The Rules To Getting (And Maintaining) Mid-Length Hair


It’s a transitional time, folks. Whether due to seasonal changes, some astrological clusterfuck (that’d be a new moon intersecting with Mercury whilst it's in retrograde, thank you AstrologyZone) or the resurgence of no-nonsense ‘90s dressing (say it with us: Lanvin sweatpants), ladies are currently growing out their summer bobs while others are lobbing off their super long hair. Which is to say there's a lot of mid-lengths going on out there. The new issue of T landed on our doorsteps this weekend with none other than the arbiter of chic, Phoebe Philo, on the cover sporting a collarbone-sweeping ‘do [14], confirming that if it wasn’t already a thing, it is now. We phoned our favorite mid-length distributor, Blackstones' Joey Silvestera, who had some thoughts for those thinking of making the chop or growing it out:

Defining 'Mid-Length': "There are two camps of mid-length hair: Classic Mid-Length, which is below the jawline and above the collarbone, and Grown-Out Mid-Length, which is between the collarbone and the chest. It's a great look because it's super simple. The blunt cut is a similar 'nothing' look, but that's more a texture; the term 'mid-length' is an overall shape."

Best For: "Fine-to-medium hair. Super thick hair can be tricky and less minimal; it will involve some back-cutting or channel cutting to create a subtle, uneven texture. But that won't deconstruct the overall line of the shape. You have to be extra careful with curly hair. One uniform mid-length on curly hair is very editorial and cool, but it's specific, and can be too wide on the bottom for a lot of women. We call this the 'lampshade' effect. Most girls freak out if they see that. You have to layer curly hair so it becomes a different look entirely."

Go Long: "I've been cutting a lot of grown-out mid-length cuts lately for a number of reasons. Usually the scenario is that I have a girl in my chair with long hair who wants a change but doesn't like to get her hair cut very often. She doesn't want layers and she doesn't want bangs, so we take it between the chest and the collarbone. She'll still feel that immediate change, but it's really seamless to grow out. You can pull your hair back into a ponytail, and it will eventually grow back into long hair without you even noticing. It doesn't feel as conservative as a bad, short mid-length haircut can—you know, the kind that politicians and newscasters have. It always looks very cool. You can even leave the back a little shorter, and have the very front points of the hair go past the collarbone. Like that Phoebe Philo photo, if she turned her head forward, her hair will just be below her collarbone in the front. That's as short as I usually recommend going."

Staying Short: "A classic mid-length cut looks great in the chair, but as a haircut, it's more high-maintenance. We usually call this a red flag, because if you love it right when it's cut, it's going to feel too long after six to eight weeks. Once it goes past the shoulders, there's going to be a period where you just don't like it. If you don't mind getting your hair cut often, I'd suggest experimenting with this length. But once it grows out, it becomes harder to style. Any mid-length haircut lends itself to wearing your hair natural, and blow-drying less. But as soon as your length approaches the shoulder, the heat from and curvature of your shoulder is going to set your hair into an upward flip the same way using a roller would."

Styling: "This is an easy-peasy hair shape to style. It all depends on your hair texture, but for the most part, the less styled, the better. The less you wash it, the better it will look. It gets the best shape on the second or third day. And it looks great with scarves on, because the hair bunches really well. You can accessorize a mid-length shape really well. I suggest air-drying it with Bumble and bumble Grooming Cream. That will give it an immediate second-day texture, because you want to avoid looking too fluffy. A cream will give it a piece-y soft, natural texture. Then, keep it going with a dry shampoo, like the great one from Klorane."

Constance & Andreea photographed by Emily Weiss.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • calikhar

    years vacillating between a short bob and lazy scraggly long taught me this - shoulder grazing - is my ideal length. though i differ with the expert here... my hair is relatively thick and wavy (not curly) and it still works. my mind is blown that my hot shoulders are giving me a flip tho...

    • ITGMackenzie

      I KNOW! (about the shoulders thing. My jaw dropped when he told me)


      • Alyssa Gapske

        My hair is mid-length right now and the hot shoulder thing drives me crazy! I always feel like I look like a soccer mom, so I always curve my ends in.

