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The big bang theory
Hollywood’s hot for this face-framing hairstyle with chic celebs like Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Alba drastically changing their look by embracing bangs. But this bold style is not just a fleeting trend – a classic since the days of Cleopatra, bangs have remained popular because of the fresh, youthful appearance they impart (not to mention the wrinkles they help cover up). Whether you try thick and eye-accentuating or light and flirty fringe there is a look for everybody and every face.
Recently Jessica Alba and Katie Perry have been spotted sporting full eye-grazing bangs and they were on models at Christian Dior’s spring show. “Sometimes called schoolgirl bangs,” Toronto-based stylist Dylan K Hanson explains “this blunt style looks great on long, narrow faces and helps draw attention to your eyes.” But those with curly hair should take heed as thick bangs work best on straight or easily straightened hair.
Wow factor: 4 (out of 5)
Styling ease: 2
– Ask for a full, blunt cut that falls just above the eye.
– Before styling, while hair is still damp, apply light hold mouse or heat activating styling product.
– Blow dry bangs before the rest if your hair. Use a fine tooth comb to flatten out the root area, then use a round brush after roots are dry to give movement to the ends recommends Marc Desparois and Leslie Anne McKay, Senior Stylists at Tonic Salon Spa in Montreal (www.tonicsalonspa.com). And always avoid using the flat iron as bangs look better with some volume.
– This style requires frequent trims every 2-4 weeks to keep its strong appearance and hair out of your eyes. Check with your stylist, but many salons including Tonic offer trims for free.
Tip: Try pulling hair back into a ponytail for a modern, graphic look that’s all about eyes.
Reese Witherspoon and Penelope Cruz are among the celebs trying out this soft and textured take on fringe sometimes referred to as “peekaboo bangs.” Many people can pull off this look, especially as wisps don’t hide the face says Desparois and McKay. And the piecey look changes drastically depending on how they are cut – short or long, fine or thick. But Hanson suggests keeping them shorter if trying to lengthen a face.
Wow factor: 3
Styling ease: 4
– Ask for piecey, disheveled, mid-length bangs.
– Prep hair with a light styling product.
– Blow dry straight.
– Define individual pieces with sculpting pomades or wax. Hanson recommends twisting small section at a time, rolling the hair end between your fingertips to break up the style.
– This style is relatively easy to maintain as it grows out and only requires a trim every 3-6 weeks.
Tip: Those with fine or oily hair should go very light on product as it will weigh the hair down. You can also just wash and dry your bangs to for a quick style refresher.
Short & perky
This short and sweet style has retro appeal and is a real throwback to pin ups like Bettie Page. “Rounded faces with strong features and high cheek bones” like Christina Aguilera and Petra Nemacova can pull off sassy, sculpted bangs says Desparois and McKay. Avoid if you have a small forehead as it will shorten your face. And think twice before committing beacuse this statement-making look requires lots of upkeep.
Wow factor: 5
Styling ease: 5
– Ask for a short, graphic style either with a jagged edge or sculpted into a curve.
– Blow dry straight with a comb or brush curving the ends slightly towards the face.
– Run a flat iron over to straighten forward.
– Hanson recommends applying a small amount of pomade or light wax to the tips with your fingers for shine and shape and a spritz of hairspray to lock firmly in place and keep out humidity.
– Head back to the salon frequently for trims up to every couple weeks. “These trendy looks may take slightly more time to style and more frequent touch-ups to keep the details in shape,” says Hanson, especially if angular or geometric shapes are created.
Tip: If you’re prone to blemishes, pull bangs off face every so often to give your skin a break.
Long & side-swept
Busy babes like Nicole Ritchie and Eva Mendes are partial to easy, elegant side-swept bangs. It’s a super low maintenance look that really frames the face. Hanson credits its popularity to its versatility. “It compliments many face shapes from square to heart shape. And different layer lengths can highlight specific features such as your eyes, cheeks or jaw line” he explains. Plus this sexy style works on most hair types including tricky curls.
Wow factor: 3
Styling ease: 4
– Ask your hairdresser for long, casual layered fringe starting from the high point of the head.
– Start with a soft hold product to support styling.
– Blow dry hair smooth and to the side with a soft brush.
– Desparois and McKay suggests changing up the look by switching up the side your hair is parted on. And Hanson uses either a flat iron or curling iron to create lots of different looks from polished curls to wavy layers around the face.
– Trim only when necessary – this style looks good as it grows out.
Tip: Work with your stylist when growing bangs out – they can help you transition your hair from bangs to long layers and back to all one length. And accessories like hairbands are your friend.