Byrdie January 19, 2023

BYRDIE

Hair

22 Side-Part Bob Hairstyles That Prove How Chic (and Timeless) the Look Is

 

A side part is a little like wearing a dress with a plunging neckline: It’s a little subversive and a little mysterious, the intrigue only increasing the deeper you go. It’s an easy touch that works on just about any hairstyle, length, or texture—but we love the extra oomph and flirtatiousness it adds to a short bob.

And while TikTok may have tried to declare the side part dead, we knew all along that it was never going anywhere. Just look at the army of loyal celebrity devotees. “For me, the princess of the side-part bob is Kaia Gerber,” says New York-based hairstylist Devin Toth, adding a long list of other famous side-part bob fans—Taraji P. Henson, Millie Bobby Brown, Emily Blunt, Lucy Hale, Selena Gomez, and multiple Kardashians. 

MEET THE EXPERT

Devin Toth is a hairstylist at SalonSCK in New York City.
 

Raven Hurtado is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.

 

While side-part bobs are popular among the famous crowd, the good news is you won’t need a celebrity stylist to make it happen. The most important step is finding a bob length that works for you or that you’re comfortable with—some prefer longer, shoulder-grazing length, some like to keep it tight to the chin, and some prefer an even shorter French bob or micro bob. Once you have your length figured out, you can play with the side-part styling at home. There’s no wrong way to do it.

Whether you prefer your part to be subtly off-center or you’re ready for a plunging part with big volume, keep reading to see 22 cool side-part bob hairstyles you'll want to try ASAP.

Bouncy Soft Bob

Chicago-based stylist Raven Hurtado says Kourtney Kardashian Barker’s soft, sexy bedroom bob has been seriously popular lately. She recommends blow-drying the hair with a large barrel round brush to give light bounce and volume. Then, hit it with a finishing cream or oil, like the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil ($42), for a shiny finish.

Bedazzled Side-Part Bob

Is eyelash glue the new duct tape? Probably not. But Real Housewives of Orange County star Gina Kirschenheiter proves that it is an easy, removable way to stud the flatter side of your side-part bob (and your ear, apparently) with a waterfall of pearls.

Use a dab of clear eyelash glue to stick gemstones or pearls on one side of your bob, or in a line along the side part.

Asymmetrical Side-Part Bob

Taraji P. Henson is proof that if you work with your curls—not against them—amazing things can happen. This chin-length bob creates stunning angles, while the side part stacks curls to one side, giving the style a modern, asymmetrical look.

Long Side-Part Bob

A long, collarbone-grazing bob is a great compromise for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of shorter hair. Hurtado loves this length because it’s casual and low-maintenance, while the side part adds just a dash of drama.

Rock and Roll Tousle

We love windswept rocker hairstyles, and a deep side part is a great, casual addition to a lot of tousled texture. It’s like Kristen Stewart rode the whole way there with her head out the window—in a good way.

A heavy-duty texturizing spray will be your best friend for these tousled, effortless parts that don’t look too “done up.” We recommend a healthy dose of the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($49)

Curly Fringe Bob

Someone, somewhere once told us the lie that bangs cannot be curly, and we have never, ever forgiven them. Yara Shahidi’s coily fringe is such a fun touch—like icing on the cake—for her sophisticated bob and modern side part.

Disco Glam Bob

If ever there was an occasion to bust out the biggest velcro rollers you can find, these shoulder-length '70s feathered curls would be it. While Farrah Fawcett’s hair may have been a bit longer, we love how glamorous the curls look on a side-parted bob.

Clipped Bob

Sometimes a deep part’s job is to literally and figuratively take a step to the side. Kerry Washington’s side-part bob gives her a larger canvas on one side to showcase two statement-making hair clips. Try it with a mix of shapes and colors like this snap clip set from Kitsch ($12), or use the space to neatly stack a row of rhinestone bobby pins ($12).

Accessorize your side-part bob with an earring peeking out or a statement bobby pin or barrette. Toth recommends accessories from Kitsch, Jennifer Behr, and Lelet NY. 

Pin-Straight Bob

A pin-straight side-part bob is classic for good reason. Start in the shower with a smoothing shampoo and conditioner like Amika's Velveteen Dream Anti-Frizz Smoothing Shampoo ($26), and prep with a heat protectant (we like the Pantene Pro-V Heat Primer Thermal Heat Protectant, $18) before straightening the hair in sections. Finish with a shine spray for extra polish.

Braided Bob

A deep side part adds serious drama to shoulder-length box braids.

