While all haircuts can be tailored to your face shape, today’s topic is super-short snips. After all, as much as we love mermaid-length manes, chin- and collarbone-length bobs are still having a moment.
Here’s the thing: When you’re working with shorter ends, you might think that there’s little that can be done to customize a cut to your face shape. But au contraire, according to some of the industry’s most renowned stylists, it all comes down to knowing the exact length, when to layer, and whether or not bangs should be a part of the mix.
Of course, we don’t expect you to understand these simple concepts with just that tidbit. As such, we chatted with top stylists to come up with your ultimate guide to the best bob for every face shape.
Whether you have a round, oval, square, or heart-shaped bone structure, ahead you’ll discover the most flattering bob for you.
Round: Long Bob (Lob)
“The best bob for a round face shape should lay below the chin to elongate it,” Chicago-based celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown says, touting Selena Gomez and Emma Stone as prime examples. “A deep side part and light face-framing highlights will highlight features on a round face.”
Round: Pin Straight Lob
If you’ve got natural hair but are looking for a pin-straight finish, never underestimate the power of a quality flatiron. Not only will it give you silky-smooth strands, but it will also keep them healthy. To get Gabrielle Union’s sleek look, her stylist recommends Bio Ionic OnePass Styling Iron ($199).
Round: Wavy Lob
According to L’Oréal Paris celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Colombini, long bobs elongate round face shapes to draw the eye longer. From her middle part down to her cascading waves, this romantic cut and style certainly complement Penélope Cruz.
Round: Wavy Textured Lob
To recreate Emma Stone’s textured lob, “I recommend using wave spray to give the lob some movement with this face shape,” says Colombini. First, apply the spray—may we suggest Ouai Wave Spray ($28)?—to damp or dry strands for added bob movement. Simply spritz, grab a handful at the ends, and scrunch upwards. Alternatively, you can use a flat iron to create S-waves. Seal the look with texture spray and you’re good to go.
Round: Wavy “Wet” Lob
According to Angela Soto, a hairstylist and the owner of Baja Studio in NYC, lobs help bring length to the face while slimming down the width. Her favorite celebrity renditions of the cut include Chrissy Teigen and Kendall Jenner. “Worn super smooth, in a center part, or styled in tousled beach waves with a side tuck behind the ear are the best styles.” Here, Teigen opts for the wet hair look, which also works with the cut.
If on the shorter side of a long bob, consider adding an angle or a touch of length in the front since this can help to elongate a round jawline.
Oval: Chin-Length (or Just Beyond) Bob
“Just the opposite of round face shapes, it’s best to have a shorter length bob with an oval face shape,” Colombini explains, noting that Jessica Alba used to rock the cut flawlessly. In terms of a specific length, he says to opt for a chin- or just-below-chin-length.
To recreate Alba’s flipped ends, use a flat iron and curve outwards once you reach your mids and ends. To keep strands free of damage, especially when exposed to high temperatures, don’t forget to use a heat protectant before styling.
Oval: Flipped-under Bob
Prefer flipped-under bobs? Let Kim Kardashian be your muse. “My personal favorite for someone with an oval face shape is a blunt, chin-length bob like the one Kim Kardashian wore,” Brown shares. For added gloss, we recommend applying a shine serum like Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum ($23) or trying a DIY version when the mood strikes.
Oval: ’80s-Inspired Blown-out Bob
“This style is best blown-out with a round brush for volume for a retro ‘80s-inspired look, best referenced by Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface,” Soto notes, adding that Bella Hadid and Katy Perry have brought the popular cut into the modern-day.
Oval: Wavy Bob With Bangs
You can also add bangs to the mix. Soto says that since oval shapes tend to have more length in the forehead, they have the ability to wear a full fringe with their bob without it closing in on the face. We’re loving this textured take on Kelly Rowland.
Oval: Wavy Layered Lob
Jourdan Dunn’s piecey chin-length bob looks lovely with her oval face shape. While shorter hair can at times appear too voluminous (think: poufy), by adding soft layers and working with hair’s natural texture, you can achieve a look that is face-framing and flattering. The effect is both edgy and effortless.
Square: Mid-Length Layered Bob
Soto says square face shapes can’t go wrong with strong, mid-length bobs. “Because of the strong jawline, this length defines that line, bringing out the beauty of this strong feature as opposed to trying to take away from it,” she says, pointing out that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Hailey Bieber have rocked the look.
Square: Tapered Lob
Nicole Richie’s tapered lob is très chic. With one side of her hair tucked under, she nails an asymmetrical style without having committed to cutting her locks.
Square: Choppy Bob
If you’re looking for something a bit messier, perhaps it’s time to consider a choppy, layered bob. Switching up your part is an easy, yet effective way to change up your look (while also reflecting your personality, allegedly). For extra flair, master stylist Sergio Pattirane, says to sweep your hair into a side part to draw attention to your cheekbones, as seen here on Olivia Wilde.
Square: Tucked in Lob
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to transform your look but aren’t convinced by going under the scissors, you might want to take note of Zoë Kravitz’s tucked-in hair. This technique gives the illusion of a lob with the help of a high collar and is a fun and fast way to keep things fresh.
Square: Fringe Bob
Looking to add another style element to the mix? “Adding fringe to a bob is a great way to soften and balance square-shaped faces,” Brown explains. Rather than wear a blunt bang straight across, which can bring attention to the widest part of your face (read: forehead), Zendaya opts for broken ends, which add softness by texturizing.
Heart: Shaggy Lob
“A lob is the perfect choice for heart-shaped faces,” Colombini says. He suggests opting for a more lived-in texture—like Julianne Hough’s shag look—over something more structured. Blow-dry hair with a round brush to create volume and use a root lifting product like BosleyMD Volumizing & Thickening Styling Mousse ($9) to achieve this look.
Heart: Piecey Textured Lob
Rowan Blanchard’s textured lob creates fullness around her jawline which serves to bring balance and symmetry to her face. Also, by keeping a bit of length with her ‘do, she avoids the boxy appearance that can accompany a shorter cut—say, a bob, for instance—given her heart-shaped face.
Heart: Tucked Lob
Celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa says that the key to the heart-shaped haircut looking balanced is to have something across the forehead (whether fully or side-swept) and something to fill in the negative space between the chin and shoulders—as Reese Witherspoon does, above. “That’s why the lob is great,” she exclaims.
Heart: Thick, Wavy Lob
“A huge part of a haircut is making sure you have the extra hair on the sides that are long enough to fill the gap, especially when you have a bang or long layers,” says Potempa. Ciara’s blonde wavy lob is perfectly styled to just that.
If you don’t have lots of extra volume and/or if you have fine hair, adding a clip-in hair extension to fill in the front and sides will complement a heart-shaped face.
Heart: Natural Bob
Rock your natural hair as a bob, as seen here on Tika Sumpter. Her chin-length curls help to soften a heart-shaped face and add movement and fun to the classic bob.