Long hair is beautiful and all, but short hair will always be in. The versatility of your hair and what you can do with it is endless, especially with bob-length hair. From short mini twists to blunt cuts, there's always a style to test out and obsess over. No matter what curl pattern, the styles are more than a trend: they celebrate beauty and culture. A classic chin-length bob, in which the hair is cut the same length all the way around, is always a good choice, but there are also many other modern iterations of the bob depending on the look that you want. It is always good to think about your hair texture, face shape and how much work you want to put into styling your hair when considering which bob is best.
We spoke to natural hair experts Rosemica "Mica" Calixte and Monaè Everett to discuss all there is to know about nourishing your curls and styling them. Scroll on for some major bob inspo for Black women.
Meet the Expert
- Mica Calixte is a professional hairstylist and instructor for HBM Institute, a program for licensed cosmetologists. Based in New Jersey, she is the owner of HBMStudios where she styles natural hair, customizes wigs, and more.
- Monaè Everett is an industry expert on all hairstyles, celebrity hairstylist, and beauty educator. Based in New York City, she also launched The Monaè Life Academy, an online academy for hairstylists.
Gabrielle Union is a hair chameleon who can wear every style in the book. The internet couldn't get over the moment she traded in her long locks for this edgy bob. The actress styles her hair with a deep side part and side-swept bangs for a playful look.
Section off your hair for three neat cornrows in the center of your head. Stop braiding at the highest point of your hair and add one butterfly clip to each braid. One great option is the Jakeni Small Butterfly Clips ($13). This style looks great on a twist-out bob.
Justine Skye slayed in this blown-out 'do. The luxe purple asymmetrical cut elevates the classic bob. Like Skye, try a middle part that's slightly off to the side. If you don't want to commit to full-time purple highlights, try the Got 2b Playful Temporary Hair Chalk in Royal Purple ($8).
Jourdan Dunn dressed up her bob by adding catwalk-worthy waves. Her hair looks romantic and cool at the same time. To copy her look, part your hair down the middle and play up your waves by drying your hair with a diffuser.
If you long for an asymmetrical bob without the commitment of cutting your curls into this style, box braids emulating this look is the perfect fit.
Bumped Blow Out
"To achieve elongated styles, many times I will stretch dry my clients' hair by holding the hair taut and using medium heat," Everett explains. "Stretch-drying the hair works well for braid outs, twist outs, and bantu knot sets. This method cuts down on drying time as well as shrinkage. Plus, this provides a great amount of volume within the style." Keep the temperature low, curving the straightener for a bouncy long bob like Karrueche Tran's.
"Heat on natural hair isn't the enemy. Abusing heat on natural hair causes damage," says Everett. Be sure to add heat protectant to your hair before a style requiring heat.
Bedazzled Side Clip
To recreate this look, style your hair into a side part and smooth down the front in the direction you would like to place the clip. Pull out a few tendrils to highlight your gorgeous curls. Try out all the variations your heart desires with this 18-Piece Pearl Hair Clip Set ($10).
Beaded Fulani Braids
Fulani braids are tightly plaited braids that can wrap around your head or extend off of the scalp at varying lengths. Stylists adorn the hair with beads, and the style can be done with extensions or your own hair.
Joan Smalls's windswept 'do is perfectly imperfect. Create a deep side part and use a medium-width flat iron to add a few bends to your hair for volume. Tease your hair for this bedhead style.
The Big Chop
If you have been sporting box braids and long for something new, chop the extensions into a bob. Be mindful of where your true hair length lies and you will have managed two hairstyles for the price of one.
"Clients can maintain twists by making sure the scalp is properly exfoliated and cleansed prior to getting this service, thus ensuring the longevity of the style," Calixte notes. "Moisturizing the scalp once a week with argan oil will also help maintain an overall polished and clean look."
A fun way to switch up your hair is a temporary color treatment. Try Moroccanoil's Color Depositing Mask in Hibiscus ($28).
Banded Faux Locs
Bohemian-styled faux locs fit in no matter the season. Opt for a shorter length and band the ends with red rubber bands or thin yarn. You can even add different colors to add a bigger "wow" factor to the look.
Kelly Rowland reigned supreme with this blunt blob. A sleek middle part looks perfect with her face-framing cut.
Use a flat iron to create an ultra sleek and shiny bob. For best results, flat iron your hair in sections, starting with the underneath section and working your way out.
Twist Out and Go
Ready to untwist your hair? "My go-to product for twist outs and braid outs are the Mizani 25 Miracle 25 Leave-In Conditioner ($35) and the Mizani Styling Foam Mousse ($20) for normal to thick hair. I also like to use the Ouidad Curl Immersion Hi-Defining Custard ($28) for fine to normal hair," Everett says.
