Box Bobs Are Solidifying 2023 As The Year Of Short Hair

Defined by its short and often blunt shape, falling just above the shoulders, bobs are considered a universally flattering cut that can be worn on anybody. Over the years, the bob has become something of an umbrella term for a range of other styles that fall under it, including the long bob, the layered bob, the A-line bob, and the asymmetrical bob. But one bob cut that is perhaps less commonly known is the box bob. With close similarities to the French bob, the box bob is also cut along the jawline, sometimes grazing higher on the face around the cheekbones. However, the box bob is typically more angular and less layered than its French counterpart, making it great for those with fine hair because the hair appears thicker than it is, per Woman and Home

When the cut started trending in the early 1920s, hairdressers would not snip short hair on their clients — at first. Instead, defiant women marched to barbershops in droves. The trend proved to be more than a fad after all; it was a cultural movement. Paired with prohibition and the rise of speakeasies, jazz, and the newly-minted right for women to vote — though Black women faced and continue to face barriers to voting — soon these women with bobbed hair, lipstick, rouge, and short dresses became known as "flappers," per History. Now here we are in 2023, our feet firmly planted in the new decade, one century after flappers scandalized a society with straitlaced expectations for women. 

Like all bobs, the way you wear your box bob can be tailored to your specific hair needs and face shape. But there are a lot of options, so it can be tough to know what's perfect for you.

The fine hair box bob

This bob, cut by @brianhickman1 on Instagram, could be considered a cross between a French bob and a box bob, taking the best elements of each and combining them. While this bob does feature some layering, it is cut angularly with the bulk of the hair sitting around the temples, creating the illusion of fuller hair. An A-line bang further adds an edge to the cut, which elegantly frames the face. And styling this cut is straightforward, as the cut itself does most of the work. 

The box bob in action

Here, TikTok user @whitecatcollective takes a trip to the salon for a box bob touch up. After tightening up the edges of the bob and trimming the length, the hairstylist then blow dries the hair. The final result is a classic box cut: one with minimal layering, a blunt bang that does not connect to the length of the hair, and an ultra-cropped chop that falls just above the chin. The cut adds volume to the hair and a sophisticated attitude to everything else! 

Wavy box bob

Even if your hair is not particularly fine, thin, or pin-straight, the box bob can still work its magic on you. Styled by @brianhickman1 on Instagram, this bob is cut with some layers to accentuate both the volume of the hair and the shape and texture of the waves. The bangs are also slightly layered, which altogether softens the blunt cut of the box bob. 

When it comes to styling, tousling a light mousse through your hair, such as the John Frieda Volume Lift Air Whipped Foam (available at CVS), will help it keep its shape while also adding volume to your waves. 

Super sleek box bob

This box bob, cut by @aleksander_makscrew on Instagram, is a classic. Featuring an ultra-cropped length and short, asymmetrical bangs, this hairstyle is both daring and chic. 

For this pin-straight look, after washing, add a heat protectant spray and blow out your hair using a round, bristle brush, per House of Wellness. Then, spritz on a high-shine mist and take a flatiron to the hair for that sleek, glossy finish. The John Frieda 3-in-1 Shine Spray is also a heat protectant and detangling spray, available at CVS

Red box bob

Bold haircuts go hand in hand with bold color, and we love this pairing of the box bob with red hair, cut by @celscutsnyc_ on Instagram. While having highlights can add texture and lowlights can add dimension, overdoing it on thin hair can make the hair look thinner, per Harper's Bazaar. While darker hair tends to look thicker than lighter locks, opting for subtle highlights and lowlights can optimize the look of your natural tresses. However, we think wearing just your natural color, or even going for a single color dye, can add to the essence of the cut. 

Colorful box bob

For a modern twist on a historical cut, why not pair your box bob with a bright, cool color, like this cut by @udeviola on Instagram? When it comes to choosing the right hair color for your skin tone, keep in mind that cool skin tones match well with cool hair colors, while warm skin tones pair well with warm colors. And remember, even shades that are often considered "warm colors," such as red, for example, can also be cool-toned. This means you have the entire rainbow to choose from, depending on what you feel suits you best. 

Fringy box bob

Perhaps you are looking for a box bob that walks the line between straight and textured. Look no further than this fringy box bob, cut by @michaelforrey on Instagram. 

By incorporating some subtle layers and leaving the bangs slightly imperfect instead of a sharp A-line, the cut is softened slightly without losing its classic shape. Using a texturizing spray can also help achieve this effect, and a great budget option is the Tresemmé Dry Texture Finishing Spray, available at CVS

Super cropped box bob

This super-cropped box cut reminds us of a pixie cut, but with a little more volume. Striking a balance between retro style and modern flair, this sharp hairstyle by @drorvakrat on Instagram is slightly shorter than the average box bob, which might require a bit of extra maintenance. 

Per Byrdie, for shorter haircuts, a visit to the salon every three to seven weeks will help the cut look fresh. Clearly this is a bold look, so make sure that it's the right short hairstyle for your face before you fully commit. 

Box bob braids

The box bob cut is versatile, and we love how it looks in braids on @yoshfilmss on Instagram. These thick box braids add both texture and volume to the hairstyle, and can also offer protection for natural hair, per Natural Girl Wigs. The box bob braids can last up to 10 weeks. 

You can keep your box braids in shape by using a water-based mousse to refresh them, applying hair oil to your edges, and spraying your scalp with water-diluted oils that can benefit your hair and skin, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil, per Naturally Curly

Box bob balayage

We love to see hair trends come together in one hairstyle, and this box bob featuring balayage color is a great way to add your own, personal twist to it (cut by @modelmakerzhair on Instagram). By keeping the roots dark and lightening the ends of the hair, balayage on a bob can give the illusion of thicker hair toward the top of the head and thinner hair at the bottom, perfect for subtly playing up the shape of your cut. Balayage also adds dimension to the hair (via 

And the truth about balayage hair is that it is simple to grow out because the color has been blended so well, perfect for transitioning the length of your hair if you ever want to ditch the bob.