The Trick to Styling Your Bangs When You Have a Cowlick

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Bangs are so cool (and these seven celebrities clearly agree). A quick snip can transform you into Jean Shrimpton or Penelope Tree in the '60s or allow you to channel Brigitte Bardot circa 1975. With a little fringe, instantly you have a look. But with more a more complicated hairstyle comes a different set of styling techniques—which can be frustrating to say the least. And add unruly cowlicks and uncooperative hair and you may just feel like giving up and growing them out. But don’t!

To help, I’ve commissioned advice from Halli Bivona. Luckily, Bivona knows a thing or two about streamlining the process (and the stress) of styling your bangs. 

Meet the Expert

Halli Bivona is a hairstylist at the John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.


Start by Wetting Your Hair

The best way to style bangs is to wet them—it’ll give you a clean slate. All too often we wake up and find our hair sticking up in places we didn’t even know it could. Seriously, I’ve seen my curly hair defy gravity. Bivona advises, “Start by wetting your bangs. If you don't have a cowlick, they should be between 60% to 80% wet, and if you do, between 90% to 100% wet.” She continues, “If you can blow out your bangs when you first get out of the shower, your wet hair is more malleable and will do whatever you want when heat-styling them.”

Touch Them as Little as Possible.

You may not want to blow-dry your bangs all the time because it’s time consuming and most likely will end up driving you crazy. In that case, the tools you use are important in achieving your desired results sans blow-dryer. “If you want to air-dry your bangs,” Bivona explains, “I recommend brushing them into place and not touching them. The more you move them around, the less likely they are going to dry without any strange kinks or separation.”

Stay Away From Oil-Based Products

Because your bangs are close to your roots (and your face), they can get greasy quickly. So, make sure the products you’re using to style them aren’t too heavy. Bivona explains, “You want to try to avoid using oil-based products on your bangs, so I would opt for water-based options. On the second day—when your hair is more susceptible to cowlicks and grease—use a bit of dry shampoo to stop your bangs from looking greasy.”

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Use Your Blow-Dryer’s Nozzle

You know those extra attachments that come on the blow-dryer? They’re like magic. Snap it on and you’re able to direct the heat and stop your hair from blowing wildly about and frizzing up. “Make sure to point the dryer downward when using your fingers and a brush,” says Bivona.

Switch Up Your Brush Based on the Style You Want

Different brushes react differently with your hair, and therefore yield specific results. According to Bivona, “If you use a metal brush, your bangs will have more bounce, but use a natural boar-bristle brush for a smooth, shiny style.”

Style in Two sections if Your Hair Is Thick

“If you have curly or wavy hair, or if your strands are super thick, you will want to section them off into two parts,” Bivona explains. “To do this, split your bangs horizontally into two sections and clip the top section out of the way with a claw or duckbill clip. A boar-bristle brush will help smooth any cowlicks and help give control over your styling. Blow out that whole bottom section as one (this goes for thin straight bangs as well), and when that’s dry, go back and do the second section.”

Now that you know how to style them, click over to find the best way to cut your own bangs without ruining your life.

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