When I asked my hairstylist to give me thick bangs and saw the results, it was love at first sight. But after two weeks, the romance had faded. Suddenly, the bangs were never not in my eyes. I looked less like Julie Christie and more like the bassist in an emo band. I had loved my freshly cut bangs but didn’t have the time or the money to make biweekly salon visits a thing. There was nothing to do, I realized, but DIY.
After grilling the world’s top hairstylists for tips and making a few, uh, classic early mistakes—like doing a “quick” trim after three glasses of wine—I am proof that you can trim your own bangs. And it’s way easier than you might think. Keep scrolling for step-by-step guide to trimming your own bangs like a pro.
Don’t buy the one pair of styling shears in the hair product aisle at the drugstore—poor-quality scissors are going to make your bangs look chunky and uneven at best. Go to a beauty supply store and invest in a respectable pair like Tweezerman Stainless 2000 Styling Shears ($19). (Bonus: Tweezerman offers free sharpening for the lifetime of the product.)
And just so we’re clear, you should not be using the aforementioned shears to cut bangs for the first time on your own. Occasional maintenance is one thing, but the initial chop is another—let a professional handle that one.
If your bangs are super-blunt, heavy, and clean (think Sia or Hannah Simone), you have to hold your shears horizontally. First, comb them into place. Start by trimming less than you think you’ll need to—depending on how overgrown your bangs are, about 1/8 inch. Cut a little bit at a time with the tip of the scissor blades, which gives you more control.
Don’t do the hairstylist trick of holding your bangs between two fingers while you trim; when you apply tension to the hair, it’s too hard to tell just how short you’re cutting it.
If your bangs have a soft, shag-like vibe à la Suki Waterhouse, cut by holding your scissors vertically so you’re cutting into the hair. Comb them into place. Then, moving very slowly back and forth, snip into the hair with your scissors about 1/8 inch above the ends. They’ll shorten up while maintaining a nice, soft edge.
Focus on taking the weight out of the middle of the bangs; the goal isn’t to reinvent the shape, just to keep them out of your eyes for the next week or two.
After every few snips, stop, comb your bangs a bit, and step back to evaluate in the mirror. Taking a pause and slightly rearranging the hair will give you a better sense of how evenly you’re cutting and will keep you from making sloppy mistakes.
Try to give your bangs a slightly rounded shape, angling down at the temples; bangs that are cut straight across tend to look unflattering.
FYI: Here are eight lifesaving styling tips for girls with bangs.