Curly Haircuts on Celebrities of Every Style and Length

Consider this your curly-girl mood board.

celeb curly haircuts jasmine sanders
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If you, like me, have curly hair, you probably know: There's nothing worse than a bad haircut. Curly hair can't be cut like straight hair—it requires special consideration for how it's going to look when it's dry (which more often than not means a lot of layering). Luckily, some of our favorite celebrities have naturally curly hair. When they choose to bless us with their natural curl pattern (or a version of it) on the red carpet, we curly folks break out our screen-shotting capabilities to capture it immediately. Hence, this gallery!

It's important to note, as ever, that celebrities are experts at experimenting with new cuts and curl patterns because they often have a full team behind them (and they can rely on extensions, perms, and other tools to obtain their enviable 'dos). You want to be armed with the knowledge of your hair density and curl pattern before you ask a hairstylist to emulate one of these cuts. A good stylist will also help you understand the unique features of your curls, if you don't already know.

Jada Pinkett Smith

curly cuts jada pinkett smith

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When Jada Pinkett Smith debuted a curly pixie cut, the world collectively thanked her. This is admittedly not an easy cut to maintain—depending on how fast your hair grows, you may need regular upkeep from a stylist—but relatively simple to style once you've gotten the cut. There's less hair, after all!

Elizabeth Berkley

curly cuts elizabeth berkley

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I love a '90s-era curly hairdo, and Elizabeth Berkeley is giving us that in spades here. If it speaks to you, just know that your hair needs to start out long and then it needs a ton of layers, starting at bang length and extending all the way down. You need some volume to pull this off.

Aly Michalka

curly cuts aly michalka

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There are a number of headshots I could have used to show how well Aly Michalka styled her curls over the years. But I actually like this softer, messier, wavy look—it feels more obtainable (and it feels more realistic, given that curly hair can get quite heavy when it's long, which can impact the shape of the curl).

AnnaLynne McCord

curly cuts annalynne mccord

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Apparently, AnnaLynne McCord's incredible curls are natural (and they set her apart when she started showing up in TV shows). They are not easy to replicate—you need a ton of hair volume—but you might be able to replicate the shape with a lot of layers even if you don't have her curl pattern.

Yara Shahidi

curly cuts yara shahidi

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Yara Shahidi is on everyone's curly-haired Pinterest board—she's always game to experiment with different lengths and shapes while still making maximum use of her gorgeous curls. This long bob requires a ton of expert layering to pull off (and you may not want to replicate the middle part, depending on what works best for your face).

Nicole Kidman

curly cuts nicole kidman

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Early headshots of Nicole Kidman always get my heart aflutter, because she has the most wonderful thick, curly hair and she wasn't afraid to show it off. She's got some layers, starting at chin length, but not a ton. She relies on the thickness and makes her natural curl pattern the star of the show.

Salma Hayek

curly cuts salma hayek

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For those of us with less hair volume (raises hand), we can still show off our curl pattern without a ton of layering. Length can weigh hair down, and this doesn't quite have the volume of other cuts on this list, but Selma Hayek's hair isn't SO curly that it creates the dreaded hair triangle.

Charlize Theron

curly cuts charlize theron

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Charlize Theron's short haircuts in the '90s used to be my go-to for bob haircuts, in part because she has almost my exact hair density and curl pattern (which is to say: not a lot, and 3A curls). But the gentle circular shape of her cut is also a classic style that works for hair all along the curl spectrum.

Nicole Richie

curly cuts nicole richie

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It's a little rare to see Nicole Richie with such a casual curly style (and I love it, so I'm petitioning her to wear it like this more often). It's on the less dense side, but it's got long layers starting around shoulder length so that it's got a great shape. This is a haircut that grows out exceptionally well.

Keri Russell

curly cuts keri russell

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Everyone who grew up in the '90s remembers Felicity from Felicity, and specifically her thick and curly locks (before she cut them off, to everyone's horror). And it's the thickness that serves Keri Russell well here; she has some long layers but most of her hair is roughly the same length. If you've got it, flaunt it!

Andie MacDowell

curly cuts andie MacDowell

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Absolute queen Andie MacDowell proves that you can keep your hair long and luscious even as you get older (she's gone gray since this photo was taken and rocks her natural color like a boss). But the thinner and dryer your hair gets, the more layers you want, as well as regular trims for the health of the hair.

Blake Lively

curly cuts blake lively

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This long hair magnificence on Blake Lively here is not for the faint of heart (obviously you could use extensions, but the idea that I would wait literally years for my hair to grow this long makes me laugh). But if you're already rocking long hair, opt for long layers as well as some face-framing pieces as she does here.

Zoë Kravitz 

curly cuts Zoë Kravitz

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Miss Kravitz has made the pixie cut her thing (while reserving the right to play around with other bad*ss styles, obviously), so it absolutely works on her. The key for this cut is that it's short on the sides and long on top—the better to make that fun swoop with—and then regular trims.


curly cuts shakira

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A lot of the appeal of Shakira's curls (other than the fact that they belong to Shakira) is that they're a small, but loose curl (2C or 3A, if I had to guess)—and there's a lot of it. The result is a mass of "delicate" looking curls, which require long layers but end up looking incredible.

