Expectation vs Reality: I Tried the Hydro Bob, Summer's Hottest Hairstyle

My attempt to control the frizz

Florence Pugh rocking a hydro bob labeled "expectation" and editor taking a selfie labeled "reality"

The rumors are true. I did, indeed, get an incredible haircut recently. I brought this photo (found on Pinterest) to my hairstylist (shout out Michael & Michael salon) and boy did she deliver. For some context, my hair is very thick, very wild and very poofy, and when I’ve previously asked for a cut above my shoulders, other stylists have straight up refused the request. In this case, my intrepid stylist thinned out the bulk and went even shorter than I asked for in order to really nail the statement cut. The result? A fabulous blunt bob. Feeling a bit cocky about my new cut, my next goal was pulling off the look of the summer: the hydro bob

Seen on every celeb from Sydney McSweeney to Jennifer Lopez, I figured this sleek style could be an easy evening look to try as I shvitzed my way through one humid summer wedding after another. People might ask, “Who’s that chic Hayley Bieber-esque gal slamming pinot grigios at the open bar?” Hey, a girl can dream! I grabbed some product and gave it a whirl. Here’s how my layperson attempt at the hydro bob turned out. 

Florence Pugh rocking a hydro bob.

The Expectation: A Hydro Bob

To quote PureWow’s Chelsea Candelario, who tipped me off to the hydro bob: “A hydro bob is basically a slicked back, slightly wet chin-length bob. Known as the softer version of the wet look from the runways, this style adds definition to your locks and enhances your natural texture.” It’s editorial, it’s achievable (they say) and I really, really want to pull it off. 

Attempting the hydro bob, holding up a moisturizing hair product.
Dara Katz

The Reality: Attempting the Hydro Bob at Home

Step 1: Per Candelario’s expert-derived hydro bob guide, I started out by washing my hair with hydrating shampoo and conditioner. (I used Cecred’s Hydrating Shampoo and Moisturizing Deep Conditioner).

Step 2: Again, following Candelario’s guide, I sectioned off my hair and applied a smoothing cream throughout (Cecred’s Moisturizing Hair Lotion).

Attempting the hydro bob, holding up a moisturizing hair product, Cecred's oil.

Step 3: Using my hands, I raked a few drops of hair oil (Cecred Nourishing Hair Oil) through the mid-lengths and ends for extra shine.

Attempting the hydro bob, holding up Tresemme gel.
Dara Katz

Step 4: Knowing my hair’s proclivity for poofing up and out in every possible direction, I had to go off-course and add a gel. PureWow’s Beauty Director, Jenny Jin, suggested TRESemmé Mega Hold Gel, since it promises 24-hour protection against humidity and is made for slicking, shaping or sculpting hair without feeling too wet or sticky. I used a decent amount, probably about a tablespoon’s worth, working the gel through my hair with my fingers, while simultaneously sweeping my hair back and out of my face.

Step 5: Wait to air dry, and pray.

hydro bob reality 5
Dara Katz

Here’s my “hydro bob” after an hour of air drying. (Did I mention my hair takes forever to air dry?) I liked that it appeared sculpted with some flicked ends a la Florence Pugh

An hour after that, the chickens came home to roost. 

hydro bob reality 6

As my hair dried more, it started to do its poofy thing, defying all cream/oil/gel logic. That said, the gel definitely held my hair in place without that ‘90s crunch, maintaining the little forehead swoop and tucked-behind-my-ears angle, which I appreciated. Still, the finished look was very much “Local Soccer Mom Chops Hair Off, Reminds Stylist Not to Go ‘Kate Gosselin.’”

My At-Home Hydro Bob Takeaways

I don’t think I used enough product with my type of hair to really nail that wet, set-in-place look. Next time, I’ll skip the whole air drying roll of the dice by blowing out and straightening my hair before I add copious amounts of water and gel. Maybe then I can really hone in on the sleek vibe. Anyway, it’s a fresh and clean look that I will definitely attempt again—most likely at your wedding. See you this summer at the open bar. 


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...