Everyone from Taylor Swift to Kate Middleton has been rocking bangs lately, and it's one of the easiest and most fun hair makeovers to try. “I’m obsessed with a bang,” says Dove celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend, who works regularly with A-listers such as Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, and Jennifer Lawrence. “It can totally transform any face, but the key to that perfect 'fringe' is to choose the most flattering one for your face shape.”
So we've done just that, rounding up the perfect A-list inspiration for every face shape, from heart to elongated to square. Plus, products you'll need to maintain the perfect set!
If your face is… HEART-SHAPED
If your face is widest at the cheekbones and narrows out to a prominent chin, such as Taylor or Mark’s client Dakota Johnson, choose edgy, piecey bangs that are longer at the outside edges, à la iconic beauty Jane Birkin. “The extra length on the side draws the eye toward the center and balances out your face’s symmetry,” says Mark. Ask your stylist to “point cut” your bangs (by chopping into your hair vertically) to give it a bit of a jagged effect. “An unperfect texture takes it from 1980s housewife to off-duty model,” says Mark.
If your face is… ELONGATED
“A blunt bang is gorgeous for someone with a long visage, since you need a style that creates as much width as possible,” says Mark. Take a cue from Jessica Chastain and go for bangs that are cut straight across, which will help widen and soften your bone structure. Take your hair’s texture into account when discussing your new look with a stylist and deciding how dense your bangs should be. “Bangs cut too thick can swallow up your face, while those cut too thin will give you the dreaded spider-leg bang,” says Mark.
If your face is… SQUARE
Those with flatter chins and a prominent jawline, such as screen siren Penélope Cruz, should look to side-swept, cheekbone-grazing bangs that draw attention to the eyes. “Avoid anything with hard edges and straight lines, as this will only emphasize the sharp angles in a square face shape,” says Kristjan Hayden, hairstylist and creative director for Aveda Canada. Ask your stylist to cut with a razor, which creates soft, vertical lines. “Side bangs bring versatility to any haircut and can make a ponytail look like a chic, put-together style,” Mark adds.
Helpers to style your bangs:
Look to a moisturizing, silicone-free shampoo and conditioner when washing your new ’do. “Harsh cleansers strip moisture and make fringe frizzy and hard to manage, whereas overly conditioning products can leave your bangs lifeless and heavy,” says Kristjan. If you have full, thick hair that naturally comes with a side of frizz, Mark suggests prepping it with a hydrating dry oil spray, which penetrates the shaft and keeps it smooth from the inside out. As the weather gets cooler and drier, it can also help you deal with static by neutralizing the electric charge in your strands. To blow dry any style of bangs, start when your hair is wet and use a paddle brush to push the hair across your forehead in both directions. “If your hair dries at all before you hit it with the blow-dryer, you will not have as much control over your final look, and definitely no control over cowlicks,” says Kristjan. Once your roots have dried, change brushes depending on the finish you want. A natural bristle brush will create a smooth, straight look and a round brush will give more volume and movement.
To fix an oily fringe caused either by your forehead or touching your hair throughout the day, spray a generous amount of dry shampoo (from at least 30 cm away) into your bangs and use a brush to distribute it. “Most importantly, when finishing your style, use a small spritz of firm-hold aerosol hairspray to hold long, sweeping bangs in place and out of the eyes or to keep a straight-across fringe smooth and intact,” says Kristjan. If you expect to find yourself in a hot or humid setting – say, a night on the dance floor – Kristjan suggests battling a sweaty, parted fringe by subtly backcombing the underside of your bangs to create a bit of a cushion, which will act as a barrier to moisture.
Trim your bangs every two to three weeks. Most stylists will allow you to pop in for a quick snip between visits for little to no charge. If you’re in a pinch, make a minimal cut at home with small, sharp scissors. “Always cut into your bangs vertically. Never cut them horizontally unless you’re really going for the toddler bowl-cut look. Remember, less is more,” says Mark.
Try Pureology Fresh Approach Dry Shampoo, $24 at Ulta.com; Aveda Control Force Firm Hold Hairspray, $30 at aveda.com.