When Meg Ryan debuted her instantly iconic Sally Hershberger shag cut in 1996, she changed the bob game forever. It was short and sweet but not precious, as though she’d been out partying all night and ran her hands through her hair before heading out for the day. The bedhead look instantly caught on, with everyone trying to nail that effortlessly undone, chic chop a la Kathleen Kelly herself.
While the late 2010s and early 2020s have been all about more voluminous, bombshell blowouts and super sleek styles, the bedhead bob is back again and ready to let loose and have a little fun. Ahead, everything you need to know about the trend that's about to be everywhere.
The bedhead bob ebbs and flows in popularity; in the ‘90s, it was Ryan and her signature shag, which transformed into the early ‘00s Britney Spears and her tousled chop (my teenage obsession) before evolving into the undone shaggy lob popular in the mid-2010s. Sleeker styles then took precedence, but stars like Maya Hawke and Daisy Jones and the Six star Suki Waterhouse have been feeling the more free-spirited, undone vibes of the behead bob and bringing it back into the spotlight where it belongs.
“I think this trend will keep resurfacing because it’s a classic style we can never get enough of,” says Liz Rexroat, Davines artist and color and extension specialist at Bomane Salon in Beverly Hills. “Effortless hair has been on trend for the last five years, but we have primarily seen it in longer hair.” Rexroat attributes the bedhead bob’s comeback to a craving for bold change. “Move over long hair, don’t care! The bedhead bob is sexy and versatile and can be customized to fit your face.”
How does the bedhead bob differ from the blunt cut bob, the lob, the Italian bob and all the rest of its short style cousins? “A traditional bob is going to be very heavy with little to no texture, but when cutting this effortless style, you need to work more with the natural texture [of the hair],” explains Rexroat. “For example, if a client has fine hair that has little to no texture, I am going to have to create more layers and texture while maintaining that full outline [of the bob.]”
How to Get a Bedhead Bob
Rexroat recommends having a quick consultation with your stylist before any chopping happens, including how you’re realistically going to be styling your hair on a daily basis. The bedhead bob can work on many hair types, but it’s best for those with some natural wave or texture; fine or straight hair types will need more layers or extra styling for that fashionably rumpled vibe. If you have fine hair and hate fussing with hot tools and styling creams, this most likely isn’t the bob for you.
The bedhead bob depends on strategically placed, precise layers—not too many, or your hair will look choppy, but not too few or your bob will fall flat.
“If you have finer hair with zero to very little texture to your hair, you're going to want to add longer layers to give you movement without removing much-needed weight,” she explains. “If you have medium to thick hair with little or medium texture, you want to add more ‘invisible layers’ to create movement.”
If you have thick, coarse hair with natural texture, Rexroat advises adding under layers to remove bulk. “[Under layers] remove weight from the back of the neck where a lot of the bulk of your hair lives, then add more surface layers with texture. This will give you the ability to work with your natural texture without the weight.”
How to Style a Beadhead Bob
Unless you have magical unicorn hair, you probably won’t actually roll out of bed with perfectly done-undone waves and bends. While styling will vary depending on your natural texture, Rexroat recommends spritzing Davines' This is an Invisible No Gas Spray ($39) on individual sections before using a hot tool for a longer lasting style, then finishing with a cream and texture spray to lock in that lived-in texture and movement.
“Once you have established the texture in the hair, you’re going to want to give your hair a little grit and piecey-ness while maintaining the shine,” she explains. Flip your head over and work in a bit of Davines This is a Medium Hold Pliable Paste ($32) from the mid-shafts to ends, then add a salt spray or a texturizing spray. Then throw a trench coat over your cutest PJs and go save your children’s bookstore. Or, you know, go grab coffee.