If you’re blessed with curls but cursed with a lack of creative style options, this list of 15 cute hairstyles for curly hair is exactly what you need to reignite your love for your ringlets.
Check out our favorite ways to rock curls up, down, and half-up for every occasion below!
Mastering Cute Hairstyles for Curly Hair
- Make natural curls your default – only heat style if necessary
- Start with the right styling products for your hair texture
- Opt for a mix of down, half-up, and updo styles for variety
There are lots of cute hairstyles for curly hair out there, but ever noticed how it seems like you have no idea what to do with your hair when you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror?
We’ve found that the fix for this conundrum is browsing as many cute styles as you can, then practicing a few that you like to commit them to memory.
You’ll see several pretty styles for curly hair below to get all the inspiration you need!
When it comes to styling curly hair, the best thing you can do for your hair’s health is making your curls’ natural state your “default setting.” Don’t pick up the curling iron, waving iron, or flat iron unless it’s truly necessary.
Your hair’s natural texture is more than enough to create the basis for some truly stunning styles that can carry you from workouts to work, lounging around at home, nights out, and everything in between.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t need the help of a few great curl styling products to make these looks come to life!
Depending on your curl type, you may need ultra-lightweight products like airy mousse or heavier products with added control like curl cream or firm hold gel. Read up on different curl types from 3A to 4C here.
Once you’ve got your styling product arsenal ready, you’ll want to snag a variety of styles – some that leave your hair down, half-up, or gather it into a bun, ponytail, or braid – to ensure you’ve got a look for every occasion.
We’ve rounded up a list of 15 cute hairstyles for curly hair that don’t require a ton of intricate styling to look amazing. Your mornings are about to get so much easier!
15 Cute Hairstyles for Curly Hair
It’s easy to get bored with your curls when you’re doing the same hairstyles over and over. Shaking things up with a few new looks is exactly what you need!
It’s important to have a range of looks you can create from casual and quick to understated chic styles. Without further ado, here are 15 of our favorite cute hairstyles for curly hair!
1. Half-Up Curly Twists
This cute style is as easy as they come. Just grab a few pieces from the front, twist them away from your face, and secure the twists together in the back just below your crown!
If you need to, you can bobby pin the twists in place to make the style more secure. Try a clear elastic or criss-crossed bobby pins to secure the twists together in the back.
2. Beachy Curls With Braided-Back Sides
If you can’t stand your curly hair falling into your face all day long, braiding one side back makes a huge difference – plus, it’s absolutely gorgeous!
Start French braids above your ear on the opposite side of your part, then braid back to just behind the ear. Try 2 or 3 side braids to see which look you like best!
3. Defined Curls With Statement Headband
When you’ve worked hard to wash, diffuse, and define your curls to perfection, show them off with a cute hairstyle like this!
A bright, eye-catching statement headband brings just the right amount of pizzazz without taking the attention away from your ringlets.
4. Messy Half-Up Space Buns
Who says cute hairstyles for curly hair need to be sleek and pristine? You’ll love how easy it is to create messy half-up space buns with just a few bobby pins or elastics.
Curly buns take on a fun, whimsical look when they’re left a bit messy with strands out of place!
5. Flirty High Ponytail With Face-Framing Strands
A high ponytail is a go-to hairstyle for curly hair – especially when wash day is looming and you don’t want to wear it down!
You can instantly upgrade a ponytail hairstyle for curly hair with 2 simple tricks: Wrap the base with a few strands of hair and tug a few pieces loose around your face to soften up the look.
6. Quick Bun With Bandana Headband
A classic bandana in the color or design of your choice, a quick bun plopped on top of your head, and a few strands pulled loose around your face is all you need to pull together this fast but chic look.
7. Curly Half-Up Scrunchy Top Knot
Queens of all things casual will regularly reach for a trusty scrunchy. This style brings something unique by using the scrunchy to create a half-up top knot that takes only a minute to do!
Tug on the front strands to create some extra volume and give this easy style a chic look.
8. Inverted Side Ponytail With Hair Scarf
Inverted ponytails are deceptive. They look intricate, but are actually so easy to create! Create a hollow “pocket” between the elastic holding your low side ponytail and your scalp, then tuck the ponytail down through it.
Finish the look with a bold scarf for a punchy twist!
9. Half-Up Curly Multi-Braids
When your curls are on point, you can easily elevate the look by creating a few different types of braids to hang down the back.
Here, a fishtail braid and two pancaked 3-strand bohemian braids add tons of interest to a basic down-and-loose curly look.
10. Glam Low Puff Pony With Middle Part
A sleek, low ponytail with a middle part is ultra-glam, especially with the contrast of a burst of textured curls.
Use firm hold gel to smooth down the sides after parting your hair and secure the ponytail just above the nape of your neck.
11. Loose Artsy Ponytail
Wind-blown looks that have a casual, artsy vibe are so fun to pull off with curly hair!
Gather your hair loosely into a ponytail just below the crown, then carefully pull some strands out to loosen up the look.
12. Simple Claw Clip Half-Updo
Cute hairstyles for curly hair don’t have to be intricate or time-consuming. This one is super-simple and you can create it in seconds.
Grab a claw clip and gather the top half of your hair in the back near the crown to secure it comfortably. Try a colorful clip for a bolder look!
