Bobs are the world’s most popular hairstyle – here’s how to style yours

All you need to know about this classic haircut and how to style a bob with a modern twist

Hairdresser in a salon wearing a mask and styling hair into a wavy bob
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nothing freshens up your look more than a new hairstyle and the classic bob is a style women opt for time and time again. We consulted the experts for a few nifty tricks on how to style a bob - with your hair dryer or without - in 2021 and elevating your look couldn't be easier.

If you’re thinking of going for the chop when hairdressers reopen, or you’re feeling brave enough to do it yourself at home, research has revealed that there’s one style that is the front-runner across the entire globe – and it's bob hairstyles

Hair insurance provider Protectivity used a list of 170 different hairstyles and cuts to see which ones were the biggest hits on Google and found that the term ‘bob’ gets a whopping 222,580 average monthly searches. This makes it the most popular cut in 52 countries, including the UK and the USA, beating other sought-after styles such as ‘bun’ and ‘bangs’. Many celebrities are known to rock the best bob hairstyles too, from Holly Willoughby to Michelle Obama. 

Why is the bob haircut so timeless? 

These stats are hardly surprising. The bob is a timeless style that has been a hit since it went mainstream back in the 1920s. It had another resurgence in the 1960s, thanks to Vidal Sassoon and the mod scene. Since then, we’ve had the iconic Victoria Beckham ‘Pob’ in the early noughties and the Duchess of Cambridge’s longer, choppier bob in 2017.

Despite having been around for a very long time, the bob is far from boring. Traditionally the bob finishes around the jawline but there are many variations of the haircut making it easy to adapt to the times. From the blunt to the layered, to a quirky asymmetrical finish to the longer ‘lob’, you’re guaranteed to find a style to suit you.  A fringe is optional but tends to require a little more upkeep.

“I love a bob, it can completely transform your look,” says Aaron Carlo, lead stylist for TRESemmé. He adds, “It is a good option to revive knackered longer hair as well. A shorter cut maximizes natural volume, it can enhance the structure in your face and really show it off.”

How to style a bob, according to the experts

1. Add in a fringe or layers

One of the easiest ways to make your look appear more modern is to add in some texture via your cut. A '70s sweeping fringe will complement a shaggy cut, while layers will create the illusion of volume. Lee suggests adding a fringe or a wave, “You could add a simple fringe cut, a touch of color, or it can be worn straightened, curled and natural. 

"If you let it air dry, you’re left with natural volume and texture all over or you could tong ever so slightly for a quick volumized look."

2. Add a wave

A softer finish is much more flattering than poker-straight styles, so try adding some gentle waves to flatter your face. Lee suggests a laid-back approach to creating waves.

“Take small sections of your hair and wrap the mid-lengths and ends around the tong and pull taut to create a loose wave," he told woman&home. 

"Comb through the waves with my Comb Out The Curl Comb, as this separates the hair beautifully.”

3. Create some texture 

For easy styling, Aaron recommends adding some texture with dry shampoo for added volume. 

“If it’s slightly longer add some dry shampoo to the root to add lift to the hair,” he says. “It is a great style for the moment, easy maintenance, and works great for all hair types.” Can't say easier than that! 

Your bob styling tool kit

(opens in new tab)

Denman large cutting comb £2.99 (opens in new tab)

This cutting comb features a half tooth for easy sectioning when cutting at home. 

(opens in new tab)

TRESemmé volumizing dry shampoo £4.99 (opens in new tab)

Give your hair a boost in-between washes and also use dry shampoo for styling your bob by creating some extra volume at the root. 

(opens in new tab)

Lee Stafford Shine Head Shine Spray £5.99 (opens in new tab)

Spritz this lightweight, non-greasy spray for a glossy finish to your hair. A great finishing touch for super shiny hair and a polished bob. 

Charlie is the Deputy Fashion Editor at Future plc across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own.

She bagged her first magazine job in 2009 and has previously written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. Over the years Charlie has embraced anything that was thrown at her from styling celebrities to testing out the best jeans on the high street to writing about must-have beauty buys.

With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.