Having just had all of my hair chopped off for one of those short bob haircuts, I can safely say it’s a great hairstyle choice. In the summer it is much cooler than having long hair, but unlike a cute pixie, short bobs can grow out easily without requiring a lot of maintenance. These days, bob haircuts can be styled to look just as fashionable, romantic, or wild as long hair, and believe us that hot hair dyeing techniques like sombre and balayage can make short bobs look even more awesome.
This article is about all things bobbed! We cover the surprising history of this iconic and often controversial bob hairstyle. If that piques your interest, we’ll help you choose the right short bobs for you based on your face shape and hair type. Then, to get you inspired, we’ve selected the 61 best examples of short bob hairstyles so you can find the best version to show to your hairdresser.
Short Bob Haircuts for Women: Contents
- The History of the Bob Haircut
- Choosing the Perfect Bob Haircut for Your Face Shape
- Choosing the Best Short Bob for You Hair Type
- 61 Cute Short Bob Haircuts for Women to Try
Bob haircuts are usually a women’s hairstyle where the hair is longer than a pixie, hanging somewhere below the ears but still above the shoulder. Long bob hairstyles can go just a little past the shoulders.
In a typical bob, the hair is cut so it is the same length all the way around, although these days, graduated bobs where the hair is shorter in the back and gradually gets longer at the front are just as common.
Short bob hairstyles can be styled with or without bangs, and a few strands around the face can be a little shorter as well. These days it is also very common for hairstylists to use layering and razor cutting techniques to add texture and to control the shape of the hair.
Historically, women in the West would have kept their hair long all throughout the Victorian era and for as long as can be remembered beforehand. Usually, their hair would have been styled into elaborate updos to keep it out of the face.
There are some examples of fashionable women wearing shorter hair, including French actress Polaire and American ballroom dancer Irene Castle in the 1910s, but in most cases, it was seen as either childish or austere and masculine.
As women started working during WWI to cover the duties of the men who went off to war, shorter hairstyles became a practical choice. Along with trousers and hearty fabrics, women also slowly started wearing their hair shorter for the sake of practicality.
It was in the post-war period of the ‘20s when the bob haircut became a fashionable choice rather than a practical one. Short bobs and medium bob haircuts came as part of the flapper revolution in women’s fashion, along with drop-waist silhouettes, visible makeup, and shorter hemlines. Many famous actresses adopted shorter hair, and regular women followed in droves.
For most of the ‘20s short bob haircuts were the only chic hairstyle. The hair was often curled into a Marcel wave or worn with cloche hats or headbands.
The ultra-short bobs of the ‘20s got longer, softer and curlier in the ‘30s. From that decade onwards, it was acceptable for women to keep their hair in longer bobs which were usually curled, though longer hair was more common.
The big bob hairstyle resurgence happened in the 1960s thanks to the iconic hairdresser Vidal Sassoon. Sassoon styled the hair of many famous models and actresses into very short bobs that had very sharp lines. The 5 point was especially memorable, with its points of hair accentuating the ears and a W-shape in the back. This style was very androgynous, especially at a time when men were also sporting shag haircuts.
Hair got longer and more voluminous in the ‘70s, and bobs were less common.
Though hair got bigger in the ‘80s, shorter hair also became somewhat common for women once again. The bobs of the 1980s had a lot of volume, unlike the streamlined short bob hairstyles of the ‘60s.
From the 80s onwards, bob haircuts would become a perfectly acceptable choice for women, though they would never transcend the trendiness of long hair. Short bobs would be styled according to popular fashion, so occasionally we would see more layered or more blunt versions of them with or without bangs and with varying ways of parting.
These days, textured, graduated bobs are the most common but we’re sure that in just a few years we’ll see a brand-new way of rocking bob haircuts.
Choosing a bob haircut that will suit your face shape is very important. Unlike with long hair, short bobs have a huge impact, and just one inch makes the difference between flattering and awkward.
Short Bob Haircuts for a Round Face
If you have a rounded forehead and jawline, and the length of your face is about equal to its width then you have a round face. A short bob hairstyle can be tricky since the wrong length will make your face look squat.
