The amount of options out there to manipulate the look of your natural hair — tape-in extensions, clip-ins, wigs, faux ponytails, and so many more — is great than you think. As normalized as wearing any type of faux hair has become, there's one hairpiece that remains the most intimidating of all. It's applied right up top, front and center on your head, positioned above the eyes, right where people are looking. I'm, of course, referencing the ever-elusive clip-in bangs. Scary as they may seem, after a crash course in learning how to wear clip-in bangs, I'm convinced every beauty junkie should keep them on hand at all times.
I've had quite the relationship with bangs lately. On a whim one day, I got bangs for the first time in at least 10 years. They looked super cute, messy in all the right ways, and chunky in a Brigitte-Bardot way. I had the bangs that women everywhere hope to get from their hairstylists. That lasted about a week before they grew past their perfect length and envy-worthy shape.
Then, I found myself in that awkward phase. I wore bobby pins at my temples like I did as a 4-year-old — luckily, this particular look was trending again — and found myself burning through cans of hairspray at record speed in an effort to cement down a fringe I, personally, wasn't feeling anymore. Finally, I couldn't take it, so I called in the big guns. I got Keratin-tip extensions placed right at my hairline to hide my grown-out bangs. And to my surprise, it worked. In an hour, my bangs were gone, and my long-at-the-front, longer-at-the-back hairstyle was back.
Since then, I've removed the K-tips, and my bangs have finally begun blending into the rest of my strands, leaving me at stage one of the bangs cycle: feeling the urge to get them again. We never learn, I guess. I miss the bangs I just spent months trying to hide. But before I did something rash yet again, I looked into faux bangs.
I turned to two sources for advice on clip-in bangs: hair extension and wig brand Bellami and celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko. Polko recently installed faux bangs on Poppy Delevingne that had me completely convinced. And luckily, she shared her insight on how to make them look really real:
1. Match the clip-in bangs to your roots.
I met up with Polko at the Bellami Beauty Bar in West Hollywood, California. After sifting through a few styles and shades, we finally settled on the Cleopatra Clip-In Bangs ($55, Bellami Hair) in the shade Mochaccino. When it comes to shade matching, Polko suggests you always shade match to the root, not the lengths of your hair. "If your hair is a little bit lighter than the bangs, you can use a brow palette or a Color Wow Root Cover Up powder to brush through and give you those highlights," she tells Elite Daily.
2. Cut them to fit your face.
No matter how expensive or how great the quality of a clip-in set is, they'll never look as natural if you don't customize them to your face. Polko felt the fringe we settled on was a bit long on me, so she trimmed them. "I think clip-in bangs should always be a little longer on the sides — it should always frame the face," says Polko. "The sides are super important for making the bangs not look fake." Polko cut mine in the perfect, brow-grazing shape I loved a few months ago, and already, I felt like my bang urge was being fulfilled.
3. Get them to lay as flat as possible.
To ensure there were no bumps that would keep the bangs from looking real, Polko created two tiny braids at my hairline — one on either side of my center part. These were the anchors for the clips, which kept the hairpiece close to my scalp. "You want the braid to be tight, and you can hook the clip into it," Polko says. "Plus, it gets your actual bangs out of the way."
4. Match the texture to your hair.
One of the biggest giveaways of fake bangs is wearing a texture that doesn't match your natural hair. For my hair, Polko used a salt spray and a 1-inch curling iron to give the lengths of my hair and sides of the bangs a rougher, wavier texture. "If your hair is silky smooth, a little hairspray or texture spray will help minimize the shine that usually comes on new hairpieces," she says.
It's important also to take your hair's thickness into consideration. My hair is fairly thick, so Polko kept the entire hairpiece in tact. "For Poppy, I cut the third clip off and only used the two clips in the front to make it thinner and lighter," she says. "Considering how much hair she has, the bangs as is would've been too heavy on her."
Once Polko finished installing my clip-in bangs, I was so surprised to see how natural they looked. I love how they look, but most of all, I love the versatility. I can have bangs on those days when I feel the itch to rock a fringe, but even better, I can remove them when I get bored and totally skip the annoying grow-out stage.
If I'm being totally honest, I went into my appointment hoping I wouldn't leave looking like I was wearing a hairpiece, especially when it would be sitting right on the front of my face. However, with Bellami's Clip-In Bangs, which are made of 100% Remy human hair, and Polko's celebrity-approved styling tricks, I left with my bangs urge satisfied, and, quite frankly, looking amazing.