When it comes to plotting your next haircut, it's normal to come prepared with tons of inspiration in hand, but can you name a worse scenario than walking into a salon with a reference photo and leaving with a look that doesn't suit you at all? With French-girl bangs perpetually trending, it's easy to walk into your appointment with high aspirations for a chop that gives you a certain je ne sais quoi, but emerge with bangs that read less "chic French babe" and more "middle-school you." Luckily, I got some expert tips straight from an L.A. hairstylist that reveal just how to cut your bangs the right way.
I've been toying with the idea of getting bangs for a while now. The last time I wore the style was almost 10 years ago, and I wasn't very happy with it. They looked super blunt and short for my liking, and my novice styling skills didn't help the situation. So when I popped into West Hollywood salon Spoke And Weal with the idea to get bangs, I almost regretted my decision even before following through. But when hairstylist Lindsay Victoria stepped up to the plate boasting a really cute, messy-in-all-the-right-ways, chunky, face-framing fringe, there was no going back. "Why can't my bangs look just like yours?" I asked her. To prove me wrong, she got to work sculpting my very-own Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot-esque bangs. Plus, in the process, she shared her six rules for everyone (yes, even hairstylists) to abide by when cutting bangs. So now, when you've decided you're just going to dive right in and go for a chop, you know exactly what to tell your hairstylist.
Don't Go Too Blunt
Victoria tells me how important it is to "create longer, softer, whispy, more fringy, textured bangs. Anything that's too blunt or above the eyebrow will be more on the childish side." She also says that to make sure they appear soft and blended, "[thinning] them out a bit with thinning shears" is a good way to ensure "they're not too clumpy or bulky and will look softer and more blended in with the rest of your hair."
Blend The Sides In With The Rest Of Your Hair
If you're into a natural-looking style of bangs, consider passing on a straight-across blunt chop, as this creates a disconnect from the rest of your style. (Of course, if that's a look you're going for, then by all means, rock it!) "Longer on the sides is typically better instead of a square shape, so they will start to blend in with the sides of your hair and frame your face," explains Victoria. Plus, she says doing so "makes growing them out easier and requires minimal upkeep, unless you want to keep the look fresh."
Base The Length On Your Forehead Length
While you may think you can just chop bangs at a certain length and call it a day, there are some other factors to consider, including your forehead size. And settling on a length of bangs based on your forehead size is less intuitive than you might think.
"Depending on your hairline, you have to alter the length and style of the bangs," says Victoria. "If you have a shorter forehead with less space between your hairline and your eyebrows, usually keeping them a little bit longer is better, because the shorter you go, the more it closes off your face. Longer foreheads allow you to go a little shorter."
Customize Them To Your Face Shape
As Victoria has already laid out, bangs are not a one-size-fits-all look. While everyone can play with the style and absolutely rock it, it's important to consider face shape when choosing a style. She says round faces make a pretty easy canvas for bangs "because they're not too angular." After considering a client's face shape, she says she usually goes with a style that's "the opposite of the face shape." "So stronger angles mean you should go with something longer and softer, and rounder faces mean you can do something more angular," says Victoria.
Ditch The Round Brush
Turns out, this was my biggest bang woe 10 years ago. While it might feel natural to blow dry bangs with a round brush, Victoria says, "You don't want to make the style too big, so don't blow-dry it with a round brush." After swearing off my round brush, I realize it truly does make such a difference. "Instead, blow-dry it with a narrow, flat brush back and forth to help with any growth patterns," she says. "Smooth them out and slightly bevel the ends. Flat iron them smooth just to control any textural issues."
Use Dry Shampoo, Even On Freshly Washed Hair
When it comes to keeping your bangs controlled and styled throughout your everyday life, Victoria recommends using some common products no matter what. "Dry shampoo is key, even on clean hair," she says. "It helps control any oil throughout the day. Texture spray is always great, too, because you need something to help control the bangs, keep them in place, and give them texture."
After my time with Victoria, for the first time in a decade, I walked out of a salon with bangs. However, this time was different. I finally had a fringe that made me feel so incredibly sexy and fashion-forward. See below for the before-and-after reveal.
So yes, even if you don't believe it, it's true: Everyone can have easy, breezy French-girl bangs, just like the ones you see all over your Pinterest boards. You just need to know the right tricks.