The bob haircut is one of the very few hairstyles that has not only stood the test of time, but also evolved to flow with ever-changing fashion and beauty trends. Over the past few years we've seen so many iterations: the blunt bob, the Italian bob, the bullet bob — the list goes on and on. However, none have quite had the staying power (the je ne sais quoi) of the French bob.
A few seasons ago, celebrities like Dua Lipa and Kaia Gerber made a case for the blunt bob with a deep centre parting. Dead straight and all one length, the hairstyle boasted a glassy shine and sat just above the shoulders. Then, stylists touted the sci-fi-inspired, cheekbone-skimming micro-bob as the next big thing, lopping a couple more inches off the ends and topping it off with a heavy fringe. Last year, the chic neck-skimming Italian bob took the cake as the style of the summer. And just earlier this year, the 'cub cut' was trending: a shaggy wolf cut-meets-bob à la Jenna Ortega.
Fast-forward to now, though, and it's still the French bob which takes precedence. Even as other bobs have come and gone in moments of popularity, the Parisian hairstyle has remained among the most searched and requested chops out there (just look to the 1.5 billion views on the topic on TikTok). So, here's what you need to know about pulling off the French bob.
What is the French bob?
"The look goes back to the '20s jazz scene, where everyone was wearing little bobs. The French were (and still are) known for this really beautiful hairstyle," says Ryan Forsythe, director and head of education at award-winning hair salon, Trevor Sorbie. "I would say that a French bob is similar to a one-length bob in terms of the cut, but it doesn’t have any heavy layering. Instead, it appears more natural and effortless in style."
In terms of length, it's almost as short as bobs get (only the micro-bob is shorter). "The French bob always hits the jawline or just below," says Ryan. And while a fringe is optional, it definitely adds that Parisian je ne sais quoi, much like this style by hairstylist Marco Bargione for digital creator Francesca Polizzi.
How To Style The French Bob
While bobs can be high maintenance, this particular version is perfect for those who like easy styling. "The only thing that makes the French bob different is that it is styled more naturally," says Ryan, "so when it is blow-dried, the movement is natural." The finish is meant to appear rough-dried, not overly styled or straightened, so it works well with curly and wavy hair, too, as shown by this style worn by digital creator Franny M.
The one hair product Ryan suggests investing in is a volumising hair mousse. "This is brilliant for a style like the French bob," he says. "Apply it to the hair and blow-dry it through using your fingers. It's also very nourishing, so hair looks like it's always in really good condition."
While the French bob is a style that suits pretty much everyone, it pays to take your face shape into consideration, according to Ryan. "When deciding which length to go for, it's best to have a consultation with your stylist beforehand," says Ryan. "Not just to assess your face shape for the correct length, but to decide on which look you'd like to go for," whether it's a full blunt fringe or something more choppy, like this style sported by fashion creator Viv Chen.
"Overall though, styling it is pretty easy as it's a safe, classic haircut," adds Ryan. And don't be afraid to bring in pictures for inspiration. "This is a good way to start the conversation with your stylist," says Ryan. "I always advise my guests to look for particular things that they like in photos, rather than the whole look. For example, pick out a colour, texture, length or perhaps a fringe. These visual aids really help stylists ensure the client gets the exact look they are hoping for."
How To Maintain A French Bob
Luckily, upkeep for the French bob is super easy. "The beautiful thing about the French bob is that it grows out evenly and the style is also long-lasting, so it will still look great at a longer length," says Ryan.
The key to nailing it is the detail of the cut. "It has to be cut well," Ryan says, so choose a stylist you can trust to be precise and to take their time. "If you want to maintain that shorter length, I'd advise you get your French bob cut every six to eight weeks," adds Ryan. "It will make all the difference because it's such a beautiful, effortless and nonchalant look."