Help me keep a bob haircut stylish
August 29, 2013 12:03 PM   Subscribe

So I should start out by saying I have awesome (brunette) hair. It's shiny, healthy, straight, not to0 thick or too thin, it will pretty do whatever you coax it to do, and every hair dresser I've ever seen has complemented me on my great healthy shiny "easy" hair. The problem is that I've never learned how to care for it on a daily basis. So while it looks fantastic coming right out of the hair dresser, when I care for it, the part is out of place, it's tucked behind my ears, it doesn't stay in place etc. etc. The other problem is that the hairdresser will spend an HOUR blowing drying it with a round brush to make it look that way. I do not have anything like an hour in the morning to spend on my hair. So, I would like to get a haircut like this: And then I would like tips, tricks, and products for caring for it on a daily basis that will not take long in the morning. I really have a fantastic hairdresser, so I don't think the problem is him, it's me. Thanks for any tips!!
posted by bananafish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
posted by bananafish at 12:05 PM on August 29, 2013

Sulfate free shampoo made a HUGE difference for me, as did limiting exposure to heat and overbrushing and product (aka messing with it). There was a transition period and then, boom, glorious radiant wonderful hair that strangers try to touch. I grew out my bob, but when I had one, I always asked for an undercut, and that helped tremendously. Also, trimming every eight weeks.
posted by mochapickle at 12:15 PM on August 29, 2013

What is your hair texture? Super straight / fairly straight / wavy / curly / very curly?

A bob like you linked to will be fairly low maintenance if you have straight hair, but extremely high maintenance if you have curly hair.

Since you like your hairdresser, I recommend asking him for suggestions on what low-maintence cuts would work for your hair.
posted by insectosaurus at 12:17 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing that this style of bob is low-maintenance only if you have straight hair. When my hair was shorter and bobbed I was always after it with a straightening iron and tons of product.

I have fine, thick, wavy hair and life is infinitely easier when I grew it out and got it cut in layers. I can let it dry naturally OR blow-dry and iron it straight and it works either way. It's also long enough to pull back in a headband, bun, or ponytail. For this reason alone, longer hair is usually easier to care for than short - believe it or not. (Short hair is also much more high-maintenance, with regular trims and styling needed if you don't want to look frumpy.)

You and your hairdresser should figure out how to work with, not against, your natural hair texture. My hair looks so much better now that I work with it, and don't use a lot of styling product or heated tools.

tl;dr: short hair takes more work than medium/long, hair that isn't straight takes work to stay straight, and layers are more forgiving than all one length.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:29 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I understand your hair! Though not in a bob (shoulder-length, can't get the ends to curl in to save my life), it's naturally straight and healthy-shiny.

You don't mention bangs, but: the best thing I ever did for my hair was grow out my bangs. I was touching my hair too much keeping them in place. Yeah, I generally looked better with them, but only for like six hours then they got all greasy. Plus the hassle in the morning to make sure they were all facing the same direction and whatever. Grown out? Noooo problem.

Product: Most days I use a little mousse (Redken 7) at the crown of my head and blow-dry my hair mostly upside down. It'll keep the volume and kind of stabilize your part line in the right place (when you say your part shifts around, I wonder if you have the same problem I have, which is that the slightest breeze blows your hair everywhere? The mousse helps with this, as does a bobby pin on the side).
posted by troika at 12:43 PM on August 29, 2013

The best low-maintenance haircuts I've had have been ones in which I have specifically told the stylist, "I tend to let my hair air dry unless it's a special occasion, I can't do a blow-out, and I'm just not going to put a lot of effort into styling it every morning. I need something that's going to work without a lot of fussing."

I have long-ish layered hair that varies between wavy and straight depending on the humidity and its own whims, and I've still received a lot of great haircuts that work without my having to do anything. Your stylist may be awesome, but he's not giving you the haircut that you need.
posted by jaguar at 12:49 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

(Which is not to say you need to change stylists, just that you need to be super-clear with him that you are simply NOT going to spend more than ten minutes on your hair most mornings, and you need him to cut it in such a way to make that work.)
posted by jaguar at 12:52 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have wavy/curly hair in an A-line bob and it doesn't take me an hour to do my hair in the morning. Maybe 30 minutes, if I want it to be really super-straight (so I both blow dry it AND flat-iron it). So if you already have straight hair that might a good look for you - you may still want to blow dry it, at the minimum.

I'm learning to be more femme and really, the huge difference between "all over the place" and "looks neat and presentable" is product - mousse and hair spray for short hair. Even on days when I let my hair air-dry, I'll put something in it and style it while it's still wet so the part is in the right place.
posted by muddgirl at 12:53 PM on August 29, 2013

To add to what jaguar said: I've found that excellent stylists are not always equally excellent at cutting hair to your specifications, or even that great at cutting hair at all. I've had cuts (bobs and other cuts) that looked great when styled professionally but weren't really that good as haircuts. I've also had great cuts done by stylists who made my hair look ridiculous with spray or whatever, but as soon as I washed their products out and blew the hair dry myself, everything fell into place. So I would second the advice to make very clear what you are willing to do and if the cut still doesn't work, try a different stylist.

