Box bob explained: the chic, chin-skimming haircut that's back on trend

Experts predict the box bob will be everywhere in 2023 – here's what you need to know about this timeless look

Barbra Streisand pictured in 1965 with a box bob haircut
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

The Box bob is the latest trim taking the world by storm. This modern yet classic look is only set to grow in popularity in 2023, with more and more celebrities opting for the cropped cut this season. 

It is no secret that bob hairstyles are some of the most elegant and easy-to-manage hairdos out there, which is why this latest iteration has been welcomed into the hair world with open arms. A competitor of the ever-popular French bob, the box bob adds fullness to the hair, as well as beautifully framing the face, for a chic yet stand-out look. With more structure than the relaxed boyfriend bob, it is also ideal for those who want to accentuate and add definition to their bone structure.

"Bobs were a huge trend last year and this will continue into hair trends 2023, with the box bob being one of the most requested and classic bobs in salons," says Tina Farey (opens in new tab), Editorial Director at Rush. So whether you are after short hairstyles for thick hair, or want to swap a long butterfly haircut for something more low-maintenance, the easily achieved box bob could be the style for you.

Box bob: what you need to know

What is the box bob?

taylor swift on the red carpet with a box bob haircut

Taylor Swift

(Image credit: Getty)

"The Box Bob is exactly as it sounds – a boxy-styled bob that’s cut super blunt to give the hair the illusion of thickness. This should be cut at chin length to almost ‘box in’ the face," explains Farey. This chop not only highlights the bone structure but also works to make the hair look healthier and fuller.

The best part is, it can work for all face shapes. "Those with longer faces can opt for grown-out bangs to shorten the face, while rounder faces keep it longer through the front to add length," says Nicole Petty, Hair Expert at Milk + Blush (opens in new tab). As with most bob hairstyles, the way you interpret this look is totally up to you and can be customized to work for you.

Who does the box bob suit?

One of the best things about the box bob is its versatility. If you like the look, there are a multitude of ways you can make it work for your hair type and desired style. "It’s such a versatile cut and can be cut slightly longer for those who want to give the illusion of a slimmer face shape," says Farey. 

"A fringe can also be added into the cut for those looking to lose length from their face shape and give the style a slightly softer finish," Farey explains. We love the bob with bangs look for all hair lengths, but especially shorter cuts like the Box bob. 

"Styling can also be used to tailor the look to the individual, their face shape, and hair type. As this cut is cut bluntly, it already gives the hair appearance of thickness, it’s great for fine hair as you can style it to give the hair more body," Farey says. If you are after short hairstyles for women over 50, or want something modern that doesn't compromise on fullness, the Box bob is definitely one to try out.

Box bob vs French bob: what's the difference?

"The difference between the box bob and the French bob is that the French bob is cut to have a softer finish through texturizing or layering, which works well on hair that has a soft natural movement," Farey says. "Although many bobs may look similar, they are differentiated by either the cutting technique, styling technique, or the addition of a fringe."

If you have thin or fine hair or pin-straight locks that don't hold heat styling well, the box bob is the ideal alternative to a more textured chopped bob or Italian bob. As one of the short hairstyles for women that relies more on the cut than the styling, it is a great option for those who want a low-maintenance look.

What to ask for at the salon for a perfect Box bob

"For the perfect box bob, ask your stylist for your hair to be cut hitting the chin and that your hair is cut blunt for a fresh, thick finish," says Farey. "However, if you’re unsure if this version of the cut will work for you, be sure to ask your stylist to tailor the cut to you, to suit your face shape and hair type. Your stylist will advise you on what will suit you best."

Judging how often should you cut your hair, as well as picking which style to go for, can be daunting. However, the key with any new haircut is to chat with a professional about how they can create a cut and style that will best work for your needs. 

How to style the box bob

Irina Shayk with a box bob haircut at the Oscars

Irina Shayk

(Image credit: Getty images)

"In my mind, there’s nothing chicer than a precision-cut box bob," says Farey. "The beauty of this hairstyle is the shine that it can give your hair when dried properly, and it can be one of these haircuts that people ask, 'who cuts your hair?' A Box bob shows off your hairdresser’s skill."

