The Basics of the Bob Haircut

Woman wearing her hair in a neck length bob
The bob haircut is perhaps one of the most instantly recognizable, classic haircuts of all time. Originating in an era when women were beginning to assert their independence and beginning to express themselves as more than mother, wife and daughter, this style became the standard under which a whole generation of modern women danced to their own tunes.
The bob is simple in its design, and in many cases deceptively so. It is a truly precision cut that needs careful execution to create a good-looking style. Typically, the bob is shorter in length, rarely hanging lower than mid-neck, depending on the individual. It can be worn with or without a fringe (bangs) depending on the style preferences (and individual needs), and can be fully symmetrical (evenly executed on each side of the head) or have focal elements to shift the balance and the attention to desired points.
The classic bob is chin-length, and its cut line (the bottom edge of the hair) is perfectly horizontal, running parallel to the floor. It is cut by taking the hair in small sections (divided vertically so that you only have the lower half-inch or so hanging down at the beginning) and allowing it to hang straight down, and then cutting it with your scissors to the desired length. You continue by lowering the remaining hair in sections and cutting them using the previous section as a guide (and you add additional sections working your way upward as you go).
Use small amounts of hair in the sections, and comb the hair smooth, but don’t pull on it or hold it using any tension. Otherwise, you will end up with an uneven cut, since it is virtually impossible to maintain perfectly even tension throughout the entire cut.
One reason for the bob’s longevity and status as THE classic cut is its wide appeal and suitability. The bob can be dressed up and elegant, or can be a completely casual cut. It is a cut that is adaptable to almost any individual. It can be adjusted to suit almost any face shape, and many hair types, with the exception of the extremely curly and kinked or natural African-ethnic hair. Apart from these hair types, most other challenges to creating the bob for an individual have tips and tricks to adapt them and make them suitable and flattering.
Dealing With Specific Needs When Cutting the Bob Haircut:
Long Face
Bob haircuts for a long face
The long face (or sometimes thought of as a narrow or thin face) is problematic in creating hair looks because so many hairstyles involve the hair hanging down, which emphasizes a vertical focus and causes the face to appear even longer. Any cut for a long or narrow face needs to take this into consideration and adapt to counter some measure of this verticality. The bob can do this quite handily.
Bob cuts are classic and for the oval face, virtually any cut will suit, and the bob cut is no exception. It’s only when we adapt the bob for different face shapes, such as the long face, that we must make adjustments in the dimensions of this classic look.
With a long face, it’s important to remember the vertical balance. Shorten the length of the cut from just below the chin to above it, and give the forward edge a slight angle. This helps to create an appearance of horizontal focus and keep the face from looking too long.
Furthermore, if you opt for a fringe in the bob haircut, be sure that you keep the lines sharper and straighter when adapting the look for a long face. This further reinforces the horizontal focus and keeps the overall look in balance.
As you can see here, the oval face (considered the norm) and the long face appear balanced and there doesn’t seem to be much difference. However, when you pay attention to the specifics you see that the shorter length, and the horizontal focus on the longer face’s cut allows the face to appear less long and the features to look balanced.
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