoy soft, beautiful curls or waves or like the mussy, choppy look that's super trendy, you can get it out of this haircut. Want to pull it back in a ponytail or get an updo for a formal party? You can do it! Not only is it the most flattering haircut on everyone, it's also the most versatile.

The editors of Allure Magazine dubbed this cut the most flattering hair length on everyone. There are five reasons why it works so well:

  1. It's flattering on all face shapes, from round to long and thin to square, even heart-shaped.
  2. It works with all hair textures. Typically curly hair needs to be worn longer than the chin and fine hair can fall flat if it's too long. To the shoulders is the perfect compromise for everyone.
  3. We've all heard that men prefer long hair to short. It's just a generalization and not necessarily true. Besides, long hair doesn't work for everyone and how your hair makes you feel is far more important. If you love it, you'll be just as sexy, no matter the length.
  4. It requires very little styling. You can wash and go and your hair will dry faster than it would if it were long. At the same time, it doesn't require the styling tools needed for a short cut.
  5. It's low-maintenance. Short hair is very high maintenance because it requires regular trims to maintain. Long hair can quickly grow too long and require regular salon visits as well. Shoulder-length cuts buy you a little more time, which is perfect if you lead a busy life.

It seems the celebrities are listening as well. More and more are cutting off their long locks and going with this swingy-yet-sexy collarbone grazing length.

02
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The Difference of a Few Inches

Jessica Alba with two haircuts
Getty Images

For women who have enjoyed long hair for quite some time, deciding to go shorter can be a little intimidating. However, as Jessica Alba demonstrates, it can really liven up your look.

Getting rid of a few inches off the ends can add volume to flat hair. Going with this long bob isn't too big of a transition, either. It's not like you're getting a pixie.

Instead of telling your stylist to cut so many inches off your hair, show him where you want your hair to fall. It's far more accurate and ensures you get the finished length you've been dreaming of.

03
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Long Layers

Cruel Intentions premiere
Santiago Felipe / Contributo

Layers can do wonders for any hair texture and any length. They're just as important in shoulder-length hair and they're great for framing any face shape to show off your best features.

Kate Rockwell's cut is a perfect example of the volume and movement layers can add to straight hair. They are cut in just below the chin, which accents her face and bone structure. For wavy or curly hair, layers have the opposite effect and can help reduce volume.

04
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For Straight Hair

Rachelle Carson
Ben Horton / String

If you have flat, thin hair, that is naturally straight, you'll find that going a little shorter may be your best bet. Taking a little more length off also reduces your hair's weight. This may mean that you have to use less hair product to add body. If you keep your hair healthy and the cut simple like Rachelle Carson's, it's a beautiful look with very little daily maintenance.

05
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For Curly Hair

Kerry Washington
Tibrina Hobson / Contributor

If you have naturally curly hair, it's best to let it grow a bit longer. Longer hair weighs down curls, whereas shorter hair can "pouf" up. It's important to get long layers cut into your hair, and some stylists prefer to cut curly hair dry so they can see exactly where the curls lie.

06
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Go Straight

Laure Santo Domingo
David M. Benett / Contributor

The shoulder-length cut looks fabulous with straight hair. Lauren Santo Domingo's hairstyle is a little edgy because it is so straight and choppy. You can get this look by asking your stylist to avoid blunt ends as she cuts. You may also have to blow dry your hair straight or use a flat iron.

07
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Go Wavy

Marta Fernandez
Fotonoticias / Contributor

Almost every woman has some wave to her hair and you can easily show it off with this cut. The style on Marta Fernandez is stunning, perfectly soft and sexy, and really highlights her facial features.

To embrace your natural waves, let your hair air dry and scrunch it as it dries. It's a really simple look to pull off, though if you want a little more wave, your curling iron can help.

08
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Go Curly

Amy Poehler
Jason LaVeris / Contributor

Curls flatter almost everyone. Amy Poehler shows just how angelic curls can be and it's very striking with her bright blonde hair. With the curls, this style is a little shorter and frames her face perfectly.

09
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Go Mussy

Camilla Belle
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor

Mussy, tousled hair is in. Sure, it sort of looks like bedhead, but Camilla Belle demonstrates just how hot it can look. This is another easy style you can get by scrunching your hair as it dries naturally.

