8 Expert Tips For Styling Bangs To Perfection, No Matter Your Hair Type
The term "effortless bangs" is somewhat of an enigma. Let it be known: Oftentimes, those wisps do not magically fall into place. Rather, they can stick out at odd angles, tangle, and, of course, they're subject to frizz. "Bangs are not a look for someone who wants to just wash-and-wear their hair," agrees Ryan Trygstad, celebrity hairstylist and co-owner of Mark Ryan Salon. "They need some styling to look their best." Now, said styling isn't too demanding, but know that some sort of maintenance is necessary so they don't dry misshapen or have wonky cowlicks. Ah, the joys of bang land.
Here, top stylists weigh in on how to style bangs—no matter your hair type:
Blow-dry them side-to-side.
If you're in dire need of a quick-dry, you can use hot tools to your advantage. Says Trygstad, "The stylist's secret to styling bangs is to use a flat brush with a blow-dryer and to create an 'X' throughout the bang, pushing the hair back and forth to coax any deviant cowlicks or growth patterns from wreaking havoc." By pushing them side-to-side as they dry, you prevent any bends from taking shape.
Or blow-dry them downward.
The one caveat to the side-to-side drying technique is if you have blunt bangs—because this type of fringe typically grows straight across, the strands all at the same length, blow-drying them downward can help you achieve a sleek, smooth style. With a paddle brush, "brush on top of the section of hair, blowing downward," says hairstylist Marcus Francis, an ambassador for hair-care brand Better Natured.
Brush forward, not under.
A little brushing tip: If you are going to blow-dry your bangs, most stylists recommend combing the fringe forward. When you brush them upward under the bang, you create a rounded shape at the top with tons of volume—unless this is the look you're going for, of course, then by all means. According to Trygstad, brushing under the bang can even enhance cowlicks or growth patterns, so be sure to either push side-to-side or at a downward angle.
Use your fingers for a piece-y look.
Here's when you should ditch the brush altogether: If you have a choppy, textured bang (see here for all the common categories), Francis suggests "using your fingers to move [the strands] into place while blow-drying on low." Brushes provide a smoother texture, while your fingers help maintain that piece-y look.
For an air-dry, twist them into place.
As with most air-dry styling techniques, don't be afraid to lean on products. Miko Branch, hairstylist and co-founder of natural hair care brand Miss Jessie's, suggests using a soft-hold gel (like this option) for controlling the bang, or a curl cream for achieving a fuller look. Then you can twist them how you please before allowing them to set and dry: "I recommend lightly finger styling for maximum control," says Branch. Simply separate your bangs into triangle sections, then twirl the hair around your finger piece by piece.
Pin them back.
If you're hoping for a parted bang (like, say, the beloved curtain bang), you might want to secure the sections with hair clips or pins to create that defined "peak" up top. After twisting your sections of hair, clip them away from your face (behind your ears, if you have longer fringe), and let it set until your hair completely air-dries. Gently unhook the clips, finger brush your strands, and finish with a setting spray.
As always when using pins: "Be gentle to your hair when placing pins/clips/clamps, and never pull your hair too tightly," Branch has previously told us about heatless styles.
Use minimal product.
While stylers are your friends, here, keep in mind that you don't want to squelch as much product as you would for your entire head. Use too much, and your bangs can look matted, oily, or crunchy.
The specific amount will differ for everyone depending on how much fringe you have, but Branch recommends starting off with a dime-size portion and adding more as needed. "By holding the product in the palm of your hand, you can siphon off as needed to control how much goes into the hair instead of applying all at once," she says.
Wash them frequently.
No matter your specific shampoo schedule, you might need to give your bangs an extra wash or two. "You may want to wash the bangs more frequently than the rest of your hair," notes Branch. "Given the direct contact that bangs have on the face, oily and unwashed bangs, paired with too much product, can cause the forehead to break out." Plus, washing the bangs can give you a clean slate—literally—if you have any unforgiving cowlicks or bends.
You don't even need to dunk your full head under the spray—just wet and lather the fringe itself.
There are myriad ways you can style your bangs—with and without enlisting the help of hot tools. It may take some effort for your bangs to look their best, but the work isn't too involved. Just mere minutes, and it'll look like your fringe just so happened to dry perfectly into place.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.