(For reference, I have fine, wavy, annoyingly impossible hair that in a well-cut bob takes me about 10 minutes to blow-dry straight.)


the part is out of place, it's tucked behind my ears

You have to part it every day, it won't necessarily do that on its own. You also have to stop tucking it behind your ears. I think a lot of beauty stuff like this is really behavioral, more than genetics or products.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:30 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

That last bit sounded sort of snippy. I meant, I have bangs and I love them but they sometimes look greasy. That's because I can't stop touching them. If I stopped fidgeting, they'd look less greasy. It's easier said than done though!
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:33 PM on August 29, 2013

I had a bob for about a year (not exactly like that, more level) and while it was really really cute it was so high-maintenance! I have thick, straight-ish hair that "always gets compliments" but it doesn't lie nicely unless I spend a lot of time with heat styling. What does your hair do if you let it air dry? If it dries nicely without a lot of work, then this is a good haircut for you. If not, I recommend going with something longer because the weight will make it look a lot better when you don't have a lot of time to style it. And you can also throw it up in a ponytail when you don't want to style it. When I chopped off my hair I had no idea how much I'd miss my ponytail!
posted by radioamy at 1:45 PM on August 29, 2013

I have relatively thick, wavy hair. I've worn it in a bob for years. IME it looks okay (not embarrassingly bad but not great either) when I just brush it and go. To get anything like the sleek look of Keira's hair, I have to use some gel and the blow dryer-- but just for 10 minutes. If I don't use the gel, it tends to get frizzy from my inexpert blow drying and also the waves start to come back by the end of the day.
posted by tuesdayschild at 2:48 PM on August 29, 2013

"the part is out of place, it's tucked behind my ears, it doesn't stay in place etc."

Assuming your hair is straight and will naturally dry straight-ish, I'd like to propose a happy medium:
wash hair, part hair, brush/comb/put hair in place (if you like to use product like a mousse, do it here, but after you put it in comb/brush again to bring your hair all to one length unless you want a wavy bob).
Now blow dry the front parts that frame your face. A quick round of hair spray all over your head will keep part and hair in place. The back of your head will not be completely dry and the hair will air dry but since you styled the front (will take like 5 minutes) the overall look will be better.

If you tuck wet hair behind your ears it will get wavy and might look odd all day, but since you already dried it with the blow dryer it will remain straight even when tucked behind the ears for a while. They blow dry for an hour at the salon for the experience, it's dry after a few minutes. The round brush helps to smooth the hair, so you get that silky, sleek look.
posted by travelwithcats at 2:54 PM on August 29, 2013

In the picture you linked to, there's quite a bit of volume at KK's roots given her naturally fine hair. To maintain this look yourself after you get a bob, you may want to learn to add volume to your hair--this can be done with large barreled curling irons, hot rollers or even just velcro rollers in the largest size on damp, mousse-prepped hair, finished with hairspray to retain the shape. Your stylist is a professional and will take his time to make you look amazing, but blowdrying your own hair with a round brush won't take that long either though the end result may not be as polished--I have long thick hair and I definitely don't take an hour. Alternatively, you could try a curling brush.
posted by peripathetic at 3:01 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Do you own a flat iron? I'm pretty useless with a blow dryer, but I find a flat iron lets me shape my hair quickly and easily. As for the part, I need to set my part right while it's still wet and make sure it dries that way.
posted by Rora at 5:05 PM on August 29, 2013

I think I'm less willing to put effort into my hair than most women, and have found most hair stylists don't really get it. No, really, I don't even own a blowdryer, I don't want a haircut that requires daily blowdrying + product. But I have found a few who do get it and have had a variety of cuts that required almost zero effort to maintain but still look great. They just need to understand what you are willing to do and work with that.
posted by sepviva at 7:19 PM on August 29, 2013

I have more or less that haircut. My hair is very thick so I have my hairdresser thin it out like crazy so that I don't look like a poofball. Two things have helped me enormously - a very good quality hair dryer and a very good quality straightening iron. The dryer is amazing. I don't know why I waited so long to cough up for a decent machine. I dry it enough in about 15 minutes now.

Because my hair is so thick I need the flat iron to help with poofyness as the cut grows out. I wash my hair once every two days when it is hot and once every three days when it isn't, which cuts back on the work as well. After the wash I dry it and straighten it and I'm good for a few days.

In the summer with swimming etc I don't try as hard and it still looks decent.

Finally - regular cuts. I can squeeze 3 months but it is much better with 2.
posted by Cuke at 7:56 PM on August 29, 2013

My hair looks best in a bob, and I find it's a very low maintenance cut if 1) I get it cut every 5-6 weeks and 2) I blow my hair dry after washing. I don't have to do any fancy blowdrying - I just blow everything forward (toward my face) and smooth with a round brush. It takes 5-10 minutes. I use a light mousse from Aveda before drying and a lightweight hairspray after drying. Easy peasy.
posted by jrichards at 7:15 AM on August 30, 2013

I have very thick, coarse, very wavy/curly hair. My version of easy care is that it should take maybe 5 minutes. I don't use a hair dryer. Using styling gel and silicone shine serum makes a world of difference. I don't wash it every day, and do not re-apply products. On mornings when I don't wash it, the moisture from the shower perks up the product, or if it's later in the day, I spritz it with water. I buy inexpensive versions of these products, esp. gel - I buy super strength gel and put a small-medium amount on wet hair.

The silicone shine serum makes my hair more 'slippery,' shiny, far less frizzy, releases the curl/wave in a pretty way, and it seems to stay healthier. Silicone seals the hair's cuticle a little, with a smoothing effect. I use a pretty small amount - too much makes hair look greasy. With shine serum, I am able to comb my hair even when it's long, something I can't do without it.

Styling gel convinces my hair that it's possible to go in 1 direction, well, maybe 10 directions, but better than going in 500 directions. It also reduces frizz.
posted by theora55 at 12:00 PM on August 30, 2013

I went on a crazy high vitamin A dosage (but actually researched-based) for heavy periods. My heavy periods stopped. But as a side benefit my hair got healthier - more manageable and it just looks better. Less frizzy and less flat.

I am not a doctor so I can't recommend a vitamin dosage so talk to your doctor if you are interested in supplementing your vitamin A. Remember that anything including water can be dangerous in large amounts.
posted by cda at 12:24 PM on August 30, 2013

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