19 Low-Maintenance Hairstyles That Are Perfect for Shoulder-Length Hair

Perhaps you’ve just had to chop or maybe you’re growing out a long bob—either way, if you’re new to shoulder-length hair, then you’re probably after some styling inspiration. And likewise, if you’ve worn your hair shoulder length for a while, then it’s understandable that you may want to mix things up. 

Since it’s not quite short and not quite long, it can be easy to fall into a hairstyling rut when you have shoulder-length hair. However, this length of hair is actually super versatile—you’ll be surprised by how many low-maintenance styling options there are to choose from. Whether your hair is curly or straight and whether you prefer to wear it loose or style it in an up-do, having shoulder-length hair gives you room to try far more hairstyles than those who are restricted by short hair length or by the weight of long hair.

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(Image credit: @NATASHANDLOVU)

What’s more, this hair length looks good on pretty much everyone. To prove it, we’ve rounded up a bumper edit of our favourite hairstyles for shoulder-length hair—from mermaid waves to block fringes and micro buns. Oh, and to make things even easier, they’re all super low-maintenance.

1. Mermaid Waves

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(Image credit: @THEFASHIONBUGBLOG)

Laura styles her shoulder-length hair in mermaid waves using a triple-barrel curling iron.

2. Sculpted Layers

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(Image credit: @NATASHANDLOVU)

Ask your hairdresser to cut layers into the front of your hair. Then style these by focussing on adding volume to the ends for a dramatic sculpted effect.

3. Micro Fringe

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(Image credit: @NICOLEOCRAN)

One way to freshen things up if you're feeling bored of your shoulder-length hair? Cut in a fringe. A micro fringe like Nicole's is fresh, fun and bang on trend.

4. Soft Waves

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(Image credit: @AIMEESONG)

There are plenty of ways to create soft waves in your hair—loosely braiding your hair before bed, sculpting with your straighteners, or combing out fresh curls are just a few.

5. Blocky Fringe

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(Image credit: @MARIA_BERNAD)

As much as we love the combination of a blocky fringe with a micro bob, we also think a bold, blunt fringe looks great with shoulder-length hair.

6. Voluminous Waves

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(Image credit: @CHRISSYFORD)

If you have fine hair and are concerned about it looking flat in a mid-length style, just add loose curls to the ends of your hair for instant volume.

7. Retro Flicks

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(Image credit: @MISSTPW)

Based on the number of times we've seen this look on Pinterest, this '90s-inspired hairstyle is going to be a big hair trend for 2023. Use straighteners to curve the ends of your hair outwards.

8. Centre-Part Fringe

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(Image credit: @LIZZYHADFIELD)

Growing out a fringe? Parting your bangs in two and styling them into the lengths of your hair adds interest to a mid-length style and is a great way to frame your face.

9. Micro Bun

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(Image credit: @THEFASHIONBUGBLOG)

Gone are the days where supersized topknot buns were all we saw on Pinterest. These days it's all about the micro bun—and shoulder-grazing hair is the perfect length to pull off this trend.

10. Super Straight

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(Image credit: @ISABELLECOHEEN)

A sleek straight look is both low-maintenance and always on-trend.

11. Face-Framing Layers

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(Image credit: @LINDATOL_)

If you're growing bored of one-length hair, long, face-framing layers will add interest and dimension to shoulder-length hair—both when worn down and when styled into an up-do.

12. Hidden Braid

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(Image credit: @DEBORAROSA)

It takes less than a minute to add one tiny, barely there plait into your lengths, but the result is super cute.

13. Claw Clip Up-Do

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(Image credit: @FRANCESCASAFFARI)

The claw clip up-do reigned supreme in 2022, and it's going nowhere this year. The key is having just enough (but not too much) hair, so if yours is shoulder length, you'll have just the right amount to pull off this style.

14. Half-Up, Half-Down

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(Image credit: @PATRICKWILSON)

This combination of half-up, half-down hair; face-framing strands; and a cute hair ribbon looks especially good in shoulder-length hair.

15. Deep Side Part

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(Image credit: @MELODIEBANCE)

Centre-parted hair has been "in" for a while now, but if you have curly shoulder-length hair, a classic side part will always look good.

16. Low Bun

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(Image credit: @JORDANRISA)

A low, messy bun is so easy to create when you have shoulder-length hair—it really doesn't get more low-maintenance than this.

17. Beachy Waves

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(Image credit: @PATRICKWILSON)

Curling each strand of your hair in opposite directions will result in this beachy, tousled wave effect. So effortless.

18. Graduated Layers

Mid-length hairstyles

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If you want to keep your mid-length hairstyle interesting and full of movement, go heavy on the layers.

19. Loose with headband

Mid-length hairstyles

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Both practical and stylist, an elasticated headband is one of the hottest hair accessories for 2024—and an effortless way to elevate a loose style.

The best products for styling shoulder-length hair:

Next Up: Hair Experts Are Bored of These Styles—5 They Want You to Ask for Instead

Freelance Beauty Editor

Grace Day is a beauty editor and content creator. She has over 10 years of beauty-industry experience, spanning editorial, retail, and e-commerce, which gives her a unique understanding into how people shop for their beauty routines.

While studying for a history degree (specialising in the history of beauty) and working as a beauty adviser in department stores, Grace started writing her own beauty blog in order to share the products she discovered while dealing with acne. After graduating, she moved to Beauty Bay as beauty editor and content manager. Grace is currently a beauty contributor to Who What Wear. She has also written for Hypebae and PopSugar and works as a brand consultant and copywriter.