Everyone's getting a bob right now, but I've had short hair for years—here's 3 simple ways I style it from home

No, you're not imagining it: everyone's going short

How to style a bob
(Image credit: Rebecca Fearn)

Short hair is back and in a big way. I don't mean to sound like an unbearable know-it-all, but I've been low-key predicting this resurgence for some time now, sporting a short bob haircut for many years. 

The truth is, my hair just feels and looks healthier when it's shorter. As a bleach blonde, my hair simply won't grow past a certain point—and when it gets to that point, it's usually already too late. Anything past shoulder length and my hair looks dry, split and unkempt. The bob has always therefore been a go-to for me. 

The return of the short look crept up, beginning with the likes of trendsetter Hailey Bieber chopping off her lengths one day and never looking back. Then, it came upon us all at once. Everywhere you look, there seems to be someone (IRL or on socials) who has chopped off their hair shorter than ever before. Whether a micro French bob, polished bob or blunt bob, it seems as though everyone is currently going through this freeing experience as a collective. 

If you're newly one of us, welcome! As mentioned, I've had short hair for years and I recently went even shorter (inspired by Hailey's length), and I have learned some things about bob maintenance over this time. In fact, I have had many years finessing my bob styling tips. So here goes, these are the three styles I recommend every time someone asks me how to style a bob.

1. The voluminous blowout 

How to style a bob: Rebecca Fearn

(Image credit: Rebecca Fearn)

I've always been a little scared of anything that even slightly resembles straight hair after my traumatic teenage poker ghd years. So, I've learned to love a bouncy blow dry vibe—which is anything but straight and flat. 

Known to some as the 'bubble bob,' Andrew Plester, Education Director at Arkive isn't surprised this look has grown in popularity. "The bubble bob is just a '90s version of the same bob from the last two years," he begins. "We're looking at Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber as references for this, with a really strong graphic, blunt outline, but with that '90s volume." 

This look is actually super simple to achieve, but I've found that having the right tools helps a lot. My Dyson Airwrap has become a go-to since having short hair, but if you don't have one in your stash, you can learn to create a blow dry with a regular hairdryer and the right round bristled brush. 

I wait for my hair to air dry until it's about 70% dry, then go in with my Airwrap on each section, using the rounded bristle attachment and focusing on achieving that rounded shape, with volume at the root. Using a volumising spray on damp hair also really elevates the finish. 

2. The crinkle effect

How to style a bob: Becky Fearn

(Image credit: Rebecca Fearn)

Since having my hair cut even shorter (we're talking Hailey length), I've been struggling for ways to create movement without going full on straight or wavy. I wanted something in-between, again like Hailey.

Luckily, Andrew introduced me to this technique, which is really easy to achieve on dry hair with some hair straighteners. You're essentially aiming for a very subtle crimped look, but with a modern, sophisticated take on things. 

"Working with the straighteners, simply section the hair off and reach for one-inch sections, rocking the straightener back and forth to create a tousled, messy wave through the hair. Be cautious not the create the same wave shape and direction on every section."

You also want to be wary of turning the straightener too abruptly or bluntly; instead, gently swap sides for a soft curve. 

Once you have the hang of this, it's a brilliant (and very quick) way to style a bob with minimal effort. Always finish with a spritz of texture spray to add volume and shape.

3. The half-up, half-down

How to style a bob: Rebecca Fearn

(Image credit: Rebecca Fearn)

Any length of hair looks gorgeous with a half-up, half-down vibe, but a bob really suits this style. 

I find it works best on clean hair that easily gathers and 'swoops'; if you have strands that need a wash, this may only make the situation more obvious on short hair. You can, however, wear it straight, blown-out or with beachy, textured curls—they all look great.

Simply style your hair as you desire. Then, starting just above the ear, gather the hair to the back of the head and secure with a band, grip or clip.

Finish the look with some hair cream or oil to tame any flyaways, and finish with a spritz of hairspray for hold.

Rebecca Fearn

Rebecca is a freelance beauty journalist and contributor to Marie Claire. She has written for titles including Refinery29, The Independent, Grazia, Coveteur, Dazed, Stylist, and Glamour. She is also a brand consultant and has worked with the likes of The Inkey List on campaign messaging and branded copy. She’s obsessed with skincare, nail art and fragrance, and outside of beauty, Rebecca likes to travel, watch true crime docs, pet sausage dogs and drink coffee. Rebecca is also passionate about American politics and mental health awareness.