Welcome to #BestLife, a column on how to embrace aging and the life changes that come with it. In this installment, Donna Freydkin talks about how to avoid the mom bob haircut and get a bob that works for you. Bob haircut.
Some call it the reverse mullet, a misguided style that's longer in the front and shorter in the back, with harsh highlights to boot, forever infamous thanks to Kate Gosselin. Others simply call it what it is: the mom bob, a largely ill-advised version of the otherwise chic haircut that everyone from Maggie Gyllenhaal to Claire Danes to Victoria Beckham has worn.
Let's be clear: What you do with your hair is your choice. As the self-inflicted victim of many a disastrous cut (ranging from feathered bangs to bright red highlights to a tightly-wound perm), I am living proof that no matter how unsightly the final product, everything grows out sooner or later. And a bob, when done right, is basically the perfect haircut for anyone because it beautifully frames your face and lets your hair do its thing.
But back to the mom bob. If you're gung-ho to get one, by all means, go for it. But ask any pro, and he or she will tell you to take a beat before making that decision. A very dear friend of mine (not me, I promise) recently went in for a cut, looking to somehow tame her unruly waves into something sleeker. The stylist, without missing so much as a beat, suggested the tried and true, even though it would have never worked with her texture and length: Let's go super-short in the back, and let your waves go longer near your chin — basically, a triangle. My friend excused herself, left the salon, and never went back. Today, she's got a super-bouncy, glorious chin-length bob that looks fantastic on her.
To avoid the mom bob trap, we consulted with a few top stylists to get their take. After all, when you're sitting in that hot seat, and a would-be expert is telling you how wonderful you'll look in an hour, it's easy to just go for it.
"I hate that look," says Padma Lakshmi 's stylist Jeanie Syfu. "It’s got a bouffant crown and it’s cut behind the ears. A lot of people with that cut over-style it and that’s why it looks like a mom bob. A bob looks chic when it’s not over-styled. A mom bob is not cut right. It’s not personalized to the client."
Anyone who pushes the generic bob on you is lazy, and doesn't take your own hair idiosyncrasies into account. Plus, there's the issue of maintenance. Are you a wash-and-go person like me, or do you enjoy spending an hour meticulously curling or straightening?
"Your personal style has to show through," says Syfu. "When Victoria Beckham technically had that haircut, she wore it differently. On her, it looked different. She didn’t round-brush it or tease it. It goes back to your stylist and you having this idea of wanting to go short. You can try different shapes with a bob, maybe go more blunt or get bangs. If it’s a textured bob, it needs to be personalized."
So speak up. And know what works for you. Being a mom (or not) doesn't land you in follicular purgatory, or require you to say yes to something that doesn't feel or look right. My son is six, and since giving birth, I've had the best hair of my life, because I no longer let anyone push me into something I know for a stone-cold, hard-won fact will look ridiculous. Plus, I'm fully aware that I am impatient and thus, don't have an hour to dedicate to painstaking grooming every morning. Maybe you do. Maybe you don't. The point is: just say it.
Adds Sarah Potempa, who works with Reese Witherspoon and Lea Michele: "I think it might be the fact that cutting your hair may make you think it's easier for you to style it. My mom had that type of haircut for five years. And then she grew it out and styled out. There are so many options for women to get out of that trap. You need to bring your own voice. You tell stylists what you want. It’s your decision. Don’t let them push something that’s easy for them."
Robert Pattinson Has a Sleek Pink Bob on the Cover of Wonderland
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