As a client it can be very confusing to go into a salon and know what to ask for, especially if you don’t have the technical background and words to back you up.
With this post I’m hoping to help make it abit more clear about the different types of Bobs available and what to expect and how they will look. Of course a post about Bobs is not complete without the mention of Vidal Sassoon, (the king of bobs). I had the privilege of training and working in Sassoon’s in the 80’s and I definitely feel like I got the best training that a stylist can ask for. The 80’s was the time of strict structured shapes before razoring and texturising became so popular, so most of the haircuts were extremely technical, so I felt this helped me with my bob situations. So anyway, I’m using some original Sassoon Classic pictures as well as other examples to help with my explanations and opinions.
The 4 types of bobs I will talk about are shown below with Classic Sassoon pictures:
Classic One Length Bob(2 versions shown) Bob with Layers(medium length and layers)
Bob with Graduation (Classic Nancy Kwan bob for Vogue) and the Graduated Bob.
Classic One Length Bobs:
Great for people who would like a simple cut with no layers to it. (One length means that all the hair is brought down and cut to visually look like one length at the bottom.) Works great if you already have straight smooth hair but it you have any texture to it, it would need alot of blow drying to get the sharp look. For people who have very thick hair, the one length bob is not advisable as it would look very heavy and triangular at the bottom half, therefore adding too much width visually to their cheek area. Length can vary from hairline length to the top of the shoulders, and what can also vary is whether the bottom part is cut blunt with the scissors or razored through giving it soft edges like Gwyneth Paltrow’s. Here are afew other samples of One Length Bobs:
Bob with Layers:
This is something you could ask for if you like the look of a bob shape but your hair is too thick to have the classic one length, Layers can be added to your hair and can vary from short to longer fuller layers. Length too can vary from hairline to top of shoulders. Can be done on straight, wavy or curly hair. Afew more example of Bobs with layers on Nicole, model and Cathy done by Joni at Dekko:
Bob with Graduation:
This Bob shape is one of my favorites because not only is it a sharp defined shape, but it is fantastic and almost a must for making fine thin hair look fuller. (Graduation means to build up weight from short to long creating a fuller shape) It is also a flattering ‘all age’ shape that in my eyes, will never date. This one is where the bob appears to be one length but in fact there is graduation in it, much more at the back and then blending into the sides. The graduation that is put into it can be either very subtle or much more exaggerated (think Katie Holmes with her bob), if the hair is cut well then even without the blow day, the shape will hold and form a fuller look, this technique/style can be done on straight, wavy or curly hair. Here’s Katie’s as well as a couple of clients, Rachel and Simone from Dekko:
Last but not least this one is the shorter version of the Bob. The difference between this one the others is the back. Rather than having a straight clean line like the others, this one works the hair short into the nape from the occipital bone and follows your natural hairline into the nape. Asian hair in particular have a harder time with this one because the hair is usually coarser so it can stick out wildly, whereas with the finer hair and hairlines, this style can look very soft and feminine. It has a much stronger look because of the length, for me as soon as you mention Graduated Bobs, Louise Brooks (20’s silent movie star) and Mary Quant (60’s fashion icon)come to mind. Most clients who ask for the jaw/cheek level bobs needs to understand that if your natural hairline is longer than your desired length then you will have the graduated shorter part in the back, I know some of you will call it a ‘step’ and alot of people don’t like it so short so please be aware that you will have the ‘step’ look if you go for the cheek level bob. Also be aware that your natural hairline shape will have an impact on how short the back goes with this style as you have to work with it. Here’s Louise Brooks, Rachel Lim from Dekko, and Mary Quant: