It’s no news when we say that the 1920s have had a significant impact on the fashion industry. It started with accessories, clothes, and then moved on to beauty, as wine-tinted lips and fluttering eyelashes hoarded many an advertisement campaign. With the anticipated release of Baz Luhrmann’s remake of The Great Gatsby, the period has taken another deep-end dive into the ocean of hairstyles.

The 1920s tousled bob is one such look that once waved the flag for being primped and pristine with its disciplined finger waves. But in 2012, we’ve seen it update itself with a modern edge, more texture and added sexiness.

And as far as 2012 hair trend predictions at are concerned, this style is not a passing cloud. It’s well and truly here to stay, so you better take your notepads and curling tongs out and get ready to hop on the time machine that travels forward.

Read on to find out more about the hairstyle and to be taken through a how to guide. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter or RSS feed if you’d like to keep up to date with all of the latest hair and fashion trends and inspiration on how to wear them.

The 1920s waved bob: how it started

When dancer Irene Castle flaunted her bob in the early 20s, the world categorised her as an independent, mature woman, due to her courageous hairstyle. The Castle Bob, as it was famously known, was a tousled straight cut that levelled with the ear lobes.

Scott Fitzgerald created Bernice Bobs Her Hair and Coco Chanel cut her locks. It wasn’t long before the flapper girls started playing around with the style and made it the look for the party-filled decade. For the majority of time, it was a short bob with a defined curl resting on the forehead or on the side of the cheek. The once cherished long locks were traded for The Shingle Bob, Eton Crop, Windswept Bob and Bernice Bob.

But as the flapper culture faded away, the strength of this cut also lost its aura and the bob was no longer a phenomenon until the 1960s.

Tousled: the waved bob now

However, whoever said ‘history repeats itself,’ must bake a cake for himself. This year, we’re seeing a comeback of the finger waved bob but with a new cut, style and a change of wardrobe.

Mark Fast gave a push to this tousled bob hairstyle as his spring 2012 collection came down the runway. It almost seemed like he had asked his hair team to chop off every model’s hair, in order to get the perfect length, shape, texture and flow.

Mark Fast was quoted backstage at the show when he described the mood of the hair, “The palette originates from sand tones in a desert landscape… we wanted to create movement over the body to emulate the force of a sand storm, the hair needed to flow with this”.

The side parting worked efficiently for the 1920s-theme, but the textured bob glued itself to the aesthetic of the collection, as a newfound elegance found its way on the runway.

The general rule for a hair trend to gain additional value is to see it off the runway. And so be it, with Arizona Muse claiming the position of an unofficial ambassador of a bob. Muse has tried them all, from a ‘60s style mod bob to this textured 1920s bob. She has the perfect cut for it, making it viable for hair stylists.

In this crimped-up messy do, as shot on the streets of Paris, Muse has taken a subtle and modern approach towards the pristine finger waves. It’s inclined towards a casual, less defined style and is also translatable to your daily hair regime.

arizona muse waved bob
Photo by Trendy Crew.

How-to create the new waved flapper bob

The cut:

To state the obvious, the tousled bob will not quite work if you have long hair, so this style is specifically for those who embrace short locks, or even those who like to experiment and surprise themselves. But, Mark Fast and his hair team did take the challenge and made it work for longer hair (see the styling steps below).

If we were to look back at the Flapper era, the traditional cut was always just where the ears ended or slightly above it. It was a clear bob cut. Flapper girls never had their hair long, which also added to androgynous feel of the look.

But when we translate the look in 2012, we want to make it look as modern, glamourous and effortless as we can. Since a very short bob demands high maintenance, make this look yours by keeping your hair shoulder length or an inch below the ears.

However, if you do want to experiment with your locks this New Year, then brave the scissors and go with an above the ear cut. But keep in mind that the styling will be a little more time taking and tricky.

The tools:

To style this look effectively, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Tail comb brush
  • Wire rods (if available)
  • Curling tong
  • Flat iron
  • Curl enhancing cream
  • Working spray
  • Hairspray
  • Lots of hair pins

finger waved bob

Styling it:

At the Mark Fast spring 2012 show, Tigi’s hair team is to be credited for creating the look on the runway. James Pecis shares his styling tips on ways to get the tousled bob at home and making it street-friendly.

With wire rods:

The styling for a textured, tousled bob works best on second-day hair. If it’s freshly washed then prep the hair with a working spray and run your fingers through it. Tigi used ‘Catwalk by TIGI Session Series Work It Hairspray’ for the runway show.
Create a side part and flip the hair on one side. Use a tail comb brush and backcomb the hair around the hairline and the parting. You need to create a cushion around the head for hairpins to grip on. Don’t backcomb around the crown.
If using wire rods (though not compulsory – see below), wrap small sections of hair in figure of eights around the wire rod. Spray some hair spray on the wire rod. Use a flat iron and set the rods in place. This will give a flat wave in the hair and adhere to the 1920s look. Do it all over the outer layer of your hair.
Leave the wire in for about 20 minutes. On removing the rods, use your fingers to soften and break the shape of the curls.
If you have long hair, take the ends of the hair and secure it underneath with bobby pins. This will create a U-shaped bob with very clean lines.
Spray some hairspray and set the curls in place. The team used ‘Catwalk by TIGI Session Series Finishing Hairspray’ for this particular look.
Pull a few loose pieces out to make the look more distressed and sexy. Finish off with some shine spray, if required.

waved flapper bob black hair

However, if you’re using a curling tong to create the 20s tousled bob, then follow the steps below.

Prep the hair by following steps 1 and 2 above.
Curl relatively large chunks of hair strands on medium heat.
When the hair has come down to room temperature, use a paddle brush to comb out the curls.
Take a flat iron and flatten the area around the hairline by pressing the hair on medium heat. Don’t run your iron over the curls; it’ll loose its shape. Spray some hairspray and set the curls in place.
Finish off with some shine spray, if required.

For other 2012 hairstyles including styles for varying lengths and types of hair, follow that link.

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