The asymmetric bob: your complete guide to this stylish haircut

 Halle Berry at the Oscars with an asymmetric bob hairstyle
Halle Berry at the Oscars with an asymmetric bob hairstyle

Take a look at the red carpets of award shows and movie premieres and it’s clear that the asymmetric bob, the polar opposite of a one-length cut, is enjoying a bit of a comeback. 

This isn't too surprising, as bob hairstyles in general have been tipped as a key 2023 hair trend. As Syd Hayes, session hairstylist and ambassador for BaByliss, puts it: "This season it seems it really is all about the return of the bob." And while the difference in length is perhaps not as sharp as the styles that characterized the '00s, a growing number of celebrities are opting for asymmetric bobs of various lengths.

If this particular iteration of the style has piqued your interest, you're in luck, as we've spoken to top hairstylists to help you decide if it’s right for you, your hair type, and your lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know.

The asymmetric bob: your need-to-know guide

What is the asymmetric bob?

Just as it sounds, the key to the asymmetric bob is having one side of the hair longer than the other. "I would describe it as a jaw-framing bob with chunky ends that has one side shorter in length," says Hayes. "I think this cut looks best when chopped bluntly, but with subtle layers throughout the mid-lengths that create shape and movement to enhance texture."

The style is also often higher at the back to create asymmetry. “It's a popular bob that never really goes out of fashion and always looks great,” adds Adam Reed, Founder of ARKIVE Headcare and the ARKIVE by Adam Reed salon. "It used to only be worn ironed straight, but now we see people wearing it with a beautiful soft wave and movement. What's lovely about the asymmetric bob look is that you can really thicken out the hair, which gives that extra oomph and volume that people love."

Who does the asymmetric bob suit?

The good news is that a skilled hairdresser will be able to tailor the asymmetric bob to any hair type. “It can be cut and worn on any and all hair types,” Reed confirms, adding that the key to any bob is for it to look nice and healthy. “No matter what your face shape or hair type, there’s always a version [of the asymmetric bob] for you,” agrees Matt Harrison, signature stylist at Gielly Green Salon. “If you have a square-shaped face, try a longer asymmetric bob; you want the front of your hair to be swinging just underneath your jawline for the most flattering finish."

"Shorter asymmetric styles look pretty when cut on little pixie-shaped faces and, when styled with diffused natural curls, they can add structure and give width to narrower faces," he continues. "Additionally, asymmetry doesn’t necessarily stop at the baseline, as asymmetric layers will soften a look and provide volume. Add blunt straight or sloping bangs for a dramatic edge."

Lifestyle-wise, the key to keeping an asymmetric bob (or any shorter style) looking fresh and sharp is regular trims. "I’d say, assuming you are happy to visit your hairstylist regularly to keep your asymmetric bob in good shape, go for it!" Harrison adds. "It’s fun and fresh."

How to style the asymmetric bob

As our experts have already touched on, an asymmetric bob looks brilliant when styled either super sleek or voluminous and curly – the choice is yours.

“I'd recommend a mousse to give it the oomph and volume,” Reed recommends. “If you want it smooth and sleek I'd suggest a primer layered with a blow dry spray, which will give you that beautiful gloss, followed by a really nice swipe of oil over the surface to give it a reflective shine."

“If you want to wear it curly, comb through a mousse, then blow-dry with a diffuser," continues Reed. "And if you want texture, then use hairspray and a tong to give it that really nice kick. What's so lovely is [this bob] has got so much versatility, so you can wear it straight one day, wavy the next."

Haircare-wise, this is a style that really benefits from some TLC. “Shiny and well-nourished hair makes hair look, feel, and sit better, so make sure you use a great shampoo and conditioner and use a mask once a week,” says Hayes.

Our beauty editor recommends...

5 asymmetric bob styles to inspire

1. The sleek asymmetric bob

Gabrielle Union with an asymmetric bob
Gabrielle Union with an asymmetric bob

An asymmetric bob always looks great tucked behind one ear. Use a pair of the best hair straighteners and plenty of heat protectant and shine spray to get that sleek finish.

2. The curly asymmetric bob

Halle Berry with an asymmetric bob
Halle Berry with an asymmetric bob

Curly asymmetric bobs are seriously chic. Either use a tong or dry natural curls with one of the best diffusers for curly hair to enhance your texture.

3. The vintage wave asymmetric bob

Michelle Williams with an asymmetric bob
Michelle Williams with an asymmetric bob

Offsetting an asymmetric bob with an accessory is always a good idea. Use one of the best curling irons to get that subtle vintage wave.

4. The subtle asymmetric bob

Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams

Loose wavy hairstyles look great on bob-length hair and are a popular choice on the red carpet – we love the subtle asymmetry here.

5. The heavy side parted asymmetric bob

Rosamund Pike with an asymmetric bob
Rosamund Pike with an asymmetric bob

A heavy side part is a strong look that can be really chic on an asymmetric bob, as demonstrated by Rosamund Pike here.