If you would rather play it safe stick to a bob that ends a little bit past your jawline. If you still want to feel like you’re rocking short hair, you can opt for a graduated bob so that your neck can feel free. Keeping your hair parted to the side will also be more flattering.
Short Bob Haircuts for an Oval Face
Oval is a very common face shape where the face is narrower than it is wide, with a rounded forehead and jaw. Normally, the cheekbones are quite prominent, with the center of the face being its widest part.
Most bob haircuts look great on oval face shapes, and you can really play around with lengths, partings, and styles. If you like, you can start out with a short bob that falls just below your cheekbones, and as it grows out pay attention to learn which length is your favorite.
Short Bob Haircuts for a Heart-Shaped Face
Heart-shaped faces have a slightly wide forehead, high cheekbones, and a narrow chin. If you’d like to de-emphasize your forehead, choose a bob haircut with bangs. You have a lot of options here, as you can have side bangs or straight across bangs cut very clean or choppy.
In order to make your jawline look a little wider, have your short bob fall somewhere between the beginning of your jawline and your chin, or directly below the chin. Alternatively, you can choose to emphasize your narrow jawline by having a very short bob hairstyle that ends right below the cheekbones.
Short Bob Haircuts for a Diamond Face
If you have a very narrow forehead, pointy chin, and sharp, high cheekbones, then you have a diamond-shaped face. This kind of sharp face is best complemented by soft layers and wavy styling. A side-swept, curled bob is especially nice. Keeping the bob a little longer is usually best for keeping the face looking soft.
Short Bob Haircuts for a Square Face
A square face is the sharper version of a round face. The length and width of the face are about the same, but the forehead and jaw are both a little sharper angled.
A wavy bob can do a beautiful job of softening a square face. It is better to opt for a longer bob that will hang a little under the chin. A middle part is great for streamlining the face and helping to lengthen it.
When it comes to having bob hairstyles that will work with your hair type, the fact of the matter is that it’s mostly up to your stylist to make magic happen. Make sure to explain your hair’s behavior to your stylist, especially if they’re cutting your hair for the first time.
Otherwise, your short bob might look amazing after it’s been blow-dried at the salon but once you wash it and let it air-dry you’ll find that the haircut doesn’t actually fit with the way your hair behaves.
Short Bob Hairstyles for Curly Hair
The danger with curly hair is that bobs can become very triangular when left to their own devices. Heat styling or using a mousse can help you control your curls a little bit better, but it’s also best to start with a well-shaped bob hairstyle.
Make sure your stylist gives you proper layers to give the hair a good shape. Very blunt cuts are not going to work for you, while more textured ends will allow your curls to look bouncy and healthy.
When curly hair gets damp, it becomes a lot longer than when it’s dry, so make sure to choose a stylist who’s an expert at cutting curly hair to avoid ending up with a shorter look than you bargained for.
Short Bob Hairstyles for Wavy Hair
Bob haircuts for wavy hair can have the same pitfalls as bob cuts for curly hair. If the hair gets frizzy, the shape can become truly unflattering and bizarre.
However, those with wavy hair can usually handle blunt cuts better than those with curly hair, as long as the hair has enough length to drop flat. For shorter bobs, it is better to choose layers that will work naturally with the wave of your hair, to create a rounded shape.
Short Bob Hairstyles for Straight Hair
There’s a lot you can do with straight hair! Bob hairstyles will work in all shapes and forms, since you don’t need to worry about awkward cowlicks or frizziness.
Any length will work well, and you can really have fun with straight lines and severe angles. If you don’t want to look too severe, however, then opt for a razored, choppy bob that will look a little softer and more mussed.
Short Bob Hairstyles for Thick Hair
When you have blunt hair, a blunt short bob is likely not going to work. The hair will puff up instead of laying down flat, especially if you want to avoid straight-ironing it.
There are two ways to make bob haircuts works when your hair is very thick. If you’re very set on having a blunt bob then one way is to opt for a slightly longer bob so that the weight of the hair will keep it hanging down instead of allowing it to expand and get frizzy.
