Which Bangs Will Work For You? Our Expert Breaks It Down.
Like platinum hair and bright red lipstick, bangs are intimidating. If you’ve had fringe on the mind—or you’re just sick of your bangs and need to shake things up—we’re here to guide you. You’ll find 10 different styles we love—from Emma Stone’s versatile, eye-grazing fringe to Anna Faris’ retro set—with tips from celebrity hairstylist Paul Norton (the man behind Hannah Simone’s bangs and Robin Wright’s layered cut). He’ll explain why they work, what face shapes they flatter, and styling advice. To be frank, this guide is bangin.
Long and Straight Bangs
Why it Works: “This style works on Emma because it brings out the color and dimension of her blonde hair,” Norton says. “It also lifts her eyes and accentuates her great cheekbones. These have a soft feel, which I love.”
Who It’s Good For: This cut is great for any face shape, since the bangs fall below the eyebrows, but especially pretty on blondes because thinner bangs show off the dimension of blonde and highlighted hair.
Expert Tips: Use a slightly-rounded paddle brush to style them, like The Mason Pearson Handy Mixture Brush ($120) or Denman’s Grooming Brush ($18). Wrap dry, then gently round the ends as the last step by directing the air flow straight down and pulling the brush up.
Why it Works: “Short, Betty Page-type bangs are hard to pull off today, but they’re working on Anna because she’s balancing them with really great texture in the rest of her hair,” Norton says. “Short bangs open up the face and still allow you to show off your eyebrows, which is great.”
Who It’s Good For: Best on those with a narrow or square face.
Expert Tips: To cop Anna’s cut, ask your stylist for a bang that’s slightly longer in the center, which is the secret to a retro feel. Dry them with a round brush for volume.
Wispy, Side-Swept Bangs
Why it Works: “This bang softens her face,” Norton says. “And it’s a really versatile length.”
Who It’s Good For: Great for anyone with a square face or strong features, like a sharp jaw, since they give a soft, feminine feeling. Plus, they’re great for those who aren’t sure they want to commit to bangs, because these can easily be tucked back into the rest of your hair.
Expert Tips: Dry with a round brush for body, like Dry Bar’s Full Pint Medium Round Brush ($40).
Short, Blunt Bangs
Why it Works: “These bangs are kind of glossy, which is a nice contradiction to the texture of the rest of her hair,” Norton says of Doillon’s signature fringe.
Who It’s Good For: Best for a rectangular, square, and long faces.
Expert Tips: Ask for bangs that are slightly shorter in the center, which keeps them looking modern. Use hairspray for shine—anything else can make them look greasy!
Thick Eye-Grazing Bangs
Why it Works: The secret to making blunt bangs like these work is keeping the outside edges soft, so the look isn’t severe, Norton says about the cut he gave Simone.
Who It’s Good For: These are best for oval and triangular face shapes because they soften the face—and “particularly good for brunettes!” Norton says, since they’ll look thickest on dark hair.
Expert Tips: Norton uses a tiny flat iron on Simone’s bangs. “Give them a slight roundness in the middle with the iron,” he says. “Then slightly drag the edges to the side, which will give them movement and softness.” Try Chi’s Micro Ceramic hairstyling Iron ($40).
Wispy, Long Bangs
Why it Works: “These work because they still allow you to see her face and eyebrows, since they’re so wispy,” Norton says.
Who It’s Good For: Oval and round faces, since they make the face appear longer.
Expert Tips: “The only problem with very wispy bangs is that they can get greasy easily because they’re not as thick,” Norton says. Try to avoid using products in the front part of your hair.
Why it Works: “They’re short enough to show off her face, but they’re still very delicate,” Norton says.
Who It’s Good For: Bangs can be very sexy, but these are more hip, and less va va voom, Norton says, making them great for a more modest girl. They’ll also make a square face look very feminine and soft.
Expert Tips: Short bangs can look very harsh, so make sure your hairstylist keeps the ends textured.
Why it Works: “They’re really heavy and full, but you can still see that there’s a person under here,” Norton says.
Who It’s Good For: These bangs make the face appear more round and draw attention to the bottom half of the face, so they’re great for triangular, oval, and heart shape faces.
Expert Tips: Dry them with a round brush for movement.
Long, Side-Swept Bangs
Why it Works: “Side swept bangs work really well when they’re significantly longer on the edges,” Norton says. “Kate Upton is a great example of that.”
Who It’s Good For: Side swept bangs are universally flattering.
Expert Tips: “The shortest length of the bangs should hit the top of the cheekbones,” Norton says. Blow dry with a round brush or curl under with a large-barrel iron for movement.