'90s A-Line Bob
This style will definitely bring a smile to your face. Give honor to your favorite '90s girl groups by mastering Ciara's A-line cut.
Red Box Braids
"I believe all Black women should try/test out braids. There is something about long braids that makes me feel closer to my roots," Calixte says. "Braids have been a staple in the Black culture for so long, and the styling options are endless! Get creative with your braids and rock them with your head held high." Adding color to your braids makes for a playful style.
First off, it's safe to say Kat Graham is the queen of bobs. Second, this is an A+ example of how effortlessly chic layered bobs can look.
Fulani Inspired Puffs
This Fulani style is edgy and low-maintenance. "Create box braids with synthetic braiding hair. Secure the bottom of the braid and leave two inches of synthetic braiding hair at the ends of the braids," Everett says on how to create the style. "Add a one-inch-wide styrofoam ball, and cover with loose hair at the bottom of the braid. Secure the ends of the hair, overlapping the ball with an elastic. Cut any loose ends."
Tessa Thompson's look can be achieved on wet or dry hair. Rub gel into your hair and distribute it through your hair. This style requires a lot of product so don't hold back. Slick both sides down with a brush, adding a holding spray to keep the look together.
Ella Mai's crimped hair makes us feel nostalgic for the '80s. The cool-girl cut is laidback and easy to obtain with a flat iron. Top copy this look, check out the Amika High Tide Deep Waver ($120) for the perfect waves.
Embrace the frizz! Kerry Washington's texturized bob has just the right amount of volume. Spritz salt spray on your strands and scrunch the ends the lightly brush curl out to achieve a fluffy curl aesthetic.
Gold Cuff Twists
For all-natural hair beauties, your hair bonnet or silk scarf is a faithful friend. "Tying up the hair at night or using a bonnet always helps minimize the lint and particle accumulation in your style," Calixte says. Feel free to add gold cuffs to your twists for an aesthetically pleasing finish.
All the Spirals
"I love and often use Nairobi's Wrapp-it Shine Foaming Lotion ($16). This is my go-to for when I style my own hair," Everett says. Cutting your curls into a bob and letting them fall right on top of your shoulders adds structure to your 'fro.
Keke Palmer's hair is a mod mood to take note of. Swoop your edges with Ebin's 24 Hour Edge Tamer ($15).
Green With Envy
Ryan Destiny's sleek bob is classic and pulls any look together. "I recommend trimming your natural hair every six to eight weeks. When hair strands are damaged and begin to split, the damage increases as you continue to style your hair," says Everett. "Each time you comb or brush your hair, the split continues up the hair shaft."
Kiki Layne's umbrella bob can cut through a crowd with ease. Spray this yaki hair texture with hairspray for a picture-perfect moment that lasts all night.
Tousled Curls and Bangs
We're no strangers to Normani's gorgeous looks and attention-grabbing hairstyles. Her hair is the perfect motivation to cut your hair.
Mermaid locs seem ready to unravel, but with the hands of an expert stylist or uniform crochet faux locs, this style can be achieved.
Ayesha Curry is forever serving #hairgoals. We love how perfect this straight-edge cut looks with a lustrous sheen that lasts all day.
Natural bobs look amazing when you play with a fiery red. There is a red shade for you, no matter your skin tone. Create these curls using a one-inch curling iron.
For a lovely and full look after your perm rod set, what you apply to your curls first is key. This style can be achieved on wet hair, but the hair has to dry completely around the perm rod. Calixte suggests, "My favorite product to use on natural hair is Design Essentials. I feel like this line found a great balance between clarifying and maintaining moisturize." Try the Agave & Lavender Serum ($10) for shine and moisture.
The Boss Bob
Zendaya edged up her chocolate bob with piecey center bangs. To add a little dimension, tuck your hair behind your ears and let a few front pieces frame your face.
Choose medium-sized box braids that rest above your shoulders. Cut the extension hair evenly so the ends are blunt. As you near the end of the braid, leave it out and use a rubber band to create tufts.
What face shape is the asymmetrical bob best suited for?
The asymmetrical bob, in which one side is cut longer than the other, is a fun and modern take on the classic bob. It would look great on any face shape, especially those with a square-shaped face as it softens the angles on your face.
Which type of bob looks best on naturally curly or coily hair?
Bobs are a fabulous (and fun!) choice for naturally coily hair. An inverted bob is slightly shorter in the back with stacked layers and is a fun way to play up your curls. An A-line bob is also shorter in the back, but doesn’t have stacked layers, so your curls would be less prominent. A short bob with bangs will let your curls take center stage for a big and beautiful look.
Which type of bob looks best on a round face shape?
A longer bob that hits right below the chin line helps to elongate a round face shape. A lob, in which the back is shorter than the front, would be a great choice for this face shape. A side part and soft highlights around the face will also fit a round face shape.