Everyone has asked themselves “should I get bangs?” at least once. And with so many celebs rocking stylish fringes lately, the desire to chop some eyebrow-skimming layers is stronger than ever. To help you decide if you should book that hair appointment you’ve been thinking about, we asked three experts to share everything you should know about getting bangs—plus some hacks for making the most of your new style.
Know what bangs style best suits your face shape
“Square face shapes should avoid harder, blunt-looking fringe,” says Samantha Stonehouse, senior stylist at Cowlick Salon in Toronto. “Try a softer wispy fringe that’s longer around the temples or a side-swept look.” She says round or heart-shaped faces can pull off blunt bangs and oval face shapes can wear any style of fringe. When trying to decide what style to choose, Stonehouse relies on this rule: wherever the length of your bangs ends will draw attention to that feature or part of the face. “For example, short baby bangs will focus on your eyebrows or glasses. Brow skimming bangs will focus attention to your eyes, while a curtain fringe will accent cheekbones or nose,” says Stonehouse. “Flattering bangs should frame and focus on your positive features—not overwhelm or cover up your face.”
Ask yourself these questions
Before sitting down in your stylist’s chair, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself to help determine if bangs are for you: Do I mind hair in my face? Will I be able to handle regular trims? How much do I style my hair at home? Will I be willing to style my bangs everyday? Do I wear glasses regularly? Those are just a few things you should think about before taking the plunge.
Make sure you understand the level of commitment required
While bangs are oh-so-chic and add a bit of flair to your hairstyle, the level of time and commitment that goes into them can often feel like a chore. “If a client really doesn’t love styling their hair, a fringe can be a big daily challenge, so I would probably not recommend it in that case,” says Dana Lyseng, owner and creative director at Supernova Salon in Vancouver.
Get ready for regular trims
One of the biggest commitments that comes with having bangs is carving time in your schedule for regular trims. “Trimming really depends on the length and style of your fringe. The shorter and blunter the fringe, the more frequent the upkeep—usually about every four weeks,” says Stonehouse. “A longer curtain bangs or side-swept fringe can last a long time, more like six to eight weeks to maintain the style.”
Your hair texture plays a factor
“I think anyone can have bangs, but maybe not the style of bangs they want,” says Stonehouse. She says that your hair texture plays a role in determining what style of bangs will best suit you and your lifestyle. “If your hair is fine or thin, a heavy fringe may not work because there isn’t enough weight for the hair to lay in place. Thick hair may have trouble with a baby bangs because it would need to be thinned out a lot to lay flat. I personally love bangs in curly hair, but it takes some confidence to pull off.” Before choosing your style, sit down with your stylist to discuss what will work best for you.
Are you willing to tweak your hair routine?
While regular trims are a must, if you decide to get bangs you may also have to adapt your morning primp session to make time for your new style. “The only routine change is that you want to blow dry and style the fringe first thing out of the shower,” says Lyseng. “[As your hair dries] your natural hair pattern sets in, which can make your fringe more challenging to style.” Amanda Stevens, master hairstylist at Spirit Spa in Halifax, says that you might have to pencil in a few minutes to style your bangs in the morning if they look a bit frazzled when your alarm goes off. “It only takes five minutes to style your bangs, which includes spritzing with dry shampoo or wetting your bangs down and blow-drying.”
Try a warm-up style first
If you’re really on the fence about bangs, Lyseng, Stonehouse and Stevens all agree that you should try a warm-up style first. Enter: the side-swept bangs. “A softer side-swept fringe or angled fringe are great if you aren’t quite ready to go for fuller bangs or blunt bangs, because they are less of a commitment to style—and grow out much easier,” says Stevens. In addition to a shaggy side-swept fringe, Stonehouse says another option is the popular curtain bangs that’s recently made a resurgence on the red carpet (think Alexa Chung and Kirsten Dunst). “It’s a grown-out looking fringe with a ’70s vibe. It’s longer and with softer texture around the face and can be parted in the middle as it grows out.”
Talk to your hairstylist
The number one thing you need to do before deciding to get bangs? Talk to your hairstylist. “They have the expertise of knowing what your hair texture will do when bangs are cut a certain way, they will let you know when something won’t work and will also be able to educate you on the right products and the way to style them,” says Stevens. Lyseng is also a firm believer in consultations. “Consultations are number one in all hairdressing. For me, I want to make sure that the natural fall of the hair will be easy for the client to style.”
Styling tips if you do get a fringe
Bangs are notoriously tricky to style—and they sometimes have a mind of their own. Lyseng and Stevens have a few styling hacks that will help keep your bangs under control. If you have a cowlick or bangs that lose their style easily, Lyseng recommends trying the flat wrap technique. “When styling, use a flat brush and blow dry the hair from left to right diagonally down and across the forehead, this way you relax all the challenging natural movement and your fringe will lay beautifully.” Stevens also recommends the flat lay technique—and using a light styling spray or mousse on wet hair to hold the style.
Use the right products for your style
Stocking your bathroom cabinet with a great products is the key to loving your new ‘do. Stevens swears by dry shampoo to help absorb oil and keep your fringe fresh. “I really like Fresh Hair by Kevin Murphy and Prêt-à-Powder by Bumble and Bumble which doubles as a hair texturizer/dry shampoo that you can use for multiple styles.” She also recommends investing in a lightweight hairspray that allows you to restyle your hair without leaving it sticky and a styling spray or mousse to help tame unruly strands and cowlicks. Stonehouse says the secret to great bangs lies in your tools. “I prefer a Denman brush or a flat paddle brush and a flat iron to style bangs. If your bangs need to be sleeker, make sure to use a heat protectant when using a flat iron to coat your strands and if you’re rocking the seasons most popular look—the aforementioned curtain bangs—opt for more texture by finishing with a sea salt spray.”