The Big Bob Chop: I Dared! Will You?

Just back in the Marie Claire office after maternity leave, our Fashion Features Director Jess Wood is having a classic new-mum hair crisis.

Bob hairstyles
Bob hairstyles
(Image credit: Rex)

Just back in the Marie Claire office after maternity leave, our Fashion Features Director Jess Wood is having a classic new-mum hair crisis.

Long, straggly locks and a grown-out fringe – fine for playdates (and pulling bits of porridge out of) - but for my job as Fashion Features Director and editor of our collections magazine, Runway? Not so much.

Full disclosure: I can't remember the last time I even had a minute to brush it, let alone rocked A Style. Eek. It's time for drastic action. In previous pre-baby incarnations, I have had many a sharp bob; jaw-length, pixie-like and perfect for playing to the strengths of my fine, poker-straight hair.

Inspired by the raft of current celebrity bobs, one look at Coco Rocha's new sex kitten cut pushes me over the edge. I too want a blunt fringe and hair so shiny it acts like a mirror. However, we are now post-baby and a few years down the line. Perhaps jaw-length is not going to be the face-flattering way to go. I head to hot hair salon FOUR London to see what their restyle guru, senior stylist Carly Smith, will advise.

After assessing the (straggly) situation, she tells me: 'A sharp, geometric bob cut all one length and with a blunt fringe gives a square shape, which elongates your face.' We decide a couple of inches below the jawline is the most flattering length for me and she explains that she will 'bevel' the corners of the cut slightly so it sits perfectly.

Even with a razor-sharp cut like this, a bit of volume is key. Because of my super-fine hair, previous bobs have looked a bit flat. But Carly has a secret weapon – a single row of Extension Professional Pro Volume extensions, cut to the same length as my own hair to add some subtle fullness. Made of a compound that's found in natural hair, the special bond used to attach them forms a sleeve around your own hair, keeping it safe inside. Application and removal is quick and easy, leaving hair undamaged. Good for around three months, Carly assures me they don't need any professional maintenance while they're in. Hurrah for the time-pressed!

Four inches off and a blowdry later, I've got my version of the Coco. But how long will it stay looking this chic and shiny given my non-existent morning grooming window? As long as I manage to blow-dry my fringe, the rest will look just as good tousled, Carly assures me. 

Planning to make like Coco Rocha and Kate Bosworth and go for the chop? Here are Carly's tips:

1. It's vital to take in pictures of celebrity haircuts you like – it helps stylists work out exactly what you mean by 'the big chop' as a hairdresser's version is often very different to the client's idea of having a lot off!

2. Make sure the length and shape of the style flatters your hair type. Hair should be cut to work with its natural texture or a bob can be very high-maintenance.

3. If you want a messy, tousled look use a volume spray before you blow dry and finish with a paste or clay to give texture. If you're after a sleek vibe, use an oil such as healing oil to get a smooth shiny finish.

Jess went to Carly Smith at the FOUR London salon, the brainchild of four of London's top colour specialists. Services offered include a Braid and, soon-to-open, Wave Bar, beauty treatments and an in-house caterer. For prices check; 020 7297 9600. Extension Professional Pro Volume extensions for fine hair start from £350.

Jess Wood