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

selection of hairdressing tools on white background
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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 hairstyles, so it's no surprise that it's been tipped as this year’s most popular style.

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. Bangs 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 Professional 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.

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 a bangs hairstyle? "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.