How to Style a Bali Bob with Bangs 12 Ways to Freshen Up Your Look
Updated: Aug 31, 2022
It’s not just big hair that’s full of secrets. While the iconic combination of a bob with bangs may seem like a uniform type of cut, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. A bob with bangs is actually a super variable look, especially when you’re playing with half-updos, showing off your natural texture, or working to master the art of the flat-iron wave. It has more versatility than most expect, and at the same time, it can be a great option for a low-maintenance, air-dried look. Now, that’s what we call range.
Here, we spoke to pro hairstylists Al Campbell and Justin Toves-Vincillone to outline the multiple ways you can style a bob-and-bangs combo, as well as exactly how to nail each look. Keep reading to get the breakdown on all 12 styles.
Half-Up Textured Pony
With the half-up textured ponytail, you can start either by adding waves to your hair, or working with your own natural texture. “If you’re using a curling wand, start the movement in the waves extremely off-base so they flow with the bangs,” Campbell says. Separate the hair ear to ear across the back to create the half-up style, then position your ponytail and tie it into place. If any stray hairs are falling out, you can fasten them with a bobby pin, or just go with the breezy, effortless vibe and leave them out.
“Remember this look is not to be perfect—imperfections make it amazing,” he adds.
Straight and Sleek
“This style can be quite the power move and makes a pretty big statement,” Toves-Vincillone says. “The straight lines that frame the face give ultimate ‘power move’ vibes and can be dressed up or down.” While a look like Christina Ricci's works on every bob length and can be done on any hair texture, the pro notes that it’s especially stunning for shorter bobs. Start with clean, just-washed hair, blow-dry your bangs in a downward position, and after the rest of your hair is dry, give all of your strands a quick pass with a flat iron to lock in a sleek finish.
Faux Sideburn and Ear Tuck
Master this style by following the aforementioned sleek and straight method, but with some creative adjustments for the faux sideburn moment. Once you’ve created a smooth finish all around, Campbell advises taking a fine-toothed boar bristle brush to sweep your strands behind your ears. “You can use a pin to keep the hair in place, but leave some funky pieces in front of the ear, which creates the long faux sideburn look,” he says. “Finish by spreading and fanning the bangs out to give them a wispy look.”
A short bob is one of the easiest wash-and-go hairstyles if you want to wear an air-dried finish, and Toves-Vincillone notes that a bob with bangs holds the same low-key routine. “Begin by cleansing and conditioning with a hydrating formula like the Authentic Beauty Concept Hydrate formulas ($28 each), then move right into product application—applying product while your hair is still wet is key,” he says. “Detangle and evenly distribute product using a brush or wide tooth comb, and once your hair is fully detangled, then either air dry or use a blowdryer with a diffuser.”
The mechanics behind this style seen on Charli XCX are very similar to those of the half-up ponytail, but instead of letting your strands hang loose in a pony, simply twist them into a topknot. Campbell advises starting by sectioning your hair from ear to ear across the back to get the half-updo started, then anchoring your ponytail into place. “Take a fine-tooth comb and backcomb at the base around the perimeter of the ponytail to create a foundation for the bun,” he says. “Then, wrap the remainder of your hair around the pony, mount with bobby pins, and finish with a hairspray”
A little bit Amelie, a little bit Old Hollywood, a beveled inward curl like Maya Hawke's gives off a polished, elegant vibe. “There’s really nothing more classic than a short bob with a little bevel at the ends,” Toves-Vincillone says. While straight and wavy hair textures can opt to blow out their strands with an inward curl, curly and oily hair types can master the look by first blow-drying and stretching their texture with a round brush. Follow with a heat protectant once your strands are completely dry, then use a flat iron over your hair, directing your ends inward. “Be mindful that you are using a curved, C-shape motion, creating a bevel to the ends of your hair,” he adds.
Tousled Body Waves
If you have a medium-to-long bob like Stephanie Beatriz's, tousled waves will pair well with that extra bit of length. “This style is flattering on a mid-length bob in particular because of its trendy, cool girl vibe,” Toves-Vincillone says. “It takes your medium-length hair and adds style and edgy texture.” He recommends styling your bangs as you normally would, brushing through any tangles, then applying a heat protectant as a thermal shield, but also for a little hold. “Take organic sections and use a one-inch curling iron to start building in the waves,” he says. “Start at the root, and slowly work your way down the section, leaving the ends straight.”
The Voluminous Blowout
When in doubt, a classic, voluminous blowout never fails to bring the drama—or the retro flair. Toves-Vincillone recommends starting this style on freshly washed hair, arming yourself with both a blowdryer and round brush. “Start by blow drying your bangs, then move on to the longer lengths of your hair, blow drying from roots to ends and being mindful to lift the sections of hair up and off of the head,” he says. “Once dry and smooth, roll each section up with your brush and then hit with a shot of cool air to set the hair fiber into place and lock in volume.”
Body Builder with Bangs
Three words to describe this look? Body and movement. Volume as seen here on Natalie Morales is a great way to make any bob with bangs feel lively and fresh, especially if you're rocking a longer look. “The body builder with bangs is probably one of my favorite approaches when finishing long bobs with bangs in particular,” Campbell says. “It gives the bob so much width, fullness, and movement, and since longer hair can tend to get heavy, it’s nice to amplify it every now and then.” Campbell notes that you can create this look with a round brush blow-drying method, or by simply picking up a curling wand about two inches in diameter. “The goal is to set the large curls in with either tool to promote volume and body,” he says. “Once everything is set and cool, take a wide-tooth styling comb to bring the bangs forward and rake the rest of the hair back, fluffing and finishing with HRM Humidity Resistant Spray ($20).”
Not to be confused with the aforementioned voluminous blowout, Toves-Vincillone notes that an airy blowout is a balancing act between volume and texture, paired with a bouncy finish. While the mechanics of blowing out your hair with a round brush and blowdryer may be similar, he recommends topping each piece off as you work your way through with a blast of the Authentic Beauty Concept Airy Texture Spray ($25).
Barely There Waves
Short, medium, and long bobs alike pair well with soft, touchable waves. “Use a one-and-a-quarter to one-and-a-half inch curling iron to curl your hair, starting at the root and working your way down,” says Toves-Vincillone. “Alternate sections away from the face and toward the face to add organic movement, then allow each curl to cool completely before finishing with a lightweight defining product.” A finishing touch of texturizing spray or styling wax can help to amp up texture and impart a piece-y look.
Want to be where the people are and show the versatility of your cut? Opt for soft, mermaid waves, which are just as stunning on a bob with bangs as they are on longer lengths. “Mermaid waves are a modern way to add a fluid, defined, and trendy wave to your hair,” says Toves-Vincillone. While any hair texture can work this look, the pro recommends prepping your strands by applying a heat protectant, giving them a smooth finish, then picking up your flat iron. “Take small to medium-sized sections of hair and use a smoothing iron to mold the shape of a wave, starting at the root and work your way down using a back and forth C-shape motion,” he says. “For a looser wave, use an S-shape motion, and be sure to leave the ends straight or curl them under.” If you want to try out the look but haven’t mastered the flat iron wave yet, Toves-Vincillone recommends using a waver tool like a three-barrel curling iron to impart the same effect.
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written by Marianne Mychaskiw for byrdie