It's time for the latest installment in our celebrity hair inspo series! To catch you up, we've talked about the best hairstyles for long and straight, long and wavy, long and curly, and medium and straight hair types.
Today's post is all about the hair texture and length of the moment: medium-length and wavy! Over the last couple of years, there have been countless young celebs who've gone for this fresh, modern chop—thankfully ditching the long, limp, curling iron waves of red carpets gone by.
In this round-up, I'm including the ever-popular lob, which sits just above or below the collarbones, as well as a few examples of the "wob," which is a true bob-length at ear level. These 15 looks can be achieved on either naturally wavy hair or by tonging around with an iron—just be sure to leave the ends out instead of curled under.
Here's your medium-length wavy hair inspiration:
Centre Parted Lob
Lily Collins nails the wavy lob with a strict centre part, showing off the baby hairs along her hairline. This one is great for oval faces; notice how the texture starts at about eyebrow level and continues softly through the lengths.
Centre Parted Bob
Take the lob up a few inches and you've got this Beyoncé wob. With the centre part, chin length and tighter waves, it definitely has a triangular shape. You wouldn't think would work, but it does! The effect is very cute and very on trend, but again, best left to perfectly oval faces.
The most classic way to style the lob length is the way Nicole Richie does it: side-parted and with loose, brushed-out waves. It's pretty much the most universally flattering hairstyle in existence.
Deep Side Part
Tucked behind one ear and worn in a deep side part, Rosamund Pike's cut is somewhere in between a bob and a lob; since it's cut on an angle, the front is longer than the back. Her texture starts right from the roots, and isn't brushed out. The waves lie flat to her head, but add lots of body—very flattering!
Deep Side Part With Height
We all swooned when Margot Robbie burst on the scene with this style. The key detail is the height and volume at the front, achieved by flipping the hair in the opposite direction to where it wants to go, in a deep side part. I've raved about this look many a time; it's a modern take on '80s/'90s supermodel hair and oh-so-sexy.
For a cuter take on the lob, add a full fringe like Emma Stone's. Her bangs hover just below the brows, and although they're cut straight-across, the texture blends nicely with the rest of her waves. (You don't want to pair super-straight bangs with very wavy lengths—we're not channelling that part of the '90s right now!)
If you don't want to commit to a thick bang, Halle Berry has an option: her fringe is quite a bit choppier and softer, with more weight through the sides. With this style, the bangs don't necessarily have to be styled to match the rest of the waves. I particularly love the beachy texture she's got going on here through the lengths.
The wavy lob works with side bangs as well, which are a clever way to shorten a long face or lengthen a round one. Felicity Jones does a side part with long bangs that sweep across her forehead, hitting at eyebrow level on the other side. They have a bit of movement in them, to match the tousled lengths.
Long Side Bangs
Here's the chic French way to do wavy hair with side bangs. Marion Cotillard wears hers long, in a deep side part, so they join and blend in with the hair on the other side of her face. Her length is a bit shorter, and her waves big, soft and slightly imperfect.
When your hair isn't long enough to put up, but you still want to play, try braiding tiny sections like Carey Mulligan. Her two random braids at the front are pinned into her waves instead of hanging loose; they fit right in with the choppy, wavy texture throughout.
Another way to add interest when you can't pull your hair back is to simply pin it tight to the head on one side. This works whether your hair is bobbed short, like Jennifer Lawrence's, or a much longer lob. Add some smoothing serum to the waves and voilà, instant retro red carpet style!
Pinned On One Side
Nobody wears barrettes anymore, and I don't know why! Except Morena Baccarin, who is demonstrating a very easy way to jazz up a wavy chin-length bob for evening. A hair accessory that's the same colour as your hair keeps it chic, so it doesn't distract from the your earrings/outfit/makeup—you just get a touch of sparkle.
The queen of the air-dried wavy lob, Alexa Chung, always keeps her hair low-key. This half-back style is no exception; the hair is casual, but the makeup is dressy. If your hair isn't long enough to gather together at the back, simply pin each side as far back as it will go. The curtain bangs at the front add softness.
You may have spotted the half-up bun on the street already—it's one of the newest variations on half-up hair, and Kate Mara wears it well. Technically, it's more like one-third-up hair, not half, because you just want to take the uppermost section, pulling it straight back and into the bun. This wouldn't work as well with straight hair; you need the wavy texture for the right casual vibe.
You might think bobbed hair is too short for a proper updo, but just look at what Sienna Miller is doing. She left the front third of her hair loose, just taking what was long enough to fit into a tiny baby bun. The key, again, is the waves—they make the style look intentional, instead of messy.
Medium-Length Wavy Hair Cheat Sheet
What’s your favourite look for medium, wavy hair?