 Although the right cut can mean that minimal styling is necessary, it never hurts to finish off the look with the best hair dryer and a few other key products. "I would start using a little blow dry lotion or heat protection spray and blow dry as smooth and sleek as possible," says Farey. "If you have a kink in your hair or your hair tends to frizz in dampness or humidity, I would use straightening irons (spray with heat protection first) and a little finishing spray."

Our beauty writer recommends...

Image (opens in new tab)

ghd Bodyguard Heat Protect Spray | RRP: $26.20/£18.95

Heat protection is one of the most important steps for keeping your hair healthy. We love this ghd spray for keeping all hair types sleek and damage-free when styling.

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JVN Hair Complete Blowout Styling Milk | RRP: $29/£25

This light styling cream is ideal for preventing frizz and protecting against humidity. Apply to the mid-lengths and ends of damp hair and activate the cream's restorative benefits by blow drying.

8 box bob styles we love

1. Sleek Box bob

karlie kloss on the red carpet with a cropped blonde box bob

Karlie Kloss

(Image credit: Getty)

Show off your jawline with a sleek box cut that hits just above the chin. Wear down to let the hair's natural movement and shine speak for itself, or accessorize with headbands for short hair for an on-trend look.

2. Cropped Box cut

rihanna on the red carpet with a short box bob haircut

Rihanna

(Image credit: Getty)

If you have always liked the look of a Bixie haircut but want something with a bit more structure, this cropped Box cut is perfect. Go for a cut that is slightly longer in the front to capture the jaw-skimming style.

3. Blonde Box bob

Noomi Rapace on the red carpet with a blonde box bob

Noomi Rapace

(Image credit: Getty)

Use the best purple shampoos to emulate this icy hue that really stands out with the sleek box bob haircut. We love the equally poker-straight mini bangs that will work to show off your bone structure and are also easy to style in seconds.

4. Undone box bob

kaia gerber street style image with cropped boxy hair cut

Kaia Gerber

(Image credit: Getty)

Kaia may have followed in her mother's modeling footsteps, but she certainly hasn't copied her iconic oval layer haircut. This box bob suits anyone whose hair isn't naturally completely straight as it retains the hair's movement, making for a shiny, full, and healthy look. Use at home keratin treatments to control frizz and let hair dry naturally to recreate this style. 

5. Feathered box bob

rita ora on the red carpet with a blonde box bob hair cut

Rita Ora

(Image credit: Getty)

This cut captures the ideal chin-skimming length of the box bob but also allows for some natural texture to shine through. For unique blonde hair ideas, go for a creamy hue and style with a salt spray to form subtle waves.

6. Messy box bob

kat graham with a natural messy box bob

Kat Graham

(Image credit: Getty)

Let your cut do the talking with this look. Reminiscent of the bedhead style, this tousled chop is casual, beachy, and surprisingly versatile. Sleep with your hair slightly damp to let natural waves form, or use some hairspray to add further texture.

7. Rounded box bob

christina ricci with a rounded box bob on the red carpet

Christina Ricci

(Image credit: Getty)

Though the Box bob is typically straight, it can be styled to have a little more bounce. The rounded ends of this look work to shape the face as well as add movement. Use the best hot rollers on your ends to get this cool, rounded style.

8. Straight Box bob

kristen bell with a short blonde box bob haircut

Kristen Bell

(Image credit: Getty)

Keep your Box bob simple with a one-length cut that will never go out of style. Use the best hair straightener brushes to tame and straighten your locks, and finish with hair oil to keep frizz at bay.

Amelia Yeomans
Staff writer

Amelia joined woman&home after graduating with an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2022. She specialises in lifestyle journalism and throughout her undergraduate degree she wrote for a variety of student publications, where she developed a love for all things style, beauty and sustainable fashion. She has previously written for titles including OK! Magazine, New! Magazine and Notion before she started her career as a lifestyle journalist with woman&home after completing an internship with the brand.