The other option is to choose a more layered bob haircut, especially with undercutting. Let your hairdresser know that you would like the hair thinned and layered in such a way so that it doesn’t expand into a triangular shape. This will also help you with styling and happens to be a very modern technique.
Short Bob Hairstyles for Thin Hair
When your hair is thin, you want to choose a bob haircut and style that will help give natural volume to your hair. Very textured, graduated bobs always look more voluminous than blunt bobs. When it comes to styling your short bobs, beachy waves will help give it more volume as well. A texturizing spray or mousse will also give your locks a bit more bulk.
Bob haircuts look awesome in all lengths, colors, and styles. We’ve collected a variety of examples of short bobs to get you inspired to give this style a try. Pick out your favorite and bring it to your stylist for your next appointment!
1. Beach Graduated Bob
Styled into beachy waves, this short bob is summer-ready! This is a graduated cut, with the hair a little shorter at the back to let the neck breath, and longer at the front with just a few strands framing the face. The balayage makes it an extra summery style.
2. Fierce Honey Short Bob
This is one of those short bob hairstyles that are still fierce despite being styled to look feathery. The honey-toned balayage is a perfect choice for autumn seasons. The secret to the fierceness is in the strong side part, as well as the sharp edge of the graduated bob.
3. Long-Front Graduated Bob Haircut
If you’re nervous about going very short, this is the style of graduated short bob haircuts you’ll want to try. This is because while the back is a little shorter, the front is long enough to touch the shoulders. The intense dark brown and blonde balayage is ideal for any season.
4. Copper Balayage Bob Hairstyle
Sleeker styles are a natural complement to short bob haircuts, which are often associated with severity. However, a bit of a curve to the locks mitigates that, as do the warm tones of the copper balayage.
5. Sleek Razored Short Bob
When you have thick hair, short bobs have to be cut by an expert stylist to avoid issues with the hair getting ridiculously voluminous. This cut is styled in a sleek way, but a bit of layering with a razor ensures that it’ll still look good even when styled more messily.
6. Icy Short Bob
A short bob in icy silver will help you feel extra cool this summer. This kind of cool tone takes a lot of work to achieve, but it is impressive! The bob itself is mostly even in length, but a bit of layering on the bottom adds dimension to the look.
7. Curly and Black Short Bob Hairstyle
Short bob hairstyles are great even for curly chicks! These lush purple-black locks were permed to perfection after being cut into a piece-y, layered bob that looks good with any hair type. A few strands over the face add whimsy as well as structure.
8. Blonde-Touched Short Bob
This short bob hairstyle is simple and almost universally flattering. The mixture of deep browns and warm golds in the hair is perfect for autumn, even though the tousled waves feel more beachy. It’s a great choice if you’re averse to graduated bobs since the hair is still dynamic.
9. Razored Icy Graduated Bob
One of the best ways to rock a modern short bob haircut is with very layered, razored ends. The effect is super textured, and looks just as good styled as it does natural. This look is boosted by balayaged strands in an icy blonde tone.
10. Piecey Vanilla Bob
Few things are as refreshing as cute short bob haircuts dyed a vibrant vanilla tone! This mixture of warm and cool blonde tones is really lovely, working well with the textured layers of the bob. Messy bangs add a lovely, girlish touch and help mask the forehead.
11. Tousled Damp Short Bob
This is a great styling idea for short bob haircuts that echo the runways of the last few seasons in a wearable way. Give your hair a dampened look with the help of mousse and then side-part it deeply. The glamorous hair pins add sophistication to the look.
12. Electric Violet Bob Haircut
Bob haircuts pair really nicely with vibrant hair colors! The mixture of purples and blues in this style is electrifying, while the tousled styling and piecey bangs feel playful and fun. Notice that there is still a base of dark brown at the roots and running through the hair, which makes for easy maintenance.
13. Sleek Asymmetrical Bob
The asymmetrical bob is a great take on graduated short bob hairstyles, although it does require that you keep your hair neat and either blow-dried or straightened at all times. It allows you to enjoy the intensity of short bobs on one side while still feeling feminine with the long side. This auburn version of it is particularly fetching.
