Short Curly Hair: 7 Cool-Girl Ways to Wear This Look

Curls we love.

We love ourselves a fresh spin on a good bob haircut, and the different iterations of short curly hair we’ve been seeing out lately are making the case for this hard. Normally reserved for straight to wavy hair textures, a bob takes on a delightful novel approach once it’s done on hair with some serious curls and ringlets. The look is half ingénue, half rebel, and we’re 100% about this undeniably street-savvy, gamine hairstyle.

Scroll down for pretty, edgy, so-not-boring ways to wear short curly hair that, with the right prep and products, are actually pretty low on upkeep as well. Read on:

7 Cool-Girl Ways to Wear Short Curly Hair

short curly hair cropped ash brown
Borrowed from the boys: the teddy-boy appeal of a ducktail edges up a regular bob. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

1. Ducktailed

Who knew that this popular men’s vintage hairstyle big in the 1950s would be reborn in a gender-neutral version? The ducktail features sides that are combed down and slicked with product, topped with a hairline that’s usually floppy at the front. To achieve, apply a dime-sized amount of gel (we like the shine and controlled hold we get from TRESemmé TRES Two Mega Firm Control Gel) onto the palms of your hands and comb down each side using a fine-toothed comb. Allow both the left and right sides to meet in the back to form a V (and resembling a duck’s booty), and use the leftover gel to twirl the ringlets on your crown with.

short curly hair loose curls
Ooh-la-love: A soft, curly bob is the ultimate in French chic. Photo credit: Dvora

2. Loose and Left Bank

Live life à la rive gauche with a short curly hair look that evokes a relaxed, creative spirit. Fresh and with a confident take on beauty, this cherubic bob is for the gal who flies in the face of society’s beauty standards (in short, #kween!). The haircut—a simple, soft rounded bob—needs little more than a well-meaning scrunch of mousse to maintain its shape; anything more is just taking away from its laid-back appeal. We like how the Dove Style+Care Curls Defining Mousse maintains a touchable yet defined (and springy!) curl.

short curly hair wedge bob
Give some dimension to a dark, wedge-cut bob by adding in some wispy texture. Photo credit: Dvora

3. Textured and Blunt

How to elevate a wedge cut? By taking your texture to the limit, that’s how. A blunt, above-the-chin bob pings high on our radar when amplified with some fun, finger-raked waves. Make this hot mess a smidgen more deliberate with some matte putty for structure (we like the powder-to-balm formula in Bed Head for TIGI Joyride) and a well-meaning shake. Perfect the look with a cheeky off-center center part.

short curly hair braided blonde
A tiny braid on either side of the head helps texturize a regular straight-haired bob. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

4. Braided

Naturally straight-haired girls need not sit this one out. A braided crown can easily help you get over any trend FOMO by adding some interest and texture on an otherwise potentially limp cut. On hair longer than a traditional pixie (> 4 inches), create a side part and begin an easy French braid on the hairline, incorporating new hair into the plait as you move downward. Pin behind one ear, and repeat the process from your minor part line to the other ear. Apply a dime-sized amount of  wave-enhancing cream, such as the TRESemmé Make Waves Shaping Gel Cream, between palms and muss through the hair in the middle of the crown braid, twirling sections into cute ringlets as you go.

short curly hair natural bob
A unique sweetheart parting breaks up the blocky texture of a kinky bob. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

5. Natural and Parted

Natural-haired ladies, or those sporting otherwise kinky curls, are blessed with texture to the nines—little is needed for this look to have a standout feel. A deliberate parting is oftentimes enough to give a cute new twist to a curly bob. A center part or dainty side parting, teamed with a length that’s slightly tapered towards the neck, is a graceful, slightly different way to wear kinky hair in a short curly hair ‘do instead of the usual Afro. Make sure those ringlets are tight and bouncy—a leave-in conditioner, paired with a curl-recall cream such as Bed Head by TIGI On the Rebound, gets you there fast.

short curly hair blonde tight ringlets
Add more interest with some gentle backcombing at the ends. Photo credit: TONI&GUY Products

6. Tight and Bleached

Bigger gets even better with short curly hair, particularly when done in a look-at-me shade. In this case, platinum blonde acts as the envelope pusher for this look, which features grown-out roots and tight, directional Z-shaped spirals. Enhance the texture by spritzing some mousse on your palm and scrunching it lightly onto the hair. We like how Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Curl Defining Soft Touch Curls Mousse gives structure to this editorial look, but sans the crunch. Finish off with some light handed backcombing towards the ends to create that cotton-candy fuzz.

short curly hair high top
A blocky fade on short curly hair has the cool-girl points of an undercut, but with less of the upkeep. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

7. High-Top Fade

We borrowed yet another one from the boys and gave it a feminine spin. A high-top fade that’s a few points shy of an undercut is another way to temper natural or kinky curls and give them a new look, if you needed a break from a regular Afro. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek in a kooky, ’90s-throwback way (the era that we’re kind of super obsessed with at the moment), but it’s also surprisingly flattering, given the proportions of where the fade begins (slightly above the temples), the face shapes it goes with (ovals, diamonds, triangles and hearts) and the integrity of the curls themselves (easily assumed via some serum, like the Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Crème Serum).

Obsessed with curly hair? See other ways to make the most out of your natural curly texture.