Spring 2023 Is All About Short Hair, But That Doesn't Mean A Boring, Uniform Bob Is Your Only Option

It's chopping season and everyone is needing a new look. Spring 2023 is all about a shorter cut, whether minimalist with sharp lines and sleek edges, or fluffy and carefree. To make matters even more exciting (and historical), the shorter looks that are so current and trending right now gain inspiration from the past — from reimagined mullets to '70s bangs and 1920s Flapper-era bobs. But just because these looks are inspired by iconic haircuts doesn't mean they're dated replicas. Instead, these contemporary, shorter looks use their history as a launch pad and jump into a fresh take on the tried, tested, and true — or adventurous, if you're considering a mullet!

Bangs are back, baby, as are juicy, bold color palettes; there's no hiding behind natural hair dye colors. These looks are unapologetically bright and we are living for it. So take a gander through the chicest short looks that put the bang (and beyond) in the bob.

Reimagining the French bob

There's the traditional bob cut, and then there's the French bob, a très chic reworking of the classic style. What makes the French bob so sought-after is that it's an unfussy look. Air dried or blow dried, the stylish bob is a cinch, and requires no demanding styling, unlike a classic bob, that can tend to be highly-structured and finicky at times.

The French bob cuts off around the cheekbones, in a range of length from just below the ears to above the chin. Hairstylist Garren told Byrdie why he loves the French bob so much. "I've been pushing it recently to clients who want to be freed of hair that has grown out during the pandemic. This was my signature look in the 90s," he explained. "I cut Karlie Kloss' hair into a French bob. It was a little messy, not flat to the head, and it had personality."

The look is traditionally cut with bangs and the styling of the bangs is the same for the rest of the look: uncomplicated and natural. The bangs tend to be shorter and casually styled without too much precision. Aaron Grenia told Byrdie, "The style gives your hair that just-out-of-bed but still chic look, that never looks like you tried hard." It's pure gold and a piece of cake. What could be better than that?

It's all about the bixie cut

If a bob and a pixie cut had a baby, it would be the bixie. This twist is effortless and styling can be as complicated or simple as you want. Stylist Briana Cisneros spoke with Behind the Chair to explain why the bixie is such a winner. First she said it's cut in such a way to maximize movement and volume, using "shattered" layers to give the look dimension and playfulness. She went on to explain that stylists typically use both razors and scissors to create the bixie. "It [has] a beautiful grow out as well, that [the client] could grow into a full blown bob," she noted.

The length of the bixie typically cuts off an inch or two below the ears, but thanks to its pixie heritage, the layers can be much shorter and even internal, so that the look maximizes volume. Even better, the look often involves fun, fringe bangs. "This cut is perfect for people wanting a chop without committing to the maintenance of a short style. It's a fun, edgy, low-maintenance style that pretty much anyone can wear," stylist Jenna Spino told Byrdie. So if you're after easy, effortless, and stylish, the bixie is for you.

What the choppy bob can do for you

The choppy bob can do things that no other bob — or style, for that matter — can do. The cut sets itself apart thanks to its goth-glam aesthetic that serves an edgy, carefree look with blunt-cut layers. The look pairs well with curtain bangs, so there's some added play around the face. The layers typically fall just above the shoulders. What's so compelling about the chopped bob is that the styling is versatile; the same cut can look shaggy or polished, depending on what you choose to do with it during styling. 

Jenna Ortega rocked the look in January 2023 and her stylist, David Stanwell, told Glamour how he created her look. "In Jenna's case, we create a 'wolf shag,' our own modern play on some of these effortless '90s inspired styles," he said. "Of course, some people refer to it as a choppy bob...though I have a feeling we'll soon be calling this one 'the Jenna.'" 

Stanwell said that the best way to achieve the look is first by using a root lifting spray. Then, set the hair with velcro rollers except the bangs. Dry the bangs separately, so that they fall around the face. If we're really aching for a '90s throwback, Stanwell suggested styling the ends so that they curl out. "I then went through her hair and flicked out the bottom all around," he said. "We really wanted to play with a nod to the effortless '90s classic style."

The appeal of the undercut bob

No, you're not asking to speak to the manager. The undercut bob is a variation of the classic bob that's dynamite for those with thicker hair. The cut is distinct because of the shaved sides and nape of the neck. To underscore the shaved parts, this looks works best with a side part, which also helps to emphasize volume. Stylist Michele Sanford told Latest Hairstyles what to keep in mind. "A bob undercut is going to always give a slimmer look," she said. "A low undercut will give you more weight, whereas a high undercut will give you much less hair. It's one of the most effective and prettiest ways that my pixie girls grow out their hair."

Stylist Jammie Thompson gave a tutorial on how to correctly style the undercut bob. She said that we should focus on building volume on the shorter side of the cut, while flattening out the longer portion of the undercut bob. To do this, Thompson suggested blasting the roots with a blowdryer and lifting the hair by the hand until the it's nearly dry. Thompson explained that our hair doesn't have "style memory" until it's 80% dry, so there's no need to use a brush until this point. After this, go in with a round brush and dry the back first then the shorter side. She said that using a flat paddle brush to do the longest side keeps the look sharper, with the voluminous contrast of the shorter side and back.

What the heck is Jellyfish hair?

Of all of the bold choices for short looks in Spring 2023, jellyfish hair might be the most daring. When we say "jellyfish," we mean it. Think of the shape of the marine animal and transfer that to hair. The top part of the hair mimics the round, bob-like shape of a jellyfish; think a bowl cut, but chic. Meanwhile, the longer strands mimic the tentacles. "The jellyfish cut has disconnected sections, with the top section [having] very short layers while the bottom layer is long and textured," stylist Raven Hurtado told Glamour.

It can also be a fun, transitional hair on the way to a shorter look. Stylist Dan Williams told Glamour: "If you're thinking of chopping that long hair into a bob, I would try doing the jellyfish haircut." However, he added a note: "But it's definitely for a niche, artsy, and experimental group."

What's most fun about the jellyfish cut is how well it works with a juicy, punchy color. Think of the iridescence of a jellyfish and you get the idea. Soft teals and aquamarine tones look ravishing, but others have taken it in all sorts of directions. Plus, play around with different colors. The tentacles can be an entirely different range of tones from the bob part of the cut. It's not for everyone, but it can certainly be perfect on the right person.