10 Good Reasons to Get a Bob Haircut Now
This short- to medium-length cut is more versatile than you think
by Lois Joy Johnson, AARP, January 9, 2020
En español | Some items — brown eye shadow, Spanx, a black V-neck sweater and stretch jeans — top our 50-plus power list. They never let us down. Now there is one more to add: the bob. Not only is it the hottest hair to have in 2020, but it's a style with staying power. Before you start visualizing rollers, hair spray and a high-maintenance trimming schedule, let's be clear: This is not the 1980s “coiffed” bob. This bob is edgy and classy and there's a style, texture and length for everyone. Here's why you should make the chop.
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Monica Bellucci, Celine Dion, Gabrielle Union and Jennifer Lopez
1. Your hair will rock. If you like being cool and looking hot (and who doesn't?) your hair is part of the plan. Forget about extensions and pastel streaks, two-tone pixie cuts and shags — you and your grownup hair don't need to go there. A bob will instantly upgrade mature hair that's blah, wimpy, straggly or stringy to a head-turning “look.” Not only will you be on trend now, this cut never ages so you can keep and tweak it to look elegant, casual or edgy with a few styling tricks. The bottom line: Extremes are over. Medium-length hair is the new sexy. For inspiration, take a look at Celine Dion, Monica Bellucci, Gabrielle Union and Jennifer Lopez.
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Kim Cattrall, Alfre Woodard and Carrie-Anne Moss
2. A bob works like an instant facelift. Yes, it's an optical trick; the geometric shape of a bob provides a frame. Instantly your face assumes more structure: Cheekbones are restored, your jawline seems crisper, eyes look bigger — doubly so if you add bangs. Let's be honest: All long hair does (unless it's fabulous naturally, which is rare unassisted by extensions at 50) is drag down your face and emphasize lines. A bob can even give your body a boost. It visually stretches the neck and torso so you look taller, slimmer.
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Holland Taylor, Regina King and Lucy Liu
3. Your thin, fine hair will look thicker. To get the most luxurious effect, choose a blunt bob with a sharp, crisp bottom line. This no-layers cut is pure shape and shine, making even baby-fine hair hold together. A blunt bob will also look more abundant if it's no longer than an inch or two below the chin to avoid separation. An even-all-around blunt bob is the gold standard here, but for an extra dose of trendiness or if your hair has more weight, an A-line blunt bob adds extra swing. It's angled so the front is slightly longer than the back. Trim your blunt bob every four to six weeks to help maintain density at the “hem.”
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Cate Blanchett, Jodie Foster and Mary Steenburgen
4. You can stay longish with a lob. If you're a longtime long hair devotee who is truly scissors shy, a lob will ease you into bob-land without any trauma. A lob, or LOB, is simply the longest version of a bob and hovers around collarbone length. It's a good entry-level cut, though many women who need a ponytail option stay with it. Lobs can be cut blunt, with some long layers or textured ends to vary the look, depending on your personal style. A sexy, swoopy, curved lob or one that's bendy (thanks to a curling iron) with soft waves throughout or at the ends takes a smooth lob to the next level. And here's the big bonus: A lob is the easiest bob to grow out if you have a change of heart. But you won't.
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5. Any bob is a style multitasker. You don't have to be a pro to work the same bob a lot of different ways. For example, Sharon Stone's just-below-the-chin bob frames her face for a casual look. It can also be quickly blown back off the face to show statement earrings or, for a dressier look, be blown up for extra volume with a round brush and styling spray. Or it can easily be flat-ironed straighter with a side part and tucked behind the ear for another variation. We're talking minutes of work here — not hours of endless blow-drying.
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Elizabeth McGovern, Taraji P. Henson and Dana Delany
6. You can let your curls, waves and natural texture fly. If you've been flat-ironing or chemically straightening your naturally wavy or curly hair into submission, a textured bob can free you from all that. Ask your stylist for a little layering to achieve a modern tousled look (just don't get talked into a full-on choppy shag) or request textured ends on your bob for separation. Women with naturally curly hair can push the look with a curling iron to get more definition and bouncy ringlets. A side-parted bob is the easiest textured bob to maintain and you can easily create a faux side-swept bang for extra drama. For warm weather, there is nothing cooler than a lob with beachy mermaid waves.
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Bo Derek, Elizabeth Perkins and Maria Bello
7. Take a break from heat styling. A casually styled bob or lob has an LA vibe. Whether air- or diffuser-dried it relies on long layers and uneven ends to get that undone effect. If you have fine or thinning hair and a contemporary sensibility, the wavy texture adds style and body. A small dollop of mousse followed by scrunching and twisting sections as you dry will boost texture and add airy volume. You'll be minimizing damage to hair that's already fragile, dry or color-enhanced, and spending less time on damage repair too since frequent trims remove splits, dried ends and old color. A textured bob is also a good way to go gray and grow out leftover color without a fuss.
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Gayle King, Anna Wintour and Martha Stewart
8. You will never get bored. A bob is the little black dress of hair. You can live with this style forever and never have to make another major hair decision. Or you can tweak the length an inch or two up or down, add bangs or grow them out, change from smooth blow-outs to textured air- or diffuser-dried ones, add a few long layers or clean up the line with a fresh blunt cut. You can dramatically change the color or let a chin-grazing bob ease your way into gray with balayage and monthly trims.
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Jane Krakowski, Sherri Shepard, and Christine Baranski
9. You can still look glamorous. For those of us who like the feeling of more hair, a blow-out quickly achieves bigger, sexier proportions. Big-hair bobs do best on hair that's basically medium to thick with some wave as a starting base for extra body. Keep it basically one length and blow it smooth but pump up the volume with mousse and styling spray. Other options include: adding loose va-va-voom waves for a contemporary look; keeping the ends straight and using a curling iron to create a few waves mid-shaft; using a curling iron to create big bouncy curls; and twisting up the back for a fancy but piece-y updo.
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Maya Rudolph, Helen Mirren and Holland Taylor
10. You can go fairly short without feeling naked. If you cringe at a pixie cut but long for the freedom of short hair, opt for a short bob. You can shake your head and your hair will still move and be full enough so you can feel flirtatious or confident, show off your statement earrings and do your hair in 10 to 15 minutes max. Go for a one-length blunt cut or a gamine bob with cut-in piece-y ends around the cheeks and full, soft, feathery bangs. This is the most fearless bob of all, so my advice is to inch your way up.