The best hairstyles for each hair type—whether you have long, medium, or short hair

We've listed the best hairstyles for each hair type—whether you want to try a jazzy new up-do, or need a fail-safe go-to for every day

three women with different hairstyles—including one with a half up-half down mousey-blonde bun, one with medium black afro hair and one with long brown-blonde curls
(Image credit: Getty Images/Future)

Finding the best hairstyles for your hair type can feel like a life-long search, as there are so many factors that determine what style will suit you—including face shape, hair texture and your general lifestyle. A perfect blow-out won't work well if you're a fitness instructor, for example!

The aim when figuring out the best hairstyles for you, is generally to find the most flattering style that suits your day-to-day life. For example, if you have a long or oval face, a full fringe would likely compliment your features. However, if you can’t get into the salon every few months for a fringe cut, then it’s best to avoid. Or, if you're following the curly girl method, you'll want a manageable style that makes the most of your curls, instead of hiding them away.

We spoke to top stylists to find out the best cuts and styles for every hair length and texture, to help you find the right look for you. Don't forget to take these along for your next trip to the salon...

Best hairstyles for short hair lengths

1. For straight thick hair: a pixie cut

“Pixie cuts with disconnect lengths create movement, which allows for versatile options when playing with style and texture.

"Thicker hair is more resilient to pre-lightening techniques and therefore more suitable to be lifted in color. This also makes thick, coarser hair softer in appearance.”—Robert Kirby, Robert Kirby Salon (opens in new tab), Wimbledon and Balham

2. For straight fine hair: short bobs

“Short bobs with well-cut layers, like the Bixie, will help to create movement and texture for fine hair that's shorter. Color is important too for fine hair; adding deposits of tone through the hair will create thickness and body.

"Something to note: root lifters and powders are essential products for fine hair as it will add body and structure.”—Robert Kirby

3. For curly or Afro-textured hair: natural

“Afros worn in their truest shape have made a huge comeback seen up and down on the catwalks and in editorial shoots, so grab that afro pick and pat that afro into shape.”—Michelle Sultan, Imbue Curls (opens in new tab) Creative Director and Ambassador

Best hairstyles for mid-length hair

1. For thick hair: a textured shag

"A textured shag is one of the best hairstyles for this type of hair; simply apply a texture spray and scrunch the hair. This will encourage texture and bend and the shaggy look that is so popular right now.

"If your hair is thick, a mid-length style is perfect. The extra length will weigh down the hair and it is still long enough to wave and tong.”—Karen Perry, Room 97 Creative (opens in new tab)

2. For straight fine hair: a side parting

“If you have fine hair, a side parting is essential and one of the best haircuts for fine hair. Wearing hair in a middle parting can result in a floppy, lifeless look, so think about parting it at the side. Hair naturally falls to the left so if you part your hair the other way, you will get natural lift through the front hairline.

"Fine hair often doesn’t ‘hold’ a style though, so invest in the best blow-dry lotions and powders that will give your hair some grip and texture.”—Karen Perry, Room 97 Creative

Best hairstyles for long hair lengths

1. For straight thick hair: almost anything!

"The world is your oyster when it comes to the best hairstyles for thick straight hair, because you can wear it up, wear it half up or down, or style it straight or wavy—there’s plenty of options for this type of hair.

"I would suggest taking out the weight underneath through the back with layers though, so it doesn’t get too voluminous. Miracle 15 from Schwarzkopf Professional is a great blow-drying cream which will control thick hair.”—Sharon Malcolm, Sharon Malcolm Hairdressing (opens in new tab), Newtownards, Northern Ireland 

Our in-house beauty expert and Deputy Editor Aleesha Badkar also advises that the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer is a great option for thick long hair, as it will give you a bouncy blow-dry that lasts.

2. For curly thick hair: a mullet

“Mullets work on long, short, straight or curly and can be adapted to your hair type and texture. I’ve seen a lot of celebrities and models rocking their mullet cut, with the cool girls wearing a sexy nod to the classic 70’s shag hair style.

"The shag is low maintenance and requires texture to look it’s best…gone are the days of overly straightening your hair, it’s all about the texture!”—Michelle Sultan

3. For curly fine hair: a blunt cut

“If your hair tends to be quite fine, the best hairstyles tend to be more blunt cuts or solid cuts, or layers that encourage lift through the hair and volume. This sounds like a contradiction, but it depends on the hair.”—Michelle Sultan

For curly fine hair, you might also consider using one of the best shampoo bars,  to help you fluff out your locks for the best possible look.

4. For afro-textured & curly/thick hair: an oversized look

"This cut is designed to look like a lion’s mane. Curls are layered equally all over the head leaving a shorter fringe when the curls are styled; they should be pulled out to maximum capacity.

"This style can look really sexy, but you must be careful to tease the hair out as much as possible. People worldwide with type 3/4 hair are opting for this style as it’s so very versatile, and looks incredible when worn up with a fringe/bangs out. If you don't already have one, find out how to cut bangs yourself at home.”—Michelle Sultan

Keeks is an award-winning digital & social content specialist a hair & beauty writer and a brand consultant. You can find her work in Cosmopolitan (in print and online), Refinery29, Harper’s Bazaar, Woman and Home, Women’s Health, My Imperfect Life, OK! Online and Hairdressers Journal