13. Classic Curly Pigtails
Pigtails are a funky and cute way to rock your curls when you’re out and about! Curly texture makes the look pop. Place your pigtails up high after creating a middle part.
Mix it up by trying half-up pigtails – they’re also a bit lighter in weight if your hair is very thick or long!
14. Fluffy Curls With Boho Headband
If you’re looking for festival-ready cute hairstyles for curly hair, this is it!
Grab a thin stretchy headband and pop it over your curls to let it sit on your head like a hippie crown. You can do a middle or side part with this super-simple look!
15. Tousled Twin Half-Up Knots
If you’re a free spirit at heart, you’ll love twirling your hair into half-up top knots that are messy on purpose.
Forget prim and proper – this look is all about letting your texture shine! Pull a few strands loose around your face to complete the look.
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve seen a range of cute hairstyles for curly hair to add to your weekly repertoire, take a look at some tips and ways to perfectly style your curls.
- Make sure you’re brushing properly. Learning how to brush curly hair the right way sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people have been doing it wrong their entire lives! Since brushing curls creates a lot of fluff and frizz, you should brush in the shower after cleansing while your hair is wet and saturated with conditioner. Apply a leave-in conditioner and any oil or frizz treatment afterward.
- Switch to a dryer for curly hair. Unless you specifically bought a dryer that’s highly reviewed for curls, there’s a good chance your current dryer is actually damaging your hair with excessive heat and attachments that aren’t suited for your texture. Hair dryers for curly hair are designed to control the heat output to avoid damaging your hair and come with super-useful diffuser and anti-frizz attachments that make styling so much easier.
- Read up on the Curly Girl Method. The Curly Girl Method (CGM) is a method for cleansing, styling, and treating curly hair to avoid harsh chemicals and physical damage from heat and manipulation. CGM calls for using specific products without alcohols, silicones, and sulfates that can damage curls. It can be tough to stick to the method because so many products include the forbidden ingredients, but there are helpful lists of CGM-friendly products that will help you baby your curls to perfection.
- Mesh your wash and style routine. Making your wash and styling routines come together makes everything a lot more convenient. If you aren’t already, plan out how you’ll style your hair in between wash days. Choose more down and loose styles right after wash day, then move to half-updos, ponytails, buns, and braided styles as your hair gets dirty and you approach the next wash day.
- Don’t overdo it with products. The tighter your curls are, the more layers of product you’ll need to define and control them. The tightest curls might need the full LOC method – leave-in/liquid, oils, and creams – while looser curls might only need mousse and a leave-in conditioner. If you have type 3A curls (the largest, loosest curl type), you won’t need as many or as heavy of products as someone with type 3C or 4B.
Frequently Asked Questions
Styling and taking care of curly hair is something you’ll be mastering throughout your life – you’ll continually learn more about your hair’s texture and how it reacts to different styles, products, and methods!
Take a look at the most frequently asked questions about styling curly hair below to learn more.
Which hairstyle is best for curly hair?
Half-up hairstyles might be the best look for curly hair because they give you the best of both worlds. Hairstyles for curly hair include loose styles with statement accessories, half-up twists, braids, and buns, ponytails, and loose styles that leave a few curly face-framing pieces out.
With curly hairstyles, focus on letting your hair’s texture shine through - don’t default to tight buns and braids everyday that hide the curves and swirls!
How can I make my curly hair look cute?
Using the right styling products, taking a few minutes to add an element of interest (like a braid, twist, half-up top knot, etc.), and taking care of your hair’s health is key to making curly hair look cute.
Make sure you’re using and layering styling products that suit your curl type and hair thickness. Loose curls prefer lightweight products, while tight curls need heavier products.
How do I style my messy curly hair?
If your curls always seem to look messy, you might be dealing with damaged hair or simply using the wrong methods, products, or maintenance steps.
Heat damage can result in wonky curls that don’t bend and curve as they normally would, so take steps to mitigate damage by applying a heat protectant before styling and consider using a protein-enriched treatment to repair damage.
Touching your curls too much can create frizz that makes curls look messy, as can sleeping on a cotton pillowcase (switch to silk or satin) and not using products with enough frizz control or curl-defining control.
How should I sleep with curly hair?
Curly hair is somewhat fragile and prone to frizzing while you sleep, especially if you toss and turn a lot. You should sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase that creates slip between your strands and the pillow to reduce frizz.
You can also wrap your hair in a silk or satin scarf or use a satin bonnet while you sleep for the same effect. Try to avoid sleeping with your curls loose - “plopping” your hair on top of your head will keep it contained and better protected.
Is it better to sleep with wet or dry curly hair?
It’s always better to sleep with dry curly hair. Avoid sleeping with wet curly hair. When curls are wet, they’re in their most fragile state and are the most prone to frizz and breakage.
So, Which Cute Hairstyles for Curly Hair Will You Try?
From chic, glam looks that are made for dancing the night away to funky, boho styles that feel just right for brunch or weekend trips, there are cute hairstyles for curly hair that suit every occasion.
With a list of easy-to-do styles at your fingertips, you’ll have a range of looks to reach for no matter what your plans are for the day. No more defaulting to the same old bun or ponytail day in and day out!
Working with your curls as you make more effort to create different styles will put you in touch with your hair’s texture, curl pattern, and needs more than you’ve ever been before.
Your reward will be glorious – a variety of pretty ways to show off those curls no matter what the vibe of the day is!