47 Short Alt Hair Looks We’re Loving Right Now

Bridge the gap with a hairstyle that's as chic as it is practical.

The short alt hair look is something we can say that’s been around for decades, depending on what your definition of “boyish” is. In the 1920s, it was a 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 haircuts for girls, also known as 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 favorite tomboy hairstyles, depending on what you’re vibin’ for:

Best 47 Short Alt Hair Looks To Try Now

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 Short Alt Hair

boyish haircut piecey fringe
Break up the roundness with a choppy micro fringe. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Cute pixie-inspired bangs update the traditional roundness of a bowl cut. These feathered bangs add a soft effect to what are usually edgier short haircuts. This style requires minimal styling and zero product usage, blow dry or air dry your hair and go!

2. Proper Bowl-Cut

boyish haircut proper bowlcut
The symmetry between the hair and jewelry is riveting! Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

A full-on bowl cut was one of the trendiest looks in recent seasons, especially when juxtaposed with graphic accessories. This multi-length style is an excellent example of a modern take on a throwback trend. This, like many boy’s short haircuts, looks great on thick strands, as the contrast between the lengths of the look really stands out.

3. Bowl Undercut

boyish haircut bowl undercut
Leave the undersides fully shaven or slightly faded, depending on your comfort level.

A two-toned version of the bowl cut is on-trend for ladies who want to play with both proportion and color (and is such a crisp 1990s throwback!). This style is darker on the bottom and lighter up on top, giving us a contrasted multi-dimensional look we can’t get enough of.

4. Side-Parted

boyish haircut side parted
Focus the airflow of your blowdryer from your cowlick downwards to help mold the fringe area. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

A cowlick version that has you favoring one part over another gives a bowl cut more versatility. This style is messy and chic and super easy to style on the go.

5. Soft and Wavy

soft and wavy boyish haircut
An archetypal (and frankly, super adorable) 1980s look we can all get behind. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

We obviously love a good throwback, especially when it still resonates with today’s trends. And can it get any more charmingly ’80s than this wavy style?

6. Big Waves

boyish haircut big waves
We can’t wait to see this look paired with a stained lip. Photo credit: Dvora

The waify ingénue look doesn’t get any more charming than this gender-neutral haircut. This is another look that depends on natural texture and minimal intervention!

7. Clean and Damp Short Alt Hair

clean and damp boyish haircut
Damp curls can look chic with the right gel. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

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

gelled pixie boyish haircut
Apply your styling product before curling with an iron for more staying power. Photo credit: Dvora

Infuse a bit more control into those corkscrews with an extra firm hair gel like TRESemmé Extra Hold Hair Gel. This will set your curls into a defined style that’s guaranteed to have an impact.

9. High Top Fade Short Alt Hair

high top fade boyish haircut
This hairstyle is fresh yet classic at the same time.

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 Short Alt Hair

soft mullet boyish haircut
More blended layers modernize this look. Photo credit: Dvora

A thick and subtly tapered mullet is one of the tomboy haircuts that once again hints at the glory days of the ’80s but with way more sophistication. Run a tiny drop of shine serum through your strands to give this look a little gloss.

11. TWA

twa boyish haircut
An afro that tapers down to your neck is the hot shape for 2017. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

The Afro is the Great Equalizer between the sexes, especially on natural-textured hair. We love the Teeny Weeny Afro, or TWA, for this season.

12. Tousled Waves Short Alt Hair Look

Tousled Waves
This look balances out a strong jawline. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Big, mussed-up curls give the right amount of weight and personality to the crown of this boyish haircut. This is a great short-hair option for anyone with thicker strands looking to lose some length. Keep your locks healthy and bouncy with a moisturising conditioner like Love Beauty and Planet Rice Oil & Angelica Essence Moisturizing Hair Conditioner for Curls and Waves.

13. Relaxed Cropped

relaxed cropped boyish haircut
The crop keeps it sweet and simple.

