Hairdressing How-Tos

Step by Step: The French Bob

by kieran / last updated April 28, 2021

french bob

The French bob is a style that never quite left, and it’s showing no signs of disappearing either. We got the low-down from Sam Villa, co-founder and chief creative officer of Sam Villa and global artistic ambassador for Redken, about recreating this classic look.

What is the French bob?

A French bob is designed to be short near the jaw line with a fringe that hits the brow area. I find it shorter than a chin length bob with its signature ends slightly curving in towards the chin.  It’s a great hairstyle to frame a long or heart-shaped face. It was popular in France in the 1890s, but today’s cool girl version has blunt edges and heavy organic texture so it’s radical yet chic with the perfect amount of texture.

How to cut the French bob?

1. The cut is disconnected or detached, so it is important to section and clip the entire head first before starting to have more control.

2. Many times when cutting bobs, holes may occur behind the ears.  Focus on widening the side areas of the head by sectioning to the corner backs versus on top of the ear.

3. The comb is a tool that can create many mistakes. The elevation is vertical, so the action of combing from underneath ensures getting the elevation up and above a horizontal line to a vertical degree of elevation. Adjusting combing habits can change the outcome.

4. Use a Sam Villa Signature Series Razor – hold it like a pencil and rotate it towards the body, keeping the elbow down. Longer strokes will create a softer effect. Remember, the razor is an emotional tool- allow the weight of the razor to do the cutting, not the pressure of the grip.

5. Sides: The French bob’s signature is the roundness of the bob line in the front side areas, achieved by simply taking the corner of the bob off while using the lips as a point of reference.

6. Top: Use overlapping sections to detach crown/top areas from underneath. “We have discovered by leaving the top and crown areas slightly longer, we are able to maximise volume,” says Villa.

7. Fringe: Think inside out and layer a triangle fringe area prior to cutting the fringe line. This will guarantee a frothy soft interior.  Simply, create a guide at the top of the triangle and over direct horizontal sections back to a stationary guide to create maximum length.  Adjust the desired length freehand at the brow by pinch and cut to create an organic edge to the fringe.

8. To style, apply Redken pillow proof blow dry express primer spray for added conditioning and accelerated styling. Then, blow dry with tension for a smooth finish or dry with a diffuser for a more organic vibe.

Need further help? Watch the full video breakdown here

Check out our step by step guide on the classic Birkin style.

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