Best bob hairstyles for women—40+ ideas from short crops to lobs

Get inspired for your next salon visit with the best bob hairstyles for your face shape and hair type

bob hairstyles for women main image of showing a rear view close up on a woman with short brown hair on a purple background with beige swirls
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There are so many options when it comes to bob hairstyles, but they all have one thing in common: versatility. This not-too-short and not-too-long cut is the Goldilocks of hairdos, so it's no surprise that the bob been tipped as this year’s most popular hairstyle.

Trends come and go, but the key to most bob hairstyles is to ensure your look isn't too coiffed or overdone. This is easily achieved with a combination of a great cut and clever styling using the best hair dryer and excellent styling tools. Bangs hairstyles are optional as are layers, a blunt finish, or soft graduation of length. Whatever you prefer, there's a bob out there that will satisfy your hair desires. 

"There are two key bob trends set to be big this year," Daniele de Angelis, TONI&GUY's International Artistic Director and London Hairdresser of the Year, tells us. "First is the layered bob, which incorporates a wide and heavy fringe. The length is shorter here and tends to be around chin level. The second is a mid-length bob, with beautiful and subtle face-framing layers at the front."

Bob hairstyles are very versatile and varied. From the "lob," also known as the long bob, which has been especially popular in recent years, to the blunt bob that's currently on-trend, they can be tailored to pretty much any face shape and hair type—which is part of their charm.

Much like short hairstyles and medium hairstyles, bobs look good on anyone with the right cut and experts agree it’s one of the most versatile styles around. Zoë Irwin, Creative Director at John Frieda Salons, says your face shape is the most important factor in choosing a bob. "If you have a round face, then something lighter and layered is more flattering. If you have a longer face, long layers work well to lift and they work well with a fringe."

With the right cut, they can also make fine hair look thicker. "A bob with a strong, heavy line is a great way to give the illusion of bulk," says Adam Reed, Editorial Ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel and founder of Adam Reed Salon London. "The best cut to make hair look thicker will maintain weight at the ends as much as possible—think a strong, blunt Alexa Chung bob."

Siobhan Jones, Headmasters Color Ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel, agrees that bobs can work like a charm for fuller-looking hair. "The new French girl bob is ideal for giving the illusion of fullness; the edges are cut blunt, which gives the impression of bulk and defines the outline of the haircut. This makes the hair appear more full and weighty."

Actress Helen Mirren attends the screening of "Girls Of The Sun (Les Filles Du Soleil)" during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2018 in Cannes, France

(Image credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Staff via Getty Images)

The best bob hairstyles for women

Good news: we can pretty much guarantee that there's a bob hairstyle out there to suit you. "There is a bob for every face," says Ava Holland, Artistic Director at Gielly Green Salon. "When I help clients choose a bob, you need to look how low the hairline goes on your neck, as that has an impact on bob length.

“I think about what the hair type is; can I achieve the look they want on a daily basis? Would it suit your lifestyle? Do you need to be able to tie it up? That will then determine what length bob you go for as well." 

Browse our selection of the best bob hairstyles below, choose your favorite, then take it straight to the salon. While we've included some guidance on face shapes and hair types, your hairdresser will always be able to advise on a style and how to tailor it to you. You can find more expert styling tips and tricks in our guide on how to style a bob.

Short bob hairstyles

Short bob hairstyles can be seriously elegant and can be tailored to suit just about any hair type and face shape. The golden rule is to get your hair trimmed every 4-6 weeks to keep those ends looking fresh.


The sharp jaw length bob

Face shape: round or oval | Hair type: fine to medium


The undercut bob

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: thick


The super short bob

Face shape: any, particularly heart | Hair type: fine to thick


The short curly bob

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: curly, coily


The short tousled bob

Face shape: oval or heart | Hair type: fine or thick


The above-jaw rounded bob

Face shape: square or heart | Hair type: thick


The short bob with long layers on top

Face shape: oval, heart | Hair type: fine 


Long bob hairstyles

A longer, grown-out style doesn’t require the same frequent trips to the salon for a trim as a shorter cut to keep it looking fresh. A long bob, or "lob" as it's more commonly known, is another great option if you want to elongate a rounder face.

Ed's note: Long bobs are also quite versatile, and can easily be styled or manipulated with a curling iron. The best curling irons for this length typically have a thinner barrel for more defined waves.


