The Best Short Bob Haircuts to Inspire Your Summer Hair Refresh
Photographed by Acielle / StyleDuMonde

The Best Short Bob Haircuts to Inspire Your Summer Hair Refresh

Nothing ushers in a new season as stylishly as a daring new haircut. Popularised in the 1920s by American actress Louise Brooks, the short bob became a cool-girl hallmark in the ’90s care of Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, Natalie Portman in Leon, and Audrey Tautou in Amélie. And in the 21st century, the bob is once again enjoying a renaissance.

“Few hairstyles have withstood the test of time quite like the short bob,” says hairstylist Luke Hersheson. “This one-length cut can take on a rounded or linear shape, allowing for endless versatility and a fresh, modern feel. Plus, it can be tailored to fit any individual’s look.” It’s totally transformative, and you just need to find the right version of this style for you.

Below, Vogue spoke to the experts for their top tips.

What are the key characteristics of the short bob?

From Rihanna to Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid to Jourdan Dunn, every celebrity worth their salt has embraced a short bob hairstyle at some point. And if Instagram is anything to go by, the trend is going nowhere. Recent converts include Hailey Bieber, Zendaya, Lily Allen, and Olympia of Greece.

So, what are the key characteristics of the 2023 trend? “I’d describe it as a sharp, one-length style all the way round without any shape at the front,” says hairstylist George Northwood, the mastermind behind Olympia’s recent chop. “It needs to be quite blunt and clean, almost architectural.” That said, if you do want to add a bit of texture, Northwood suggests running a pair of tongs through random sections when styling, leaving the roots and ends out.

How do you make a short bob look good?

When it comes to styling a bob, there are two different schools of thought: one that suggests it must look absolutely immaculate, and another that calls for a more undone approach. “One method is doing a sleek, straight blowout with volumizing mousse or spray to add body and volume to the hair,” says hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. “Another option is adding texturizing spray and creating a tousled, beachy look.”

The shorter and more graphic you go, the more your bob will “pop”, says Hersheson. This requires confidence. “You have to be able to wear it well and not feel exposed and vulnerable.” It’s about finding that sweet spot, somewhere between your chin and your shoulders. Leave it too long, however, and it might start flicking up at the ends. “Selecting a bob that complements your natural texture will mean minimal input when it comes to styling,” he adds. If in doubt, consult your stylist.

Which face shapes suit short bobs?

The great thing about a short bob is that the length and angle of the cut can be tailored to suit every face shape. But it does mean a thorough consultation with your hairstylist is key. “I tend to think in terms of hard and soft rather than face shapes,” says Northwood. “If you have harder features, you should wear a softer bob, and if you have soft features, a harder, more definite cut works better. I’d also add that a longer face suits a shorter bob, as it adds width. If you have a rounder face, I’d opt for a longer bob.”

Still in need of some inspiration? Below, Vogue takes a look at some of the best celebrity short bob hairstyles of all time.

Louise Brooks
John Springer Collection/Getty Images
Jun Sato
Princess Olympia of Greece
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Mary Quant
Victor Blackman/Getty Images
Diana Ross
Getty Images
Barbara Streisand
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Debbie Harry
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Audrey Tautou
Victoria Beckham
PA Photos
Hailey Bieber
Lionel Hahn/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Jourdan Dunn
David M. Benett
Natalie Portman
Getty Images