Maybe you've tried bangs in the past, only to end up looking like your third-grade picture or hating the way the tiny sprigs stuck to your forehead. Or maybe you're in the frustrating process of growing them out because they never quite looked like that celebrity photo you brought to the salon. Suffice to say, most of us have experienced bangs at one point in our lives with less than desirable results, and yet they continue to surface on runways, red carpets and tabloid covers, where fun updos have added dimension, and it seems like your styling options double.
Which makes the allure of trying them again hard to resist.
"Bangs are a classic," says celebrity stylist and salon owner Mark Garrison. "They have been around since recorded history and aren't going to disappear in this century. We just have to continue reinventing them so they stay fresh and modern."
So how do you know which one is right for you? Garrison says to start by looking at the shape of your face:
- Long face: Bangs diminish the length of a long face. Typically a long face has a high forehead and when bangs cover it, the face is shortened with an illusion of more width to the face. Longer bangs are best. They can be blunt for a stronger, trendier look or edges can be softened and unforced.
- Oval face: An oval face can wear a bang that's angled and shorter. A razored bang is the most feminine because it has flow and texture. Oval is considered the perfect face to wear all styles of bangs, which is why heavy bangs that curve down on the sides are perfect. You can also wear them super short and right to the hairline for the edgiest of styles!
- Round face: Bangs that are a little shorter in the middle give length to a round face making it appear more oval. Bangs can be airy and wispy so they show more forehead, which will also add length. An asymmetric bang is great too because it diverts the eye.
- Heart face: A blunt bang, cut straight across just below the eyebrows will cover the forehead and soften a pointed chin. Because the forehead can be a bit wide on this face shape, a side-swept fringe is ideal. Heart-shape faces also look great with choppy bangs that are long enough to push to one side for versatility.
- Square face: This is the perfect face for a long, wispy, angled bang because it cuts the square dimension so the eye travels on a diagonal rather than horizontal. The shape of the face is flattered this way because it gives length to the face. A blunt bang would square off the face even more.
When it comes to maintenance, if you have cowlicks, straight heavy bangs may not be for you. Instead, angled or side-swept bangs work best. Another thing to keep in mind, curly hair can be a disaster to have successful smooth bangs. However, a long curly bang can be sexy!Here are a few other pointers to keep your fringe looking its finest:
- Long bangs: Blow them dry with a big round boar-bristle brush. On damp hair, brush hair from side to side to smooth out any cowlicks. Make sure to get right at the roots to control any wave. When dry, run a flatiron over them if you want a straighter look. Then use hairspray if hair is fine and limp or serum if hair is dry and coarse.
- Short bangs: Use your fingers to push hair into shape and air-dry or blow-dry in downward direction so they don't stick straight up. Use wax for finish and texture definition.
- Fringe: Use a flat brush and dry with a side-to-side motion. Piece out the strands with a good pomade.
- Side-swept: Blow forward at first with a round brush lifting at the hairline to give volume so bangs aren't stuck to the forehead. A big curling iron can also give a nice bend to the side. Finish with hairspray for hold.
If you think you're ready to make the cut, here are a few questions to ask your hairstylist first: What type of bang will flatter my face? Do I have a cowlick that's going to be a problem? How will I style them? What do I do as they grow out? Can you do a few wispy ones first so I can get used to it and see whether I like it? A good hairdresser will pull hair from behind and form it into a makeshift bang to show what it might look like.
And when it comes to cutting your own bangs at home, Garrison has one piece of advice: Don't do it. "Your hairdresser should give you free bang trims. And if not, then find one that will," he says.
However, if you must snip your own strands, allow an inch from where you want to end up because you'll most likely overcut them. Go little by little and hold them out and cut into the edge with points of the scissors so you chip away until desired length. You can also twist half-inch sections and then cut to get a soft line.
Need some inspiration? Click through the gallery above to see the best (and some of the worst) celebrity bangs.