All hair can be temperamental, but if you have curls, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of having no earthly control over your strands. This is what makes getting a haircut all the more difficult — curls play by their own rules. The sweltering summer of (hopeful) resocialization is here, however, so this breakdown of curly bob hairstyles should help you figure out the next stage of your mane.
For starters, nail down the hair length that makes the most sense for you. “Choose a hair length that is complementary to your face shape and enhances your facial features,” says Miko Branch, CEO and co-founder of Miss Jessie’s hair care brand. This means a length and cut that “gives you plenty of room for voluminous curls, without adding the appearance of extra length or width to the face.” When considering a bob, the classic length will sit a couple of inches above the shoulders, while a longer bob (or lob) will brush the shoulders.
Keep in mind when choosing the right bob that your actual hair length is different than what it ends up looking like when cut, says Irinel de Leon, a celebrity hairstylist and Ouidad brand ambassador. “Curly hair springs up a lot more than straight hair does — if you stretch a curly hair strand out, it will be a lot longer,” she tells Bustle.
Once you’re headed to your appointment, remember to have realistic goals and an open line of communication with your stylist. De Leon says photos can be really helpful. “Everyone means something different when talking about textures and styles,” she explains, adding that using references on your phone or Pinterest can help quash opportunities for miscommunication (and potentially the wrong cut). Pro tip when finding inspo? “Share photos of individuals who have the same curl type as you,” says Branch. Otherwise, your chop won’t look the same.
Considering the timelessly chic bob? Here are four curly bob hairstyles worth keeping on your radar before hitting up the salon.
1. The Curly Bob With Bangs
If you have curly hair, the idea of getting bangs can strike fear into your heart. But if you take cues from celebrities like Zendaya or ’90s-era Mariah Carey, then you know the cut can be incredibly chic — when done correctly.
“Short curly hair with bangs has become extremely popular in the past year,” says de Leon, who notes the cut is particularly flattering for those who have a round face. That’s because bangs can add a face-framing dimension to your hair, she explains.
For styling, Josie Nevarez, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, previously told Bustle it’s best to add a styling gel to your strands in sections, beginning at the nape and working your way up. “Scrunch and twist as you go,” she says. When blow-drying, use a diffuser on the low air setting and avoid brushing curls once they’re dry.
2. The Curly Blunt Bob
Curly hair types can also rock a blunt bob, aka a style that involves having all of the hair cut bluntly into one length, says Branch. This look is easiest with curl types 1 and 2, adds de Leon. “These types will likely need to diffuse their hair with a blow-dryer to enhance their curl pattern,” she tells Bustle.
One thing to note: This cut may be more difficult for people with curl types 3 and 4 because they naturally have more body and volume, says de Leon, which naturally obscures the effect of the blunt cut.
3. The Curly Layered Bob
Not everyone likes the blunt look, which is where the curly layered bob comes into play. As the name suggests, the cut involves incorporating multiple lengths within one cut for enhanced volume.
“For curly and coily hair types, both cropped and layered bobs tend to look the best as the cut will show off your beautiful, natural texture,” says Branch.
4. The Rounded Voluminous Curly Bob
If you were playing a word association game, voluminous hair could definitely be answered with Diana Ross. According to de Leon, this rounded bob style is great “for anyone looking for body and that wow factor,” she tells Bustle.
When rocking this cut, remember to avoid a terry cloth towel because it absorbs too much moisture, says de Leon. Instead, stick to using a cotton T-shirt or microfiber option for your best hair health. She also advises to apply product when your hair is wet and rake it through with a comb, and then scrunching it for the desired effect.