The boyish haircut is something we can say that’s been around for decades, depending on what your definition of “boyish” is. In the 1920s, it was short, bobbed cut known as the Flapper hairstyle that fell under the umbrella; years later, in the 1980s, the title fell on punky, alt-culture looks such as the mohawk and mullet. We then saw the boy-cut pixie in the 1990s, and since then have been playing around with variations on a theme: short and relatively straightforward, with a confidence like no other. Today, a boyish haircut simply refers to a short hairstyle that typically exposes the ears and tapers in the back.
Scroll on for a bunch of our favorites, depending on what you’re vibing’ for:
A lot of us might remember this adorably retro, slightly geeky haircut from the ’80s. Well, as with most things awkward and previously regrettable, it’s experiencing a cool new hipster revival. A few tweaks to its traditional rounded shape—some textured bangs here, a dip-dye platinum color job there—is enough to modernize the look and hopefully do away with any awful yearbook PTSD triggers.
1. Piecey Fringe
Cute pixie-inspired bangs update the traditional roundness of a bowlcut.
2. Proper Bowlcut
A full-on bowl-cut was one of the trendiest looks in recent seasons, especially when juxtaposed with graphic accessories.
3. Bowl Undercut
A two-toned version of the bowlcut is on-trend for ladies who want to play with both proportion and color (and is such a crisp 1990s throwback!).
A cowlicked version that has you favoring one part over another gives a bowlcut more versatility.
5. Soft and Wavy
We obviously love a good throwback, especially when it still resonates to today’s trends. And can it get any more charmingly ’80s than this wavy style?
Curls for Days
A curly texture lends itself marvellously to an androgynously styled look; it provides just the right amount of personality and movement but in a manageable length. Play with blunt layers to add some weight and heft (and to avoid frizz), and maximize your dimension with a curl-defining product, like Bed Head by TIGI On the Rebound to finish.
6. Big Waves
The waify ingénue look doesn’t get any more charming than this gender-neutral haircut.
7. Clean and Damp
Hair that’s tightly curled but not coarse or afro-textured, a.k.a. level 3B on the hair chart looks really trendy and chic when cut with a slight taper and styled with a semi-wet finish.
8. Gelled Pixie
Infuse a bit more control into those corkscrews with a moisturizing hair gel.
9. High Top Fade
A fave of guys everywhere, a fade haircut can also work for women provided the temples are clipped smaller and softer, in proportion to your forehead.
10. Soft Mullet
A thick and subtly tapered mullet again hints at the glory days of the ’80s but with way more sophistication.
The afro is the Great Equalizer between the sexes, especially on natural-textured hair. We’re loving the Teeny Weeny Afro, or TWA, for this season.
12. Tousled Waves
Big, mussed-up curls give the right amount of weight and personality on the crown of this boyish haircut.
Edgy and Bold
Whether you’re in the mood for a complete buzz or are flirting with punkier looks such as a mohawk or undercut pomp, a shaved hairstyle is certainly bound to attract some attention. Maximize with trendy clippings, an on-point color and a well-maintained length on the sides, not to mention a spiked up crown that won’t succumb to the elements.
13. Relaxed Cropped
Minimize the damage on relaxed natural hair by opting for a boyish haircut that’s super clean and short.
Have your stylist clip each side of your head evenly, leaving a thick strip of hair down the middle that tapers slightly towards the back. To style, blow-dry hair upwards after washing and hold in place with a mohawk gel, like Bed Head Hard Head Mohawk Gel, finished off with a hairspray, like Bed Head by TIGI Hard Head Hairspray.
The closest, most confident shave you can get, next to taking it all off.
The grungy grown-out root plus that definitive middle part is textbook ’90s.
For the woman who likes duality, rocking two hues in one go—with a rock ’n roll texture to boot—is so of-the-moment.
18. Gelled-Up Pixie
Similar to the curtained look but this time treated with some gel for hold, this look can easily transform from masculine to feminine in minutes with the addition of some accessories (and a bold lip).
For those that really want to go there, make sure you do it right! And by this, we mean a wispy neckline and a slightly longer, heavier fringe, to give the overall look more structure.
A regular boyish haircut that’s longer up top can be edged up with a flipped-out style and some bright, unorthodox color.
21. Platinum Pomp
This awesome pompadour features an impeccably bleached blonde hue. So stunning!
Spike out the front layers with some texturizing wax (try Nexxus New York Salon Care Exxpand Plus Volumizing Whip) for that telltale birdlike quiff.
A trendy high-contrast haircut with an equally striking hue makes for a unique look.
