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. 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, a 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 another hair chameleon who can flawlessly wear every style in the book. The Internet couldn't get over the moment she traded in her long locks for this edgy bob.
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 flip to each braid. This style looks great on a twist-out bob.
Justine Skye slayed in this bone-straight bob. The luxe purple asymmetrical cut elevates this classic bob. Like Skye, try a middle part that's slightly off to the side.
Jourdan Dunn dressed up her bob by adding catwalk worthy waves. Her hair looked romantic and cool at the same time.
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. 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," Everett explains. Keep the temperature low, curving the straightener for a bouncy long bob like Karrueche'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
Part 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.
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-size flat iron to add a few bends to your hair to add 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," notes Calixte. "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 Moroccan Oil'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 looked perfect with her face-framing cut.
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 ($34) and the Mizani Styling Foam Mousse ($18) for normal to thick hair. I also like to use the Ouidad Curl Immersion Hi-Defining Custard ($28) for fine to normal hair," says Everett.
'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.
Gray 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," says Calixte. "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 to upkeep. "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," says Everett. "Add a 1-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 tresses 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.
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.
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," says Calixte. Feel free to add gold cuffs aesthetically to your twists.
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 is hair is a mod mood to take note of. Swoop your edges with Ebin's 24 Hour Edge Tamer ($12).
Green With Envy
Ryan's bob is classic and without flaws. "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 locs are the perfect motivation to cut your hair.
Mermaid locs seem ready to unravel but by the hands of an expert stylist or uniform crochet faux locs, this style can be achieved.
Pin Straight Precison
Ayesha Curry is forever serving #hairgoals. We love how perfectly the 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 crafted for you, no matter your skin tone. Create these curls using a 1-inch curling iron.
For a lovely and full look after your perm rod set, what you apply to your curls hair 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 Designers Essential. 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 tuffs.
A peachy bob with dark roots can be yours without permanently dying your hair. You can purchase a unit or customize a dye job for your wig with an expert stylist.