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What is a Graduated Bob?

B. Miller
B. Miller

A graduated bob is a type of short hair style where hair is shorter in the back and gradually gets longer at the front of the face, generally being cut to around chin length. It may also be referred to as a wedge or angled haircut. This type of graduated bob hair style can be very fashionable and versatile, and it rarely goes out of style because of its classic look.

In general, hair cut into a graduated bob style is cut to approximately the nape of the neck in the back of the head. Then, along the sides, hair is gradually stepped up, getting longer as it goes around to the front of the head. The hair around the face is left the longest, and may be chin length or slightly longer. This type of hair cut generally only works well on those with straight hair, or who are willing to straighten their hair every day. The shape of the graduated bob tends to be lost on very curly hair.

A graduated bob haircut is shorter in back and longer in front.
A graduated bob haircut is shorter in back and longer in front.

Any hair stylist at a salon should be able to create a graduated bob haircut. The haircut should have a lot of movement, and should hang well around the face. Some people choose to cut layers into the haircut, generally around the sides of the head. Others add sideswept bangs around the face, which can be a good choice for people who have very long, narrow faces and want to make the face appear slightly shorter.

Highlights often look great with this type of hair style as well. They can help to add interest and movement to the look, and to brighten up one's face if the highlights are placed around the temples. Remember to only place highlights on the areas of the hair where the sun would naturally hit it; for instance, highlights generally look most natural if they are only applied to the outer layer of hair.

There are some downsides to a graduated bob haircut, primarily that it needs to be regularly maintained to keep that wedge shape. It may be necessary to visit a salon every month in order to keep the edges of the hair straight and clean looking. Second, it is difficult to just "wash and wear" a bob haircut unless one's hair is naturally very straight; it will generally need to be dried with a round brush and straightened every day to keep a smooth, sleek appearance.

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Discussion Comments


@GreenWeaver - I know what you mean. I have curly hair too and my arm starts to hurt from blow drying my hair after a while. I really like the inverted bob. It is so classically beautiful.

It really accentuates your facial features in a more flattering way. I think that when you have curly hair you should ask for a stylist that has curly hair because I have found that stylists that have curly hair know how to cut a graduated bob while those that have straight hair don’t.

Many that do not layer the top layer of your hair but leave the lower layers the same so when your hair dries your hair looks like a triangle. You really have to make sure that they do multiple layers if not your hair will have too much volume and it will stick out.


I had never thought about going to a wig shop to try out my hairstyle before I cut my hair. That is a really good idea. I think that when you have curly hair like me it is best to get a layered bob because it will take out the excess volume from your hair which will help it lay correctly when you blow dry it.

I love the graduated bob hairstyles but since my hair is so full it doesn’t look as good as when I get a layered bob.

When I blow dry my hair and use the flat iron it looks great, but it takes me about an hour and half to do this so I can’t do this every day. This is why I just get a layered bob and let my hair dry by itself. It still looks good and it is a lot less work.


I very nearly had this haircut last month, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I'd collected lots of graduated bob haircut pictures and was eagerly flicking through them while I waited for my stylist to become free.

Then when I was in the chair and she was waiting for me to let her know what I wanted I lost my nerve. My hair is quite long and I just wasn't ready to give it up.

When I got home my mother told me she was quite relieved by my decision. It turns out that when she was younger she'd often fallen for a hair style craze and regretted it. We spent the rest of the afternoon giggling over pictures of her with a 'Farrah' cut, a shag and even a mullet. My favorite was the curly perm that was a mass of frizz.


Graduated bobs can be a lot of fun, especially if you get some highlights that go with the movement of the hair. I had a great stylist who was also an amazing colorist and she made my graduated bob look amazing with just some well-placed color.

I think some of the best graduated bobs I have seen are on Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Rihanna. They all had their phases where they sported a graduated bob and it looked amazing on each of them.

If you are not sure about the look but want to try it out, visit a wig shop. Sometimes they have the style in stock and you can try it out for free.


If you are thinking a graduated bob looks cute and want to get one make sure you try the cut out virtually before you dedicate yourself to it. There are lots of programs online that are free to use that will let you take your photo and stick any hairstyle you want to it.

If you are anything like me you might be quite surprised at what the graduated bob looks like with the shape of your face. I found the style made my head look to round, so I ended up foregoing the graduated bob when I finally made my way to the salon. I am glad I just didn't go for it and have to wait months for it to grow out.

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    • A graduated bob haircut is shorter in back and longer in front.
      By: Sanjay Deva
      A graduated bob haircut is shorter in back and longer in front.