  • guest

    Some pictures of styles would be very helpful...I am this length now and so confused about how to style it...I have some curl/frizz in my hair, fine texture

  • Sophie

    So much 'yes' to this post. Mid-length hair is just so good.

  • Talia

    The last time I got a trim I brought this pic to my stylist
    :bows to Kim Gordon:

    • ITGMackenzie

      <3 <3 <3 <3

  • Claude

    YESSSS! the inspiration i need for my grown out bob! LOVEE IT

  • goodgoodthings

    Somehow you guys always write articles pertaining to my current obsession/lifestyle! I love it.

  • Lauren

    These photos are super beautiful and inspiring. Ladies - CUT YOUR HAIR!! It's the best.

  • Juliet

    Great ideas! Thank you ITG!

  • Emma and Emily

    I have been battling with my hair for so long.. I have no idea what length I like, but this is really persuading me to get the chop again!

  • best all-around

    Lol this is perfect timing! I have an appointment on Tuesday to chop 10+ inches off. This article definitely helped me to refine what it is I'm asking for. Y'all are geniuses!

    • pdelorme

      Please, please, PLEASE some photos of curly haired - truly curly haired - women with just-to-the-shoulder hair! Fine curly hair if possible!

      • Amalissa

        Excuse the forlorn expression, but I couldn't find any other decent selfies when my hair was shoulder length! It's a little past my shoulders here, but I have super fine and naturally curly hair, and this has definitely been one of my favourite hairstyles. I'm growing it out at the moment, but I think I'll probably get round to cutting it again...

        • gjfjfbyjn

          Hey do you fill your brows and if you do what do you use? That's how I want mine to look but it's hard to find something that's that sort of dark, ashy brown without going on too thick.

  • Lara

    Oh Freja...

  • Dru

    Mid-length hair is really the prettiest - short enough to have some swish and body and some nice movement, but long enough to still feel 'long' and girly, and to tie back if you like. My personal hair goddess at the moment is Gong Hyo-jin:

  • Nicky

    Yay! I just got a mid length chop a couple of days ago..Knew I was onto something ;)

  • thunderlegz

    Could ITG do more on curly hair cuts and styles?

  • Chanella

    I have beautiful hair, that I look after with lots of gentle conditioning, its very long, and a really nice golden colour. I could not imagine cutting it. Long hair takes a lot of care, but treated nicely it pays off,

  • Neelam

    Aaahh I'm getting the chop myself soon! Love the inspirational pics. Surprisingly, i really love Kylie Jenner's new cut but am getting the Liu Wen look myself

  • Denisse

    This came at the perfect time since I just cut my hair to just at my shoulders! I'm thinking of trimming it a bit more so that it's just above my shoulders. Definitely finding that the less I do to it, the better it looks.

    Still trying to find the right dry shampoo for me, though...

  • Rose Hoare

    This is spooky. I have fine mid-length hair that I air-dried with Bumble and bumble grooming cream this morning.

  • Ellie

    Monika Jagaciak is my mid-length inspiration right now. Doesn't hurt that we have some similar features and that's my exact hair shade at my roots (I'm currently growing out color, which is why I'm waiting a bit to cut it, so I can cut off the regrowth in one fell swoop). Anyone know what exactly I should ask for (as someone with wavy, fine hair) to get a look like this?

  • Louise

    Wow! The shoulder thing makes perfect sense!! I use to have longer hair, but after having 2 kids and age 43, my already fine thin hair is too thin and limp to grow past my shoulders. It's depressing, but I get a ton of compliments when my bob is just above the shoulders and it looks gorgeous. My bob also makes me look younger b/c my hair has more volume and looks healthier. I get mistaken for early 30's. I add more volume to my hair using salt spray and then use coconut oil to offset the dryness that the salt spray can cause. Result is beautiful bouncy bob. I do not blow dry and use very low heat (expensive) curling iron.


Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Grooming Creme
Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk