The experts responsible for three of Hollywood’s chicest long bobs share tips for making the cut.
Written By Tara Lamont Djite

Marion Cotillard / Photography by Vincent Desailly / Contour by Getty Images

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kerry Washington, and Marion Cotillard can’t be wrong: The look du jour is undoubtedly the lob. We are referring specifically to that shoulder-grazing layered crop—which hovers somewhere between mid-neck and clavicle—that seems to be popping up on every celebrity worthy of hair envy (see: Emilia Clarke, Taraji P. Henson, Lily Rose Depp, and Léa Seydoux, should you need more convincing). The Violet Files touched base with the stylists behind three of Hollywood’s most enviable lobs—Larry Sims, who tends to Kerry Washington’s waves; George Northwood, who created Rosie’s supermodel crop; and David Mallett, responsible for Marion Cotillard’s laissez-faire locks—to learn the tricks of the trade for getting the right cut for you.
STYLIST: Larry Sims |
The Style: When stylist Larry Sims decided to give Washington a new ’do, he did what any good stylist does first: assessed the conditions. “Kerry has an elongated face shape, which is really great,” Sims says. “To complement that, I gave her an asymmetrical sort of lob. If you look at the cut, the right side is longer than the left side by maybe just a quarter of an inch.” Sims also took into consideration Washington’s natural texture, which is a little bit curly, and cut her lob when her locks were straight. “I definitely like to cut it straight versus curled, because you get more definition and intentional layers with the straighter textures,” he adds.

What to ask for:
A textured, slightly graduated, shorter lob (ideal for women with coarser hair). Ask for layers, and request for it to be a little shorter in the back (the key to any good lob!). And always make sure your stylist takes into account your hair texture and face shape—for Sims, getting the perfect cut is all about feeling and reading his clients’ locks.

Styling tips: Texture is key in this cut, and the trick to achieving that messy-go-lucky Washington style. For curlier hair textures, Sims recommends applying a smoothing serum to wet hair before blow-drying. Next, use a curling iron, twisting each section of the hair in a different direction, leaving 1–2 inches straight at the end. Finish by spritzing in a mix of texturizing spray and hairspray to hold curls.

Who wears it best: “This cut works really well for elongated face shapes or square- and heart-shaped faces,” advises Sims. “I think it’s tricky to wear a heavy fringe if you have a smaller forehead—it sort of swallows you.”


STYLIST: George Northwood |
The Style: “I call this the supermodel bob,” says Huntington-Whiteley’s London-based stylist, George Northwood. “If you’re not careful, these cuts can look sort of ‘news anchor,’ and because Rosie’s style is classically cool, we wanted one with some edge.” Huntington-Whiteley debuted her clavicle-grazing lob—a graduated cut that works with both tousled bedhead waves and a sleek blowout—on Instagram early this year. “It’s the anti-mumsy bob,” says Northwood, and it is easy to maintain.

What to ask for: An organic, choppy lob. Northwood created Rosie’s cut by cropping into it a little messily, rather than doing classic layers. “What’s unique about this bob is that we graduate it at the back but we cut upward into it. It has a real California feel,” he says. “All you do is slice into the bottom two inches of the hair for lots of dimension, which breaks it up and gives it that edge. The idea is to cut chunks out of the hair so it goes wispy, so it has a kick to it and always looks cool.”

Styling tips: As with any lob, the key to tousled success is to rough up dry hair, adding in a salt spray while it’s still damp. “Always scrunch it and make it really big and wild. If you have straight hair, then curl a few sections,” suggests Northwood. “I prefer to use a GHD wand, which will give you body and texture. If you want even more texture, use Redken Wind Blown and Redken Powder Refresh. Spray it at the roots to give puffiness and body.”

Who wears it best: According to Northwood, the ease and practicality of this cut make it suitable for almost any hair texture and face shape, and it tends to look better the more messed up it is. So when it comes to spending a little extra time in bed in the morning, you don’t have to feel guilty about skipping your hair routine. “I wanted a haircut for women that have no time,” the stylist says.


STYLIST: David Mallett |

The Style: Quintessentially French, with its gamine bedhead appeal, Marion Cotillard’s lob is the image you pin to your inspiration board. According to her haircutter, Parisian-based David Mallett, the look was developed around the busy actress-mother’s (naturally wavy) hair texture, lifestyle, and needs. Suffice to say, it has the versatility that makes it equally ideal for a casual weekend and an evening on the red carpet.

What to ask for: A classic, angled Parisian lob, long enough for updos. To achieve a polished, slightly classic lob, talk to your stylist about how much texture you’d like in your cut. “You need to consider the bigger picture—not just the look, but also the suitability of the lob to your hair, face, ears, and the way you will style it,” says Mallett. It’s also important not to cut the back too short, lest it become a more bob than lob. “I like to leave it a little bit longer on the neck for an updo. If it’s too short in the back, you won’t be able to do a chignon.”

Styling tips: “Because this is a very strong haircut, it can easily be underdone and still have a great deal of strength,” says Mallett. “Longer bobs have a great force in their simplicity and they are very styled on their own.” For a tousled look like Cotillard’s, Mallett recommends a saltwater spray—his own brand of Australian Salt Spray provides excellent results—and a volume powder. “One of the best at-home tricks is to gently finger-tousle the spray in your hair, and finish with a volume powder. The French way is to use a little bit of water and scrunch it into your hair until it’s a little bit wet, then let it air-dry to get that out-of-bed sexy bedroom look.”

Who Wears it Best: “In a perfect world, this lob works best with smooth hair that has a slight curl and kick to it. Medium-textured to fine hair would be best,” Mallett explains. “Certain coarse or thick and curly hair types would not look good with this cut—with very thick hair it can end up looking like a pyramid.”


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