At 11.30pm one night a few weeks back, I looked into the mirror and decided that I wanted my hair in a bob. Had I not been lucky enough to secure the first appointment the following morning, I wouldn’t have put it past me to reach for the scissors and have a go myself. When the urge for a bob strikes, it can be an unstoppable force. It’s also very much the hairstyle of the moment – see celebrity bob squad Nicola Coughlan, Kaia Gerber and Zoë Kravitz.
We’ve just completed two years of existing mostly indoors, with only sporadic access to professional hairdressing for much of that time – and the novelty of longer hair wore off not long after that of Tiger King and making banana bread. Reducing my hair length felt breezy, a bit “back to business”. And a bob satisfies the whim for dramatic change without being as scary and bone-structure-dependent as, say, a pixie crop.
Nonetheless, one should not bob rashly, according to George Northwood, creator of signature bobs for regulars Alexa Chung and Sienna Miller. He concedes that bobs “suit everyone”, but says the key decision to be made is between a hard bob (Anna Wintour, say, or Venus Williams’ latest look) and a soft one (see actors Camille Cottin and Gemma Chan).
Regardless of face shape, very soft features look great against sharp cuts, while stronger features and bone structures suit messier, tousled bobs that are a cinch to style.
“A bob is the shortest you can go without having to overhaul your styling routine,” says Northwood, and I agree – I can now do everything as before, only it takes me half the time.
As for length, the bob can rest anywhere between the ear and the shoulder, but Northwood says the bob’s ability to grow out and remain a look is a huge part of its appeal – especially now: “Hairdressing has evolved slightly. We’ve all realised we can eke out a style for longer than we thought, and that’s preferable to being in a salon every five minutes.”
If you choose a one-length bob without a fringe (people with very thick hair should ask their stylist to slice in, as “thick bobs can look mushroomy otherwise”, says Northwood), you’re fine to leave it eight weeks between appointments.
“And it’s also painless – if you regret bobbing it in the first place, you’ll be back pretty much where you started in three months.”