The heavy long bob with side part

Face shape: oval or square | Hair type: thick


The super sleek long bob

Face shape: round or oval | Hair type: medium to thick


The long bob with tapered ends

Face shape: heart, square | Hair type: medium to thick


The classic blunt long bob

Face shape: any, particularlly oval or heart | Hair type: medium to thick


The shoulder length wavy long bob

Face shape: any, particularly heart | Hair type: Fine to medium 


The long bob with layered ends

Face shape: any, particularly oval or heart | Hair type: medium to thick


The asymmetric long bob

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: fine to medium


Curly bob hairstyles

Curly hairstyles are possibly more popular than ever before. "A curly bob and a textured bob is the dream!" says Ava. "I personally love a short jawline curly bob, it looks really cool and doesn’t take long to dry. Curly hair is going to be big in 2021 and I think whatever length people have, they will want it to be styled curly." Stevie adds, "You need to take into consideration that your hair will spring up into its curls once cut. So less is more." To get the most out of your natural texture, you could try giving the curly girl method a go and sleep with one of the best silk hair wraps.


The long curly bob with centre part

Face shape: heart, square | Hair type: wavy, curly


The tapered coily bob

Face shape: any, particularly heart or square | Hair type: curly, coily


The chin-length curly bob with side part

Face shape: round, oval | Hair type: curly


The curly shoulder-length long bob

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: curly


The chin-length bob with loose curls

Face shape: any, especially oval to square | Hair type: wavy, curly


The curly chin length bob with side part

Face shape: any, especially oval | Hair type: curly


The short coils

Face shape: all, especially oval | Hair type: curly, coily


The very loose short curls

Face shape: all, particularly oval | Hair type: curly


Bob hairstyles with layers

Layered bobs are still having a major moment in 2021. If you have fine hair, it’s best to keep the layers long so as not to remove volume, while thick hair lends itself really well to lots of choppy layers. Rounder face shapes are the perfect match for blunt layered bobs, while square shapes pair well with lots of rounded layers.


Thick and choppy layered bob 

Face shape: all, particularly oval and heart | Hair type: thick


The graduated bob with layers

Face shape: round, oval, square or heart | Hair type: fine to thick


The short bob with subtle layering

Face shape: heart, oval or square | Hair type: medium to thick


The tousled layered bob

Face shape: all, particularly oval or round | Hair type: medium to thick


The short layered bob

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick


The round bob with side part

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: thick


The classic bob with layered ends

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick 


The choppy short bob

Face shape: any, particularly oval or heart | Hair type: fine to medium 


Bob hairstyles with bangs

Whether you opt for soft feathered layers or full bangs, they can really elevate your bob hairstyle of choice or add a little "something" to a style. The number one thing to remember if you want to get bangs? "Let the stylist advise you—think about the commitment fringes come with and the time they take to grow back!" says de Angelis.


The blunt bob with wispy bangs

Face shape: round, oval, heart | Hair type: fine to medium


The curly lob with bangs

Face shape: any, especially oval or heart | Hair type: curly


The jaw-length bob with side bangs

Face shape: round, oval | Hair type: fine to medium


The coily curls with side bangs

Face shape: any, especially oval to square | Hair type: curly, coily 


The bob with soft curtain bangs

Face shape: round, oval | Hair type: fine to medium


The French girl bob with bangs

Face shape: heart, oval or round | Hair type: fine to medium, wavy


The pixie bob with side bangs

Face shape: round, oval | Hair type: fine to medium


The loose curls with bangs

Face shape: all, especially oval | Hair type: curly 


With all these brilliant bob hairstyles and expert tips to hand, you’ll be well equipped with ideas for your next salon visit. Happy chopping!

woman&home thanks Daniele de Angelis of TONI&GUY, Ava Holland of Gielly Green Salon, Zoë Irwin of John Frieda Salons, Adam Reed for L’Oréal Professionnel and of Adam Reed Salon London, and Siobhan Jones of L’Oréal Professionnel for their time and expertise.

Fiona McKim

As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more beauty products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant find 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, working under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). 


In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a features writer at publications including Junior and Prima Baby, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine, adores fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.

When not slathering herself in self tan or peering at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park. 


Come to think of it, the hot dinners and beauty products are probably about even.