Should I get bangs? Almost every woman asks themselves this at least once in their life. And lately, with so many celebs rocking all types of super-stylish fringe, the desire to chop some eyebrow skimming layers is stronger than ever. In order to help you decide, here are three hair experts on the questions to consider before getting scissor happy—plus some hair 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 honestly 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? (Frames can effect the style of fringe you get as the hair can cover the lenses and not sit properly.) Those are just a few things you should think about before taking the plunge.
Make sure you understand the level of commitment
While bangs are oh-so-chic and add a bit of flair to your hairstyle, often the level of time and commitment that goes into them can feel more like a chore if you’re not properly prepared pre-cut. “If a client really doesn’t love styling their hair, fringe can be a big daily challenge, so I would probably not recommend [them] in that case,” says Dana Lyseng, owner and creative director at Supernova Salon in Vancouver. Which brings us to….
Get ready for regular trims
One of the biggest commitments that comes with having bangs is carving time in your schedule for regular trims, with the commitment level varying depending on the style of your bangs. “Bang 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 bang or side-swept fringe can last a long time, more like six to eight weeks to maintain the style.” Lyseng agrees: “A hard line fringe can be trimmed every few weeks but for soft fringe it can be over a month before you re-shape them.”
Your hair texture plays a factor
“I think anyone can have bangs, just maybe not the style of bangs they want,” says Stonehouse. She says that your hair texture plays a role in determining what style of bang 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 bang 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 having your heart set on a certain style, sit down with your hair 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 change-up your morning primp session to accommodate 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 restyle your bangs every morning if they look a bit frazzled after your morning alarm goes off. “It only takes five minutes to re-style your bangs every morning which includes spritzing with dry shampoo or wetting your bangs down and blow-drying.”
Try a warm-up bang first
If you’re really on the fence about bangs, Lyseng, Stonehouse and Stevens all agree that there is such a thing as a warm-up bang that you can take for a spin first. Enter: the side-swept style. “A softer side-swept fringe or angled fringe are great if you aren’t quite ready to go for a fuller bang or blunt bang, because they are less of a commitment to style—and grow out much easier,” says Stevens. In addition to a shaggy side-swept bang, Stonehouse says another option is the popular curtain bang 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 hairdresser. “They have the expertise of knowing what your hair texture will do when bangs are cut a certain way, and 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. If the client has a challenging hair line with strong movements and the fringe will only look good with excessive blow-drying then I would make sure the client understands that.”
Styling tips if you do get a fringe
It’s no secret that bangs can be notoriously tricky to style (and sometimes they have a mind of their own). Lyseng and Stevens have a few styling hacks that will help to keep your bangs under control. If you have a cowlick or your bangs 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.
Find the right key products
Stocking your bathroom cabinet with key products is essential for loving your new ‘do. Stevens swears by dry shampoo to help absorb oil from day two and three hair that will 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 flat paddle style 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 protect your ends and if you’re rocking the seasons most popular look—the aforementioned curtain bang—opt for more texture by finishing with a sea salt spray.”