Angled Side-Part Bob

Hurtado likes this angled bob for a sleek, polished look. “The haircut is slightly shorter in the back and longer in the front,” she notes, which gives it a modern edge in a very subtle way. The side part gives this straight style a little volume at the top.

'20s-Inspired Ends

With the ends tucked and pinned up to create a rounded, flapper-style shape, this short bob gives '20s vibes but feels more modern (more 2022, less 1922) thanks to the off-center part.

Playful Curls

These undone curls look bouncy and playful on a short cut with a deep side part—like Julia Garner ran her fingers through her hair, shook the curls around, and called it a day. To let all the texture do the talking, refine your curls with a defining cream like Kevin Murphy's Killer Curls ($38).

Wavy Bob

Soft, breezy waves are a natural fit for a side-part bob. It’s all about looking effortless (even if it might have taken a little effort, a curling iron, and some hairspray). If you like the romance of keeping one side tucked back all day, here’s a good trick: “Tightly bring one side back into a hidden ponytail at the nape of your head, secured with an elastic,” Toth explains. “Allow the rest of your mane to cover and hide the ponytail. The key to this look is to keep the back of your side part out of the ponytail, falling downward with the rest of your hair.”

Flipped Out Bob

This slicked bob tucked behind the ears is sophisticated, but the slight flip at the ends—done with just a gentle bevel of a flat iron—makes it downright statuesque.

Straight and Sleek

The ends of this razor-sharp blunt bob could cut like a knife, and placing the part a few inches off-center gives this understated style a little extra edge.

When creating a deeper side part, you may need a little extra help to hold it in place. “Using hairspray to control the top of this hairstyle is key,” Toth advises.

Boy Band Bob

Kaia Gerber is pitch-perfect in what we call the “Boy Band Bob.” It’s the same shaggy cut you remember from the Hansen or Leonardo DiCaprio poster you had on your wall in middle school. This swingy, flopped-over crop is making a serious comeback, and we love it with a little piece-y texture (like: “I’m just a little sweaty from running around the Titanic with you, babe”). Toth loves how the “deep, messy no-part part” gives off a casual, effortless vibe.

Micro Side-Part Bob

Not afraid of heights? A chin-grazing (or higher) micro bob is so perfectly Parisian we can practically smell the Chanel No. 5 from here. An offset side part can give the simple cut a little extra interest and lift it at the roots.

Shaved Side Part

A nontraditional take on the style, Tati Gabrielle’s intricately braided platinum bob turns into a badass undercut on the other side—giving the illusion of a deep side part.

Faux Bob

Love the look of a side-part bob, but not ready to make the chop? Luckily, it's possible to style your hair into a pretty convincing faux bob, as Zendaya does here. With your lengths braided and tucked away, you'll achieve this sleek aesthetic without any need for scissors.

The Wet Look

There's something so chic and mysterious about the wet hair look. (Namely: How did you get so wet? And why is it only your hair?) A deep side part adds even more intrigue. Start with the part, then slick your hair with a generous amount of water-based hair gel like R+Co's Wall St Strong Hold Gel ($28). Then use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to break up the hair from mid-shaft to the ends—which will give it that tousled, just-out-of-the-shower look.

Mixed Texture Bob

For natural curls, Toth recommends this fun mixed-texture bob. “Create your side part using a tail comb and then brush the hair outward to each side of the top of your head and secure the hair on each side with cross-hatched or crisscrossed bobby pins,” he says. “The key to this style is maintaining the contrast between the flat, smooth hair on top of your head and the curly textured hair everywhere else.”

FAQ

What is a bob?

A bob is a short haircut that ranges from shoulder-grazing all the way up to the ears (AKA a micro bob). It gained popularity in the 1920s as a kind of gender rebellion for women, and was seen as a daring look for the vaudeville set. In fact, some hairdressers flat-out refused to cut them, sending women into barber shops to get a shorter look.

Are side parts still in style?

A few years back, TikTok declared that the side part was being sent to the nearest retirement home. But thanks to its versatility and ability to boost volume and add interest to a style, the side part isn’t going anywhere.

Are bobs good for thin hair?

Bobs are a great option for thin or fine hair. When you cut your hair short, you’re removing some of the weight that may have been quite literally dragging it down. With a bob, your roots don’t have to hold as much weight, so it’s easier to build volume and movement.

Do side-part bobs work for anyone?

Absolutely!  “[Bobs] are great because they’re easy to style,” Hurtado explains. They tend to look just as good air-dried as they do straightened or blown out, she adds, and even those with curly hair can tousle and go with just a little bit of styling cream to tame flyaways. The side part is a styling bonus, adding a little oomph at the roots for volume.