If You Have Medium-Length Hair, These Effortless Styles Were 100% Made for You

In a world where extremes rule, medium-length hair often gets overlooked for long locks and micro-cuts. Long hair serves Ariana Grande vibes in a waist-length pony. Short hair never misses with a cluster of cute clips. But the in-between, although the most versatile, requires its fair share of styling inspiration. Luckily for you, we've compiled the best styling inspo for shoulder-length hair—and not to worry, barrettes and ponies are also included.

Ahead, 25 ways to style arguably the most stylable hair length there is. Yes, some of these inspiration photos feature longer hair, but they'll work with medium-length (and even short!) styles too.


Backward Headband
(Image credit: @leletny)

Who said you can't get creative with the placement of a headband? Pull hair into a half-up, half-down style and place a headband at the nape of the neck for a dreamy look.


Wrap-Around Braid
(Image credit: @leletny)

Starting on one side and wrapping around to the opposite side (hence the name), this romantic braid looks even more charming on the second day when the wispies and flyaways create a more lived-in look.


(Image credit: @ada_oguntodu)

When you're feeling flirty, a pair of high pigtails is always a good choice. Juxtapose the cute style with a structured blazer for head-to-toe balance.


Chainmail Braid
(Image credit: @leletny)

A simple French braid gets an update via chains woven throughout. Rummage through your broken jewelry to re-create this look and tuck the ends in at the nape of the neck for a modern feel.


Bedazzled Waves
(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

Soft waves are cool, but these bedazzled waves are next level. Use a straightener to create a slight bend throughout (this gives you a casual-cool effect) and apply rhinestones throughout with a dab of eyelash glue.


'90s Scarf
(Image credit: @amaka.hamelijnck)

Social media's fixation with celebrity nostalgia is finally offering a practical (and impossibly simple) style solution for medium-length hair. The scarf bandana is a '90s revival at its best.


Mod Pony
(Image credit: @aysha.sow)

Equal parts '60s chic and modern glam, this high ponytail is so sleek but also voluminous.


Statement Scrunchie
(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

Sometimes a minor detail swap is the only thing keeping your basic hairstyle from looking stunning. Pull the hair into a low pony and opt for an oversize scrunchie to secure your soft waves.


Bouncy Curls
(Image credit: @symphanisoto)

Big bouncy curls get an update with a high pony.


Boho Braids
(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

If your soft mermaid waves are missing a little something, a few cascading boho braids will instantly up the cool factor. Take it up yet another notch with the help of pearl accessories.


Sleek Claw Clip
(Image credit: @cassandra.cadwell)

Whether you're hiding dirty roots or working with wet hair, this sleek style is the perfect go-to for when you want to look polished in a pinch. Create a center part, pull hair into a low pony, and secure a twist with a claw clip. Just tame flyaways, and voilá!


Crown Braid
(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

This romantic hairstyle is an excellent pick for brides and wedding guests alike, and it's surprisingly easy to re-create. Part hair down the center to create low pigtails, braid through the ends, wrap up and over to the opposite side, and pin in place.


Barrette-Embellished Braid
(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

A high ponytail with a loose braid is made cooler with a couple of oversize gold barrettes. And it's easy to style to boot.


Messy Bun
(Image credit: @nnennaechem)

The LBD of hairstyles, the messy bun can be dressed up with a fancy dress or dressed down with jeans and a tee. The neon cluster of clips is a fun addition.


Space Buns
(Image credit: @kristengracelam)

Space buns are the secret to lazy-girl glam—greasy roots or wet hair actually make it easier to re-create the look.


Multi-Braid Topknot
(Image credit: @bellahadid)

If Medusa wore a topknot, this would be the look. Upgrade your basic high bun when you create multiple braids and pin them in place.


Curly Bun
(Image credit: @sophia_roe)

Hair scrunched into a spiral curl, then tossed up into a messy high bun is both romantic and sexy as hell.


Zig-Zag Part
(Image credit: @bellahadid)

Whether you're pulling your hair into a ponytail or a bun, a deep side part created with a zig-zag pattern will elevate the look of your entire style.


Micro Bubbles
(Image credit: @gigihadid)

Never underestimate the power of teeny tiny elastics. Dress up a couple of face-framing clusters with a clear elastic placed an inch apart. You'll look like your '90s teenage dream come to life.


Classic Blowout
(Image credit: @ada_oguntodu)

When in doubt, nothing beats a shiny blowout with tons of body and bounce. Add a red lip and you've got a classic look.


Rainbow Bun
(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

Perfect for hair-color enthusiasts and virgin haired beauties (with the help of colorful clip-in extensions), this pastel bun is perfect for summer and an unexpected addition to fall styles.


Rhinestone Part
(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

Your part (whether you wear it down the center or on the side) is an underutilized element in your hairstyles. Use a strip of rhinestones (or a sparkly tennis bracelet) to dress up your part.


Cheerleader Pony
(Image credit: @jeannine.roxas)

A high pony is so flirty and gives off some retro vibes, too.


Elastic Headband
(Image credit: @haileybieber)

A few strategically placed sections gathered with an elastic will create the look of a headband, just like the ones we wore in the '90s.


Sweet Sideswipe
(Image credit: @marissa.marino)

A single barrette can completely change the look of your go-to down hair look. Whether you wear your hair straight, curly, or in waves, create a side part, sweep hair over, and secure with a clip.

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Freelance Contributor