How to Pull Off Bangs

A guide to trying out (and growing out) one of this fall's trendiest hairstyles. 

model-haircut
Photo by Greg Broom

This article originally appeared on MIMI.

If you are looking to start the fall season with a bang, you're in exactly the right place.

Bangs, that is. The style is particularly hot this season, tying in the whole 70s/bohemian styles we're seeing more of, says Paul Norton, a celebrity hairstylist.

"Fuller, more face framing bangs like Brigitte Bardot's are the absolute hottest followed by those that are seemingly blunt and straight across that just barely expose the eyes. The style is cut blunt, but softened up and texturized on the ends to give a tiny bit of a wispy look," says Norton.

Everyone in the fall is looking for something new, agrees Sacha Quarles, celebrity stylist and artistic director for Obliphica Professional. "Since bangs haven't been trending hardcore, fall is a good time to give them a try. Since texture is still important, I'm looking for a messier, choppy look," Quarles says, who cautions the most important thing about bangs as they grow out is taming them and making them "swoopy."

Hair designer Francois Fortin at New York City's Salon Ziba originally trained in France where bangs are a fashion essential and stylists have truly perfected this sexy look. Fortin says the perfect bang can best be achieved through a proper consultation with your hair stylist to determine if bangs are for you. "There are so many different styles of bangs to choose from: straight, long, shaggy, swept, side, blunt, oval, textured, etc., and the first consideration before you go ahead is to make sure you have enough hair for a full bang!" says Fortin.

Choosing your big bang style

When choosing a bang style, work with the shape of your face so that you look your best, says Fortin. This will include bringing a few pictures of celebrities or models with a look you have in mind to your appointment to discuss with your stylist.

Choosing the style you will embark upon is more than just about what you want, it's also about working with what you already have, says Fortin. "If you have a cowlick, be sure to ask your stylist to cut your bangs 1/2 an inch longer, or your bangs may not lay properly when you style them. In case of a heavy cowlick, you may also need to have more weight added to your bangs. If you have curly hair and want to wear bangs, prepare to either blow-dry and possibly flatiron your hair daily," says Fortin.

Bardot-esque face framing bangs

These tend to be a thicker bang but don't seem overwhelming because they are on the longer side and generally tend to separate in the middle a bit. "They can be super full or lightened somewhat by texturizing depending on your preference and hair texture," says Norton.

Blunt straight across bangs

A blunt bang is very heavy at the line where it is cut, says Quarles. Hair is all combed down against forehead and with no graduation or lift, then it's cut against the forehead, giving a blunt heavy bang.

If you want it to be wispier and softer, Quarles says what you want is hair that is cut with the hair lifted a bit. If you'd like it a little jagged, point cut at the tip. For even more softness, do an even deeper point cut to break it up more on the fringe, says Quarles.

Side swept bangs

These, says Norton, are oftentimes the sexiest yet safest approach when it comes to bangs. Best done on hair that parts on the side, cascading down the side of the face.

Choppy bangs

These bangs are a bit shorter and straight across, except the ends, which need to be somewhat uneven and cut into, leaving a more jagged, wilder feeling, Norton says.

Styling

For a longer shaggy bang look (think Zooey Deschanel), the best trick is to use a texturizing spray (like Oribe texturizing spray) because it adds movements and gives it more of a 70s feel instead of a modern sleek and straight bang look, says Lisa Richards, co-founder and co-CEO of RPZL blowout and hair extension bar in New York City. To create a more Bettie Page bang, blow dry with a small round brush and then get a one inch barrel curling iron to create the defined bend under, says Richards.

To get a sleek and chic bang (like Anna Wintour), use a flat iron after blow-drying and apply a minimum shine serum (so it doesn't get too oily or greasy) from root to tip. "We also recommend using hairspray for all of these looks to keep your gorgeous thing going!" says Richards.

Speaking with your stylist

It's always a great way to start by asking if the stylist has an idea for you. "They are artists, after all, and normally thrive when feeling creative freedom leaving you with a more original result. If they draw a blank, feel free to provide a visual aid from a magazine clipping or you favorite bang-obsessed Pinterest page. After all artists do not equal psychics!" says Norton. You generally would want to begin by cheating the look by placing the ends of your hair around the area you anticipate the hair will lay so you get an idea of what it will look like.

"Always have them evaluate what face shape you actually have, that way you know you aren't going for something that generally won't flatter you. Telling them to start on the longer side is perfectly fine your first time to see how your hair reacts—and to get a feel of how you like yourself with less hair up front," says Norton.