A Long Bob Is a Timeless Hairstyle
Even though the Gen Z’ers like to dunk on Millennials for side parts and skinny jeans, the long bob haircut has stood the test of time. Anyone and everyone looks great with this cut whether it’s chin-length, medium-length, or shoulder-length. The long bob cut is easy to change to fit any style.
I’ve been changing my hair up since high school with interesting cuts and colors. When I get the urge to cut it, a long bob is one of my favorite choices.
Long Bobs in the Early 1900s
In 1909, the original short bob was born. The hairstyle was popularized by the first “celebrity hairdresser” known as Monsieur Antoine, who had a shop in Paris and said his inspiration was Joan of Arc. (Source, Source)
In the 1920s, many women favored this haircut in defiance of social standards of the time, which dictated that long hair was feminine and short hair was not. World War I had just ended, and most women's general sentiment was “Let’s live for now!” instead of continuing to follow social norms. This led to both shorter hemlines and shorter haircuts, which were not acceptable in society for many years.
Preachers demonized the haircut in their sermons, and in an effort to convince women to not cut their hair, conservative pundits spread rumors that a bob cut could lead to baldness and the growing of mustaches. In America during the mid-1920s, female teachers, secretaries, and department store workers were fired for going to work with bobbed hair. (Source)
Styles of the 1920s
The 1920s were a time of experimentation with the bob, and it could be worn in many ways. The traditional original bob, sometimes called the “Buster Brown,” was characterized by blunt cut fringe bangs and hair chopped just below the ears.
The “Charleston Bob” was a softer version of this haircut, characterized by soft waves and a side part. Women often took the Charleston bob and added finger waves too, which were a version of soft flat waves made with a wet comb.
For women who wanted the style but didn’t want to cut their hair, it became popular to create two braids, wind them up and pin them just under the ears to create the illusion of short hair, often called the “Earphone Style.”
Bobs of the 1940s Through the 1980s
Long bobs, or lobs, became popular during the 1940s and ‘50s when it became fashionable to keep hair longer again. Women of this era often styled a lob with victory rolls or soft curls.
In the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, lobs managed to stay in style with a few different additions. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, adding fringe and loose curls was most popular, while extra volume was the big addition of the ‘80s.
Resurgence of the Long Bob
The long bob made another appearance in 1995 with the debut of the tv show Friends. Jennifer Anniston’s haircut, which many refer to as the “Rachel” cut, took hold. Inspired by shag cuts of the ’60s and '70s and paired with highlights, it became a highly requested cut at salons in the ’90s.
The "Rachel" cut was designed by Chris McMillan of Estilo Salon in Los Angeles, who originally came up with the cut as a way to help Anniston grow out her bangs (source). Many women, including Anniston herself, said that the style was very hard to keep up and required a certain kind of styling to have the volume people wanted. It was nearly impossible for Anniston to get it looking just right without McMillan's help fixing it for her on set. Even with its upkeep issues, the style broke hair barriers in that it really has not gone out of style, and people are still asking for it over 25 years later.
A Long Bob Looks Great With Any Face Shape
Lobs look great with every face shape. They are also versatile in that you can part your hair in the middle or on the side, and it will still look great. If you’re still trying to decide between a long bob and other haircut types, it can sometimes help to know your face shape.
How to Determine Your Face Shape
You can determine your face shape by taking measurements of your face using a measuring tape. You’ll need to write down four measurements:
- Face Length: Start at the center of your hairline and measure down to the tip of your chin.
- Forehead: Start at the peak of one eyebrow arch, and measure to the other eyebrow arch.
- Jaw: Start from the widest part of your jaw and measure across to the other side. Usually, the widest part of your jaw is about an inch below your ear, where you can feel the bone start to curve in to become your chin.
- Cheeks: Start from the sharp bump of your cheekbone just underneath the outside of your eye and measure to the same spot on the other side.
Once you have written these measurements, you can determine which of the following face shapes fits you best.
- Round: Your face length and cheeks have a similar measurement that is larger than the forehead and jaw measurements. Additionally, you’ll notice your jawline is softer.
- Square: All four measurements come out to be about the same, and you’ll notice a sharper jawline.
- Oval: The face length measurement is longer than any other measurement, and everything else is similar in length.
- Triangle: The forehead is the largest measurement, followed by cheekbones and then jawline. The face length can be anything here.
- Heart: The forehead is wider than the jaw. Your hairline may form in a widow’s peak in the middle, and the line of your jaw is a little softer.
Are There Different Types of Long Bobs?
The short answer is YES! You can pair yours with bangs, waves, curls, or layers. Lobs can be symmetric, asymmetric, inverted, and more. A long bob is a great medium-length haircut with many different options to customize. Luckily, since this is one of my favorite lengths, I’ve got a few examples of different long bobs on my own hair that might help you decide what you like best.
Angled Bob / Asymmetric Bob
One of my favorite ways to wear a lob is with an angled cut. An angled bob, sometimes called an inverted bob, is where the hair is cut without layering, and there is a clear angled line from the back, which is shorter, to the front, which is longer.
It’s easy to get an angled long bob cut that is shoulder-length or medium-length. I’ve had it cut where the short part starts at the base of my head, and the longest part barely scrapes my shoulders. I’ve also had it cut like the photo above, where the short part starts at my shoulders, and the long part reaches below my shoulders. An angled bob is low maintenance and easy to grow out because it looks good at both shoulder-length and medium-length!
You can also pair an angled bob with an asymmetric cut beautifully, as my hairstylist did for me. An asymmetric bob adds some additional character to the cut. The only difference between an angled bob and an asymmetrical bob is that one side is longer than the other with an asymmetrical bob.
Another popular way to wear a long bob is with layers or feathering. I’ve done layers with my long bob several times. A layered look is a very professional look and is also easy to maintain. My standard styling routine before I started dying my hair was to blow it dry, then use a round brush with the blowdryer to curve the ends a bit. A layered bob is perfect if you prefer symmetric haircuts. I normally part my hair to the side, but it is so easy to do a middle part with a symmetric layered bob.
If symmetry is your preference, make sure to part your hair the way you want it before you go to the salon so that the stylist can make the layering match.
How to Style a Long Bob
Long bobs are also so much fun to wear with curls. Because I dye my hair bright colors nowadays, I usually create heatless curls because I don’t want to damage my hair with a curling iron or straightener.
My favorite way to make curls without heat is using a Curl Scarf. A curl scarf makes it easy to curl your hair anytime because it looks like a cute headband—so you can wear it overnight to bed or while you’re out and about. After 6–8 hours, you’ve got pretty curls!
A long bob doesn’t have to be above your shoulders. You can also get one that comes just past! As seen in the photo above from when I had green and yellow hair, the long bob looks great if it’s just a bit past your shoulders too. In this picture, I did loose waves created again by the curl scarf but brushed out.
How to Talk to Your Stylist About Getting a Long Bob
A long bob is such a classic hairstyle that your hairstylist should be able to do it easily. You will definitely want to give specifics, though. You will want to decide some things before you go to the salon so that you can accurately describe your preferred lob cut to your hairstylist. Consider whether or not you want:
- Bangs and what length you'd like them to be
- Feathering (like Farrah Fawcett)
- An angled cut
- A blunt cut (a straight line across)
- Shoulder-length or medium-length
- Asymmetrical or symmetrical
It may also help to bring a picture along. Search for your favorite celebrities online to see if they’ve had a long bob haircut that you would like to copy. If you plan to also have your stylist do color along with your haircut, make sure to bring ideas or sample color palettes with you so that you can ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for!