All About Bob Haircuts

By: Virginia Smith

A client of mine recently asked me for "more of a bob."
I asked what she wanted to change in her cut so that it matched the image in her mind.
The factors involved in designing a bob look are length, angle, shape and weight. Here's a quick description of the different types of bobs that fashion the style.
A bob is anything worn just above the shoulders but with still enough length that the top portion (longest length) hangs over the shortest length at and around the nape (this is the area at the back of the neck). Bob haircuts range from cut straight across (all one length) to highly angled with lots of layers (such as the trend-setting bob that Posh wore).
A bob is essentially a one length look with variations in texture and layering. Some bobs are clean and classic while others have lots of layers with shattered edges.
I cut a look with layers throughout and gave the line a forward angle, making the back slightly shorter than the front. I also used graduation (an angle somewhere in between, say, 30 and 55 degrees... 45 is standard though) and a technique called stacking.
Some popular bobs are worn with a cut using about 90 degrees so that the back looks noticeably as if the hair was "stacked" atop each layer. I, however, used minimal stacking only as a guide to start my internal layers, which I worked around the head shape. This created a free flow of movement and texture through out what would otherwise be a "one-length" cut.
I actually added a custom double weight line at the nape. That is the line that the length and shape assume within the design. This is something I like to do to create a bit more interest.
That bob was a good example of a classic cut with modern touches. It is a soft look. It also has enough texture to be worn edgy if she wanted. She could do that by turning the ends out instead of in.
Consider these things when discussing a bob hair cut with your stylist:
* What is your desired length?
* Do you want layers or to keep it one length?
* Keep in mind the texture of your hair.
* How much time are you willing to spend styling your bob?
* The density of your hair matters a great deal depending on the look you are after.
* What color(s) will you want your style to have?
* Fringe can completely change the look and feel of your bob.
* You?ll want to have your stylist assess the growth pattern of the hair at the nape of your neck.
It is a good idea to bring a few photos of cuts that you like and discuss the looks with your stylist. Ask questions and be involved in the process. Be sure to be clear about what you want before the cutting begins. Be aware of the shape of your face and how length, fringe, and layering will affect the outcome.
If you're used to putting your hair back in a pony tail, a cut where the hair hugs the sides of the face could drastically change the look of your face. Try to visualize the bob first.
Those are some tips to consider in planning a bob haircut.

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Virginia Smith is an Austin hair stylist. To see samples of her work and find out what sets her apart from other stylists, visit her at

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