Minimize the damage to relaxed, natural hair by opting for a boyish haircut that’s super clean and short. This style is clean-cut and easy to care for.

 14. Mohawk

mohawk boyish haircut
Layer gel under hairspray for a firmer hold.

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 it in place with a gel, like TRESemmé TRES Two Mega Firm Control Gel.

15. Buzzcut

buzzcut boyish haircut
Confidence is key! (As well as a good pair of clippers.) Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

The closest, most confident shave you can get, next to taking it all off. Ideal for hot summer days when you just can’t deal with longer strands, this is one of the most breezy tomboy haircuts.

16. Curtains

curtains boyish haircut
A grungy hairstyle looks best with minimal makeup. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

The grungy grown-out root plus that definitive middle part is textbook ’90s. Wearing a middle part on a short style is decidedly 90s in the very best way.

17. Dip-Dye

dip dye boyish haircut
Finger-comb your hair forward for a rougher feel. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

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. This two-toned look is edgy, cool, and one of our favorite styles of the moment. Take care of your colored strands with a moisturizing mask; we love Nexxus Color Assure Long Lasting Vibrancy Deep Moisture Masque.

18. Gelled-Up Pixie

gelled up pixie boyish haircut
We love this tougher take on the regular curtains hairstyle. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

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).

19. Femullet

femullet boyish haircut
Keep the bangs longer and fuller for a more subtle take on the mullet. Photo credit: Dvora

For those who really want to go all in with tomboy haircuts, 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.

20. Flipped

flipped boyish haircut
Top off that quiff with an unexpected hue, like bright sunset orange.

A regular boyish haircut that’s longer up top can be edged up with a flipped-out style and some bright, unorthodox color. This pumpkin-spice hue is perfect for fall but also works all year round!

21. Platinum Pomp

platinum mohawk boyish haircut
Hats off to this crisp, perfectly pompadoured look. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

Of all boy’s haircuts to steal, this awesome pompadour is our fave, featuring an impeccably bleached blonde hue that’s makes a statement. Style this platinum hue with a volumizing hair spray like TRESemmé Frizz Protect Hair Spray, which will also keep frizz at bay! 

22. Quiff

boyish haircut quiff
Some peek-a-boo highlights add a touch more personality to your bang area.

Spike out the front layers with some texturizing wax, like Bed Head by TIGI Wax Stick, for that telltale parakeet quiff.

23. Undercut

boyish haircut undercut
A classic undercut gets an edgier spin with the color of the season: platinum. Photo credit: Dvora

A trendy high-contrast haircut with an equally striking hue makes for a unique look. This look is simultaneously sleek and edgy, professional and street style-ready, and one of our favorites in the collection.

24. Traditional Pixie

traditional pixie boyish haircut
A semi-matte finish brings the details of this look to the fore.

Clean and rounded with a longer, tuckable front, this classic boyish haircut will never go out of style.

25. Feathered

feathered boyish haircut
The higher, the better!

A ruffled-up version, this haircut works best with those with a narrower forehead (or those with extra height at the front).

26. Smooth

smooth boyish haircut
Add to its charm by clipping on a tiny barrette. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Popular during the 1960s, the smooth, rounded pixie was a huge mod trend and emphasized the smoky makeup look of the era.

27. Streaky

streaky boyish haircut
Stick to highlights that are one to two shades lighter for a more blended feel.

Lighter highlights on the fringe area give a playful touch to a long pixie bang. Play with color and cut with this unexpected style!

28. Silver Crop

silver crop boyish haircut
A purple shampoo helps keep brassiness on your grays and silvers at bay.

This crisp, no-nonsense crop flatters women of all ages and it’s one of the best boy’s short haircuts to embrace your graying strands. Go with this crop for a chic and sophisticated style.

29. Spiky

spiky boyish haircut
Rub product in between your palms to help it spread more evenly.

A spiky boyish haircut is best styled with hair wax, like Bed Head by TIGI Manipulator Matte Cream. This cream will give your strands some shape and hold and a subtle matte finish too!

