A bob is deceptively versatile. The same style can be mod and edgy one day, sleek and shiny the next and flirtatiously messy the next. It's not just in how you dry and style your bob that determines its vibe, though; the cut itself is hugely important. A good hairstylist can work with you to figure out whether your bob should be layered, textured or both – but it's always best to walk into the salon knowing what type of cut you're looking for.
Understanding a Layered Bob
The blunt bob was popularized by fabulous flappers in the 1920s. Women who opted for this liberating and modern style generally had their hair cut to just below the ears and in one length. Copying that look today is perfect for women who have thinner hair and love an edgy look, but it's hardly ideal for those women with thick or curly tresses. Cutting voluminous hair straight across can have the unfortunate side effect of making it look triangular.
Layering minimizes that. To create a traditional layered bob, a stylist will generally cut the hair to the desired length, then use shears to cut the top layers of hair to shorter lengths. Each layer may be the same length all around the head, or be longer or shorter in the front than at the back – but generally, the stylist will cut straight across the hair to create this type of bob.
Understanding a Textured Bob
Like a layered bob, a textured bob is cut in a way that minimizes any bluntness at the bottom. To create a textured look, a stylist generally uses shears or a razor to cut the ends of the hair. Instead of holding the shears horizontally to the floor and cutting across the hair, a stylist doing a textured cut will hold the shears or razor vertically to make cuts. This technique creates a choppier look because there's more variation in length.
Choosing a Layered Bob
A layered bob is a good option for anyone with thick, straight hair. A few subtle layers give the cut shape and curve and keep it from looking too bottom-heavy. This style may also work for women with fine, straight hair because it can give thinner hair the appearance of more volume. Consider a layered bob if your face is long or thin, as the layers should add some flattering width, but avoid if it you have a round face. Because the bob may start to look strange as the layers grow out, be prepared to make frequent salon visits for maintenance.
Choosing a Textured Bob
A textured bob is perfect for anyone whose hair has some curl. Your stylist should analyze the way your curls fall and make cuts that encourage those curls to lift and bounce. This type of cut works equally well on women with straight hair. Consider a textured bob if you want your hair to look a little messy and choppy. It's generally flattering on all face shapes. Without separate layers, a textured bob should grow out fairly evenly.
Choosing Both Styles
Layering and texturing aren't mutually exclusive. A stylist can give you a layered bob and then add some texturing to the individual layers to give the hair plenty of movement, and to camouflage the layers a bit to make them less obvious.
Kathryn Walsh has been writing about health, wellness and beauty for nearly 10 years. Her work has appeared on sites including USAToday.com, Mamapedia and Livestrong.com.