BYRDIE: If we had a dollar every time Hailey Bieber sparked a beauty trend, we’d be on a private island by now. In case you missed the chop seen around the world, she has transformed her hair into an extreme bob. “The extreme bob is trending right now because ’90s and early 00’s inspiration is on everyone’s mood board,” says hairdresser and Pureology Artist Tatiana Ramos. “Most recently Hailey Bieber pulled up with a super textured, sleek bob that you’re going to see all over.”
The extreme bob can go even shorter than Bieber’s—think a super short chin-length. But the look goes back looooong before the supermodel was even born. “The bob has been around since the days of Cleopatra of Egypt,” says Richard Mannah, Joico’s Global Artistic Director.
“It’s one of the oldest and most classic haircuts that has been created,” he continues. “There are so many variations of a bob and the length and style is determined by the suitability factor, hair type, face shape, and current trends. For example, 1920’s flapper girls wore bobs just around or above the jaw line and most likely had a short fringe.”
But unlike the bobs of the Roaring Twenties, they’re no longer pin straight—every texture can work the style. “I would describe the extreme bob as a jawline grazing cut that can be worn sleek or textured/curly with a bit of natural frizz,” says Hairstylist and MUAHS Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Josée Normand.
Read on for everything you need to know about the extreme bob.
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Who Can Wear an Extreme Bob
The beauty of this look is its versatility. “Extreme bobs are trendy because they can actually work on anyone regardless of hair type, texture, age or face shape—it’s all a matter of how you cut or style it,” Normand says. “Really, the extreme bob can be traced back to the flapper era. Since then, it’s seen many iterations.” You can even add bangs if you’d like.
But, it can be tougher for round faces to rock the look. “It can accentuate one’s round face if cut around the jawline,” Mannah says. “However, if you do have a rounder face you can always try and do a longer version of it. This will be determined by the professional and the client.”
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Plus, if you get the right cut that works with your natural texture, it won’t be super high maintenance. “If done on the right face shape and hair type it can be so easy to maintain and look great,” Mannah says.
Keep in mind it isn’t always simple as wash-and-go, though. “When considering an extreme bob, know that even though your hair is shorter, it will require some work,” Ramos says. “Styling your hair will become part of your routine now; ask your stylist for tips and tricks. Ask about maintenance if you plan on keeping the cut for some time; good bobs require maintenance.”
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How to Find the Best Extreme Bob for You
Customizing the extreme bob to your wants and needs is what makes it flattering. “As I alluded to, this can work on all hair types and face shapes,” Normand says. “You can add bangs if you want to highlight your facial features or disguise a larger forehead or help you look younger by covering wrinkles. You can add in layers if you want your hair to appear thicker or if you have curly hair and need more shape.”
To make sure you and your stylist are on the same page, a picture is worth a thousand words. “When going to see your stylist you should definitely have at least three photo references of what you’re looking to do,” Ramos says. “Each photo should highlight specific areas, such as having similar density, similar color and similar texture to your own hair. This would best explain your needs to your stylist.”
How to Style an Extreme Bob
There are multiple ways to style an extreme bob. “This will be determined on which way the client wants to wear it,” Mannah says. “If smooth, I would add a small amount of Joico’s Defy Damage Protective Shield ($28) or Joico’s YouthLock Blowout Crème ($28) on towel-dried hair and blow dry the hair section by section very smooth. You can even straight iron the ends for that really sleek and straight look or blow dry the hair under with a round brush for that chic finish. Finish the look with Joico’s Heat Hero Glossing Thermal Protector ($24) for that added shine. Keep in mind you can totally finish a bob with a little wave too by using either the straightening or curling irons. Bobs look [amazing] when it has that slightly undone wave which is touchable.”
For a bouncy blowout, Ramos recommends starting by shampooing and conditioning with Hydrate or Hydrate Sheer ($36) by Pureology, depending on your hair density. Next, apply Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray ($32) from roots to ends, comb through, take a golf ball size of Style + Protect Weightless Volume Mousse 9$31) and run through the roots to ends. Then, rough dry 80%, followed by blow drying the center mohawk section with a natural bristle brush, in sections lifting off the scalp. For maximum volume, place large Velcro rollers on top, and blow dry the back and sides under. After you are finished, let the hair cool for five minutes, spray Style + Protect Soft Finish Hair Spray ($31) all over, remove rollers and manipulate with hands, raking the hair back and forward. Finish with hairspray for any flyaways.
“If you have a textured bob, a texturizing spray or dry shampoo is your best friend,” Normand says. “If you want a sleeker/slicked back look, a stronghold gel is your best friend. I love the new Mizani True Textures Sleek Holding Hair Gel ($25). If you have natural hair, you may just need to use your fingers to shape it in the mornings. For a more retro look, dry soft, brushed-out waves.” In other words, there’s no wrong way to wear an extreme bob.