Stylish Short Hair
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Stylish Short Hair

The right bob haircut for curly, straight, wavy hair types.

The Right Bob

Long hair? It's fine for teenagers, movie stars and women who love to spend time styling. But when it comes to streamlining your beauty routine and looking modern, nothing beats a short haircut. In fact, chopping off long locks can even make you look younger! Of course, that's only if you have the right short cut. With the wrong shape or styling, a short cut can say matronly old lady, not modern woman. That's where today's universally flattering short cut comes in: the bob. Popular in the United States since the 1920s, the bob has been around for generations for good reason. Here, why the bob works for nearly every woman and how you can customize it for your hair type.

Why it works

The bob, traditionally a one-length cut that falls to the chin, has a shape that's good for all face shapes: it can add the illusion of cheekbones to a long face, slim down a full face, soften a square jaw or play up a heart-shaped face. What's more, the bob is so versatile that it can be customized to work with your hair type and texture, making it even more flattering to your unique hair and face.

How to customize it

The key to getting a great bob is in the customization: By having your stylist modify this cut to work with your particular hair texture, you'll personalize the look for yourself. Some guidelines:

  • If your hair is thick and straight...

    You can wear the traditional one-length bob that falls to your chin. Because your hair already has body and volume, a one-length bob will have movement and look full. Moreover, a cut without layers will highlight your hair's tendency to reflect light and shine. If you'd like a dramatic look, add some thick bangs to your bob.
  • If your hair is fine and straight...

    Go for a shorter bob with tapered, layered ends. Fine hair tends to lie flat, so layers take weight off the ends and give your hair some bounce. Tapering your layered ends also gives them some shape so they don't appear wispy, a natural tendency for fine hair.
  • If your hair is wavy or fine and curly...

    Your bob should fall between your chin and shoulders and incorporate long layers. Because wavy and fine curly hair tends to flatten the longer it gets, you'll see more texture if you keep it on the shorter side compared to a straighter look if you allow it to grow. Long layers give waves and curls opportunity to spring up.
  • If your hair is thick and curly...

    Choose a bob that's on the longer side and layered at the ends. Thick, curly hair tends to grow out before it grows down, so you'll need to keep your bob longer (think just above your shoulders) to get the silhouette. Be sure your stylist layers your ends, as leaving your hair one length will create a triangle shape.
  • Originally published in, May 2006.