14. Fiery Graduated Bob
These tousled waves are a lovely complement to the fiery color of this graduated short bob haircut. The blend of magenta, red, and orange tones is a classic one that lends itself well to low-maintenance styles like this one.
15. Bombshell Blonde Bob
Who said you have to have long hair to be a bombshell? The sleek curls and platinum blonde dye job ensure that this short bob hairstyle is as sexy as can be. The layered technique for this bob also helps to add texture and volume to the style.
16. Voluminous Graduated Bob Haircut
Because of all of the volume in the back, this graduated bob hairstyle looks very dramatic. It gives off some serious Victoria Beckham vibes but with a newer, wavy touch. This is the kind of style that helps you feel light despite still having long strands around the face.
17. Silver and Blonde Textured Short Bob
The interplay of ash blonde and silver tones in this cut is just unique enough to stand out while still being appropriate for any occasion. It works well with the subtle and textured graduated short bob.
18. Teal Graduated Short Bob
In any other color this would be a classic “may I speak to your manager” haircut, but in teal, this piecey graduated bob is young and fresh. The hair at the front falls just below the chin, which is a flattering choice for anyone trying short bobs.
19. Dreamy Mauve Bob Hairstyle
Purple, brown, and peach hair tones come together perfectly in this balayage, adding even more volume to this already lush short bob hairstyle. It’s a subtle graduated bob that is very piecey near the front, with lots of face-framing strands.
20. Swept-Back Short Bob with Side Braid
This photo proves that short bob haircuts can be styled in all kinds of interesting ways. This edgy styling choice features a tight Dutch braid along the side, mimicking a shaved side, while the rest is swept back sleekly, which looks super fierce.
21. Blunt Sombre Bob Haircut
If you like keeping things sharp and clean, opt for a blunt bob. By giving it just a hint of a curl it can still look soft but also intensely chic. In this look, the style is middle-parted with a great sombre dye job.
22. Retro Glam Short Bob
With the right tools, all short bob haircuts can become stunning vintage creations. These big, retro curls and the deep side part bring all of the drama to this perfect brunette bob. This kind of look is best achieved with a large curling iron.
23. Fresh Blonde Short Bob
This adorably short graduated bob would be best for those with a narrower face shape since it hits right at the jaw. If you can make it work, it is a stunning look that helps to soften sharp angles in a way that is extremely feminine and breezy, especially when dyed such a breezy blonde.
24. Blunt Short Bob
Once your hair almost touches your shoulders, it’s considered a long bob haircut. That’s not a bad thing, however! It still has all the impact of short bob haircuts, especially when it’s a blunt cut. Blonde dye and beachy styling give the blunt cut a softer look.
25. Voluminous Honey Brown Bob
This voluminous take on short bob haircuts proves that they are one of the most feminine hairstyles you can try. A large part of this is thanks to the voluminous yet straight styling, but it’d also apply to other styling techniques. The deep roots and honey streaks only add to the lushness of the look.
26. Arctic Blue Asymmetrical Bob
This is another variation on asymmetrical short bob hairstyles that are making us salivate. The blue to icy silver gradient is dramatic and exciting, so it matches well with the asymmetrical cut and sleek styling.
27. Feathery Platinum Bob
You can’t go wrong with short bob haircuts when you have such delicate features. Since this style hangs right at the chin, it gives a bit of balance to the face, while the middle part helps streamline the forehead. Wavy styling is a great choice for heavily lightened platinum hair.
28. Feathered Ends Cool Brunette Bob
This wavey bob feels soft thanks to feathered ends and a subtle gradient hair color that goes from dark brown to a lighter cool brown, as well as a middle part. Styling the hair with that wave parallel to the cheekbones is a great way to give balance to a narrow face.
29. Icy Bronde Bob
This hairstyle proves that even dirty blonde hair can be given the ice treatment with the help of a good toner. Beyond the expert balayage, this is one of those simple and flattering short bob hairstyles. The side part is great for giving the face structure, while having the hair fall just below the chin will work for anyone.
30. Sleek Bob with Ombre
Short bob haircuts look great with ombre hair color – usually, even better than long hair with an ombre. This is because of the balance between the darker top and lighter bottom. Here, the sleek and straightened example would be great for anyone with rounder features.
