Having bleach blonde hair is something of an extreme sport: it requires energy and commitment, and the longer you go on, the more your hair starts to feel like it might need to retire. Thankfully, there’s one impossibly chic (and forever-trending) option that aims to eliminate split ends and hair damage for good. That, my friends, is the bob haircut.
What is the preppy bob haircut trend?
“Neat”, “understated” and “classic” are often associated with the word “preppy”. Unlike the short haircut trends of the past, this iteration isn’t so much about smooth ends, nor is it feathered or layered. In fact, it’s pretty weighty, which gives it an androgynous feel. Cutting the hair to one length all the way around (known as “solid form” in the hairdressing world), achieves the right level of swing between the chin and the shoulders. It’s the perfect option for those who want a statement chop that’s easy to style and looks good when it eventually grows out.
I’ve had a deep desire to bring back my natural waves, so I decided to say goodbye to my long, bleached lengths in the pursuit of a more au naturel style for autumn — and, of course, I settled on the preppy bob. Plenty of bob trends flood social media on a daily basis, and it’s easy to miss the elements that distinguish a preppy bob from other interpretations. Anita Rice, cofounder of Buller And Rice told me, “The preppy bob is a new autumn twist on the big trends that hit over the summer, such as the “French bob”, the “boyfriend bob” and the “Italian bob”, which all sit close to the jawline and often have a ’90s feel.”
In contrast, the preppy bob is a little longer, and luckily for me, it encourages natural movement (simply scrunch in curl products and let your hair air-dry). Equally though, you can wear it sleek with the help of a round brush and a hairdryer.
How do you achieve a preppy bob?
I walked into Buller and Rice with hair that had grown far beyond underboob territory, so it was important that we got rid of the bulk of the length before shaping my hair into my desired bobbed style. Rice tied my hair up into pigtails and snipped it off around my décolletage. This left me with a rather bulky shoulder-length cut.
Before shaping, I had a colour refresh, which consisted of blending my grown out roots into a series of more natural lowlights. Rice then applied a dark toner to help achieve my desired mushroom-y blonde. Once the colour was rinsed out, it was time to transform my lob into a fully fledged preppy bob with the help of a very specific cutting technique.
“The preppy bob (which can also be referred to as a ‘stacked bob’) is ever so slightly shorter at the nape,” explained Rice. This means it requires a short, sharp chop to define the edge, rather than any deep feathering (typically associated with the Italian or French bobs). The blunt cutting technique makes the hair stack upon itself, highlighting the texture on the edge. “We are encouraging width and volume throughout the bottom of the shape, which means it can be worn natural,” said Rice.
What’s it like to get a preppy bob?
I bounced out of the salon and felt overjoyed with my springy, short waves. As a lover of dramatic hair transformations, I was thrilled to receive some shocked faces from friends. A colleague told me she didn’t even recognise me. One week on, and now having to handle the styling myself, I’m slowly starting to understand the power of scrunching in product and how important it is to use smoothing serums to stop the dreaded mushroom effect (more on that later).
While I can no longer tie up my hair, the lightness of the cut means I can happily let my lengths hang loose most of the time. I just add a handful of well-placed clips when exercising. As we head into the colder weather, I’m delighted that my hair will sit sweetly above a chunky scarf and I feel excited about the prospect of amping up the preppiness of the bob with a pleated skirt and loafers. When I think back to how long it used to take me to wash my hair, I relish the ease of my new morning routine and can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. In my book, this makes the preppy bob a roaring success.
What is the best way to style a bob haircut?
Various hairdressers have told me that I have fine hair, but a lot of it, so I know the importance of getting my hair products right to avoid a shapeless look. According to Rice, finer hair can benefit from the use of pre-blow drying products like Davines Liquid Spell, £40. When applied to wet hair, it creates volume and protects against heat damage.
Finishing products, like Davines Dry Texturiser, £26.25, kicks the preppy bob into high gear by creating gentle and effortless movement, says Rice. This texture spray occupies a space between a dry shampoo and a hairspray, and it won’t leave waves feeling crunchy.
For thicker hair, Rice recommends Oway Smoothing Fluid, £39.50, which makes blowdrying easier. If you like to let your hair dry naturally, she praises Davines Love Curl Cream, £23, to help hydrate hair and maximise curl definition. You might like to finish off with a multi-functioning oil for added softness. Rice recommends Davines Oi Oil, £40.75. Also try Arkive The Good Habit Hybrid Oil, £14, or VO5 Invisibly Light Hair Oil, £5, if you’d rather spend less.
How do you best maintain a preppy bob?
After twelve weeks, your blunt bob is likely to have reached your collarbone, veering into long bob territory. So if you want to keep on top of your preppy bob, it’s best to get a trim every eight weeks or so. Beyond regular cuts, Rice pushes the importance of investing in shampoos, conditioners and hair treatments, such as masks and leave-in conditioners, that will help look after and hydrate the hair in between salon visits.
Rice pinpoints Oway Moisturising Hair Bath Shampoo, £24, and Davines Intense Hair Treatment, £22, as personal favourites. R29 also rates L’Oréal Elvive Hydra Hyaluronic Shampoo, currently £2.25, and Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Coconut Oil 3-in-1 Hair Mask Treatment, currently £3.99.
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