If we were to pinpoint one downside to bangs, it's how high-maintenance they are. Whether you've maintained the style for a trendy moment or your day-to-day routine, bangs are a commitment. We know the struggle of looking in the mirror just four weeks after getting bangs, stunned to find that what was once a smooth, sharp cut is now an uneven fringe that's inhibiting your eyesight. And because making frequent trips to the salon just to get a bang trim is unattainable for most, we're giving you a helping hand. We spoke to hairstylists Jamie Wiley and Nunzio Saviano for a beginner's guide to trimming the perfect fringe. Keep reading for a step-by-step breakdown of how to cut your own bangs at home.
Meet the Expert
What You'll Need:
- Professional shears
- Fine-tooth comb
- Rat-tail comb
- Alligator clips
- Anti-frizz cream
- Leave-in spray
Prep Your Hair
After you have gathered all of the necessary tools, Saviano suggests starting on freshly shampooed hair. This will ensure there is no buildup on the hair. "Apply an anti-frizz blow-dry cream before drying bangs using a boar hair round brush," he says. "I suggest the Time-Release Anti-Frizz Cream ($28), a lightweight, hydrating, anti-frizz blow-dry cream that protects the hair from thermal heat damage and offers conditioning benefits."
"Create a triangle from one corner of the eye to the other. The center should be one-and-a-half to two inches. Wrap the triangle hair around a boar bristled brush for tension, blow-dry toward the face, and let it fall naturally," says Saviano.
Section Off Your Hair
Wiley advises, "Always cut your bangs dry, as this is when they are in their most natural state. When your hair is wet, it has the ability to elongate and stretch so when it does dry it will shrink causing your bangs to appear shorter than you desired."
Now that your hair is completely dry, use a comb to precisely section off the hair you don't want to cut. Pull this hair back in a ponytail or pin it up with bobby pins. Only your bangs (or soon-to-be bangs) should be left loose and in the shape of a triangle.
"If you are cutting curly hair, the key is prepping hair with a treatment mask like Pureology’s Hydrate Soft Softening Treatment ($38) so that the hair is intensely moisturized. Be sure to rinse out thoroughly and air dry to get your hair in its most natural curl state," Wiley says.
Divide Your Bangs
Before cutting, Saviano suggests holding the entire triangle hair between your fingers for accuracy. "Hold it straight out, not up or down but straight out in the front of you," he says.
"Divide the soon-to-be-bangs into three smaller sections; right, center, and left. Working in smaller sections will allow for manageability and ease," says Wiley. Comb the bangs down with the teeth of the comb facing out. Rest the comb on your browbone. Don't cut your bangs any shorter than where the comb hits your face.
Caution Before Cutting Bangs
Skip to Step 5 if you have shaggy, face-framing bangs. Using professional-grade scissors and comb, snip the hair at a 45-degree angle. Work slowly, doing a small bit at a time. Never cut bangs straight across (it's impossible to maintain a perfectly straight line).
"Cutting straight across will create blunt bangs. Let them fall naturally to check on the length," explains Saviano. "Repeat by cutting a very small amount until you achieve the desired length."
Tips for Face-Framing Bangs
If you have shaggy, face-framing bangs, skip the scissors (they can slip and cut hair unevenly) and instead use a brand-new, disposable straight edge razor like the PIXNOR Gold Dollar 66 ($10), (double and triple blades will split hair). To razor cut, pull bangs taut with your middle and index fingers. Slide fingers all the way down to the end of the hair and then razor cut the hair just above your fingers.
"For a 'Curtain Fringe' bang, in Step 4, take the center section and hold it straight out, parallel to the floor. Cut in short strokes going up. This will release weight and length. Then, take that same center section and divide it in half. Remove the corners on both sides. Then cross-check to the make sure the center lines up with the left and right sections," says Wiley.
Make the First Cut
Wiley explains, "Start with the center section, place hair into a comb, and cut vertically so the scissors are positioned straight up into the hair. This technique is called 'point cutting' and will help you avoid cutting into any hard lines."
Take your time as you cut, being sure to brush fallen strands out of your line of vision. "Next, take your right section, place hair into the comb, and angle the scissors slightly down to follow the shape of your face. Repeat point cutting until you achieve the soft textured fringe," she adds.
Lighten Up Your Bangs
If your bangs are too dense, you can add layers. "Move your comb up through each of the sections, taking your scissors vertically deeper into the bangs and close the shear. This removes weight, which lightens up the fringe and outlines the face beautifully," says Wiley.
To do this, simply take a portion of the bangs between two fingers and pull the hair vertically above your head. Slide your hand up towards the ends, letting some hair fall. Lower your fingers an inch down the hair section and point-cut or razor cut (a half-inch at most) above your fingers.
Finish With Hairspray
"Grab yourself Pureology’s Soft Finish Hairspray ($28), hold the bottle about an arm’s length away from your face, and spray lightly. Its key ingredient, orange peel oil is non-dulling and will add shine with the medium control," Wiley suggests. Release the rest of your hair out of the clips and style as usual.
If you're not as scissor happy and tempted to cut your bangs, don't cut them! Grow your hair out into a new style while you wait to go to a professional hairstylist.
What are curtain bangs?
Curtain bangs are swoopy, long bangs that frame both sides of your face — think Farrah Fawcett in the 70s or Hilary Duff's current signature style.
Can you cut bangs on curly hair?
Yes, you can! The number one tip is to make sure you're cutting your bangs when your hair is dry and in its natural state. If you try to cut your hair when it's wet, your bangs can end up way too short.