Ask a Hairstylist: How Do I Know If I Can Pull Off a Lob?

Jourdan Dunn lob

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Ever wish you had your own personal hairstylist at your beck and call, ready to offer expertise on all your pressing hair dilemmas? We did, too, hence our Ask a Hairstylist series featuring celebrity hair guru Mark Townsend. (He’s responsible for the Olsens’ iconic tresses; coifs their younger sister, Elizabeth; and styles the strands of Dakota Johnson, Shay Mitchell, and others. Oh, and he’s Dove’s celebrity hair pro.) In this series, Townsend offers up the next best thing to a 24/7 hairstylist: a seasoned pro willing to answer all your burning (not literally… we hope) hair questions.

For this month’s column, we had one thing on the mind: sexy lobs. This trending haircut doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. But will the cut work for your unique face shape? How do we ensure we don’t leave the salon with regret? We asked him to explain it all from a hairstylist’s perspective. Keep scrolling to see his answer.

Dakota Johnson lob
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Hi, Byrdie readers!

The great thing about lobs is that they work universally on all face shapes. You simply have to customize it to fit your particular visage. For example, if your face is on the longer side, adding some fringe is going to soften up your features, which will work best for you.

Any Face Shape Can Pull Off a Lob

Since lobs are so versatile, I wouldn’t discourage any woman from getting one based on her face shape. Like I said before, you can customize your lob to fit your needs. But texture is another story. If you have fine, thinner hair, opt for a blunt lob. Your locks will look thicker than ever, and blunt is super chic.

Angelica Ross attends Pride Live's 2019 Stonewall Day

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Certain Lobs Are More Flattering Than Others

Confidence is the only thing that’s universally flattering, but I would say that collarbone-grazing lobs look gorgeous on nearly everyone. One of the most beautiful parts of a woman’s body is her décolletage, so why not highlight it by having your locks cascade right above it?

Elizabeth Olsen lob
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Dry Shampoo Is Your Secret Weapon

If you're rocking a lob with bangs or serious side fringe, carry a bottle of dry shampoo with you in your purse at all times for touch-ups on the go. Bangs are the first part of your hair to get oily, so a good starch-based dry shampoo (like Dove's Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo, $5) will keep you in check. When I'm styling a sexy lob with lots of texture like Elizabeth Olsen's, I use tons of dry shampoo plus a good styling paste on the ends, like Sally Hershberger's 24K Superiority Complex Texturizing Paste ($40). If you want to add sexy waves to your lob, be sure to leave the ends out when using your curling iron. Curls that spiral all the way down on lob tend to look a bit “On the Good Ship Lollipop.”

Naomi Ackie at EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 Nominees' Party

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Don't Limit Yourself to One Style

I think sleek can totally be chic. My only rule when it comes to hairstyling is to commit to your look. If I'm working with Rachel McAdams and we want that sexy, bendy texture, we really go for it. I'm using tons of dry shampoo and my double-barrel iron and really making a statement. But if I'm with Bella Hadid, for instance, and she says she wants it poker-straight and sleek, I'm busting out my gel and mascara wands and getting that hair to lay as flat as possible.

If your fine, textured lob doesn't hold a curl and you're tired of trying to wave it, own your straight locks. To get the sleekest lob on the block, grab that flat iron (I'm obsessed with the ones from GHD) and your shine spray, and work it out.

Kristen Dunst
Paul Morigi / Getty Images

If you've been thinking about getting a lob, I would say go for it. The lob isn't one of those drastic cuts that's going to leave you in tears a week after your salon appointment, searching for ways to fix it. The length is as close to universally flattering as a hairstyle gets, and if you end up missing your length, consider the cut a trim on steroids. It will give you a second chance to grow out your hair and do it even healthier this time.

You can follow Mark on Instagram (@marktownsend1) for daily hair inspiration.

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