The 8 Emotional Stages of Getting Bangs

Edward Berthelot / Getty

December 1, 2018...otherwise known as ​the​ B-DAY. No, I am not referring to my day of birth. I’m referring to that one fateful Saturday afternoon now known as Bangs Day.

For those of you who have only known bangs your whole life, consider yourself touched by an angel.

But for those individuals who re-discovered bangs later in life, this piece is my attempt to pour one out for you. You are not a lone. The shock. The awe. The unsolicited feedback from acquaintances and strangers alike. I stand with you in your bewilderment and frustration. 

This is by ​no means a cautionary tale. On the contrary, this should reaffirm why you should, indeed, get bangs. Nevertheless, I only wish I had a “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Bangs Edition” on the morning of December 1st, 2018. Below, I document the eight emotional stages of getting bangs. 

Unwavering Apprehension

It doesn’t matter that you just spent the last two months acquiring screenshots of models/celebrities with bangs from Google/​Snapchat​/Instagram. Searches include but ​are​ not limited to: “Celebrities with bangs,” “Models with bangs,” “{Insert celebrity’s name} with bangs,” “Best bangs of all time” (Warning: This ​is​ not ​what ​you are looking for). As a result, the album titled “Bangs inspiration” on your phone will be pushing 95 to 150 images by the time you sit in your hairdresser’s chair.​ ​No level of due diligence will help the nausea or cold sweats subside when you are blinded by your​ own hair covering your​ eyes in preparation for the first cut.

​Intense Exhilaration

The deed is done. No turning back. You have bangs, my friend. I was quite literally shaking when I stood up and inspected my reflection for the first time. It’s like finally getting your braces off ​after years of dental work... looks remarkable, but feels weird.

​Temporary Bliss

Every reflective surface is officially a mirror. Windows. Stranger’s aviators. Your phone. A stranger’s phone. Extremely shiny metal objects, including random water faucets. Don’t be shy—take in all of your glory. Up until this point, the only person who has seen your bangs is the woman or man who physically held the shears to your hair​,​ and they ​obviously love their own work and you clearly (and should) love yourself. The only question you have now is, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”


Be warned—the tides are about to turn. As you take your first steps out of the salon and into the real world, you close the door on veneration and open yourself up to none other than J U D G E M E N T. Oh, yes. The floodgates are officially open to commentary from everyone. And I quite literally mean, everyone. Your inner circle will be there for you and offer their thoughts, but that is okay—you appreciate their opinion​s​. It’s the guy on the subway who you didn’t realize watches you board at the same stop every day, or the person who holds the door open for you at Starbucks, or the many women you will see in the ladies’ bathroom at work.​..all of a sudden, these people are ripe with observations. Did I mention unsolicited observations?

A few of my favorites:

“That’s a bold look.” ​Please tell me how I am supposed to respond to this. Please.

“What was the reason behind the change?”​ Have you seen Jessica Biel in The Sinner

“Are those bangs??”​ Don’t respond. Just walk away.

I like it.” This is almost always said in a purposeful monotone. ​Just tell me you hate it.

At this point you wonder, are these compliments? Warnings? Straight-up insults? You might as well get a tattoo on your forearm reading “Trust no one.” 

On the flip slide, you will also have some comments from colleagues that will not require you to mull over their meaning. Exhibit A: 

“I don’t like them.” Cuts like a knife.

Every back-handed compliment or explicit insult will make you feel like Cersei from Game of Thrones in Season 5, Episode 10 when she is pulled through the streets in the nude, but in this case, you are clothed and stripped of your bobby pins. Shame. 


Your patience is wearing thin; you want to throw in the towel; you want time travel to exist now more than ever. So, you turn to the next best possible option: the hair accessories aisle at your nearest Duane Reade. While you can’t turn back the clock, you sure as hell can buy every barrette, clip and headband Goodies has to offer to try and make these bangs disappear.

Hence, you will go back to work the next day with several pounds of hairspray artfully applied to blend your bangs into a side part only to hear someone say, “Oh, so you are already over your bangs?” 

Substantial​ Regret​

I get it—you were not ready for this level of attention. Neither was I. You will hear “I didn’t recognize you!” about 78,641 times in your first week. On the one hand, yes, you are right. When I accidentally have my camera flipped to selfie mode and I catch my own reflection, even I hear myself saying, “Woah.” On the other hand, this comment brings me back to “A Cinderella Story” when Chad Michael Murray doesn’t recognize Hilary Duff with her mask on. Or Gossip Girl when Chuck can’t tell it's Jenny Humphrey in Season 1. 

​Mild Confusion​

You put in the time. You did the research. You sought out advice from your trusted council (your mother included). So why is it that the feeling of euphoria you experienced back in the salon a mere 72 hours ago now feels like a hallucination? Oh, is that an alarm I hear ringing? Oh, yes it is—time for a wake-up call. As a wise friend told me: “Don’t seek your sense of self-worth from people you work for. You’re strong. I know it’s not great when you don’t get recognized for great work...or a great haircut.”

Sincere Confidence​

I imagine about a week has passed at this point, and I have some news for you: You made it. You are as close to mythical as one can get. Your contemporaries now include the likes of legend, icons, fashion’s unofficial heads of state. Think: Jane Birkin. Debbie Harry. Bridget Bardot. Uma Thurman. Naomi Campbell. Joan Jett. Francoise Hardy. The SJP. Zooey Deschanel. Beyoncé. Mia Farrow. Kate Moss. Audrey Hepburn. Sienna Miller. Jennifer Lawrence. Jessica Biel. Reese Witherspoon. Lizzie McGuire. And we’re not just talking about one red carpet appearance. These women didn’t just flirt with bangs—they committed. And guess who else committed? You. And guess who else looks fabulous with bangs? You. 

And now, I will leave with four words to always remember: your hair will grow​.

And my real last two because no one can take away your shine: ​own it.

And another three words because life is short: ​just get bangs. 

Speaking of bangs, here are 30 examples of long hair with bangs you can save for your next appointment.




Related Stories