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What Is a Graduated Bob Haircut?

By Amy Hunter
Updated May 21, 2024
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A graduated bob haircut is one where the hair is cut into a traditional bob style, then shorter layers are added on the top of the hair to create body and fullness. The graduated layers are often styled forward to create a face framing effect. This hairstyle is versatile and looks good on a variety of face shapes and hair textures.

In the traditional bob, the hair is cut with the ends blunt and all one length. While easy to style and maintain, the look can be severe or dated on some people. The graduated bob haircut offers a more updated and carefree look, while still being easy to maintain and style.

When choosing a haircut, and in particular a style such as the graduated bob, it is important to visit a stylist who is familiar with the cut and is able to recreate the look. While easy to style and maintain, the graduated bob haircut is tricky to cut. Selecting a hairdresser who is experienced with the look will yield the best results.

The first step in the graduated bob is to create a basic bob, with or without bangs. This gets the hair to the desired length, and creates a canvas to create the graduated style. The hairdresser will then begin adding layers, starting at the back of the head and working towards the front. The hairdresser pulls the hair away from the head and uses a sharp pair of scissors to cut in layers that are shorter toward the crown and longer toward the nape of the neck. She will leave the bottom line of the bob untouched.

Most hairdressers will cut the hair wet when styling a graduated bob haircut. This gives her greater control over the hair, and creates a very precise look. Cutting this way prevents the bob from looking shaggy and unintentionally messy. A good graduated bob haircut looks carefree, not sloppy.

The graduated bob haircut is simple to style. For day to day wear, spritz lightly with a volumizer to build body into the hair. Use a round brush and hair dryer to shape the hair towards the face, finishing with a light mist of hair spray. For a more formal look, use a shine spray and dress the look up with a embellished headband. The graduated bob is easy to secure into up-dos and ponytails because the side pieces, that typically come loose in shorter styles, are actually longer than the hair at the the back of the head.

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Discussion Comments

By orangey03 — On Feb 10, 2013

Graduated bobs are so easy to style! I had very long hair for many years, and when I finally got a bob cut, I went into shock over how easy it was to wash and dry.

I could blow dry it in just a few minutes. I didn't have to use much shampoo or conditioner, and I cut my shower time in half.

All it took to style it was a round brush and a dryer. My hair wasn't really even long enough for those big rollers I used to use, but that was okay, because I didn't even need them.

By shell4life — On Feb 09, 2013

I think that graduated bobs that fall just below the ears are so cute. You can tuck the hair behind your ears and it will poke out just a little beneath them.

This type of bob looks good on curly hair, too. The waves and layers give you plenty of volume and style.

By StarJo — On Feb 09, 2013

@kylee07drg – I think it's just called a graduated bob. This is the haircut that several of my friends have.

Even though the most noticeable thing about it is that the length in the front is so different than the length in the back, it still has layers throughout. One of my friends has a bob with long pieces up front and really short hair in the back.

The longest of the layers in the back are at the top of the head, and they fade down to hair that is clipped very close. She also had the back of her neck shaved.

By kylee07drg — On Feb 08, 2013
I thought a graduated bob just meant that it got longer in the front and shorter in the back. I didn't know that it meant that layers were added all over. Is there another term for the bobs with long pieces in front and short ones in the back, or is this just another type of graduated bob?
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