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It's no secret that the French are beauty and fashion connoisseurs. Heck, they even have their own namesake haircut: the French bob. The short and flirty look of the sought-after style is what makes it so modern and cool, notes hairstyle pro Garren. "I've been pushing it recently to clients who want to be freed of hair that has grown out," he tells us. To learn more about the French bob, we tapped Garren and Aaron Grenia to get their best styling tips, plus rounded up our favorite iterations of the classic cut.
Meet the Expert
- Garren is a celebrity hairstylist who has worked with Farrah Fawcett, Karlie Kloss, and Victoria Beckham. He is also the co-founder of R+Co.
- Aaron Grenia is the co-founder of IGK, who has created looks for designers Carolina Herrera, Dolce and Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs.
What Is a French Bob?
According to Garren and Grenia, a French bob hits right under the ears and above your chin (i.e. cheekbone-length). The style may have originated with French actresses in the 1920s who wore their hair in a cropped bob, sometimes with a beret. It has become a universal ambassador of effortless Parisian style. Often worn with bangs, the cut is usually blunt at the ends.
Who Should Try It
Still, personality isn't the only thing about the French bob that makes it a timeless standout. It's a versatile cut that can be customized for most people's texture and face shape. It tends to work best for those with stick-straight hair, but your stylist can also cut it in such a way that accentuates your natural hair texture with scissors or a razor. "You can ask for the same length for all hair types," Grenia says. "That's the beauty of it."
The French bob can look boxy with curlier textures if not done right, according to Garren. So he stresses that you go to someone familiar with working with your natural wave pattern and who's skilled in using scissors and razors.
How to Style a French Bob
One of the best things about the French bob is that styling can be a breeze. You can wear it sleek and polished or playfully tousled. "The style gives your hair that just-out-of-bed but still chic look, that never looks like you tried hard," Grenia says. If you want a slicked-back look, he recommends passing some of IGK's Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel ($29) throughout your cut. "You can also use some texturizing spray to enhance your natural waves," he adds.
For daily styling, Garren says less is more. "I would use R+Co Bleu Essential Hair Tonic ($55) after you shampoo to scrunch the wave in and just let it air dry." Garren also prescribes R+CO Bleu Surreal Styling Serum ($70) if you seek a smooth finish. "Comb through wet hair and let it air dry. If the hair is frizzy, use the R+Co Bleu Super Style Crème ($64)," he says. "Always do it on wet hair so it doesn't weigh the hair down. Use your hands or a large-tooth comb to give bounce, instead of a brush."
A combination of mousse and texturizing products will give your French bob lift and bounce. Consider Davines Liquid Spell ($51) and Oribe Grandiose Plumping Mousse ($39) for volume and flyaways at the crown. Also, Unite's Liquid Volume ($32) for both volume and texture. R+Co's Velvet Curtain ($34) also will help give some separation and moisture when you want to take a break from hot tools.
French Bob Inspiration
Model Taylor LaShay's head of hair is probably one of the most referenced examples of a quintessential French bob haircut out there. Everything about it, from its cheekbone grazing length to its tantalizing texture is on point. We (j')adore.
Flipped to the Side
With its off-center parting, Kat Graham's French bob gets an instant boost of volume. Also, switching up your part is an easy way to change up your look that doesn't involve any, if at all, commitment. To get her healthy high-gloss finish, apply some shine spray.
If you do a French bob with a side or middle part sans fringe, Garren instructs that you have to be irregular in the bottom and longer in the front to avoid an A-line shape.
Textured and Mussy
This textured, wind-blown style has got that je ne sais quoi. The sombré color and mussy styling create a visually effortless look that is low-maintenance and cool.
Choppy With Baby Bangs
At the 2022 Met Gala, model Paloma Elsesser stunned in this choppy French girl bob with micro bangs (shout out to her stylist, Ursula Stephen). With ends that hit right at the cheek—plus sculpted contouring—the cut draws attention to her cheekbones. The result is ultra-flattering.
Perfectly framing the face, this straight bob with bangs is simple, yet strikingly beautiful. It works best on those with naturally straight hair and requires a bit of maintenance (read: regular trims) to keep it looking chic.
Another Met Gala look that also happened to be done by Ursula Stephen, Zendaya's red, "grown-out French bob" (actually a wig) was electrifying. It perfectly complemented her Joan of Arc-inspired outfit and is great for those with natural curls or waves. To replicate her style, apply a texturizing spray to strands, followed by some mousse, and then finish with a high-hold hairspray.
The Wet Look
Not your standard French girl bob, Jourdan Dunn's version loses the bangs but gains some edge. Her modern wet-look styling, side part, and slight hair tuck behind the ear demonstrate that there's more than one way to wear this cut.