Thick hair can be difficult to manage, especially when cut too long or too short. In longer lengths, thick hair can be too bulky and heavy; in short lengths, hair tends to frizz or curl in unintended places. However, it doesn’t have to be that hard, just choose a happy medium (literally)! Shoulder-length hairstyles provide a perfect balance and allow you to play around with different looks in an instant.

You can experiment with different dimensions, textures, and layers. Done the right way, medium-thick hairstyles can offer a timeless, chic look you’ll be sure to love. Below are a few of our favorite hairstyles for women with thick hair.

Kiely Williams Natural Kinky Curls
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Kiely Williams Natural Kinky Curls

You may remember Kiely Williams wearing straightened or wavy hair from a while back when she was a part of Disney’s Cheetah Girls cast. I sure am happy to see her wearing her natural hair here!

Tousled Layers with Bangs
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Tousled Layers with Bangs

Play around with different textures and get this loose, layered look with blunt bangs. Don’t be fooled, these aren’t your middle school bangs, they stop right above your brows for a more mature, mysterious look.

The bangs perfectly frame the face. The tousled layers give an elegant shade to the overall “messy” look. You can even play this up with highlights to give even more definition to the jagged layers. Try this for an effortless, no-fuss look to any event on your calendar!

Side Parted Thick Waves
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Side Parted Thick Waves

Embracing big, bold hair and the frizz: Elevate the beach wave by creating this look! Start with a deep, slicked to the side part, then let your hair loose to allow natural-looking, flowing waves. In this style, we learn to embrace the frizz.

So often, we look at frizzy hair as something of an annoyance, often forgetting that it can create big, beautiful hair like these elegant thick waves. This simple, yet elegant look is another no-fuss eye-catching style.

Kendall Jenners Slick Back Look
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Kendall Jenner’s Fierce Slicked Back Look

Keep up with the K sisters and opt for this “ just got out of the shower” look. This is a great way to pull hair away from the face and look polished, sexy, and modern at the same time.

To achieve this look, start with wet hair, comb it back with a brush, then use a gel or pomade to hold the hair in place. Perfect for date nights!

Krysten Ritter’s Straight Lob with Fringe
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Krysten Ritter's Playful Lob with Fringe

That’s right– not just a bob, but a lob! What exactly is a lob? Well, it’s simply a longer length bob that is right above or just below shoulder length.

Kristen has a straight cut lob, rather than a layered one; which offers more future styling options. Add some face-framing fringes for more dimension and a fresh look.

Kat Dennings’ Natural Waves in Deep Brown
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Kat Dennings' Natural Waves in Deep Brown

Vibing with these waves: Put a twist on those waves by choosing a deep brown color! Kat Dennings shows off how to embrace her thick mane by allowing it to be in its naturally curly state. Another effortless look by this not-so-broke girl!

Stacy Martin’s Slight Parted Choppy Fringe
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Stacy Martin's Slight Parted Choppy Fringe

French Chic! Get Stacy Martin’s Parisian look with these choppy fringes! Put a slight part right in the middle of the bangs to frame the face. Couple it with a shoulder-length, straight cut with slightly wavy hair to add the chic and charm to the style. Perfect to soften facial features like a strong jawline. Très chic!

Playful Afro
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Playful Natural Hair

Embrace your thick hair and let it free. Opt for tighter curls and tease your hair a bit for this style. In today’s modern age, body, frizz, and curls allow for creativity in expression in hairstyles. This playful afro is one of these styles, so let it down! Big hair is timeless.

Side Head-Shave
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Side Head-Shave

For an alternative vibe consider going for a side-shaved head. Yeah, I said shaved. Although, you don’t really need to go all the way down to the skin; a good buzz with some clippers can also do the job. Having thick hair means there’s still going to be plenty going on even if you level one side and I think it can be a cool statement representing who you are.

Messy Low-lighted Lob
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Messy Low-lighted Lob

Lobs have been everywhere! Seems like everybody is loving this medium length hair trend and has their own take on it. Consider getting some lowlights to play with the lighting of your natural hair color, especially if it’s on the darker end.

Kelly Rowland’s Straight Crop and Choppy Fringe
s_bukley /

Kelly Rowland's Choppy Crop and Fringe

This is an amazing look on Kelly Rowland! Aside from wearing it straight, her natural hair benefits from having the ends trimmed in this fashion because it helps it gain a more uniform shape and better movement when the curls come out to play!

Lady Gaga’s Layered All Blonde Waves
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Lady Gaga's Layered All Blonde Waves

This look on Lady Gaga has almost got me on the floor because that’s how drop-dead gorgeous she looks. Going for a more classical vibe with her thick wavy locks, the blond hair (and dress) seriously accentuates her tan, so if you were looking for a way for your tan pop this look is definitely worth a go!

