So, you wanna trim your own bangs. On any other day, I'd scream, "No!!!! Please!!! Leave this to your hairstylist!!!!!!" But given everything going on, there currently is, and will likely be again, a time where you can't head to the salon but need your hair out of your face. In that case, it's time to assume your temporary role as pseudo-hairstylist and learn how to trim your own bangs at home, just like the pros. Lucky for you, I've gotten the pros themselves to share their wisdom.
Trimming your bangs isn't a walk in the park for most people. Remember that time you cut your own bangs when you were, like, 5 years old and the scissors definitely won? Yeah, it has the potential to turn disastrous in an instant. Hair cutting in general is an art form that requires skill, patience, and practice. Cutting bangs, in particular, can get dicey, because some of the tips experts recommend might seem a little counterintuitive. Before you channel your inner 5-year-old, get a little too scissor happy, and end up with something you effing hate, read through the insight these professional hairstylists have to offer. Then, when you can get back to the salon, hug your hairstylist and leave 'em a big ole tip. They're the true heroes.
1. Contrary to what you might see in the salon, start with clean, dry hair.
The story for most of your haircuts is the same, right? Your stylist washes your hair and then cuts it while wet. Leave that method to the pros. Instead, both Jim Markham, CEO and founder of ColorProof Color Care Authority, and Garnier celebrity hairstylist Ashley Streicher tell Elite Daily it's best to trim your bangs while your hair is clean and dry. "I recommend starting with clean hair," says Markham. "Shampoo and condition and follow with a detangling spray like ColorProof’s PureRelease Instant Detangle ($27, Amazon) to help work through tangles, seal the cuticle, and create a smooth surface."
When prepping your bangs, specifically, for the cut, Streicher says to "cut them dry and as you wear them, that way you will know exactly how they will lay." Basically, avoid styling your bangs in a totally new way after you dry your hair. If your bangs are normally curly or wavy, let them sit how they naturally do, so you'll know exactly where and how much to trim. Trust the experts — if you're not a pro and you cut your bangs wet, you might risk cutting a little too much off.
2. Ready your tools, and please, don't use kitchen scissors if you can help it.
"Do not use kitchen scissors or everyday paper scissors, as they will not be effective," says Markham. Instead, if you have access to professional cutting shears, use those. In general, Streicher says to use "very small and very sharp scissors, like eyebrow or even cuticle scissors" to prevent you accidentally chopping off a massive section of your bangs and crying in your bathroom for the next hour. Oh, and don't pull out your dad's shaving razor or anything of the sort for this one. Streicher says using a tool like that can "fray the ends of your hair," leaving behind a bunch of frizzy strands.
Markham says you'll want to have other tools at the ready, too, namely "a wide-tooth comb for thicker hair and a fine-tooth comb for finer textures," so all your lines are even.
3. When you're all set, use the bridge of your nose as a starting point, and don't pull your hair.
"Comb bangs forward and start to trim just below the brow, at the bridge of the nose," says Markham. "You can always go shorter if you choose, but this will give you a good starting point." Both he and Streicher also suggest a "point cutting technique" to remove some weight at the ends of your bangs and any nix harsh lines across your face. This process involves holding your scissors vertically and cutting lightly into the very ends of your bangs.
For the love of God, don't tug on your bangs too hard when you're trimming, either. "A trick to avoiding cutting bangs too short is to not stretch or pull the hair prior to cutting," says Markham. Being gentle and letting your hair fall how it naturally does will save you from a too-short cut.
4. Blend your sides, and maybe don't try to experiment this time around.
"I do not recommend starting fresh and creating a bang. Leave that to the professionals," says Streicher. "Keep to what your stylist has already given you. Try to follow the lines of the original cut, taking very small sections and cutting with small scissors."
Markham suggests you should also try to avoid cutting your bangs completely straight across. In other words, don't go from a super short bang immediately to the rest of your long hair (unless that's the style you're going for). "Opt for a heart-shaped bang that is slightly longer in the middle and sides, with a slight lift over the eyes," he says.
When you're ready to blend the sides into the rest of your hair, you'll want to be careful and methodical — remember, trim just a little at a time. For this part, you'll use your same point cutting technique you did for the initial trim. "Blend the ends the same way you would trim," says Markham. "Pull hair 90-degrees perpendicular and cut down, snipping with the point of the scissors into the ends. This will help create a gradual connection to the rest of your hair."
5. Above all else, take your time, and return to the salon when you can.
If there's anything that's going to keep you calm, cool, and collected while you're taking scissors to your hair, it's going slooooooooow. "Take your time and err on the side of length until you get it where you want it," says Markham. You can always take more away, but you can't put it back once you've cut it.
Overall, a couple at-home trims when needed should last you through two to three salon appointments, but when you can, run — don't walk — back into your hairstylist's loving embrace. They need your support as much as you need theirs, especially right now. Given the current coronavirus pandemic, it may not even hurt to see if your hairstylist is willing to walk you through the process virtually in exchange for a Venmo payment to keep their livelihoods afloat.