31. Icy Blue Bob with Bangs
This kind of short bob haircut will get you feeling like an anime character! The icy blue shade is striking so it works well with the sleek cut. Straight across bangs add some playfulness to the look, as well.
32. Extra Short Side-Parted Bob
If you’re ready to jump feet first into short bob hairstyles, then this cheek-length bob is as daring as can be. It works well here because the model has such delicate features with a narrow, oval face. The thin streaks of gold through the deep brown locks and the deep side part add some spice to the style.
33. Fierce Granny Long Bob
Granny white hair and sleek blunt bob hairstyles are a fierce match. It is daring yet serious, the kind of look we can imagine a ruthless fashion executive rocking. The hair here ends just above the shoulders, which is flattering for everyone, with white hair touched with a bit of gunmetal for texture.
34. Smoky Pink Bob with Side Bangs
The depth and complexity of the color ensure that this short bob hairstyle looks voluminous and soft. The pink appears smoky and warm thanks to dark brown roots as well as subtle brown lowlights. It gives a ton of texture to this subtle graduated bob with side bangs.
35. Beachy Tousled Short Bob Hairstyle
This is magical California hair in short bob form. The deep roots and heavy blonde balayage are classics, especially when styled in such a messy, beachy way. The fact that it’s in a side-parted bob doesn’t make it seem any less relaxed yet glamorous.
36. Golden Wave Short Bob
The soft piecey waves add a nice counterbalance to the slightly blunt and razored ends of this bob haircut. The chin length cut is the kind that grows out very nicely, while the blonde itself still has dark roots, which also helps with maintenance.
37. Smoky Amethyst Bob
There is an endless amount of ways to color short bob haircuts, with this amethyst purple to silver colormelt one of the most unique and memorable. The intense color looks great over this blunt bob, especially thanks to the sleek styling.
38. Tousled Glam Short Bob
If you want to add instant drama to short bob hairstyles simply change up their part. An intense side part always adds a lot of volume on top while also giving some dramatic old Hollywood vibes. It even makes this tousled chin-length bob look extra sexy.
39. Deep Black Graduated Bob
This graduated bob is subtle with blunt ends that make it feel super sleek. In black it’s dramatic, giving us some serious editorial vibes. You’ll be surprised but this look actually involved an undercut to remove a lot of bulk.
40. Sombre Short Bob Haircut
This adorable blunt bob features a prominent middle part, which is great for lengthening and softening the face. The sombre dyeing technique, with dark roots transitioning to blonde ends with just a bit of a gradient, also helps to lengthen the features and adds brightness to the face.
41. Chocolate Graduated Bob
Simple and elegant, this is the kind of graduated short bob haircut that will make you feel like an adult. The chocolate brown color is warm and rich, which is especially great in winter, while the gently tousled but straight styling is relaxed but still classy.
42. Glamorous Sombre Short Bob
There is so much to love about this face-hugging short bob haircut! The sombre coloring is easy to keep up with yet put together, while the jaw-length cut is perfect for bringing out the model’s powerful features. A side part and just a bit of curling at the ends make this look glamorous.
43. Graduated Power Bob
If Victoria Beckham is your fashion idol, then you absolutely must replicate her power bob hairstyle. This is a great example of it, with a hint of blonde balayage over chocolate brown locks, pin-straight styling, and intense angle from the back to the front.
44. Warm Textured Short Bob
Warm blonde is an ideal shade for autumn, and it pairs well with voluminous graduated short bob haircuts like this one. The razored cutting combined with the thin streaks makes for a very lush and textured look. Chin-length locks at the front are flattering for delicate faces.
45. Lightweight Graduated Short Bob
This wavy bob is an example of how you can take off a lot of weight without having to go super short around the face. This is one of those short bob hairstyles where the back is clearly much shorter, which makes everything look airy and light. The waves and shiny blonde shade also help, of course.
46. Layered Magenta Bob
The fiery magenta color in this short bob is so astounding that it’s hard to even notice that it’s actually a very unique cut! This bob is layered in such a way that the underlayer is longer with layered strands above, which takes weight off while preserving volume.
