Elevated Bob Hairstyles

Wispy layers give Viola Davis' elevated bob added dimension.

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Your mom tried to steer you on the straight and narrow, but you and she both knew you couldn't resist working through all the angles. The upward angle from chin to nape, for instance, defines this sleek, trendy and oh-so-feminine "elevated bob" hairstyle, which goes from office to evening with no effort. Also called an inverted, angled, or reverse bob, this style works on straight, wavy or curly hair but is not particularly effective for tightly curled hair unless you want to do a lot of straightening.


Antoine of Paris introduced the short, sassy and rather boyish -- and therefore radical -- hairstyle he named the “bob” way back in 1909. The term and style have endured the test of time, notwithstanding many variations, of course. The elevated bob is a more daring version of the traditional bob that says, “I like a little drama.” The elevated bob's shorter back is usually layered at the bottom so that it hugs tightly against your head. The longer front edge frames your face and provides movement. The line of the cut echoes the elevation of the jawbone, so it provides a natural and provocative curve that points toward the nape of your neck.


The front edge of an elevated bob usually falls between lobe and collar length, but it can be longer in a more extreme style. For a more edgy look, you can part your hair deep down one side or ask your stylist to razor-trim the edges for a more spiky appearance. If you want to emphasize the shape of your head or build height at the crown, go for the stacked variation, which includes steeply cut layers at the crown that taper down to your nape. For a softer look, try the concave variation, where an inward curve makes the front edges hug your chin line. Or ask for gentle layers along the very bottom of your cut to reduce volume at the edges and create a soft, wispy look. You can add bangs, too, either side-swept or in the straight-front style that hugs your eyebrow line.


Want an even stronger “Look at Me” statement? Highlights can add pizzazz or a soft glow to your elevated bob. Bold highlighting in a triangle shape along the top front edge of your 'do will light up your beautiful visage. Or try chunky highlighted sections around your face. For a subtle glow, choose blended highlights in colors close to your main color, distributed evenly all over your hair.

Styling Tips

Elevated bobs are easy to care for, but they need a little tending to maximize their potential. Choose a shampoo that is designed for your hair type, and use a conditioner regularly. If your hair tends to dwell in the Land of Frizz, use an anti-frizz serum or milk. Before styling, apply mousse to damp hair, then use a round brush and a blow dryer to shape your layers and add volume. Add even more volume by using a flat iron on the topmost layers. Finish off with paste or a shine wax to shape the ends and seal with a touch of hairspray for lasting hold. Now you can shake your mane with confidence and endless shine.

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