Short hair is fun (just ask Hailey Bieber), but it does require a particular styling skill set, especially if you’re going after that undone, effortless aesthetic. Too textured and it can look dirty; too soft and it feels suburban. The perfect middle ground is a loose wave that’s imperfect, cool, and glossy. But how does one make it happen at home?
RUSSH Beauty Editor and short hair enthusiast, Emily Algar, here, and I've compiled all my best advice and product recommendations below.
How to ask your stylist to cut a bob
Your cut matters when you have short hair. A good stylist will be honest with you when it comes to a length and shape that will flatter your facial features. They should also take your hair texture and styling preferences into account. For example, if you prefer to wash-and-go (like me) don’t ask for flippy French bangs. Having a reference photo is good, but you also need to be real about its likeness to you. With that being said, my forever hair muse will always be Kaia Gerber during SS20 September fashion month (take a look at this reference photo from Kaia's Instagram and you’ll see what I mean).
My hair dresser Anthony Nader refers to my cut as a slob, which is fitting, but really speaks to a low maintenance bob that’s sharp in shape but not overly precise, all one length and without layers. Length-wise, I like it to fall just below my jaw. You might like to mix it up with a fringe, choppy layers (think Maya Hawke), or more length.
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It’s all in the prep
The best shampoos for short hair are, in my opinion, anything that’s deeply cleansing and volumising but instills shine. I love Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, Oribe Shampoo for Magnificent Volume, and Abhati Suisse Imlaya Volumising Shampoo. I also recently tried the new Melbourne brand Robe Haircare’s Clean + Finish which is a non-foaming cleanser, hydrator and texturiser. While the user experience took some getting used to, I loved the way my hair air-dried. I’ll definitely be using it again.
My hair is fine, so I don’t love conditioner as it often adds unnecessary weight. But that’s a personal choice you’ll need to make. Formulas I’ve tried that I do love include Kerasilk's Volumising Foam Conditioner (it’s super lightweight, the matching shampoo is also amazing), as well as the Christophe Robin Melting Mask with Aloe Vera. Sometimes I wear the original Olaplex to hot yoga, as well.
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Notes on heat styling
After washing, I scrunch my hair with a microfibre towel. Once the excess water is gone I’ll add a styling product to build body and give my locks some grip. The best I’ve ever found include the David Mallet Australian Sea Salt Spray and Oribe's Très Set Structure Spray (which is more of a mousse, but I digress). If I want moisture, my current favourite is the Davines Oi All In One Milk, it’s softening but not thick. Plus, it smells amazing.
After that, I rough dry upside down with my Dyson Supersonic. Blow drying short hair can feel intimidating, but I think the less effort applied, the more natural the result. If you do however want a sleek finish, incorporate a small round brush.
Now onto the wave! I’ve spent so much time fiddling with curling wands and wavers over the years but I always return to a straightener in order to get the most believable finish (GHD Platinum is my pick). I like to start by ironing out the ends, and then adding in bends most towards, and away from the face. But my golden piece of advice is to keep the movement confined to the middle of the hair only. If it extends from the root to the ends, the result will be too ‘done’ or poofy.
I also don’t style my entire head, just randomised sections. I find this yields a more natural-looking finish.
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The best texture sprays for short hair
Arguably the most important step when styling short hair is the finishing product. In order to add grit and movement, I love a dry texturising spray. The gold standard for short hair (and all hair if I’m being honest) is the Oribe Dry Texture Spray; it has only ever made my hair look infinitely better. I’m also a big fan of the Kerasilk Texturising Finishing Spray, and the Living Proof Full Dry Volume Texture Spray.
Mist it through the roots and mid-lengths to give your style some longevity, and a slightly more lived-in feel.