Actress Kimiko Glenn came into the Rita Hazan salon with a bold vision: She wanted to go from ash brown to blonde and—wait for it—get bangs. While the color transformation itself would’ve been dramatic enough, there’s something about adding fringe that gives people pause. Bangs are a serious commitment. We like to think of them as the “moving in together” stage of a relationship with your hair; you have to change your entire routine and make major compromises in style to work in perfect harmony with that specific cut.
“I just wanted to make a change with my hair,” says the Orange Is the New Black star. “Honestly, if I could, I would just shave my head, do some cool boy-cut pixie, whatever. I just don’t like dealing with it because I don’t know how to.”
She pulls out images on her phone to offer a clear, photographic visual of which shade she would like to go (bright but not too orange) and the type of bangs (not blunt but feathered out and punk-like) she would like. While the latter was an instant hit with both celebrity colorist Rita Hazan and hairstylist Nelson Vercher, the idea of her going completely blonde was debated.
See, when you want to go blonde, you go to Hazan. She has worked with every major celebrity (think Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez, to name a couple) and was one of the first colorists to master giving girls with darker skin tones the right light shade of blonde. In other words, when she says not to do something, you listen. “I think if you lighten it up, it’ll go too warm,” she tells Glenn. “So maybe don’t lighten the whole thing. Lighten it up with the highlights and do something fun.”
While Glenn still wanted to go lighter all over as opposed to getting highlights, all parties agreed to do the cut first and go from there. Scroll down to see how it all turned out.
Glenn, who also starred in the original Broadway cast of the musical Waitress, describes her hair mostly as predominantly thick, but she admits that it’s a little bit more complicated than that. “I have Japanese in me, and my dad is Irish. But he has thinner hair, so certain sections of my hair are very heavy.” Her routine, she shares, is less complex: She doesn’t wash her hair every day (she blames it on the laziness), but when she does wash it, she follows it up with two sprays—R+Co dry texture and a sea salt formula—to add texture.
When giving anyone bangs, Vercher first looks at the hair texture and face shape, he explains, to see if the style will even work. Every so often, he has to discourage someone from making the chop because they have really curly or pin-straight hair and too round of a face. But those are the only people he would ever really push back on.
As he tells his clients, basic bang upkeep includes coming back every couple of weeks for a trim and, if you want them to grow out faster, not pushing them to the side (a hard habit to beat if you’re anything like this editor). As for product recommendations, it all depends on lifestyle. “Everyone’s individual that way,” he says. “With the girl who works out a lot, I’ve got to change things. It just depends. You have to get to know the person.”
Focusing in on Glenn, he starts by adding layers throughout her hair to ease into cutting the bangs. “Maybe go in stages,” she half-jokes. He does, and after seeing Glenn’s new cut, Hazan is even more sure that highlights are the way to go.
Glenn goes back to Vercher for any necessary last-minute snips and styling. He trims her bangs just a tad more so that you can see her eyes. To style, he uses the Rita Hazan Triple Threat Split End Remedy ($30) and Lock + Block Protective Spray ($26) to shield her newly color-treated hair from UV rays and to give her hair a nice hold. To finish off, he uses Oribe Original Pomade ($39).
With her final look, Glenn came away with only good vibes. “I really like it because it’s still my color but lighter. It adds to the texture of the cut, and it just emphasizes it more. I can still notice that my hair is lighter. My natural hair color is just darker to me, so I just like to lighten it up,” she says. As for those ever-tricky bangs? “I was really scared, but I’m really glad I got them.”
Do you have a similar haircut? See how to style bangs when you have zero time.