40 Best Short Curly Hairstyles

Written by Anjali Sayee

If you have short curly hair – or wish you did – this article is for you. As someone who has straight hair (and I love my hair), there have been instances where I’ve been jealous of my curly haired friends. Curly hair is all about volume!

If you have straight or wavy hair and want to curl it, here are four methods you can try out. Here’s a bit of advice though. The first time I curled my hair, they didn’t last for more than 10 minutes. The next time I curled it, I remembered hairspray! Trust me when I say, it was good!

Here’s another thing you need to keep in mind – if you want wavy hair, just leave the curler, straightener or rollers in your hair for a shorter period.

Four Methods Of Curling Your Hair

  1. Using a curling iron
  2. Using a straightener
  3. Using rollers
  4. Perming

Sectioning Hair

Ideally, sectioning your hair is based on your convenience. Some people prefer doing it from the front to the back and some from the back to the front. Find what you’re comfortable with and follow that.

I like to section off my hair by splitting it in half, i.e., taking a middle parting from the beginning of my hairline down to the nape of my neck. Clip one side of the parting (Section B) off. Now, split the unclipped hair (Section A) into a top and bottom section and clip up the top section of hair. So, whether you use a straightener or a curling iron, you would start with Section A bottom half, then Section A top half, move to Section B bottom half, and finally to Section B top half. If you have bangs, leave them until the end. Depending on the amount of hair you have, split the section A bottom half into three to five parts (each approximately one inch in thickness) and start curling from back to front.

On the other hand, if you are working with rollers, start from the top and work your way down to the bottom.

I. Using A Curling Iron

Things You Will Need

  • A rat tail comb
  • Hairspray
  • Mousse or gel
  • ½ inch wand curling iron
  • Sectioning clips (flat clips, clips, pins, etc.)
  • Blow dryer
  • Round brush


  1. Apply mousse or gel on damp hair. Use mousse if you have thin, fine hair, and gel if you have thick hair. Apply all the way to your roots.
  2. Blow dry your hair now, focusing on your roots. To do this, you will need to flip your hair forward. This gives your hair a lot of volume. Using a round brush, comb your hair to make sure your bangs are brushed away from your face. This also creates volume for your hair.
  3. Section off your hair using clips and the pointed end of the rat tail comb. The more the sections, the more curls you get, and the fuller the look. Make sure each section is about a half inch thick. Spritz some light setting spray on the first section of hair from about a feet away.
  4. Place the end of the hair in the curling iron and twist the rod towards your head. Make sure you are careful not to burn yourself. The clip of the curling iron has to face forward at the beginning of this process. Hold the curling iron in place for about 10 seconds and then release your hair slowly.
  5. Don’t touch your hair until you know it has cooled down. Curl your bangs away from your face.
  6. After you’re done curling all your hair, spritz some hairspray all over it to keep it in place. If you want a more natural look, just shake your hair, and when you’re happy with the look, spray some hairspray on it.
  7. Do not comb or brush your hair as you might loosen the curls or unravel them altogether. If you want a parting, use the pointed end of the rat tail comb.

II. Using A Straightener 

Things You Will Need

  • A rat tail comb
  • Heat protectant
  • Hairspray
  • Blow dryer
  • Mousse or gel
  • A slim-bodied straightener
  • Sectioning clips
  • Round brush


  1. Apply a heat protectant to your hair to protect it from damage. If your hair is wet, blow dry it.
  2. Section off your hair as described earlier.
  3. Now, depending on the type of curls you want, you can hold the straightener in two ways. The first is diagonal to the ground. This gives your curls an angle and a more loose wave look. The second is holding the straightener parallel to the ground. When you do this, while sliding the straightener to the tip of your hair, you will have to be really slow. It will give your curls a tighter look. If you want wispy ends, place the straightener diagonal to the ground.
  4. Keep the straightener the way you want and then wrap your hair around it carefully and slide it down to the end. Repeat this for all the sections of your hair.
  5. Make sure you allow your hair to cool down before touching it. Spritz hairspray all over your hair to keep the look intact.
  6. You can run your hands gently through your hair to give it a loose beachy look.

III. Using Rollers

Things You Will Need

  • Rollers
  • Water spray
  • Towel, scarf or t-shirt
  • Hairspray
  • Pins


  1. This method is really simple. First, make sure your hair is damp (but not dripping wet).
  2. Section off parts of your hair, keeping each an inch thick.
  3. Wrap one section onto a roller and curl it towards your head. Using a pin, hold the curl in place. Now, it’s up to you if you want the roller to be left in the curl.
  4. If you have only a few rollers, after you roll your hair, gently take out the roller without messing your hair up. Pin up the curl immediately. Do the same with all the sections of your hair.
  5. Wrap a scarf around your hair, so it holds the curls in place. You can use a thin cotton cloth, a towel, or a t-shirt. Leave it on overnight.
  6. In the morning, carefully take off the towel or t-shirt and the pins.
  7. Apply hairspray to keep the curls intact. If you feel the curls are too close together, shake your hair and apply hairspray again.
  8. Don’t comb or brush your hair. Just gently run your fingers through them.

