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Woman & Home
Woman & Home
Stephanie Maylor

How to get the Hollywood bob that everyone's wearing this year

Celebs wearing the Hollywood bob including Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain.

Think of the Hollywood bob as the Marilyn Monroe of chin-skimming styles. It’s glamorous, voluptuous and classically polished. The bouncy bob is a style that feels both modern and nostalgic, with a sprinkle of Old Hollywood allure. 

Compared to the other stylish crops topping the list of 2024 hair trends (like the 'Hydro' bob or French bob), the Hollywood bob delivers oodles of oomph, starting with maxed-out root lift and finishing with big barrel waves. No wonder then that this big, bouncy bob has been anointed as the premier choice of bob hairstyles by our favourite A-list celebrities. "Bobs will always be in," admits Desmond Grundy, celebrity hairstylist and Bristows Ambassador. "They are so stylish and absolutely timeless." Regarding the Hollywood bob specifically, Grundy defines it as, "all about glamour, bounce and volume, with lots of movement, lifting from the roots right through to the ends."

The real beauty of the Hollywood bob is its all-encompassing, suits-all appeal. You only have to look at our bouncy bob-approving celebrities below to see that it’s a style that looks beguiling at any age and works with all hair textures. If you’re already the proud possessor of a not-too-short, not-too-long chin-grazing haircut, then dig out your mousse, and turn up the volume. If not, let this style guide be the nudge you need to embrace the chop. Ready? Let’s bounce. 

Everything you need to know about the Hollywood

So, if you're considering a short hairstyle and are curious about this oh-so-glamorous look, here's everything you need to know about the aptly named 'Hollywood bob'...

What is the Hollywood bob?

There are countless iterations of the bob, from the boxy boyfriend bob to the low-maintenance maxi bob and complicated-sounding inverted teacup bob. The Hollywood bob is more about styling than the cut itself, although some well-placed layers will prove a real asset. Big, bouncy, with a wave through the ends and a statement side-parting are the major hallmarks of the Hollywood bob. 

"It's all about getting that root lift in, and then a slightly undone and dishevelled finish; having that looseness of an old school set," explains Adam Reed, international hairdresser and Founder of ARKIVE Headcare and ARKIVE by Adam Reed. "What we're seeing now is a much more modernised version. Think Dolce & Gabbana in the 1990s, early 2000s and you're on the right track!"

Who does the Hollywood bob suit?

What hair types does it suit: "It can suit pretty much any head of hair because it's more about the styling rather than the cut itself," explains Reed. "You can put in as much or as little volume as you like, and similarly as much width or as little as you like." It's a style that works with any hair type, says Reed, as long as you put the prep in first. "It's about smoothing hair out, before putting in volume with quite a defined curl and then brushing that curl out to create an airy, cloudy like feel to the hair."

"Most hair types can take it except curly hair; that would need to be straightened a bit,” agrees hairdresser Michael Douglas. "If you feel worried about getting a bob, then just leave it slightly longer than chin-length, as it’s more forgiving."

How to tailor it for your hair type: If you've always found it difficult to find the perfect hairstyle for your face shape, a bob hairstyle could be the perfect cut. Rather than a one-bob-fits-all approach, a good stylist will tailor the length and shape to the individual. "A well-cut bob can be very flattering, with face-framing layers to suit the face shape and hide jowls, whilst opting for a shorter bob can elongate the neck," says Grundy.

With lift at the root and volume through the lengths, the bouncy bob can be great for those lacking fullness. "Shorter cuts, soft layers and added bounce will create plenty of volume in fine hair," says Grundy. "Those with very thick or textured hair on the other hand might find this look more of a challenge, and will require a good cut with layering to help take some of the weight out of the hair."

How to keep it modern: The essence of the Hollywood bob is polished and elegant, but how do you stop it from veering into old-fashioned 'wash and set' territory? "To bring your bob up-to-date, layers are key," admits Grundy. "These could be long and face-framing like the butterfly cut or short and choppy like the shag or wolf-cut."

How to style the Hollywood bob?

"Big, bouncy volume is all about the blow-dry," says Grundy, and there are lots of ways you can achieve this voluptuous blow-out... 

Dampen the hair and use a styling mist: "If the hair is already dry then I use a water spray to dampen it first." Next, Grundy recommends prepping hair with mousse. "I then section the hair and lightly mist with styling spray, before blow-drying each section, lifting at the roots as I go," he continues. Once you're happy, set the look with hairspray.

Use a volumising spray and blowdry upside down: If you’ve never been able to master a bouncy blow-dry at home, try Douglas’s technique. "Apply a volumising spray on damp hair, then blow-dry hair upside down to get lots of root lift. Once dry, use a large barrel tong to add in some loose waves, wrapping the hair back away from the face. Make a deep side parting and possibly tuck one side behind the ear."  

Try heated rollers: Adam Reed uses the heated roller method. "Prime hair with mousse, and then add a little bit of blow-dry spray to boost that root area. I recommend using heated rollers: put them in hot, wind them on to the root so that they're sitting on the root, which is what gives you the volume. Spray the root before you wind it down, and then when you brush it out you get that incredible bounce to the hair. To finish, shake it all out using a bit of hairspray and a dry volumising spray to set that gorgeous volume."

Don't overload the hair: Douglas also has some pearls of wisdom to keep the bouncy bob from looking too 'done.' "Old-fashioned hairstyles were always very neat and precise, so try and keep the styling loose and even a little messy to ensure your hair looks modern." Products play a part here too, according to Grundy. "Don’t overload products. Yes, you want to hold your look in place but you also want some natural movement. I will always hold hairspray 40-50cm away from the head so that it becomes a fine mist. People tend to spray too close to the hair and it becomes too concentrated and overloaded."

From the best shampoo for fine hair to the styling products that inject that full-bodied finish, here are our expert panel’s product picks for creating the Hollywood bob at home.

7 Hollywood bob hairstyles we love

And in case you require some visual inspiration, we've rounded up seven of our favourite Hollywood bob looks, as modelled by the likes of Cate Blanchett, Zoe Saldana and Angela Bassett...

1. The classic Hollywood bob

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Michael Douglas calls this the quintessential Hollywood bob. "Short bob, around chin length, usually inverted, meaning longer at the front, shorter at the back, with a soft wave and usually with a side parting."

2. The pin-up Hollywood bob

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is the ultimate glamazon hairstyle. It's giving fifties movie star. The dramatic side-parting provides instant root lift - a great trick if your hair is on the flat side. 

3. The slick Hollywood bob

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With one side tucked sleekly behind one ear, and the front section swept back dramatically, this Hollywood bob adopts a modern, slick approach. Blow-dry and style as normal then use pomade to smooth hair down.

4. The twenties Hollywood bob

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Viola Davis wears her bouncy bob a little shorter, an inch above her jawline. This beguiling length, paired with tighter curls through the mid-lengths has a retro, 1920s air.

5. The sweeping Hollywood bob

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jessica's bob is the epitome of elegance, with a softer, brushed-out wave. If you have a fringe like Jessica, neatly sweep it over to one side, tucking the other side behind your ear. 

6. The '90s Hollywood bob

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Straighter and sleeker, but with bags of body and bounce, this Hollywood bob harks back to the '90s supermodel era - think Cindy, Linda and Christy. Flip hair upside down to inject oomph at the roots as you blow-dry, then smooth-dry, curling the ends under.

7. The layered Hollywood bob

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Zendaya's bouncy bob was inspired by Sophia Loren," says Reed. "We call this the Sicilian / Italian bob. It's a classic bob with short, soft layering. The layer allows the width and the height, which gives the bob the volume when styling it." 

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