While a new season offers fresh inspiration, it's always a good time to get a bob. The cropped style has many variations to suit your face shapes, hair texture, and desired look, including the universally flattering inverted bob haircut. If you're unfamiliar with the look, it's a graphic cut where the hair at the back of your head is shorter and gradually gets longer towards the front.
Over the years, countless celebrities have sported this timeless and versatile hairstyle, including Selena Gomez, Emily Ratajowski, Kelly Rowland, and Jourdan Dunn. To inspire your next salon visit, we asked a trio of pros to share their insights on the inverted bob haircut.
Meet Our Expert
Nelson Solivan, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.
Joseph Maine, a celebrity hairstylist based in Los Angeles.
How to Style an Inverted Bob
How you style an inverted bob haircut will depend on your hair texture, face shape, and desired look. “This cut can be styled a million ways, from the classic straight to a more textured look. Even the amount of inversion you apply will change the overall look,” says Solivan.
You can use your fingertips, a brush, or hot tools to style your hair, depending on how sleek or choppy you’re going and how done or undone you want the hairstyle to feel. A lightweight styling cream like the one from VERNON FRANÇOIS Haircare will help with giving you a light hold and healthy moisturized finish.
When it comes to applying heat to your hair, always make sure you prep it with a heat protectant spray to shield your strands from damage. “My favorite heat protectant is the Dream Coat Supernatural Spray Anti-Frizz Treatment by Color Wow. It protects from thermal damage and humidity while adding a ton of shine,” says Maine.
For a softer, more textured look, Maine recommends using a curling iron to add loose waves or curls to the longer sections of the hair. “My favorite iron for these looks is Trademark Beauty The Sunny Styler. Its slim design makes it easy to both straighten or curl short hair, and its air cooling feature reduces thermal damage and locks in the style.” If you want to add extra volume at the back of the inverted bob, Maine suggests gently teasing the hair at the roots with a fine-tooth comb. But be careful not to overdo it, as this can lead to breakage.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different looks. “You can tuck one side behind your ear for an asymmetrical vibe or accessorize with hairpins to elevate the look. Remember, the key to a great inverted bob is to work with the cut's natural shape and angles,” says Maine. “Since everyone's hair is different, it might take some trial and error to find the products and techniques that work best for you.”
Related: 30 Bob Haircuts for Any Face Shape
What to Know Before Getting an Inverted Bob
Whether an inverted bob works for you or not will depend on your expectations and the skill of the hairdresser that you choose to see. Plus, communication and pictures are key to getting exactly the look you want. “Letting your colorist know the end result you’re looking for will help with painting placement and vice versa with your stylist,” says Solivan.
“The hairdresser should give you a proper consultation first and explain the variations that can be explored with both the finished style and methods of cutting,” explains François. “Using scissors, razors, or clippers are all options, and there are ways of cutting the hair to reduce how often you might need to visit the salon. That said, if you’re going to take it short, commit to it!”
Keep scrolling for inverted bob inspiration from an array of celebrities.
“To achieve Emily Ratajkowski’s look, use a 1-inch curling iron,” says Solivan. “For added texture, alternate every other curl past the ear. Finish the look off with a texturizing spray."
The side part and swooped fringe for Ciara's inverted bob accentuates her facial structure and adds movement to the look. To maintain this style, regular trims every 6-8 weeks are recommended to keep the angles sharp and the fringe well-defined. Using a texturizing spray can help enhance the layers and maintain the desired shape. Use a flat iron to smooth the fringe and achieve the swooped effect.
Jennifer Lawrence's inverted wavy bob combines the edginess of the inverted cut with the allure of beachy waves, creating a chic and carefree look. To maintain this style, regular toning treatments are essential to keep the blonde color looking fresh and vibrant. To style this look, apply a texturizing spray to enhance the waves and create a tousled effect, then use a flat iron to add definition and polish to the wavy strands.
Using a hydrating hair mask can also help combat any potential dryness from bleaching.
