Have you heard of the slob haircut? Pros explain this trending style
Don't be fooled by the name – the slob haircut is a chic, sleek chop and *this* is how to get it right
As misnomers go, the slob haircut is right up there with white chocolate (zero cocoa involved) and morning sickness (an all-day affair for most)
In truth, this style is anything but slobby. Instead, it's a sleek and swingy spin on the 2023 hair trend that keeps on giving – the bob hairstyle. So, why the false advertising? Because slob is a portmanteau of slick and bob, which gives you some idea of the look we're aiming for – a sharp chop boasting a polished finish that's been missing from many recent bob trends.
"It's giving the bob haircut a new edge," agrees Belle Cannan, Co-Founder of Salon Sloane and ambassador for Hair Rituals by Sisley. If you've been toying with jumping aboard the bob bus but aren't necessarily sold on undone looks such as the chopped bob or shaggy bob, this could be the one for you. Here, expert stylists explain everything you need to know about the slob haircut, who it suits and how to style it, with plenty of inspirational photos to take to your next appointment.
The slob haircut explained by pros
What is the slob haircut?
We live in the era of 1000 bobs, each with its own specific nuances, and the slob haircut is a fresh twist on a very simple, classic shape. "It has a sharp precision outline all the way through to the front, giving emphasis to the front tip of the hair," says Cannan, "it’s very pure, no feathering or choppy outline."
Imagine a traditional bob that hits just under the jawline with little-to-no graduation and you're nearly there. What makes this particular style feel fresh and modern is that even though it's a precise cut, it's designed to be worn in a very natural, easy way. "This bob haircut is based on the old Sassoon box bob, but the ends are point cut instead of blunt," explains Neil Moodie, top editorial stylist and founder of Neil Moodie Studio."This allows the bob to feel a little looser".
Who does the slob suit?
Anyone who wants a classic bob with a crisp shape will find the slob appealing, and those sharp edges make it an excellent choice of hairstyle for fine hair. "The cut is great for making finer hair look thicker," agrees Moodie. Like most haircuts, the slob can work around your bone structure and styling desires. "As long as the hair sits below the jawline it doesn’t alter the shape of your face, so it can be suitable for all face shapes," says Cannan. "It's particularly suitable for long faces as it gives width and complements your features."
The slob is definitely not a loose, '"is it a bob, is it not?" kind of cut, so if you are nervous going from long to short, you may want to ease in with a long bob ('lob') version first. If you are up for a chop and want to get ahead of the trends, the sharp slob cut ticks both boxes, "We are definitely seeing an increase in these sorts of haircuts in the salon," says Maxine Barrow, style director at John Frieda Salons. "This is a move away from the undone styles we have been seeing dominate for so long."
Should anyone avoid this style?
Whether or not the slob haircut will work for you mostly comes down to picking the right stylist. A great hairdresser will tailor your hair goals to you, for example, Moodie explains that "if your face is a little rounder I suggest to leave the length below the jawline, so as not to extend the roundness." While Cannan advises, "if you have a square shape face I would avoid the length hitting the jawline," adding that "it’s not particularly suitable for frizzy curly hair."
It's also worth noting that, while this haircut's USP is appearing fairly natural, most of us will need to put a bit of energy into keeping it as swingy and sharp as we'd like. "This style is not for the wash-and-go girl, a ‘slob’ needs to be styled to get the most from it," says Burrows. This is true of pretty much all bob haircuts – whoever spread the myth that short haircuts for women are lower maintenance should be made to explain themselves.
How to style a slob haircut
How do the experts advise keeping that slob cut looking, well, not-slobby? "I would recommend using straightening irons with a heat-activated hair protection to flatten the hair or a tong to give a little texture," says Cannan. Or, kill two birds with one stone by investing in the best hair straighteners with a curved barrel, which can smooth the hair and add texture just as easily. Our beauty editor's ghd Platinum+ review has all the details on our favorite two-in-one straightening and waving tool.
In terms of products, you'll be looking for pre-blow-dry creams that will flatten the cuticle for lasting smoothness. Then, use a light oil or serum once the hair is dried to get a sleek and shiny finish.
Our beauty editor recommends...
7 celebrity slob styles we love
The classic slob haircut
The classic slob haircut shown here on longtime bob wearer, Michelle Williams, shows perfectly how relaxed yet crisp this style can look. A center parting and smooth blow dry are all you need to replicate this look (as well as a trim every couple of months, minimum)
The long slob with a kick
Not quite ready to commit to a short bob? This longer style has all the hallmarks of the slob – sharp edges, sleek and unlayered, but hits around the shoulders for a bit of extra length. The little 'kick' at the front gives it a nice twist too, simply curl the front section away from the face using a large barelled tong to recreate it.
Graduated slob haircut
With a slight graduation from the back to the front, this slob haircut allows the wearer to enjoy a tiny little bit of extra length around the face and really elongates the neck for a swan-like effect. This cut works best on ultra-sleek hair, so prep with one of the best hair straightening products, blow dry using a narrow nozzle then run over with flat irons.
Side part long slob
Kaling's slick side parted bob style is edging toward clavicut territory, but has the swingy and bouncy edges we like to see from a slob haircut. Playing with your parting is a great way to freshen up your look for events, here, a deep side part creates one eye-grazing side then another, sleeker one that can be ticked behind the ear.
Ultra-sharp short slob
Claire Danes' slick bob here is another classic example of the genre – it's perfectly sleek and as crisp as a glass of Sancerre. Use a tail comb to get a precise parting and expect to book in for trims every six weeks to keep it looking this sharp.
Curved slick bob
While a straight, one-length bob may not strike you as a cut with many styling options, Amber Valetta shows how a little flick through the ends can have a big impact. Short of a salon appointment, the easiest way to achieve this rolled-in effect is using one of the best blow dry brushes with a rotating head, then finish with a mist of hairspray.
This is one of Cannan's favorite ways to style a slob, "you can slick it back and it will sit nicely behind your ears," she says. This looks great on a classic or long slob like Lara Harrier's, simply add a little bit of product at a time and use a bristle dressing brush to pull the hair back and achieve a smoothed-out effect. "I love the Sisley Restructuring Nourishing Balm treatment for this, " says Cannan.
Sisley Restructuring Nourishing Balm | RRP: $125 / £86
This is far from a budget buy, but think of it as a hair mask and styling product in one, if that helps. "It transforms into oil, you can slick your hair back with it, know that it hydrates your hair at the same time, and it smells wonderful," says Cannan.
As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.
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