IV. Perming 

Perming is a permanent hair change. If you want your hair curly or wavy all the time, get a perm done. Perming is done with chemicals, so while you can try this at home, it is better to let professionals handle this.

Things You Will Need 

  • Perming kit
  • Petroleum jelly
  • A cloth to protect your body
  • A towel
  • Water to rinse


  1. If you have healthy or slightly damaged hair, try perming your hair using alkaline or acid based perm. If you have afro hair or heavily damaged hair, I would recommend going to a salon.
  2. If you’ve decided to perm your hair at home, buy a perming kit online or from a drugstore.
  3. You can wash your hair before perming it. But do not condition it.
  4. Apply petroleum jelly on the skin close to your hair so that none of the chemicals come in contact with your skin.
  5. Make sure you have someone to help you out because a few people have told me that they found it difficult perming their hair on their own.
  6. Follow the instructions on the perming kit to the T.
  7. After you perm your hair and wash the chemicals off, do not wipe your hair with a towel as you naturally would. Instead, pat your hair dry.
  8. Also, do not use shampoo for about 48 hours after you’ve washed your hair.

Whether you have extremely short curly hair, short curly hair or medium curly hair, check out these awesome hairstyles below!

40 Best Short Curly Hairstyles

1. Pixie Curls

This short pixie cut with a mix of curls at the top and waves at the sides and bottom looks hardcore. This hairstyle is perfect for people with oval or thin heart-shaped faces.

2. Crochet Curls

If you have a wedding or a party to attend, try these pretty crochet curls. Crochet curls are basically tight ringlets.

3. Curly Lob

The lob is making heads turn all over the world! These loose curls with wispy ends are the bomb. If you have a round face, get your lob done just below your chin as it helps frame and thin down your facial structure.

4. Short Dominican Curls

If you have a long thin face, these Dominican curls will suit you. This is a really cool hairstyle for short curly hair.

5. Short Soft Curls

This hairdo is great for short straight hair. Perfect for a change this summer but, at the same time, not too much of a difference. The hair at the front is curled away from the face.

6. Loose Curls

These loose wild curls are perfect for a naturally curly haired look. This look is ideal for women with round faces as the side swept curly bangs hide the width of your forehead, giving your face a more heart-shaped look.

7. Curly Bob

Not everyone can pull off this diva look. It works for women with oblong, oval, and heart-shaped faces.

8. Natural Curls

Nothing looks more stunning than natural curls! If your cheeks are the fullest part of your face, get deep, tapered side bangs as they make your face look slim and draw focus to the eyes.

9. Curly Bangs

Curly bangs look so chill! As they attract attention to the eyes, you can accentuate them with some eyeliner, eyeshadow or mascara.

10. Balayage Curls

Balayage is taking the world by storm. Try this excellent balayage wavy blunt hairdo. The dark to light shades give your hair the perfect sun-kissed look.

11. Braided Curls

When you braid your hair, you use three sections. But to accomplish this look, you’re going to split the hair into two sections and use loose hair from the bottom as your third section. Pick up some hair from the side of your face, above your ear, and split it into two. Place a part of the free hair in between the two sections and then lock it in by overlapping one piece over the other. Continue doing this until you reach the center of your head. Clip it in and do the same on the other side of your head.

12. Textured Curls

This short curly hairdo is suave! If you have straight hair, try this hairstyle with slight waves at the end if you don’t want your hair too kinky. This textured hairstyle frames the face well. If you have a round face, consider side swept bangs with this hairdo as it covers the forehead and takes the focus away from it.

13. Ginger Curls

Ginger curls look amazing. The layers frame your face and focus on your features. The side parting with added height brings volume to your hair.

14. Scarf It!

Been living with curly hair all your life? Tried all the possible hairstyles there are? Having a bad hair day? Then, try accessorizing your curls with a scarf. This hairdo looks relaxed and cool.

15. Bangs and Curls

A textured bob with bangs is a great hairstyle for women with short curly hair. If you have a round, square, or a heart-shaped face, or a broad forehead, try this look as the bangs cover your forehead. Just make sure to keep the length of the lob the longest right near your chin.

16. The Afro

The afro has to be the coolest curly hairstyle in the entire history of the human race. Well, that’s just my opinion. To get this look, you will need to use small curlers. It’s best to get it professionally done if you want an afro at its best.

17. Sunset Curls

Not afraid to color your hair? Then, try this kickass look. This curly sunset hairdo is beautiful, and that’s because the added colors blend with each other so well.

18. Mohawk Curls

Who says curly haired women can’t sport mohawks? This hairstyle not only stuns but also works to frame your face. The heightened hair near the top gives your face a more extended look.

19. Fine Thin Curls

Women with thin curls are recommended to keep their hair short. Add some color to get a fuller, shinier look.

20. Phone Cable Curls

Phone cable curls are the curly version of messy straight hair. This hairdo looks super laidback and chill. If you have a long face, I would not recommend keeping the curls just at the top of your head as it will make your face look longer. Instead, grow your hair till your neck or consider a bob with these curls.