10
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Switch Your Part

Mena Suvari with two parts
Paul Archuleta / Contributor/Getty Images

The versatility of the medium cut is shown off in Mena Suvari's two looks from the same cut. In one, she has a deep side part that creates sexy side-swept bangs. By simply parting her hair down the middle, she has a softer, very pretty look. Both frame her face with gentle layers and really show off her big eyes and bright smile.

11
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Curly or Straight

Jenna Dewan Tatum
Getty Images: Michael Buckner and Steve Granitz

This cut also allows you to play with your hair's texture. Jenna Dewan Tatum uses the same cut to go from stick-straight hair to gorgeous waves. You can do the same at home, using a flat iron for the straight look or a curling iron to get the waves.

12
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Sexy Waves

Rosie Huntington-Whitely
Jon Kopaloff, Anthony Harvey for Getty

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley proves that you can have sexy waves without extensions. With choppy layers and stunning blonde highlights, her thinner hair gets a fantastic volume. The long bangs frame her heart-shaped face, finishing off this gorgeous look.

13
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Soft Waves

Emily Blunt
Karwai Tang for Getty Images

Emily Blunt's hairstyle is sweet and subdued. It has just enough length and the soft waves are perfect for naturally wavy hair. Though the style itself is simple, the color has a great vibrancy, especially with the highlights that frame her face.

 

14
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The Sleek Long Bob

Camilla Belle
Emma McIntyre / Staff/Getty Images

Bobs are anything but boring and the long bob is a very popular style that will be hot for some time. Camilla Belle sports it in fine fashion with her straight, dark locks that are gently curled under at the ends. 

15
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The Length That Ages Well

Finola Hughes
Paul Archuleta / Contributor/Getty Images

Shoulder-length hairstyles are a great option for older women. It's not too short, so it can take years off your look as it has with Finola Hughes. Her hair also has a gentle ombré color that is barely distinguishable. Yet, those soft brown ends are a beautiful contrast to her darker base color.

16
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The Mature Bob

Diane Keaton in two different shoulder length haircuts
Andreas Rentz for Getty

Diane Keaton has a great look for any women over 50. Her long bob is fabulous with her natural gray hair. It is both mature and wise, yet somewhat playful, especially when she parts it to the side to create long side-sweeping bangs.

17
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Thick Waves

Alice Eve
Frazer Harrison // Getty Image

If you were blessed with thick, wavy hair, a shorter bob is a great choice. Alice Eve's blonde waves are gorgeous. This particular length is just long enough to keep her thicker hair tamed down. Any shorter and you would be risking the pouf effect that comes with thick, short hair.

18
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Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Marla Aufmuth / Contributor /Getty Images

Reese Witherspoon's heart-shaped face is perfect for this cut. Since the curls begin along the jawline, it slims down the wider part of her face. This is a look that you can wear to the office or for a night out.

19
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Professional and Cool

Jaime Pressly
Ethan Miller / Staff/Getty Images

Another very professional yet hip look, Jaime Pressly has a fabulous cut for thinner, straighter hair. Rather than letting it go flat on top, the way she has parted her hair adds volume up top. This is a great trick if you want to add length to a rounder face.

20
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Dark, Sexy Wisps

Kim Kardashian
Gilbert Carrasquillo / Contributor

When Kim Kardashian cut her hair from long to shoulder-length, everyone went crazy. This is a particularly nice version of her cut and it's just as sexy as any other style she's worn. What really sets this off is how her thin, wispy hair is the same color as her smoky eyes, which are a stunning contrast to her skin tone.

21
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Blonde and Choppy

Ashley Olsen
Amy Sussman / Stringer /Getty Images

Choppy ends are in. It's a trend that is not going away and a fantastic, quick way to freshen up your look. Ashley Olsen has a great chop that is somewhere between a long bob and a shag. It's sweet and sexy and really works with her bold blonde highlights.

22
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Flaming Red Curls

Christina Hendricks
Theo Wargo / Staff/Getty Images

If you have flaming red hair and bold curls, show them off. Many women covet this look because it's so unique, yet familiar. Christina Hendricks looks like she stepped right out of an old Hollywood black and white movie. While it can be glamorous, this style can also be fun and bouncy with jeans and a t-shirt.