What Are the Best Tips for Styling Short Hair?

Emily Pate

The best tips for styling short hair include considering your lifestyle and type of locks, performing routine maintenance, and making use of accessories and tools. A busy person with curly hair, for example, should let his or her hair dry naturally and use a light leave-in conditioner instead of alcohol-based products. Protecting sprays, conditioning, and trimming help to keep a style fresh, and pins, headbands, and barrettes can add an extra accent for special occasions. Considering brush, comb, and brush type can also ease the process.

Woman with short hair.
Woman with short hair.

Styling short hair effectively involves taking your lifestyle and tress-type into consideration. If you're looking for low-maintenance styling, letting hair dry naturally and using a small amount of setting cream and a colorful accessory can save time. Your locks’ texture also determines the best options for sculpting it. For example, fine hair needs little product, as it weighs it down, and curly locks can dry easily with alcohol-based sprays.

A hairstylist cutting a short bob.
A hairstylist cutting a short bob.

You can maintain your short style in a variety of ways. Placing texture, smoothing, or protectant spray on your locks before heat styling short hair can help to smooth and keep your tresses from drying out. For especially sleek styles, frequent trimming keeps angles sharp and minimizes split ends. Short hair may need deep conditioning on occasion, especially if it’s dry. The need is typically less frequent than that with longer styles, however, since oils from the scalp can distribute more effectively.

Accessories can prove useful when styling short hair for a formal event or when you'd like to add a fashionable touch. While short hair usually can't be styled into in elaborate up-do, a pair of rhinestone pins, a satin headband with a large fabric flower, or a decorative barrette can provide an elegant accent for evening or formal wear. These embellishments come in a wide variety of materials and looks and will also work well for casual wear.

Certain tools are especially effective for styling short hair. Blow drying with a round brush can give a smooth finish with soft volume, for example. Twisting the wrist slightly inward when brushing through the tips helps them to frame the face, while turning it outward can give your hair a playful flip at the ends. If you have especially curly or wavy locks, using a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles helps to prevent breakage and frizz. When straightening, appliances with slim, narrow plates work well, since there's less area to cover, and they can be easier to manipulate.

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