The maxi bob is the attention-grabbing short hair trend for autumn

The maxi bob offers more bob for your buck with supercharged volume. We asked five pro hairstylists how to get the look.

collage of celebrities showcasing maxi bobs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A change in seasons often brings with it the urge to switch up your hairstyle, and if you are thinking of making a change, then a maxi bob might just be the one to make. 

The beauty of the maxi bob compared to other bob hairstyles is that it’s more about how you style your bob (spoiler: with plenty of volume) than it is the cut. This means there’s far less commitment than asking your hairdresser for an asymmetric bob or a French bob (complete with a fringe) that’s going to take months to grow out if you experience any post-salon remorse. 

It’s not going anywhere either, with the stylists in the know confident that it’ll be more than just a one-season wonder. “I think the maxi bob is here to stay for a while,” says Neil Moodie, pro hairstylist and founder of Neil Moodie Studio. “It’s stylish, glamorous and great for a night out. It’s a style that’s been hovering in the background, patiently waiting to make a comeback.” Influences behind the maxi bob span from younger celebrities like the actress Zendaya right through to Marilyn Monroe, as well as the original supermodels like Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford. “The bob has been making the rounds for a few seasons now, and with a return of those 90s hairstyles and the recent Supers documentary success I’d say the maxi bob is an amalgamation of all those influences,” says pro stylist and haircare brand founder Sam McKnight MBE

Neil Moodie
Neil Moodie

Neil is one of the UK’s most renowned session stylists, with more than three decades of experience in the industry. 

Sam McKnight MBE
Sam McKnight MBE

Sam McKnight MBE is a legendary hairstylist who has worked with the likes of Princess Diana and Kate Moss. He is also the founder of his eponymous styling line, Hair by Sam McKnight. 

Maxi bob: The expert guide to everything you need to know

What is the maxi bob?

So, what exactly is a maxi bob? You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s simply a long bob, but actually, the focus is on volume rather than length. “A maxi bob is essentially a standard bob but with more interest than just your usual one-length bobbed cut,” explains Dom Seeley, International Creative Director of Color Wow. “It has layers, movement and face-framing features.” Essentially, it’s all about turning that volume up to maximum so you end up with a full bob that bounces around your ears when you walk. It shares a lot of similarities with the Italian bob but is more about creating a finish with plenty of oomph than putting the emphasis on heavy, blunt ends. 

Dom Seeley
Dom Seeley

A pro hairstylist with more than 15 years of experience in the industry, Dom has been International Creative Director at Color Wow for the past three years. 

Who does the maxi bob suit?

A bit like straight-leg jeans or a trench coat, the maxi bob looks good on pretty much everyone. “It’s particularly well-suited to people with medium to thick hair textures, but it can be adapted for finer hair types as well,” advises Paul Percival, Redken UK Session Artist and founder of Percy & Reed. If you’ve been struggling to find the best hairstyle for your face shape then this is it. Percival explains that it “works for most face shapes including oval, round and square – making it highly inclusive. The only exceptions to who the maxi bob suits are those with extremely fine and thin hair who might find it challenging to achieve the volume and thickness needed for this cut. Also, people with tight natural curls may find that this cut takes too much time and effort.” If you do have a very narrow curl type then it might just be a case of going slightly longer with the length to give them space to shrink up a little. 

Ideally, you want to be working with, rather than against your hair – and that advice applies to all hairstyles, not just the maxi bob. “Your haircut should make styling your hair easier,” says McKnight. “So rather than forcing a cut to adapt to a hair type or texture that will make styling hard work, listen to your stylist and choose a style and length that works for you.” Solid advice for anyone who values an extra 10 minutes in bed more highly than wrestling against their hair armed with their best hairdryer or best hair straighteners

Paul Percival
Paul Percival

One of the most recognisable names in the industry, Paul has been styling hair for more than 20 years. 

How to style a maxi bob

In order to live up to its name, a maxi bob requires maximum volume – which means adding bulk to your bob at every possible step of the styling process. That starts in the shower, so make sure you’re using a lightweight shampoo and conditioner that won’t weigh the hair down. This is especially important if your hair is thin, and any of the best shampoos for fine hair will tick those boxes. 

