By Prudence Wade
As the weather warms up, more of us are considering the big chop – particularly when style stars like Ciara and Selena Gomez make it look so effortlessly good with their new bob cuts.
But while hair can grow back, none of us want to start our summer with a dodgy haircut.
First thing’s first though: if you think a bob isn’t for you, think again. Expert stylist Natalia Vera says everyone suits short hair: “There’s a length out there for every style, hair texture and face shape.”
But why are bobs having such a moment? Vera suggests they “have come about as an opposing style trend to the super long mermaid hair trend of the 2010s. With the rise of alternative cuts like the wolf cut, mullet and shag over the last year, the bob is a slightly tamer and easier to maintain haircut, that still has that ultra-cool-girl vibe.”
Thinking of bringing back the bob? Here’s everything you need to know…
If you’re unsure what length to go for, your hairdresser will be able to help out. Vera says it’s important to “take into account your face shape, and your stylist can recommend shaping, layers or styling to suit you”.
There’s a bit more to consider if you have Afro hair. “The nature of the bob means it uses gravity to cause the hair to move downward from the centre of the head,” says Hairstory hairdresser and curly-kinky colour specialist Mattie Calloway.
“Afro texture in its nature is designed to grow in the opposite direction. It grows upward and out, and this small difference has everything to do with how we choose our Afro bob.”
With this in mind, Calloway wants you to think about your hair texture: “Is it curly, coily or kinky?” If curly, you might want a loose bob similar to Whitney Houston’s hair in the Nineties. “Coils can be worn in a springy bob, similar to the one worn by Yara Shahidi in recent years”, and “kinks can be worn in a blown-out Afro, which creates the stretch needed at the roots”.
Hairstory hairdresser and curl specialist April Kayganich recommends considering whether you’ll be keeping your hair natural, straightening it – or both. “For both, ask your hairdresser if they will cut your hair dry in its curly state first, and then finish the style smooth – this will ensure you can see how it translates and make any necessary adjustments,” she says.
And if you’re really nervous about going for such a big chop, Vera says: “Ask for more of a lob [long bob] shape” for something “less drastic”.
Vera recommends getting a trim every four to six weeks (“to keep your hair looking fresh, even if you choose to grow your bob out”), and Kayganich suggests every 10 weeks for people with natural hair – “no more than 12 weeks for my looser curl and spiral curl clients, and more coily clients could get away with less frequent salon visits – around every 16 weeks”.
Vera recommends avoiding heat styling as much as possible, “as breakage and split ends can sometimes be more visible with hair at a shorter length”.
Regular deep conditioning treatments will help maintain your hair health – for natural hair, Calloway advises doing so “as often as you wash, particularly for tight coils and kinks”.
Calloway continues: “I would also recommend keeping a pair of spare scissors in the bathroom where you style your hair. You may just have to snip a hair or two, as the bob may shapeshift during the course of living.”
She’s also a fan of having a lightweight oil on hand, to “keep those ends in line and help to create texture on the ends of a curly bob”, she says.