Lucy Hale’s Lob with Soft Highligts_
Kathy Hutchins /

Lucy Hale's Lob with Soft Highlights

Lucy Hale has pretty much been giving us tons of lob styling inspiration since we saw her transition out of her long, thick and gorgeous wavy hair in Pretty Little Liars. With a side part, balayage and waves we’d all like to wear it as good as her! Iconic!

Vanessa Hudgens’ Straight Lob Ombre
Kathy Hutchins /

Vanessa Hudgens' Straight Lob Ombre

From long dark waves to short and straight, Vanessa Hudgens has a ton of hairstyles we could all try out. I know that the ombre dyeing technique isn’t used as much these days but hey, that might just be the thing to set you apart.

If you love it go for it! You’ll look gorgeous with a straight medium crop like this. Thick hair and straight cut styles are a perfect match.

Abbey Lee’s Blonde Front Highlights
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Abbey Lee's Blonde Front Highlights

The front highlights are an infallible way of brightening up your features in a more open manner. Abbey Lee’s beachy blond long thick layers are the perfect canvas for this type of dyeing technique.

Olivia Wilde’s Side Swept Bangs
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Olivia Wilde's Side Swept Bangs

The bangs, the subtle and luscious dark caramel of Olivia Wilde’s highlights are to die for. Thick hair is especially great to work the highlights even though it may take a little while longer to get them done.

When choosing your highlight style make sure you have decided how you’re planning to style them. Here we see that they are kept more low-key and closer in shade to her natural warm tones. I love how soft they look!

Jaz Sinclair’s Golden Curlsa
Ga+Fullner /

Jaz Sinclair's Golden Curls

We all know that although curly hair can look a certain length when dry, it really is longer than it appears and it definitely is the case of  Jaz Sinclair here, but in terms of looks only, this is a perfectly sound example of medium curly hair.

The golden highlights complement her skin so well it looks like there’s light bouncing off her just as it is. She looks lovely with this style.

Lupita Nyong’o And Her Side Pony
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Lupita Nyong'o And Her Side Pony

A side ponytail like the one worn in this example by Lupita Nyong’o is a hairstyle that can play off the strengths of having thick hair. The volume that is added is the main component of the look and I absolutely love it.

Jessica Biel’s Beach Waves
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Jessica Biel's Beach Waves

Jessica Biel’s lightly textured medium crop is paired with the most supple beach waves to add a spec of playfulness to her look. Divine!

Esther Acebo’s Golden Curls
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Esther Acebo's Golden Curls

Esther’s naturally curly hair has mostly 3A curl patterns. With the right routine, you could rock your natural hair with all the confidence in the world.

A medium haircut like this is sure to enhance hair volume.


Madelaine Arthur’s V Shaped Layers
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Madelaine Arthur's V-Shaped Layers

Sometimes, a medium haircut can get a little bit too top-heavy on certain facial features, which is why the v-shaped layers come in handy. They knock off some volume and add more movement to the look overall. 

Kharmony Fortune’s Fluffy Curls
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Kharmony Fortune's Fluffy Curls

Medium length hair is a great look to pair with deep V cuts in your outfits, effortlessly giving it the spot to shine, just like Kharmony Fortune is doing with this gorgeous dress. 

Mandy Moore’s Waves
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Mandy Moore's Waves

Voluminous perfection. Mandy Moore takes advantage of her thick hair to wear luscious waves with her medium crop and side part. Super classic!

Rhea Seehorn’s Blonde Waves
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Rhea Seehorn's Blonde Waves

Beige blonde tones for loose waves on a medium-cut can never go wrong and Rhea Seehorn knows she’s looking bomb!

Coco Rocha’s Low Ponytail
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Coco Rocha's Low Ponytail

The mid-length allows the ponytail to not be too heavy. Coco Rocha plays a bit with the volume to complete the playful perfect messy ponytail. 

Tanya Burr’s Medium Lob
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Tanya Burr's Medium Lob

A long bob can be layered, angled, asymmetrical, or straight like Tanya Burr is wearing here. Straight haircuts keep your tips a little bit more protected from sun damage and heat.

Masumi’s Angled Side Part
Birdie+Thompson /

Masumi's Angled Side Part

To be able to add more hair to one side of your side part with a medium hairstyle, it’s a good idea to steal Masumi’s look and go for an angled side part instead of the straight classic one. 

Olivia Buckland’s Balayage
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Olivia Buckland's Balayage

Balayage brings such a main-character vibe to medium hairstyles! Olivia Buckland’s thick-ish balayage looks spectacular at this length.

Danielle Rose Russell’s Wavy ‘Do
Tinseltown /

Danielle Rose Russell's Wavy 'Do

Red hair, but make it strawberry blonde! Danielle Rose Russell’s natural hair shade is so gorgeous I think it’s only fair that we also try to get it. 

Jennifer Lawrence’s Side-Swept Layers
Andrea+Raffin /

Jennifer Lawrence's Side-Swept Layers

Jennifer Lawrence is totally killing it. Those feathery layers on the medium crop bring about a bunch of movement and I love it so much on her!