30. Spiky, Platinum

spiky platinum boyish haircut
This high-octane look can show roots easier than other cuts, so definitely prep for some level of upkeep.

Protecting hair from bleaching damage is easier when maintained at a shorter length. Lighten up your strands and keep them short with this universally flattering androgynous style.

31. Thick and Wavy

thick and wavy boyish haircut
The definition of wash-and-wear! Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Maximize your hair’s fullness with a bit of rounded cut at the temples. This cut is perfect for anyone hoping to soften up a short style and avoid harsh edges. Choose a shampoo like Suave Cactus Flower Shine Shampoo for a gentle cleanse and shiny finish.

32. Volumized Pixie

volumized pixie boyish haircut
Direct your dryer’s concentrator nozzle upwards for more lift.

Blow-dry the hair on your fringe upward, gently tugging at the root to infuse it with volume and a bit of hold.

Softer Styles

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, and even heart-shaped face shapes can get away with these proportions, as long as the tops are thinned out to avoid any top-heaviness.

33. Asymmetrical

asymmetrical boyish haircut
Pick a side, any side.

Ask your stylist for longer front layers at your front parting that can help soften the look of a traditional short crop. This multi-length look is flattering on a range of face shapes!

34. Blown Out

blown out boyish haircut
Use a round brush to achieve that telltale shine.

The go-to proportions of a boyish haircut get some uptown polish in this crisp, blown-out version. This runway style works just as well for a day-to-day look and requires minimal styling!

35. Shaggy Short Alt Hair

shaggy boyish haircut
Let air-dry for the ultimate in easy everyday style.

Flippy layering blends well with a soft fringe in this French-girl fave. We love this style for a range of ages.

36. Relaxed Boy’s Cut

relaxed boys cut boyish haircut
Use a natural-bristled brush for a smoother finish.

This sweet, delicate hairstyle is best for those with cowlicks farther back on the head. Brush your strands forward and use a soft hold gel to keep them in place without overdoing it on the product.

37. Slick Bob Short Alt Hair

slick bob boyish haircut
A dime-sized amount of gel is more than enough for this finish. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Utilize a drop or two of your favorite gel and run through the front hairline. Brush to refine any globs and to smoothen them out. It’s ideal for anyone hoping to keep their hair out of their face and look chic.

38. Classic Boy’s Cut Short Alt Hair

classic boys cut boyish haircut
Use a blow-dryer to achieve a smoother, under-curled blowout.

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

square bob boyish haircut
Subtle back layering is the key. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

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.

40. Tousled Short Alt Hair

touseld boyish haircut
Utilize your blowdryer’s diffuser to achieve a natural wave. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

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!

41. Tucked

tucked boyish haircut
We love this look with a slightly blown-out finish.

One of our favorite iterations of the boyish haircut features a side-parted crop and sides that are tucked behind the ear. Keep your strands out of your face with this adorable cropped style.

42. Slicked and Short

tomboy slicked and short
Give your tomboy style a slick look with some gel.

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 up front that you need to get out of your face in style.

43. Headbands on Shorter Styles

tomboy bandana
Rock that bandana, girl! Photo credit: Dvora

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 than a standard headband might.

44. Longer Pixie Cut

tomboy longer pixie cut
Go for a longer pixie cut and throw in some layers, too!

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 blow-drying, 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

tomboy side shave
There’s nothing cooler than a 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

tomboy messy bob
You can’t go wrong with a bob. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com.

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.47. Feminine Pompadour.

47. Feminine Pompadour

tomboy feminine pompadour
Recreate the tomboy version of your fave ’50s hairstyle. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

The feminine pompadour is super extra and high fashion, and we live for it! If you can successfully create this look, you will have mastered one of the ultimate tomboy hairstyles. Put your hair in a smoothed-down and 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.

Are you thinking about trying out one of these styles? Be sure to tag us @AllThingsHairUS!


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