As we head into autumn, it’s become indisputably clear that 2023 is the year of the bob. From the soft, cropped French bob to the more free-flowing awkward bob, there have been so many cool iterations of this short hairstyle over the last few months. The secret to its widespread appeal? A bob is just so damn versatile. You can experiment with the cut—sharp or soft—the length and, best of all, it looks good on all hair textures. In fact, it particularly lends itself to curly hair textures. Hence, this little homage to the best curly bobs that we’ve spotted this year—perfect if you’re considering a style switch-up.
Ahead, we spoke to Nadia Dean, Creative Stylist at John Frieda Salons, to give us the lowdown on what makes the curly bob so chic. alongside plenty of styling inspiration for your next trip to the salon.
What is a curly bob?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a curly bob is simply a short haircut—that sits above the shoulders—on curly hair. But with so many different styles of bob out there, there are a few things to take into account when heading to the salon. “Ask your stylist for a shape and length that shows off your natural curls and flatters your face shape,” advises Nadia. “If your best feature is a great jawline then the cut should finish there.” And while a bob is traditionally a one-length cut, which Nadia says looks great with a centre-parting, she recommends talking to your stylist about layers if you’re looking to add volume to your curly bob.
How should you look after a curly bob?
The bob is renowned for being a little high-maintenance as far as hair cuts go, with trims required every 6 weeks if you want to keep your bob at your desired length. As for looking after your style at home? “For natural curls, a curly bob is pretty easy to maintain, but regular conditioning masks are a must as curls need lots of moisture,” says Nadia. “Then to keep your curls defined, distribute product through wet hair with something like a Tangle Teezer, and avoid touching your hair while it’s drying to maintain the definition and shape of your style.”
The best curly bob inspiration
I love the face-framing layers at the front of Rihanna's centre-parted curly bob.
A slightly longer bob length suits Margot Robbie's beachy waves perfectly.
For the less committed amongst us, Janelle Monáe's chic style is created by pinning the hair, rather than cutting, it for a faux curly bob.
Rita Ora's platinum blonde curly bob oozes retro glamour.
I adore this striking jaw-length cut that really shows off Lucy Boynton's natural texture.
Turns out, a fringe makes a perfect pairing to a curly bob, as demonstrated by Yara Shahidi.
Bobs are super versatile—this slightly longer length creates a low-maintenance, sweeping shape to show off Olivia Munn's waves.
It's not often we see Beyonce with a short style, but this curly bob is so soft and effortless.
Best products for a curly bob
Nadia rates this mask for providing a "big hit of moisture" to curly hair types.
The entire Kérastase Curl Manifesto line is worthy of a mention, but it's this nourishing oil, that can be used on wet or dry hair, that is the star of the range.
Nadia recommends smoothing this curl-enhancing cream through wet hair and leaving it to try naturally for an effortlessly cool bob.
This serum hydrates and boosts shine from roots to tips, without any hint of greasiness or residue.
Combat dryness with this almond extract-enriched shampoo that's been specially formulated to soften curls and boost elasticity.
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Mica Ricketts is a freelance beauty editor and contributor to Marie Claire. She has written for titles including Refinery29 and Who What Wear UK, and also works with beauty brands on content messaging and marketing copy. She was previously Who What Wear UK's beauty editor. As someone that has tried basically every acne product on the market, she has a particular passion for debunking skincare myths and finding products that work. Plus, with two small children at home she is all about time-saving beauty routines that boost glow and disguise dark circles.
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