21. Highlighted Curls

Highlighting your curls gives your hair a fuller look if you have fine or thin curls. Highlight the curls close to your face with a lighter color to add more definition to it. Highlighting your curls can accentuate specific facial features like your eyes or a lipstick shade as well.

22. Beachy Curls

This look is simple, beautiful, and the perfect everyday look. The highlights add a voluminous look to the hair and make it suitable for a day at the beach.

23. Medium Curls

If you have a long or an oval face, medium curls are the way to go. These medium curls add just the right amount of width to your face, so it doesn’t look too short or too long. Add highlights to bring a bit of definition to your face.

24. Short Short Curls

If you have a square or thin face, these curls will look great on you. This hairdo can be done at home as well, but make sure you’ve done enough prep to know what you’re doing.

25. Waves At The Top, Curls At The Bottom

The slight waves at the top are reminiscent of retro hairstyles. The curls at the bottom add volume, giving your face a narrow look near the jawline.

26. Retro Touch

This hairstyle also has a bit of a retro feel to it. It is perfect for medium curly hair. The wide curls add focus to the cheekbones.

27. Side Braids

This look is a really cool hairstyle. Braid your hair near the scalp on one side to mimic this hairdo.

28. Short Curls With Undercut

The best thing about short hair is that you can play around with it and it will grow back. Try this edgy look by shaving a shape on your head. You can try this look with many other patterns. Get creative!

29. Short Curled Ends

The slight curls at the end add volume to the hair, making it look full. This hairstyle will suit any face shape. Add highlights at the tips to add more definition to your face.

30. Fluff Curls

These awesome fluff curls are old school, but you will need professional help to get these done correctly. Women with slender faces can pull off this look effortlessly.

31. Bob Curls With Highlighted Tips

Thin bob curls with highlighted tips go a long way in giving small curls a naturally fuller look. If you have an oblong face, try this hairstyle out.

32. Side Parting Volume Curls

Less is more sometimes. A simple side parting can go a long way in helping your hair look full and stunning. And matched with that red lipstick, what could go wrong?

33. Dark To Light Curls

If you’re thinking about coloring your hair, consider placing dark colors at the top and light colors at the bottom. The bright colors at the bottom will frame your face while adding definition to it.

34. Rain Curls

I like to call these the rain curls because they look like they were drenched in the rain. Use mousse or gel to smoothen your hair instead of making it fluffy.

35. Brushed Curls

Brushed curls look so pretty! Brush your hair with a round brush. However, if you have too much hair, getting this ideal look could be a little tricky.

36. Side-Swept Bangs

Side-swept bangs with curly ends on a pixie add spice to your hairstyle. This is a hairstyle for women who like keeping it simple.

37. Choppy Waves

Rough waves with sharp ends look incredible. Try this look with wispy tips as well. The choppy waves can be obtained with a curling iron, but you need to know how to do it right. This hairdo gets full somewhere midway down the face, keeping the focus on your cheekbones and jawlines.

38. Volume Curls

I like to call this hairdo ‘volume curls.’ The big side curl along with the perfect end curls add tons of volume to your hair. So, if you have thin hair, try this look.

39. Colored Hair

Don’t be afraid to try out some color. Pastel colors are trending right now. If you’re confused about what colors might suit your hair and skin tone, you can ask a hairstylist.

40. Naturally Messy Hair

Natural is beautiful! Leave your hair naturally messy! If you want to arrange your hair, just run your fingers through it.

I’ve heard a lot of my curly haired friends talk about how difficult it is to have healthy curly hair. So, here are a few maintenance tips to help you keep those curls perfect!

Maintenance For Curly Hair

  • Use a heat protectant whenever you are heat styling your hair. Apply it just before you curl or straighten your hair.
  • Hair gets damaged easily from heat. Let your hair air dry or blow dry it on a low setting.
  • If you keep straightening your hair regularly, over a period, your hair will lose a bit of its curliness.
  • Use shampoos that are specifically made for damaged hair as curly hair gets dry fast.
  • Limit the number of times you wash your hair. You shouldn’t wash it more than twice in a week. Also, wash your hair with cold water as it locks in the moisture from the conditioner.
  • Use conditioner regularly as it helps keep your hair nourished. However, avoid it if you have contact dermatitis.
  • When applying oil on your hair, massage your roots.
  • Deep condition your hair. Curly hair gets dry faster than straight hair due to the coily pattern it follows. Deep conditioning your hair helps moisturize it. Apply conditioner to your hair just before you get into the shower and cover it with a shower cap. The steam produced from the hot water will help keep the moisture in your hair. Rinse with water.
  • Detangle your hair by running your fingers through it. If you want to comb your hair, use a wide-toothed comb to do so. Brushing can lead to hair loss.
  • Use hair a gel or mousse to keep your hair moisturized. Use a gel if you have thick hair and mousse if you have fine hair.

There you have it, ladies – 40 best short curly hairstyles plus some maintenance tips. Flaunt those curls! Also, don’t be afraid to accessorize or color them. Try them out and let me know which ones you loved in the comments section below.


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Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.