The cub cut is the latest update on the bob—and it comes it-girl approved

It's 2023's take on the shag

Fashion week guest looking away from the camera with short dark hair and a pink chanel dress
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spoiler alert: the cub cut is as cute as it sounds. Autumn is just around the corner, and bob hairstlyes are still the most popular hair trend of the year. If, like so many, you succumbed to the appeal of the bob and want to give it an update, we've got the answer.

Whether your hair is at the undone bob stage or even teetering on lob length, the cub cut is the perfect way to give your bob an aumtumn 2023 refresh. If you were a fan of last year's shag cut, trust us when we tell you you're going to want in on the cub cut. Here's what to know.

What is the cub cut hairstyle?

"The cub cut is a super edgy, yet softer, version of the wolf cut," explains Alice Dawkins, Hair Expert at Milk + Blush (winner of the Marie Claire UK hair award for best extensions). "Where the wolf cut was much more like the mullet and featured some quite severe layers, the cub cut has choppy, shaggy layers on various gradients and cropped ends," she explains. 

While you can make choppy layers work for most lengths, it's the shorter length that defines the cub cut. "This medium-length haircut helps to sculpt the face and highlight cheekbones but with a softer silhouette," Dawkins tells us. 

"The cub cut has spawned from a combination of two popular cuts—the bob and the wolf cut. The wolf cut is a longer cut, usually around collarbone length, with plenty of layering to create an undone and textured look. It’s then usually paired with a fringe. The cub cut takes these layers to a bob length, creating a choppy chin length look," says Tyler Moore, expert stylist at Live True London.

Who should try the cub cut hairstyle?

"This style can work on all hair types, textures, and face shapes, but it looks particularly great if you have a natural wave or curl in the face-framing layers," says Dawkins. "Those with round faces should look to keep it longer at the front to elongate their face, whereas longer faces should look to add some face-framing layers or bangs."

If you're looking for ways to had lift and body to your roots, the cub cut could help. "It can be good for adding dimension and body higher up in your cut," says Moore.

But if you want to grow your bob out entirely, then skip the cub cut."The cub cut is not the look for you if you want to grow out your bob, as it involves cutting in very short layers that will require some maintenance to keep looking fresh. These layers can look a bit awkward as your hair begins to grow out. It’s best for those who like their bob length hair but want to mix things up and try something new," explains Moore. 

How to style and maintain a cub cut hairstyle

Before you go for any new style, what you need to know is how easy it is going to be to maintain and style. Luckily, the cub cut is wonderfully low maintenance

"This cut is designed for low-effort styling. It is the perfect roll-out-of-bed style. I recommend using a lightweight nourishing styling spray, such as the new FUL London Styling Spray and a texturising salt spray, pomade or dry shampoo to add hold, volume and texture, especially if your hair is finer," says Moore.

"The good news about this style is the cut should naturally do most of the styling for you," says Dawkins. "Air dry your locks or use a diffuser to enhance your hair's natural texture, and finish with some texturising spray."

However, it's worth noting that although styling is a breeze, a cub cut does require regular salon visits. "You will need to keep on top of your trims to keep your layers looking sharp and fresh, as well as to avoid breakage and split ends. Because of the choppiness of this cut, it will be more noticeable as it grows out, meaning you will need to book back in for a cut every 6-8 weeks," says Moore.

Dawkins' top tip? "Ask your stylist to use a razor for super choppy layers to keep the shape longer between appointments."

Cub cut inspiration to take to your hairstylist 

1. The Original Cub Cut

We can thank Ortega for the popularity of the cub cut. Edgy but sophisticated, consider this a lesson in how to do the cub cut correctly. 

2. The Cool Girl Cub Cut

"Miley gives the hairstyle a daring, bold twist," says Dawkins. Miley Cyrus knows how to do cool, and the two-tone take on the cub cut is it. 

3. The Curly Cub Cut

This look does a great job at proving why the cub cut style is made for curls. 

4. The Classic Cub Cut

If you're not sure whether you want to go for the full-blown cub cut, take notes from Lucy Hale on wearability.

5. Wet cub cut

Yes, yes and yes. Who knew the cub cut would even look good on wet-look hair?

6. Colourful Cub Cut

There's only one way to make the cub cut even cooler and that's with a pop of colour. 

7. Two-Tone Cub Cut

Excuse us but this volume?! It's very much giving Leo hair energy.

Dionne Brighton

Dionne Brighton is a writer at Marie Claire UK, specialising in all things shopping, beauty and fashion. Born and raised in North London, she studied Literature at the University of East Anglia before taking the leap into journalism. These days, you can find her testing out the latest TikTok beauty trends or finding out what the next full Moon means.