“To bang or not to bang?” is an internal struggle so many of us have asked ourselves when we’re dying to make a drastic change to our hairstyles. If you have an itch for bangs that just won’t quit, it’s important to note that while some variations of fringe appear effortless when seen brushed across celebrities’ foreheads, any sort of hair style with bangs requires constant upkeep, or they quickly become completely unbearable. As someone who’s checked “yes” to bangs for over three-quarters of her life, I’ve experienced every stage of having bangs from being completely in love with my fringe, to cursing as I wished they would grow out faster. Needless to say, I’ve adopted some tips along the way. I turned to Anessa Daviero, stylist and co-founder of Headdress Salon in N.Y.C. for extra reinforcement on what to know if you’re considering getting bangs, and deal with them no matter what stage you’re at in your relationship with the style.
Go shorter than your ideal length
Bangs may seemingly take forever to grow out but when you actually want to keep the style, they grow alarmingly fast. A full fringe requires regular trims to maintain its shape and above all, stay out of your eyes. How often you make a trip to the salon can vary from your personal hair growth cycle to schedule. Daviero says that she sees some of her banged clients won’t go allow their length to go above the brow and come every one-two weeks for routine cuts. But if you’re like me, planning a trim session isn’t on your radar until you feel the ends of your bangs stabbing your eyelids.
As an alternative, I opt to have my stylist trim my fringe slightly above the brow, which is a bit shorter than my ideal length so that I can stretch going sans-trim a week or two longer. “I think going a little bit shorter is a good idea because just that little bit will give you an extra week and makes it so you can get them trimmed every three weeks,” says Daviero. “A fringe that’s a little bit softer and not too blunt is a good option too because then when they grow out you can sweep them from side-to-side or do a curtain-esque middle-part. If you keep them rounded and a bit longer on the sides, as they grow out you have a little bit more freedom to get them out of your face, and they won’t be too heavy so you can move them and they’ll stay in place.”
Dry Shampoo will quickly become your best friend
You may go a few days between washing your hair, but chances are your bangs won’t be able to handle going that long without a fresh shampoo. In lieu of standing over the sink and awkwardly trying to only shampoo your bangs, a few spritzes of a hair powder or dry shampoo will freshen up dirty fringe by absorbing excess oil and reviving volume so they don’t lie flat against your forehead. Daviero suggests trying an all-natural option like Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo ($32; barneys.com) to prevent any product from building up in your bangs and thus, creating extra oil.
Breakouts Are Inevitable
If you have fringe, your forehead is automatically prone to breakouts, especially in the summer or if you regularly work out when our bodies are naturally producing more sweat. To prevent and minimize blemishes, wearing a headband during physical activity—indoors or outdoors—is the major key to keeping your forehead clear and rid of excess oil caused from contact with bangs. Daviero suggests wearing a soft headband to prevent creating a bend in your fringe, and wetting and blow-drying them after working out.
Go Easy on the Products
Take it from me who has learned the hard way: You don’t need a lot of product on your bangs in order for them to stay in place. If you’re too heavy-handed with stylers on your fringe, it will leave them looking greasy and flat. Daviero agrees, “You don’t need a lot of product in your bangs. You don’t need to be putting a smoothing lotion in your fringe, so make sure you’re not doing that because it will also cause oil and buildup.
They Will Get Frizzy During the Summer
Sweat causes frizz, and here’s no way around it during the summer months when bangs are sitting on a sweaty forehead in the heat. A fix for this seasonal dilemma is adapting your fringe’s style for the season. Daviero suggests letting your bangs be a bit longer at cheekbone length with a middle part (she calls this “a sexy curtain bang”), and a bit shorter at the bridge of the nose. “In the summer, we’re always brushing our hair off of our faces so when you alter your bangs to this style, they’ll fall instead of standing straight up,” she explains.
Bangs Won’t Look Exactly How You Want Them at First
Soon after you make the first chop, you’ll quickly forget what your life was like before bangs, but your hair will hold on to your previous part. Bangs tend to be puffy or have cowlicks when they’re cut for the first time, and the only solution is to be patient and diligent about training them so they adjust to their new part. “I always recommend blow-drying and using a fine-tooth comb” says Daviero on her method for taming freshly-cut bangs. “ Start to blow-dry with the dryer positioned pointing down towards your head so that the air is hitting your roots, and comb it from left to right and down the center. This way, it’s starting to control the root, which is important because it’s the root that has the memory of your previous part.”
Be Realistic About Upkeep
To say bangs are a commitment is an understatement. While you may be eyeing a blunt fringe like Katy Perry’s, it’s important to be realistic about whether that style will work on your own hair, and if you’re willing to diligently maintain the look. “Keep your hair texture in mind,” says Daviero. “If you have curly hair, summer probably isn’t the best time to experiment with bangs. Also note the maintenance you want to have. Shorter, blunter bangs are more maintenance than other styles. Something around your cheekbone is slightly more-low key. You can also opt for fringy layers around your face to completely change your look without completely committing to bangs. “