The French Bob Is The Sleekest Way To Do Short Hair

Few things feel as good as a fresh haircut: the lightness after all the extra length and weight are snipped off, the healthy feel of soft and nourished strands relieved of split ends. With the liberating sensation, it's no wonder that getting a haircut is often treated as a symbolic change for endings and new beginnings.

If you're looking to capture that feeling — or simply want to switch up your look — why not go for a bob? Going from sporting long locks to a shoulder-length (or shorter) cut is a dramatic transformation that, when done right, can make you look and feel chic and confident. Since the bob comes in different styles and lengths, finding a specific type that works for your lifestyle and hair texture is easy.

While the Italian bob was all the rage this summer, thanks to its luscious body and bounce, you can never go wrong by going even shorter with the classic French bob. A usually blunt haircut that hits right at the jawline, it's a daring change for anyone who typically wears their hair long. However, it pays off by giving you an enviable Parisian flair, especially when paired with a blunt fringe. Even better, the French bob can be adapted to fit one's hair type and lifestyle. "By using different cutting angles, you can change the appearance of a face shape, meaning this style can be flattering for all," stylist and colorist David McNeil affirmed to Woman & Home.

What differentiates it from other bob styles

First popularized in the 1920s, the French bob became the signature hairstyle of the Roaring Twenties, a period marked by the increased emancipation of women in terms of economic independence and sexual freedom. While it doesn't convey the sensuousness of having long, silky tresses, the way it leaves the nape and the throat exposed creates a cool yet subtly sexy contrast to its low-maintenance nature. Emblematic of the 1920s flappers' joie de vivre, this vintage style has remained a favorite for decades.

The French bob also has a softness that differentiates it from other bob styles. Although it's often cut bluntly in one length, stylists can add subtle layers for those who don't have stick-straight hair. If you're one of them, celebrity hairstylist Garren's advice to Byrdie is to look for a stylist who can work with your natural wave pattern and knows how to use scissors and razors to finetune a haircut so you don't end up with a boxy bob. "You can ask for the same length for all hair types. That's the beauty of [the French bob]," IGK founder Aaron Grenia added.

Even with its short length, it can be styled in different ways. Although often paired with a blunt fringe, wispy, side-swept, and micro bangs also look good with a French bob. Sans bangs, it's fun to switch up where you part your hair with this haircut. Sport it sleek and straight one day then mussed up the next.

What to ask your stylist

Any competent hairstylist would immediately know what a French bob is. (And if the one you're talking to seems to draw a blank at the mention of it, it might be best to look for another stylist.) Still, presenting them with images of your haircut inspirations can give them a better idea of how you want your Parisian-style bob to look on you.

If you're balking at the idea of having your cut to just below your ears, bring a picture of a slightly longer French bob, which can be chin-length or even slightly below it. It's also good if the model in the picture has a similar hair texture as yours so you can point out the details you'd like your stylist to include in your haircut.

Should you decide to skip the fringe, hairstylist Garren's tip in Byrdie is to discuss with your stylist having your hair cut longer in the front and not so blunt in the bottom. Allure also noted how stylist Joseph Maine would use the point-cutting technique to remove the bulk that would give the hairstyle an unflattering A-line silhouette. Per The French Reception, this fundamental hairdressing method cuts hair at a slight angle to create seamless layers and texturized ends that let the strands move naturally. That way, even if your preferred French bob doesn't come with bangs, it still has that modern yet effortless edge to it. Changing where you part your hair also becomes easier.

How to style your French bob

The French bob can be a wash-and-go hairstyle, whether you have straight or textured hair. Those with wavy or curly locks can make their natural coils look more pronounced with a texturizing spray or mousse. Tousle your tresses lightly to give what hair expert Aaron Grenia described to Byrdie as "that just-out-of-bed but still chic look that never looks like you tried hard." Hairstylist Garren also told the publication that applying any product is best done while the hair is wet so it doesn't weigh down the strands and that a little amount already goes a long way. Finally, let everything air dry or follow stylist David McNeil's advice (per Woman & Home) to blow-dry your hair to give it some volume at the crown. If you don't have a fringe, a quicker way to give your hair a lift near the roots is to do a deep side part.

Amp up the sexy factor of your French bob by doing a wet look for a night out on town. L'Oreal Paris said you can achieve this by applying "a non-sticky, high-shine hair gel" on damp (not wet) hair, starting from the roots down to the tips. Next, comb your hair back, working either a fine-toothed comb or a hair brush through the strands to "sculpt" it in place. Add some fresh-from-the-shower shine with glossing spray then keep everything in place with hair spray. You're sure to turn heads with your sleeker-than-usual French bob.