I Got The Boyfriend Bob & It’s Not For The Fainthearted

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Hi, it's me, your own personal haircut guinea pig. If you're a R29 regular, you'll know that I'm always up for putting my face, nails and especially hair forward for #content — particularly if it involves a bob haircut. This week is no different.
In the past year, I've had the bottleneck bob (a long bob with streamlined curtain bangs that create a bottleneck-like appearance as they fall and blend into the rest of the hair) and the Italian bob (a chunky-ended bob, flipped to the side and worn in a wave). Fast-forward to this month and there's only one bob haircut that's picking up some serious search on Google and TikTok respectively.
Enter: the boyfriend bob.
Boyish, as the name suggests, this bob haircut is short, sharp and a little bit floppy. The inspiration behind the cut is all your favourite '90s heartthrobs and celebrities. Think Nick Carter meets Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic with a sprinkle of Natalie Imbruglia in her "Torn" music video. I love this cut by stylist Sal Salcedo.
"Professionally known as the 'box bob', the boyfriend bob is a sharp, blunt-cut bob, sitting on (or just below) jaw length," Neil Moodie, editorial hairstylist and founder of Neil Moodie Studio in London, told me recently when I picked his brains on all things hair trends. "Ideally there are no layers and the haircut resembles a men's '90s curtains haircut — but longer, with a centre parting," said Neil. "It can be worn straight or with a soft wave in it."
The Italian bob I had in the summer had grown out beautifully and it was definitely time to book in for a trim. But I'd never gone short short. Before I knew it, I had an appointment booked with hairdresser Jordan Garrett at Hershesons salon in London's Fitzrovia for the boyfriend-inspired cut.
I'd brought along pictures of Dua Lipa's chin-length bob but I hadn't even gotten them out before Jordan suggested a cut that stops at my jawbone. That's too short, I thought, but I wanted to step outside my comfort zone so why not lean right into the boyish vibe? Jordan told me that this is the cool person's haircut and that's when I had a wobble, channelling Lawrence in School of Rock: "I'm not cool!" (People with impeccable taste in film will know exactly what I'm talking about, but if you don't, here's a clip.)
Apparently, I do have the face shape for a much shorter cut so I decided to bite the bullet and go for it. My hair grows at lightning speed so the shorter, the better. Plus, it's literally my job to show you what a style like this is really like. Instead of using scissors, Jordan parted my hair in the middle, picked up a razor and started to carve my lengths into a short, blunt cut for a more precise edge. Once we'd achieved a good length, Jordan used a pair of thinning scissors to take some weight out as I have a lot of hair (and didn't want the bob to resemble a mushroom).
The tidy-up requires some serious precision. If you're a fidget or you accidentally sneeze, it could be game over. I sat still as a statue until Jordan had dusted off any stray ends using a pair of clippers and with the precision of a bomb disposal expert. The cut is so short that a couple of hairs on my neck had to be shaved for a clean finish. I didn't mind this (because my hair grows so fast) but things did feel a little prickly afterwards...
@jacquelinekilikita The shortest haircut I’ve ever had! 💜 The ‘boyfriend’ bob by Jordan at @hershesons #bob #bobhaircut #boyfriendbob #haircut #hairtrends #hairtrends2022 ♬ BORN FOR THIS - Foxxi
My hair was blow-dried straight, and a round brush (I've been rough-drying it and going over it with the ghd Platinum+ Hair Straightener, $395, at home). Jordan finished the style in a centre parting, which is very chic and very Parisian, but I much prefer flipping it to the side for more of an informal '90s feel to awaken my inner Winona Ryder.
I won't lie to you: the boyfriend bob is taking some serious getting used to. Sometimes I catch myself in the mirror and think I look cool as hell. Even my makeup has changed to something grungier and more lived-in, with kohl eyeliner and smoky eyeshadow. Other times, the blunt edge looks a little bowl-like on me, though it's nothing a quick muss with my fingers doesn't sort immediately. I feel as though some of my clothes (cardigans, dresses) appear too cutesy on me now, so I'm throwing myself into the boyish energy with rollneck jumpers, oversized shirts and tank tops like Cat Limket on Instagram.
One thing you should know about getting a cut like this is that most people you know — and strangers, too — will have something to say about it. My boyfriend likes it when it's flipped to the side and a friend I saw on the weekend kept saying it looks really cool both ways. Some people on the internet have been complimentary but I have received a couple of comments that my hair looked better before (even though the ends were straggly from summer heat and in dire need of a chop). Unnecessary, I think, but who knew that short hair would divide so much opinion!
So how do you style a cut like the boyfriend bob? My hair is naturally very wavy so wearing it naturally isn't really an option unless I want it around my ears. This requires heat but very little product. After washing and conditioning my hair, I simply rake through a coin-sized squeeze of Chāmpo Leave-In Perfecting Cream, $41, and blow-dry. I use the same cream to smooth down any flyaways when dry. In salon, Jordan used Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Resurfacing Reinforcing Milk, $52, in my hair when damp.
The great thing about this cut is that because it's so blunt, growing it out is seamless and easy. In a couple of months, it'll reach my chin and though it won't be as boyish, it'll still retain that cool '90s quality (or as Jordan put it, a Kurt Cobain feel). I'm so ready.
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