When it comes to hair trends for 2022, experts agree that bobs are back in vogue for the coming year.
Balmain Hair Couture artist and educator Maggie Semaan shares her top cutting, styling and maintenance tips for the beautiful but bold bob, which she describes as a “timeless classic that will always be in and out of style, and is a big deal right now”.
What is a bob haircut?
“A bob is a straight haircut that’s all one length, so it has no layers,” explains Semaan. “The original bob is a little bit shorter, while the new bob is called the lob, or long bob. This is collarbone length.
“The bob itself does not have to have bangs; those are more according to personal taste. You could also have the front a bit longer than the back, but never the other way around.”
How can I make a bob work for me?
The good news is a bob can be adapted to any skin colour. However, when it comes to face shapes, the expertise of a hairstylist is crucial, because, says Semaan, “we need to look at the morphology of the customer and adapt the bob accordingly".
That’s where a fringe (or bangs for Americans), for example, may come in. “For someone with a longer face, we might do a shorter bob to not elongate the face further and some bangs down the forehead to shorten the face a bit.
“For someone with a rounder face that’s bigger on the sides, we can do a more sleek-smooth bob that’s a bit longer, so as to elongate the face. We can also add volume depending on where a person parts their hair.”
Pairing a centre parting with a super-straight haircut can make the face look a bit harsher. For those who have more edgy features with a defined jawline, Semaan recommends putting the parting to the side rather than the centre. “This can help soften the features and this bob can also be styled such that it curves in a bit,” she says.
The biggest takeaway here is, from the length to the styling, ensure the hair technician you go to is able to adapt a bob to the shape of your face.
At-home maintenance tips
“You need a lot of confidence to pull off a bob, as well the willingness to style it at home," says Semaan. "When you leave the salon, your hair obviously looks fabulous, but what happens when you wash it at home? So always take into consideration your everyday styling lifestyle, preferences and skills.”
She cites the example of a person who may not be adept with a hairdryer getting a fringe for the first time, which is not a good combination. Likewise with the bob, “it is important the hair technician imparts the right styling advice, from how to wash the hair to the right shampoo and styling product based on each person’s hair texture, requirement for more or less volume and so on.
“While I believe it’s always good to blow-dry wet hair, it’s especially important if you’re opting for a beautiful bob, and you want it to stand out and show itself well. This is a very pretty haircut, but it’s all down to its precision, and that’s what you need to maintain.
"A flat iron also comes in handy to straighten it, and it’s a tool that’s simple to use at home.”
Growing out the bob
As anyone who has ever had a fringe will attest to, growing them out is troublesome during the dreaded in-between phase. Semaan says the same goes for the classic bob. “There is always that in-between period that might drive you a bit crazy because when the hair reaches the shoulder, it’s going to start flipping out and looking a little out of control. You just need to be a bit patient and let it grow past the shoulder.
“This is why the lob is in style this year,” she reiterates. “It’s the bob, but in a longer version that enables you to try something new yet avoid that in-between period when you’re growing it out.
“A lob is also a great option for someone who has longer hair and wants to do something drastic without going too short – and it usually grows out in two months.”
Know the rules …
“When considering a bob, ensure it resembles the hair you normally have or the styling you’re willing and able to do on a daily basis,” says Semaan. “For example, if you have naturally curly hair and you bring in a picture of a pin-straight bob to your hairdresser, know that when you go back home and wash your hair, it will look nothing like the picture.”
… so you can break them
“While the classic bob is traditionally a straight haircut, one styling technique that’s trending is beach waves, which is a very messy, casual and natural look,” says Semaan. “It takes some time to get the hang of how to do this at home, but once you do, it’s super-easy and looks great.”