Just call it "The Chop." It's that perfect medium hair length that doesn't fall too long or hits too short. It's the to-the-shoulders cut you get when you're sick of long hair but you're not ready to commit to a bob or a shag.
And it just so happens to be one of the hottest hairstyles of the moment.
With the right cut, your hair will be swingy, yet still sexy. Long enough to attract long-hair-loving men, but edgy enough that you'll stand out among a sea of beachy waves.
The Secret to The Perfect Medium Length Hairstyle
The key to the perfect shoulder length cut lies, simply, in the length. It can't be too long or too short and looks best when it just hits at the collarbone or a bit above, as Ali Larter's does here.
"The finish should appear blunt but should never be blunt, as blunt looks cheap," explains stylist Harry Josh in Vogue Magazine. "You texturize the ends with maybe a feather razor so the line appears clean, but there is actually a lot of movement in it. Too much of a block, and it looks heavy."
Stylist Andy Lecompte is the creator of Larter's gorgeous graduated bob. Lecompte told Allure Magazine the secret to this style is the long layers that begin just below the chin. He used a razor to "soften up" Larter's ends so they wouldn't be heavy and blunt.
How to Style This Cut
If there is one stylist I trust with styling this type of haircut, it is Ahn Co Tran. You've likely seen his casual, beachy, textured waves all over Instagram and Pinterest. He has shared his styling secrets with InStyle magazine, Refinery29 and Glamour Magazine.
Here's how Tran gets this signature look:
- Apply Oribe Balm d'Or Heat Styling Shield (buy it from Amazon) to damp hair. This smooths hair and protects it from heat.
- Roughly blow dry hair about 75% (sometimes Tran rough dries only 20 percent, sometimes 100 percent depending on the hair's texture). Don't be gentle here, your goal is to create volume. Turn your head over and leave the brush on the counter.
- Finish the blow-out by smoothing hair with a boar bristle brush (buy from Amazon).
- Section hair from ear-to-ear leaving a front section and a back section.
- The longer your hair, the fatter your curling iron should be. I prefer clampless curling irons like the pricey T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand (buy it from Amazon), but Tran uses one with a clamp. Always leave the ends out when curling. See my list of the best curling irons.
- Tran works in horizontals when curling hair, starting from the bottom up. He takes 1-inch sections and curls toward the face. On the next section, he curls away from the face. This makes the hair look more natural.
- For the last section on the top of the horizontal, he always curls away from the face.
- Continue curling hair around the head, always alternating the direction of the curl. Never touch the curls. Let them lay there, cooling.
- Once all the hair is curled, Tran moves to his products. For dry hair, he uses a serum which he runs through hair mid-shaft to end. He recommends Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream (buy it from Amazon). He also recommends Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine (buy from Amazon), which he sprays at the roots, lifting hair up. For fine hair that needs volume, Tran uses a texturizing spray. He uses Oribe Dry Texturing Hair Spray (buy from Amazon). I recommend Shu Uemura Texture Wave (buy from Amazon). Hold hair up and spray at the roots.
- If you have fine hair and need more volume at the roots, Tran recommends the Tangle Teaser (buy from Amazon). You simply tease hair at the roots with it.
- Muss your hair by massaging the roots and scrunching your hair with your hands. You want a textured, lived-in look. You don't want your hair to appear as if a curling iron touched it. Use your hands, don't use a brush or comb.
- To get that piece-y look, Tran tells Refinery29 that he swears by Leonor Greyl Paris Eclat Naturel (buy it from Amazon.com). He warms a dime-sized amount in his palms and then finger-combs the curls back into shape. The styling cream holds the shape of the curl.
This is Gallery 1. See my other galleries of shoulder-length hairstyles: