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15 of the Best Hairstyles for Long, Curly Hair

Wear it up, down and in between.

We last left off this hair series with the best hairstyles for long, wavy hair (and before that, long, straight hair). Finally, we move on to long and curly! This one took a looong time to research, because it's just not the kind of hair we see a lot on the red carpet these days—even though it's a hugely common hair type in real life. I don't know why this is. Hey celebs, we'd love to see more long, curly hairstyles!

As per usual, I've got 15 celebrity looks to use a guide for your own styling inspiration. All of these folks have naturally curly hair in varying degrees of curliness. Some looks you might be able to get au naturel, while others may require some finessing with tools.

Here's your long, curly hair inspiration:

Deep Side Part

Camila Alves at the 2011 Heart Truth Red Dress collection.

Camila Alves has been wearing her hair straighter lately, but a few years back, she rocked these luscious, supermodel-esque curls. The part is way over on one side, and notice the "swoosh"—the kinda '80s height at the top—which works particularly well with curls. The key is for the hair to be long enough so that the swooshed bit doesn't stick out on the other side; it should just blend with the rest of your hair.

Side Part

Taylor Swift at the 2009 BMI Pop Awards.

Aw, remember when this was Taylor Swift's go-to hairstyle? I still think the curls suited her best. Here, she obviously used an iron to get the perfect spiral effect and polished, smooth texture. The side part and straighter area across the forehead creates a little faux bang—great idea! I'd love for this to be just slightly less "done".

Centre Part

Rachelle Lefevre at the 2011 Disney ABC Winter Press Tour.

With a gentle centre part, curly hair can just be left alone to do its thing. So what if it's not technically "on trend" right now? Most of us would die to have Rachelle Lefevre's glorious mane. I think the slightly frizzy texture works well here to keep things natural-looking—the curls don't always have to be perfectly controlled.


Maya Rudolph at the 2012 Oscars.

Side-swept styles are so hot right now, and look particularly amazing with tons of curls and volume. Maya Rudolph straightened her hair about a third of the way down to help it sit flat in a deep side part; then, she touched up the curls with an iron before pinning them over to one side. Gorgeous!


Yaya DaCosta at a 2012 Golden Globes party.

If you've got tightly coiled hair, then why not go with it in a big way? That's what Yaya DaCosta is doing here, with a rounded, statement-making shape defined with a soft side part. Straightening just the roots can add even more volume.


Mariah Carey at a 2009 press conference for 'Precious'.

Curls and bangs aren't usually a match—unless you're into a '90s-inspired look like Mariah Carey's. Somehow, she's always managed to pull 'em off, the tricks being to keep her curls intact instead of brushing them out, and to leave some of the forehead still visible. Beyoncé also did a version of this style back in 2005.


Jennifer Lopez at her 2012 World Tour post-party.

With straighter hair, half-up styles can sometimes come across a bit dated or juvenile. Not so with curls. Jennifer Lopez took the front section of her hair (from just behind the ears) and pulled it into a ponytail on top of her head, using a bit of hair to wrap around the elastic. With so much volume from the back and lots of cool texture, the style becomes modern and super-flattering. 

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Thandie Newton at the 2013 photocall for 'Rogue'.

A variation on the half-up hair is simply pinning it half-back, keeping it flat and sleek on the top and sides. With tight curls like Thandie Newton's, it makes for a neat contrast between textures. Here, she parted her hair down the middle, but the look also works with a side part, as seen on Lucy Liu.


Katie Cassidy at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

Forget headbands worn the traditional way (too little girlish). The way Katie Cassidy is wearing hers, across the forehead, totally elevates her curls into luxe boho gorgeousness. This works best with curly volume, since straight hair can look too limp and '70s, and a skinny band is key. Or try a hair chain like the ones at Free People.

High Ponytail

Alicia Keys at the 2010 BRIT Awards.

This might be my all-time favourite Alicia Keys hairstyle. Non-curly types would kill for this much volume in our high ponytails (which get sadder and skinner the higher we go). With tighter curls, the ponytail part can be teased out to create big volume, while the rest of the hair should be all sleek and flat to the head.

Low Ponytail

Selita Ebanks at the 2012 BET Awards.

A curly low ponytail can be all kinds of romantic, as Selita Ebanks is demonstrating here. I love that the curls are all the way through, from roots to tips, and then softly gathered at the nape of the neck. To go to the next level, you could do a twisted ponytail: divide the hair in two above the elastic, and then pull the tail through the space.

Faux Bob

Vanessa Hudgens at the 2011 premiere of 'Sucker Punch'.

Faux bobs were born for curly hair—the texture makes the shorter length much easier to fake! Vanessa Hudgens touched up her natural curls with an iron before pulling them into a low ponytail and tucking it under at the nape of the neck. Then, you pin, pin, pin to create the bob shape. Make sure to leave a few loose pieces out at the front for that modern '20s finish.

High Updo

Eliza Doolittle at the 2011 Glamour Women of the Year Awards.

Not much is prettier or easier than scraping your curls all the way back, off the face and up into a high, floppy updo. It looks like Eliza Doolittle might've just done a ponytail and not pulled the end all the way through; then she pinned the curls into a soft mass. I love that there are some pieces escaping, and how it shows off her pretty hairline. So effortless!

Top Knot

AnnaLynne McCord at the 2012 CBS and Showtime Summer TCA party. 

Another updo idea is AnnaLynne McCord's top knot, which is a little smaller and more controlled than Eliza's style, and may even involve one of those donut thingies. She left pieces of hair out on either side of her face, beside the ears, which gives this a bit of a Greek goddess feel. Love!

Low Side Bun

Rebecca Gayheart at the 2010 premiere of 'Burlesque'.

Curly hair also looks fab in a low, voluminous bun—my favourite position being over to the side, like Rebecca Gayheart has done here. I love having the curly texture throughout, with a bit of heat tool-shaping around the face to create the soft side bang.

Long, Curly Hair Cheat Sheet

15 of the best celebrity hairstyles for long, curly hair.

What’s your favourite look for long, curly hair?