Here’s the thing about bangs—they’re always in, just in different ways. Throughout the years, we’ve seen micro bangs, Birkin bangs, and curtain bangs rise to popularity as it-girls incorporate them into their looks to frame their faces and add a little spice. Trends used to take years to come and go, but with the speed of social media, trending hairstyles are popping up at a velocity that’s almost too quick to catch. Luckily, we were able to grab hold of the latest bang trend: "baby" curtain bangs.
Curtain bangs have been trending for a few years now, thanks to how they frame the face, and the fact that they're much easier to style than other bangs. Their swoopy shape adds volume to hair that can otherwise seem flat, and their shaggy look gives the wearer an instant vintage cool—but, as with anything, there are caveats to the style.
“Traditional curtain bangs sit at the top of the cheekbone and then angle down toward the ear,” Celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of Arey Haircare, Jay Small, explains. Since curtain bangs are longer than most bang styles, Small says “the biggest complaint with this length is that it grows out of style too quickly."
Enter "baby" curtain bangs, which look just like curtain bangs, only mini. The style still has the swooping middle part and graduated shape of a classic curtain bang, but as opposed to landing on the cheekbones, baby curtain bangs hit anywhere between above-the-brow to the upper lash line. The shorter length adds a bit of edge—almost a '70s-does-pin-up feel—but keeps that flattering shape if you're not into a straight-across moment.
How to Get Baby Curtain Bangs
As with any bang style, it’s all in the cut. Small notes, “baby curtain bangs need density to stay styled throughout the day. Instead of adding texture with layers, graduating baby curtain bangs will help maintain the direction of the hair strands.” For the unfamiliar, graduating is the opposite of layering—layers take weight away from the hair by creating a cascade of short-to-long pieces, with the shorter pieces sitting on top of longer pieces. Graduating, on the other hand, adds density with shorter pieces under longer layers—it's what keeps the baby bangs looking full and fluffy, even with a shorter length.
Small recommends adding some shorter layers to blend the bangs with the rest of your hair. “Consider adding some faux breakage—this is a few pieces of hair near the hairline that are cut shorter than the rest of the hair but not as short as your bangs," he says. "These pieces soften the cheeks and blend your bangs when your hair is pulled up.”
And if you have curly hair, Drew Schaefering, Master Stylist and Creative Director at Rob Peetoom Salon in Williamsburg, has some tips for enjoying this style: “Embracing the curls and body of the wave in the hair is key, and the same goes with cutting them. They should be shaped and cut to sit around the face given their natural texture.” Make sure to visit a hairstylist who knows how to work with curly texture to get this look.
Baby curtain bangs, or any bangs for that matter, are personal to everyone depending on your unique hair texture and styling routine. Schaefering says, “make sure you communicate to your stylist your availability and desire for maintenance and styling. From there, it’s up to them to find the right version for you.”
A great way to dive into baby bangs is with baby steps. "Start with a smaller section for the fringe, keeping in mind you can always add more during your next cut," says Small. "I have found that when cutting any length of bangs on wavy or curly hair, that leaving them a little thinner and longer helps to see how they will look when you style them at home.”
Schaefering notes that this hairstyle will require a monthly trim to keep your bangs at their best. If you aren’t one for visiting the salon every four weeks, though, and are fine with a little bit of growth, Small adds, “when cut properly, baby curtain bangs can easily grow into curtain bangs with no change to shape or styling.”
How to Style Baby Curtain Bangs
If you’ve had curtain bangs in the past, you’ll be glad to know that styling baby curtain bangs requires basically the same steps. First, you’ll want to use the right products for your hair. Small says, “an oil-free primer with panthenol can be helpful to draw moisture to the hair strand, adding density and flexibility. A powder dry shampoo is also important after styling on dry hair to control oil and further maintain the style.” Small mentions that short styles can be easier to maintain throughout the day since they sit on the forehead without moving around too much. However, since the bangs do sit right on the forehead, a dry shampoo can absorb any oil that they pick up.
You'll want to style your bangs for the most polished and defined look, and to really show off that intense swoopy shape. Using a round brush and blow dryer, “start by pushing the hair in opposite directions and applying heat from the blow dryer from scalp to ends, continuing back and forth until the roots are dry," Small directs. “Next, find your part and comb the two sides into place, then use a flat iron and comb to gently bend the ends in and toward the corners of the cheeks.”
As for curly hair types, Schaefering mentions, “Most higher curl formations don’t often need much ‘styling’ outside of a great curl product like a cream or moisturizing mousse/fluid to bring out the natural texture. Using a diffuser will dry the hair in place without disrupting it from high airflow and will lessen the potential frizz factor.” If you feel you need to add structure to your curls, use a curling iron to define the curls for a polished look.