The sharp bob is a timeless haircut—here's what you need to know about getting it right

A true classic

Tiffany Hsu wears a cream denim jacket with matching maxi skirt, black bag and big round necklace, outside The Row, during the Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 as part of Paris Fashion Week on September 27, 2023 in Paris, France
(Image credit: Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images)

If ever there’s a haircut that’s stood the popularity test of time, it’s the bob hairstyle. Having been a part of pop culture for well over 100 years, I’m not sure there’s been a decade since it was first created that it hasn’t been a go-to hairstyle.

Now, in 2023, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that we’ve reached bob overwhelm, but there are many different takes on the cut. There’s the 90s bob, the undone bob, the awkward bob, the blunt bob, the French bob, the Italian bob… I could keep going, but you get the gist, I’m sure.

And while different types of bob come and go, there is one form of bob that has truly stood the test of time—the sharp bob. As a classic iteration of the ever-popular hairstyle, to help you clearly understand what sets it apart from the other bobs (and understand its beauty), I reached out to a few different hairdressers to get their thoughts.

What is the sharp bob? 

The sharp bob is a shorter cut with very sharp edges. "It’s actually a very technical haircut with no layers or graduation,” says Kumi Hombo, creative stylist at John Frieda Salons. “It needs a lot of precision to get those straight, blunt edges to be even and sharp but still have that swishing effect.” 

“'Sharp bob' implies that the haircut has well-defined edges and angles, giving it a crisp and modern appearance,” agrees Shai Greenberg, CEO and co-founder of Gielly Green. "The length of the bob can vary, but it generally falls between the chin and the shoulders. This style is often chosen for its simplicity and versatility, making it a popular choice for individuals seeking a chic and sophisticated look.”

Who does the sharp bob suit? 

Any bob is characterised by its shorter length, and so requires regular maintenance cuts, but that’s particularly true of the sharp bob to keep those lines, well, sharp. It can be tweaked to suit different face shapes by adjusting the length, but Greenberg notes that sharp bobs are particularly ideal hairstyles for oval faces

“There are no rules when it comes to getting a sharp bob,” says Issey Cook, stylist at Larry King. However, she does note that this style may sit heavily on very thick hair. “It’s great for [making] fine hair appear thicker.”

If you plan to wear it sleek and straight to show off the sharp and clean lines, you’ll also have to consider your hair’s natural texture; unless your hair is naturally pin-straight this will require some styling. Adding in a wave can also be a winning look—Issey recommends leaving the ends straight to maintain that sharp edge. Below are some great inspo pics of sharp bobs, plus some product recommendations for styling one.

Sharp bob inspiration 

The best products to style a sharp bob

Lucy Abbersteen
Beauty Contributor

Lucy is a freelance beauty editor and contributor at Marie Claire, and has written for titles including Glamour, Refinery29, Popsugar, woman&home and more. She was previously Marie Claire’s junior beauty editor. During her career, she’s covered everything from backstage beauty at fashion week to interviews with famous faces like Drag Race royalty and Little Mix. As for her beauty ethos, she’s a big advocate for not having to spend a fortune on beauty products to get good results, and when she’s not got beauty on the brain you’ll find her reading or hanging out with dogs.