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We’re falling in love with bangs all over again.

By Melanie Rud
February 25, 2021
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Want to get bangs but not ready for a full-blasted commitment? Curtain bangs are the latest take on fringe that has every bang-curious person running to the salon. Seen on celebs like Kaley Cuoco and Jennfier Lopez, the popular style looks good on pretty much everyone and offers much more versatility than traditional bangs. 

Why are they called curtain bangs? Well, it's pretty literal: Picture two curtains pulled back on either side of a window or stage. Unlike classic fringe, which lays straight across your forehead and hits at the brow, this style of bang is gently parted in the center, with the pieces being shortest at the middle and gradually getting longer toward the sides as they frame your face, explains stylist John Mouzakis, co-owner of Chicago's 3rd Coast Salon.

They're essentially universally flattering, suitable for all face shapes, and also have a face-slimming effect, helping to open up the eye area as they hug the cheekbones, says celebrity hairstylist David Lopez. (Yes, please.) Plus, if you like to wear your hair up a lot—think in ponytails or top knots—curtain bangs add some visual interest and a romantic feel to these otherwise basic looks, he adds. And with the exception of extremely kinky textures, both stylists we spoke with agree that curtain bangs can work on any type of hair.

Oh, and the other great thing about curtain bangs? They're way less of a commitment than standard fringe. Because they're longer, you can easily pin them back if you want your hair completely off your face, not to mention that they'll easily blend into the rest of your haircut as they grow, eliminating that awkward 'my bangs are growing out' phase, points out Mouzakis. 

Ready to make the cut? Mouzakis and Lopez both recommend bringing in lots of reference photos for your stylist, both of curtain bangs you like and ones you don't. "Your stylist might have to adjust the length or thickness depending on the density of your hairline, but having a clear visual guide of what you're looking for will be the most helpful," says Lopez. 

How do you style curtain bangs?

"What makes bangs look old-school '80s is when you put a round brush to them too soon," warns Jamine Rae, a professional hairstylist and owner of Jamine Rae Hair Co. "This creates the dreaded bubble effect. Modern curtain bangs should lie flatter against the head and have a flowy movement versus a bouncy movement."

When it comes time to style your new bangs at home, start by blow-drying them first, before the rest of your hair, pushing them from side to side as they dry to create a loose, flowy part, says Lopez. (He adds that using the concentrator nozzle on your blow-dryer can be helpful here.) Then, use creaseless clips to set the shape. "Pinch the bangs together at your hairline and set with a clip, then swoop each side out to create 'C' curtain shape and gently clip those ends as well. Allow to set for a couple minutes before removing the clips."

If you like to go a day (or more) in between hair washes, you can also quickly just wet down and re-style the bangs, suggests Mouzakis, an easy trick that will make your entire style look totally refreshed while still saving you plenty of time. What more could you ask for?