Pixies and Cropped Cuts
Sweet, sassy but always still classy, the pixie haircut has been a favorite of women who love a short length but want to retain some feminine moxie. Depending on the layers in the look, the pixie can be as smooth or as choppy as desired, leaving for a highly customizable shape.
24. Traditional Pixie
Clean and rounded with a longer, tuckable front, this is a classic boyish haircut that will never go out of style.
A ruffled-up version, this haircut works best with those with a narrower forehead (or for those who can do with some extra height at the front).
Popular during the 1960s, the smooth, rounded pixie was a huge mod trend and emphasized the smoky makeup look of the era.
Lighter highlights on the fringe area give a playful touch to a long pixie bang.
28. Silver Crop
This crisp, no-nonsense crop flatters women of all ages.
A spiky boyish haircut is best styled with hair wax, like Bed Head by TIGI Manipulator Matte.
30. Spiky, Platinum
It’s easier to protect hair from bleaching damage when maintained at a shorter length.
31. Thick and Wavy
Maximize your hair’s fullness with a cut that’s a bit rounded at the temples.
32. Volumized Pixie
Blow-dry the hair on your fringe in an upward direction, gently tugging at the root, to infuse it with volume and a bit of hold.
If these following looks are any indication, it’s that a feminine boyish haircut isn’t at all an oxymoron. Characterized by longer, softer layers and barely any razoring, the results are universally flattering—long, square, oval, even heart-shaped face shapes can get away with these proportions, as long as the tops are thinned out to avoid any top-heaviness.
Ask your stylist for longer front layers at your front parting that can help soften the look of a traditional short crop.
34. Blown Out
The go-to proportions of a boyish haircut get some uptown polish in this crisp, blown-out version.
Flippy layering blends well with a soft fringe in this French-girl fave.
36. Relaxed Boy’s Cut
This sweet, delicate hairstyle is best for those with cowlicks farther back on the head.
37. Slick Bob
Utilize a drop or two of your favorite gel and run through the front hairline. Brush to refine any globs and to smoothen it out.
38. Classic Boy’s Cut
The standard proportions of a boyish haircut are perfectly showcased in this look: Subtly longer crown, exposed ears and a short length that tapers down the neck, with light to no sideburns.
39. Square Bob
A bit longer than the classic cut, this look retains the same neck-hugging layers of a boy’s cut, only softened with a longer fringe.
This rumpled short bob that was first big in the 1990s is going strong today, thanks to its flattering layers and ease of wear: It’s equally fabulous rough-dried with your fingers and a blowdryer, as well as air-dried!
One of our favorite iterations of the boyish haircut features a side-parted crop and sides that are tucked behind the ear.
As short hair comes back into style, we find ourselves fully committing to and loving the series of shorter style trends we’re seeing on the red carpet and off. With this resurgence of shorter hairstyles comes the rise of more masculine-inspired styles and cuts for women. We are appropriately calling these looks ‘tomboy’ styles. Think of your favorite style with a harder edge and more androgynous vibe:
42. Slicked and Short
If you’re already rocking a shorter hairstyle then we highly encourage you to try giving it a slick and shiny texture. The slicked-back style is perfect if you have longer layers upfront that you need to get out of your face, in style. Use Nexxus Exxtra hold Sculpting Gel to create this effortlessly cool look.
43. Headbands on Shorter Styles
Just because your hair is short doesn’t mean you can’t still wear fun and fashionable accessories. Bandanas are a great way to add spice to your style because they look cool and flow better with your hairdo more than a standard headband might.
44. Longer Pixie Cut
We adore this longer pixie style! This cut is the perfect mix of edgy yet flirty because of the soft layers and longer bangs that frame the face. This style deserves some high shine and needs to be blow-dried to perfection. Before blowdrying, use some TRESemmé Repair and Protect 7 Pre-Styling Spray to prevent split ends and get that highly coveted, silky smooth finish.
45. Sharp Side Shave
There’s no style quite as cool and fitting of the tomboy characterization as a sharp side shave. This style is dramatic and beautiful. Play around with the amount you shave and the length of the rest of your hair. Keeping your length much longer than the side shave adds a strong contrast.
46. Textured Bob
Style your bob haphazardly to achieve this carefree and tomboyish look. Instead of highly stylizing your bob, try letting it air dry and embrace your natural texture. If your hair is naturally straighter and needs a little push, or you just want to add more body, add some Bed Head by TIGI Queen Beach Salt Infused Texture Spray.
47. Feminine Pompadour
The feminine pompadour is super extra and high fashion, and we are living for it! If you can successfully create this look then you will have mastered one of the ultimate tomboy hairstyles. Put your hair in a smoothed down and a tight ponytail and leave the top section of your hair free. Comb the top section forward and apply gel and hairspray to create this twisted and highly constructed look.