47. Textured Platinum Bob
Another graduated short bob to love! This platinum ‘do has a ton of texture, both because of the interplay of colors and thanks to a few longer strands that make the look feel more haphazard at the back. Keeping it wavy adds softness, but it’d look great straightened as well.
48. Flirty Brunette Short Bob
A textured, wavy bob is always a good idea. The graduated shape allows the hair to be a little longer near the front, and we assure you that with straight styling it wouldn’t feel so short. The little streaks of gold through this chocolate brown bob add a super flirty touch.
49. Water and Ice Graduated Bob
This is one of those graduated short bob haircuts where both cut and color are as dramatic as can be. The incline from front to back is quite extreme, so when the hair is straightened the effect is striking. The electrifying blue and icy silver only add to that effect, since they were dyed in sections rather than streaks.
50. Textured Fuchsia Short Bob
This intense fuchsia is the kind of color that’s tough to maintain, but we gotta admit that short bob haircuts make dramatic colors easier to keep up with. This super cute graduated bob is styled into piecey waves that add texture, as do clever layers.
51. Blunt Blonde Bob
Blunt short bob hairstyles like this one, where the hair sits quite a few centimeters below the chin, have all the drama of a shorter cut thanks to the straight lines. However, they don’t have the scary factor of going very short. The hair still feels lively thanks to a very well-streaked blonde dye job.
52. French Girl Short Bob
Styling shorter bob haircuts to look relaxed and wavy is a great way of channeling some French girl coolness. The piecey bangs in this look blend nicely into the hair in a way that reminds us of ‘60s hair. We suspect if straightened the hair would fall just below the chin, but with the waves it helps to soften sharp features.
53. Short Bob with Tousled Ends
Lucy Hale has made short bobs iconic in the modern day. This bob sits right along her jawline, emphasizing her striking features. Instead of looking harsh this blunt bob is soft and playful thanks to a tousled wave at the ends.
54. Messy Pink and Purple Short Bob
So we gotta admit this kind of ultra-voluminous styling on short bob hairstyles only works when one has model-esque features. However, with different styling this bob would hang a little lower to flatter most face shapes. The coloring, of course, adds to the drama with deep purple roots contrasting against textured shiny pink waves.
55. Blunt Ginger Bob
Blunt short bob haircuts always feel very intense, with this one in particular also giving off some ‘60s vibes. The playful ginger hair tone is a great contrast to the super sleek styling and straight lines of the cut. It sits right along the jaw in a way that works when one has sharper features.
56. Razored Platinum White Bob
White wavy hair always looks oh-so-soft to the touch. One great way to play with contrasts is by having sharp, razored edges on the graduated short bob and then styling it in such a romantic way. The length is perfect for all face shapes, so give it a try if you’re nervous.
57. Short Bob Haircut with Curtain Bangs
Bangs can add a lot of personality to short and long bob hairstyles alike. This is an example of a longer blunt bob. These curtain bangs work well with the middle part, and they blend into the hair well thanks to the wavy styling.
58. Platinum Bob with Side Shave
A side shave is great for giving some punk edge to short bob haircuts. This platinum bob still has some glamour to it, despite the close-cropped side, since it is long and slightly curled on the other side. It’s a daring yet flattering look that works best for those with delicate features and a fearless disposition.
59. Squared Front Black Bob
This is one of those short bob hairstyles that have some sharper angles in it, which is clearly inspired by Vidal Sassoon. The back is short and even a little feathered, but near the face, it’s all about those sharp, square angles. In deep black, this look is as fierce as can be.
60. Sleek Peachy Short Bob
Peach is such a soft and romantic hair color, so it’s fun to see it applied to an extra sleek and dramatic graduated short bob. The sharp angle of the hair is made less harsh by the feminine shade that it was dyed.
61. Wavy Gunmetal Blonde Bob
There is a lot to unpack with this gunmetal blonde bob! The color is icy and dramatic, but the wavy styling, which was done with a flat iron, helps to soften it. This short bob has razored edges for texture and volume.
Photos via Instagram