What comes next will depend on your hair texture. “The best way to style initially is to let your hair air dry so you can see what it naturally wants to do with all the added layers and movement – you might be surprised,” says Seeley. Obviously, this is the ideal outcome, as you’ll need to do very little in the way of styling, making it a far more low-maintenance option compared to a bubble bob or inverted teacup bob. Air drying is also the way to go if your hair is curly. “You can leave it to dry naturally and just diffuse it upside down to get more volume and fullness,” says Moodie. 

If your hair is fine or needs a bit more persuasion to take on volume and texture, then you’ll need to spend more time on your blowdry. “Dry each section thoroughly, remembering to lift the roots as much as possible with a large round brush and setting them on the brush with the cold shot button of your hairdryer,” Moodie continues. “You also need to dry off the mid-lengths and ends, again setting with the cold shot button when the hair is around the brush. You can also section your hair and set it onto velcro rollers if you have any. Mist with hairspray, leave for at least 30 minutes until the hair has completely cooled, take them out and brush your hair through with a flat bristle brush and style into place.”

As for the best hair products for a maxi bob, texturising sprays, volumisers and mousses are your friends here. 


Pureology Weightless Volume Mousse | RRP: £21 

A multi-tasking mousse that conditions, adds volume, protects from heat damage and boosts shine. It even prevents shade fade on colour-treated hair too. 


Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer | £24

“It’s incredible as it's super light, naked to the touch technology won’t weigh down even the finest of hair strands,” says Seeley. “It adds mass, thickness and body with incredible memory and all-day hold but still allows hair to remain flexible.”


Hairstory Undressed | RRP: £42

“I love Undressed by Hairstory,” says Wes Sharpton, Lead Educator at Hairstory. “It’s like salt spray but without the salt. You get that sexy lived-in look but you can actually touch it.”


Hair by Sam McKnight Cool Girl Volume Blow Dry Foam | RRP: £32 

According to the brand founder himself, this is a must-have for a “fabulous flirty blow-dry,” says McKnight. Use with your best hair dryer brush for root lift and to give your maxi bob maximum movement. 

Wes Sharpton
Wes Sharpton

Wes is a pro hairdresser and stylist based in the US. He currently works at Hairstory as their Lead Educator. 

8 maxi bob hairstyles we love 

1. The ultra-glam maxi bob

Jennifer Lopez

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Her hair is so on trend (and her face so impossibly ageless) that you can barely believe this photo of JLo was taken in 2007. Proof that more is more when it comes to a maxi bob, the abundance of curls are flicky and flirty. 

2. The natural curls maxi bob

Solange Knowles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Naturally curly hair lends itself well to a maxi bob as it already has the fullness and texture that you’re aiming for. Choose a shoulder-skimming length like Solange Knowles to really show them off. 

3. The 90s prom-queen maxi bob

Margot Robbie

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For a real nod to the 90s, make like Margot with a maxi bob that’s not necessarily super layered, but still has volume through the roots, lengths and ends. A good option for anyone with finer hair who struggles to get waves and curls to last. 

4. The original Hollywood maxi bob

Marilyn Monroe

(Image credit: Getty Images)

No one did or ever will do a bob quite like Marilyn. The perfectly coiffed curls are a masterclass in the maxi bob and proof that this style never goes out of date. 

5. The understated maxi bob

Naomi Watts

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you prefer your maxi bob more understated than preened to perfection, follow Naomi Watts’ lead. By starting the curls lower down the lengths you still get the volume but without quite so much impact. 

6. The side-part maxi bob

Viola Davis

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A face-framing side fringe and parting allow Viola Davis to add maximum volume at the roots. Extra brownie points for the layered cut through the lengths too. It’s a good photo to take to your hairdressers if you’re thinking about a side parted bob.  

7. The cute and curly maxi bob

Gemma Chan

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Adding sleek curls not only gives Gemma Chan’s cropped cut a touch of old-school glamour but also boosts volume in her naturally poker-straight hair. 

8. The modern maxi bob

Gemma Arterton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Big bouncy curls can feel a little dated if done wrong, so following Gemma Arterton’s lead with soft waves makes for a more modern feel. 

Maxi by name, maxi by nature, this bob style is all about making your average bob feel more exciting and interesting by dialling up the volume. It’s the high-octane antidote to the super sleek, slicked-back styles we’ve seen in recent years, and proof that shorter hairstyles needn’t be boring. 

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.