Sandra Oh

curly cuts sandra oh

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Ever since she was Dr. Christina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, Sandra Oh has rocked her curly hair. This is a fun ovular shape—it's not as "twee" as a circle, and it's not a triangle either—and achieves that balance of being able to wear it down and being able to pull it back in a ponytail.


curly cuts rihanna

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Rihanna doesn't always go with a 'do this long, but when she does, she absolutely rocks it. Her layers start at shoulder length and provide a more angular shape through the bottom of her hair, but you'll want to let your curls air dry (instead of hitting them with a hair dryer) if you want to achieve this flatter look.

Rita Ora

curly cuts rita ora

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With a cut that's as buoyant as her personality, Rita Ora's got a '70s-inspired cut that I appreciate (and bonus points for matching her sunglasses to the vibe). As someone who's had a similar cut, just know that the bangs need the most upkeep with regular trims; The rest will grow out nicely.

Kerry Washington

curly cuts kerry washington

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You need dense 4B or 4C curls to achieve this glorious Kerry Washington cut—but my god, if you can pull off this gorgeous shape and volume, please do it. No surprise, but there's a ton of layering going on here; One cool feature is that the side bangs can either be worn in front of the face or pushed back.

Morena Baccarin

curly cuts Morena Baccarin

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This is quite a vintage '90s/'00s shape for a curly lady like Morena Baccarin. But it's also an easy way for those of us with less dense curls that are more delicate to achieve volume and dimension. Ask a hairstylist for a layered lob that has as many layers as humanly possible.

Sarah Jessica Parker

curly cuts sarah jessica parker

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It's worth noting that SJP has more wavy than curly hair naturally (and stylists used a variety of curling techniques to obtain Carrie's signature curls on Sex and the City). But she has a ton of hair, which meant that the shape was always divine—here especially, where the layers start at chin length.

Emmy Rossum

curly cuts emmy rossum

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I looooove Emmy Rossum's curly hair, so this throwback photo is a real treat. There's side bangs and face-framing fringe, but the back is longer than you expect it to be. It's actually a nice mix between layers where they're needed and necessary length to feel extra-luxurious.

Thandiwe Newton

curly cuts thandiwe newton

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Thandiwe Newton has...some of the most enviable hair of all time. What's more is that this 'do doesn't have as many short layers as I expected on first glance. The long layers keep it from looking triangular, but it's close enough that you want to make sure this shape will work for your face before you get the cut.

Julia Garner

curly cuts julia garner

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The modern pixie is a lot more architectural, as we see on Julia Garner here. The back is very short (perhaps even shaved at the very back) and much longer towards the front—it's almost the same as haircuts you see on men, but Garner brings back a delicate touch through the pretty blonde.


curly cuts Beyoncé

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Look at these ringlets!! Queen Bey is giving us enviable uniformity here in her curl pattern (and, if you have naturally curly hair, you probably know this look would be tough to achieve without a curling iron). However! The multitude of layers that frame her face perfectly is much easier to obtain yourself.

Tori Kelly

curly cuts tori kelly

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Singer Tori Kelly can really lean in on her curls—messiness and all—which makes her a curly icon, in my opinion. Opting for a tons of layers and then leaning in on a deep, deep side part means that her locks cascade gloriously to one side. And it's the perfect long, but not overwhelmingly long, length.

Joan Smalls

curly cuts joan smalls

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Joan Smalls is walking the runway here, which obviously means she's had some amazing professionals help her get this look. But that also makes it the perfect inspo, because the layers are strategic—with the result that the front strands are face-framing without falling into her face (a common curly dilemma).

Mariah Carey

curly cuts mariah carey

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Awww, '90s Mariah Carey is such a fabulous throwback! This waterfall effect in her hair is the result of a ton of layers throughout, literally starting at bang level and extending long past her shoulders. You really need volume (or extensions) to pull this off, but it's a total win for her.

Jasmine Sanders

curly cuts jasmine sanders

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The "Golden Barbie" herself, Jasmine Sanders first got noticed in the modeling world partially for her gorgeous curly hair. With that in mind, few of us are going to have her exact curl pattern and density, but we can certainly copy her deeply layered cut (basically you're asking for the shortest layers you can possibly get without going into mullet territory).

Tracee Ellis Ross

curly cuts tracee ellis ross

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Tracee Ellis Ross makes all manner of haircuts work for her, but I love this long layered bob (she does the lob better than anyone else!). Part of it is her innate coolness, which might be hard to replicate, but part of it is her willingness to lean in on layering. Her hair literally looks like a heart!

Meg Ryan

curly cuts meg ryan

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Back in the day, Meg Ryan's curls were the prototype for curly-haired people who didn't have much curl density (!). While this is probably categorized as more wavy than curly (the difference between 2C and 3A curls), the curly bob with layers and bangs is a classic cut.

Gabrielle Union

curly cuts gabrielle union

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I basically love every haircut Gabrielle Union's blessed us with, but this dome of curls might be my favorite. The length's not overwhelming (just beyond shoulder length—very manageable), the ovular shape is exceptional, and the curly bangs in front are the cherry on top.

Julia Roberts

curly cuts julia roberts

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I know this choice is cliche, but I stand by it. When Julia Roberts starred in Pretty Woman (and it was such an integral part of her bubbly character), every single curly-haired person wanted her hair. It's long, healthy, layered, full but not bushy: perfect in every way (if your hair's the right density and pattern! As always!).

Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.