Yara Shahidi's curly inverted bob combines the boldness of the inverted cut with the natural volume of her coily texture. To maintain this style, regular deep conditioning and moisturizing treatments are essential to keep coily texture vibrant, healthy, and hydrated. You can style the look using a curl-defining product to enhance the coil pattern and create a defined side part.
“You can recreate Kaia Gerber’s style with a flat iron,” says Solivan. “Prepping the hair for this look is essential. I like to use Invisible Defense Universal Protection Hair Spray by Oribe. Then, you can style it by bending the hair halfway through for a curl effect.”
To recreate Victoria Beckham's choppy inverted bob haircut, use a texturizing spray or paste to enhance the layers and create a tousled effect.
“To prep the hair for a look similar to Idina Menzel’s, I’d use Aprés Beach Wave and Shine Spray by Oribe," says Solivan. “Spray each section after blow drying and then curl. These waves are a little loose in structure, so use a bigger curling iron like a 1 1/4 inch.”
Mary J. Blige
If you’re coveting the inverted bob look but are not ready to go for the big chop, you can opt for an inverted bob wig like Mary J. Blige. This wig allows you a quick, stylish transformation without the commitment.
Christina Ricci's inverted bob exudes a sleek and daring vibe with with a sharp fringe that emphasizes her features. “This bend is easy to achieve by pairing texturizing spray with a flat iron,” says Maine. “Make little twists in the hair with the flat iron and add some texturizing spray.” Use a fine-tooth comb to ensure the sharpness of the fringe.
“The waves in Karlie Kloss’ style replicate the shape of the letter ‘S’ and that’s why we call it the ‘S’ Wave,” says Solivan. You can use a tool like the Trademark Beauty Babe Waves Original hair waver to create the shape. To prep the hair, I use the Kérastase L'incroyable Blow-Dry Reshapable Hair Lotion. Its 450-degree heat protection will keep the integrity of your hair.”
Keira Knightley's inverted bob has a lot of volume. To achieve this volume, style your hair using a volumizing mousse or spray before blow-drying it with a round brush and slightly backcombing the roots for added lift and fullness.
“You can recreate Michelle Williams’ soft waves using a Marcel Iron and by pulling each wave out as you are finishing the curl,” says Solivan. “This leaves the ends a little more undone for a softer finish.”
“I love this look on Katie Holmes; the bob perfectly hugs her face," says Solivan. “To recreate this style, I would use a larger round brush to get that long and subtle bend in the hair.” The stylist also recommends applying Oribe’s Supershine Moisturizing Cream. “This lightweight heat protectant provides a high glossy shine and sleeks split ends,” he says.
Recreate Halle Berry's inverted bob by using a texturizing spray or serum to enhance the layers, and a flat iron or curling wand to create soft waves and define the wispy fringe.
Selena Gomez flaunts another great inverted bob that can easily be styled with a good boar bristle brush and a blow dryer. “The key to finishing a look like this with no flyaways is going over the hair with a hairspray and a brush,” says Solivan. “I start by spraying my Mason Pearson brush with Oribe’s Superfine Strong Hair Spray. Then, I lightly brush the hair, root to ends, to keep any flyaways down.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the inverted bob suit every face shape?
Our experts agree that the inverted bob can work on any face shape as long as it's tailored to your individual characteristics. “I’ve never really subscribed to the idea that a haircut can only work for one face shape,” says Solivan. “This, like every other haircut, can be tailored to the individual in so many different ways.”
Does the inverted bob work on all textures and densities?
“The inverted bob is best suited to straight, wavy, or curly hair with loose-to-medium intensity curls that are well moisturized to help keep the dimension of the hairstyle,” says François. “Some weight is needed towards the front of the hair to keep the shape of an inverted bob, meaning it’s less suited to tightly curled or coily hair, which springs up more.” The stylist adds that the volume of your hair shouldn’t be an issue as an experienced hairstylist will be able to boost or lessen it to suit your hair and face shape.
What’s the best way to maintain an inverted bob?
This cut isn’t for the yearly haircut goer. “Cuts like this will need a visit to your nearest salon about every other month or so, depending on how your shape holds up,” says Solivan. “How often you have to go to the salon will depend on the rate at which your hair grows,” adds François.
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