If you've ever found yourself debating the merits of bangs, listen up: Faux bangs are your best friend. Seriously. Committing to full-on bangs is a bit of a leap from cutting your own face-framing layers. Opting for faux is the best way to test-drive a new set of fringe without going for the chop, especially since bangs take ages to grow out. Take, for example, Lea Michele. She wore clip-in bangs for months before actually getting the real thing. (Celebrities, they're just like us!) Convinced yet? If so (or even if you're on the fence), we turned to Gregory Patterson, celebrity hairstylist and ambassador for Sally Beauty, and David Cotteblanche, FEKKAI celebrity stylist, to figure out the perfect way to fake your fringe.
Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to flawlessly apply faux bangs.
Style the Bangs
First, be sure you choose bangs that are a close match to your natural color. Then you'll want to style them, "Always, always, always style them right as you get them out of the package," says Patterson. "The cuticle needs to be ruffled up a little bit to make sure that it looks like natural hair. Using a brush and a blow-dryer or a curling iron or flat-iron helps to shape the hair, making it come to life."
If you're using synthetic bangs, spray them through with dry shampoo to mattify the shiny strands.
Section Hair from Hairline
"The best way to apply clip-in bangs or fringe is to first section the hair from the hairline about one inch back, creating a center parting. This helps to make sure that the density on both the right and left sides of your natural hair is more even and will help the clip-in bang lay more natural," says Patterson. He also says to make sure that your natural hair is laying flat against your hairline when you clip them in.
With your middle part in place, "prep by blow-drying smooth to reduce frizz," explains Cotteblanche. "You can use a tiny bit of CBD oil to tame the hair."
Choose Your Placement and Tease
"Choose the placement depending on the look you want to create," says Cotteblanche. A universally flattering placement for faux bangs to begin is a bit past the crown on the head. Place a comb horizontally across the top of your head to find this point. "Tease the hair in that area to create a base for the clips to hang on to," Cotteblanche explains.
Add Texture and Grip
When working with faux bangs, ensuring they actually stay in place is vital. Cotteblanche recommends using texture spray on the teased area to get it nice and grippy. You can also apply dry shampoo to soak up any oils that could cause slippage. Since your hair naturally has more grip when it's not freshly washed, don't worry about going into it with dirty hair—it will actually make it even easier.
Clip in the Bangs
Start by tucking the hair behind the ears to get it out of the way. Open the clips on the underside of your faux bangs, then line them up with your chosen placement. "Clip the bangs to the base to secure, then blend the hair from behind the ears into the clip-in bangs," Cotteblanche says. If they don't feel snug, go back and try teasing the hair a bit more before trying again.
Shape Your Bangs
Now that your bangs are confidently attached to your head, you can take note of where they fall on your face. Through additional styling and lightly trimming your bangs, you can customize the look until you're happy with the shape and length. In terms of trimming, Patterson says to trim vertically instead of straight across, "so that you keep a very natural texture to them and create that sexy bombshell and alluring fringe." He also says to keep the shortest pieces from "iris to iris" to create symmetry and frame your face.
You can also use your hot styling tools on the bangs so long as they're made of real hair and you use a low setting. For synthetic bangs, shape with a steaming device.
Finish with Hairspray
Cotteblanche recommends using a light-hold hairspray to hold the shape but avoid stiffness. We suggest R + Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray ($32) to keep your strands flexible. Spritz throughout and voila! Seamless bangs that look anything but fake.
Style with your hair down, or Patterson's favorite: A top knot—which gives off a "chic and fashion-forward look," he says. "When creating top knots or ponytails using your bangs, sometimes I like to take the longer sides [of the clip-ons] and use that to wrap around the base of the ponytail to make sure that the top clip is completely invisible," he explains.
When you're ready to remove and wash your faux fringe, be gentle: "I actually don't recommend washing them too often because the more texture they have in them, the more real they will look, and the easier they'll hold the style," says Patterson. "Use a very gentle shampoo, and fill up a sink with [water and] shampoo and lightly rub them," he explains. Patterson also advises adding a little bit of conditioner from the mid-length, down, and to let hair fully air-dry before styling with heat tools.