I Got The ‘Bottleneck Bob’ Haircut & I Feel Like A Different Person

When it comes to hair trends, we're spoilt for choice right now. From the 'butterfly' haircut (which boasts long, sweeping layers) to the 'octopus' haircut (a wearable, modern-day take on the shag), there's an Instagram-worthy look for all hair types and textures. But it's fair to say that nothing is generating hype quite like the bob.
The bob is a surefire classic of course but London's hottest stylists are getting creative. Lately we've spotted the '90s version (blunt and sleek), boyish styles (featuring natural, undone texture) and bobs with a French twist (slightly shorter at the front to lift the face). As we edge into summer, though, the 'bottleneck bob' is invading the Instagram feeds of influencers and stylists alike. According to Google Trends, search for the look has increased by an enormous 1,150% this past month.
If you're an R29 regular, you might've spotted our recent trend story on 'bottleneck bangs'. The style sits in between a face-framing curtain fringe and something a little fuller but it isn't too voluminous or dramatic. The fringe is a bit more streamlined and blends in with the rest of the hair at the sides, hence the bottleneck name. With bobs and fringes both trending, it was only a matter of time before the two joined forces.
I've had a bob haircut before but I've never thought about teaming it with a fringe. If I'm being honest, I've been terrified of bangs since the early Myspace days (emos past and present, unite). As a result, I haven't strayed much from my classic centre parting. But something came over me as I scrolled through the #bottleneckbob hashtag on TikTok and I booked myself an appointment with Grace Amelia at Hershesons Fitzrovia.
It's always helpful to bring along a reference so I took a screenshot of this cut created by hairstylist Bobby Eliot for Ella Purnell, and of Selena Gomez's new, lived-in bob with bangs, cut by Orlando Pita. We settled on a style much closer to the former, which is a blunt cut and doesn't feature any layers. They can be quite difficult to style at home if you're not a dab hand with a hairdryer, and the whole point of the bottleneck bob is that the fringe does all the talking, right?
Once my hair had been washed and towel-dried, Grace started to lop inches off my lengths using the razor cutting technique favoured by a number of London's coolest stylists — including the very in-demand Hair Bros. Opting for a haircutting razor over scissors lends lengths a lighter feel and encourages swishy movement so that the finished result has a natural texture to it, rather than looking or feeling blocky.
I have quite a long, oval face shape and I worried that something too blunt or too short might not suit me. But Grace reassured me that bobs can be tailored to suit pretty much anyone. That goes for all hair types when cut by a professional who knows your texture really well. If you have a lot of thick hair like I do, your chosen stylist will likely opt for a pair of thinning scissors to take away some weight from the underside of your hair so you don't end up with the triangle look.
Once the bob was cut in, Grace moved on to the fringe, which she cut at an angle to blend into the rest of my hair for an effortless, lived-in look. The bottleneck fringe is totally different from the swooshy, '70s-inspired curtain bangs trending on TikTok right now and the streamlined shape means it'll be much easier to grow out should you want to switch things up in the future.
I can't lie, the bottleneck bob makes me feel like a total badass and I'm glad I bit the bullet, getting a fringe for the first time in almost 15 years and going much shorter than I've ever gone before. The cut means I've said goodbye to my frazzled ends, too, so my hair feels a lot healthier and bouncier.
Grace tonged my hair ever so slightly to enhance movement but at home I'm lazy and simply rough-dry my hair, then smooth it down with the ghd Glide Hot Brush, £159, which is a game-changer for thick, frizzy hair. The key to styling bottleneck bangs — or any curtain-esque fringe — is to invest in a round brush, says Grace. I love the Denman D75 Medium ThermoCeramic Curling Brush, £13, which has little vents to distribute airflow and to give hair real body.
When my hair is a little damp, I curl my fringe under the brush and blast it with the ghd Helios Professional Dryer, £179, always using the nozzle for precision and on low or medium heat to prevent damage. Then I muss up my hair with a bit of styling cream. Grace used Hershesons Almost Everything Cream, £10, on me but I also rate Undone by George Northwood Moisturising Cream, £15, which lasts forever.
Before the cut I had a couple of blonde highlights peeking through but like Selena Gomez's style, I think the bob looks a lot more chic when my hair is all one colour. I used Josh Wood Permanent Colour 5.0 Dark Brown + Smoky Brown Shade Shot, £19, to match my roots and to enhance shine.
The best thing about the bottleneck bob is that you can still whip it up into a claw clip style and let the fringe — which should be longer at the sides — frame your face. On days when it's raining or I don't have the time to get out the heated styling tools, this is how I'll be wearing my hair. The fringe also looks super cute and kinda '90s when I bring it forward and tuck the rest of the bob behind my ears. The inspiration? Prue from Charmed, obviously.
It's fair to say I'm sold on the bottleneck bob and if TikTok and Instagram are anything to go by, the style is definitely going to stick around for summer.
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