There's nothing that pains me more than joining the long list of stories on the internet about cutting your own bangs, but here we are. You know the drill: I wanted bangs, I lusted after said bangs, I ordered a pair of shears, did all the right things (dried hair, cut upwards, etc.), but somehow I still ended up with some bizarre, asymmetrical fringe. Despite combing through countless articles on achieving le parfait French girl curtain bang, I still ended up wishing I had just gone to a professional.
It is worth noting that I wasn't starting from the ground up. I had seen my hairdresser a few weeks prior and had asked for some face-framing layers, but when I got home later that day, I wished I had asked for more. I "trimmed" these bangs thinking it would turn out swimmingly—and it did not.
"Where did I go wrong?!" was the first question I asked Ryan Trygstad when I met with him a couple of weeks post-bangs massacre. He's a co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon (his husband, Mark DeBolt, is the other half) and a celebrity stylist. He graciously explained that I hadn't actually done "all that bad" but that there were two key factors I was missing: weight and styling. The former meaning, my bangs weren't laying properly because they needed more layering to add weight (something I assure you I could not have achieved on my own). Secondly, I wasn't styling my bangs for optimal results, and as such, they looked lackluster.
So, he gave weight to my curtain bangs and styled them back to life. DeBolt also added subtle highlights to my hair ("good highlights can fix a bad haircut," he quipped), which brought out the bends and tips of my strands for a stunning finishing effect. The result was impressive.
While Trygstad doesn't necessarily recommend my approach—trimming your own bangs at home—he does have some solid advice for styling your bangs, which is often half the battle. Ahead, tips for four key fringe styles—get a pen (and a blowdryer)!
Meet the Expert
Before and After
When considering bangs with wavy hair, "You have to decide if you want to leave the bangs wavy or blow the bangs out and leave the rest of the hair in a soft wave," Trygstad says. I have wavy hair and have found that when I'm going for beachier hair, I leave my bangs wavy, but if I want to feel a bit more polished, I blow them out. "Blow drying the bangs first (or straight away) will make them easier to control," he adds.
"With curly bangs, it’s all about using your styling products while your hair is quite damp," Trygstad says, "this will ensure your natural curl doesn’t become frizzy while styling." If you do encounter any unwanted frizz, he advises not to overapply product. "General piece of advice with bangs, the less product, the better," he says. "Excess product in the bang may cause breakouts or make them look too oily."
Curtain bangs are trending right now—and for good reason. This style is great if you don't want to go full fringe but want the benefits of a little face-framing. "The key to this bang is to create that soft, loose bend that creates a soft framing around the temples," Trygstad says. "Try using a large boar's hair bristle brush as it will give you that bend, plus add a lot of shine."
You can't mess around with styling a blunt bang; your approach has to be swift. "With this style, you really need to blow dry right away," Trygstad says, "this will make it easier to combat any cowlicks or irregular hairline patterns." He also suggests holding a hairdryer overhead and brushing your bangs from side to side until dry.