Who wears them best?
Whether you call them ‘bangs’ or ‘fringe’, we have strong opinions of these forehead covers. Fortunately, there’s a version for everyone, it’s just a matter of determining which bang style is right for you. How do you know if a fringe will be a good decision or a year-long regret?
Making a decision to add a bang to your hairstyle needs to be an educated one. Hair type and face shape are factors that cannot be ignored.
Let’s take hair type. Thick, straight hair that is not influenced by any growth patterns or cowlicks at the hairline is perfect fringe material. But perfect hair scenarios are not always what we’re given.
Curly hair rarely makes for a successful bang experience. Take the old Sarah Jessica Parker photo, at above left. That hair is just a series of curly noodles marching across her forehead. Add the unruly brows, and it’s a photo she’d probably love to forget about. The photo in the center features better brows but the bangs are too short and too straight across. Her strong nose features very prominently with this look. At far right is the SJP we all know and love. She’s embraced her features, and softened the whole look with romantic waves, lightened and shaped eyebrows, and no bangs, which gives her face a vertical line. Notice how the hair waves inwards to skim the wide cheekbones and streamline her face shape.
A great evolution for her.
However, if the face shape isn’t right for a fringe, the bang stops there.
Christina Ricci is a great example of how bangs can transform a face. She’s absolutely beautiful and exudes confidence in the photo at above left, and, fully exposed in her tightly pulled back hair, we can see what a heart-shaped face looks like. There’s a lot of exposed forehead—in fact, close to 50% of her face is empty real estate. In the next photo to the right, having her hair down slightly slims down the width of the forehead and cheekbones. Next photo, the short sideswept bang really takes the heart shape and brings it almost into an oval shape, save for the more pronounced chin. Still a gorgeous style, you can see how keeping the vertical line from hairline to chin keeps her face elongated and slims it. In our last photo of Christina, we really see how a full bang totally changes her face and neck. The longer length of the rest of her hair keeps the vertical line, while the slightly sheer bang brings her eyes into sharp focus and shortens the face but makes the best use of the cheekbone line. The chin is softened as well, and in the high crewneck of her dress with the soft drape of the hair on each side, her neck is in better proportion to her face.
A perfect transition into a successful bang.
Remember that a bang can be used for good as well as for evil. A side sweep that keeps a vertical line from hairline to chin can slim a wide or round face but might elongate a thinner, longer face shape. A full bang can shorten a long face, but beware if you feel sensitive about the roundness you see in your face shape, this will make that more pronounced.
If your eyes are close together, a wider bang will make them appear farther apart, like Zooey Deschanel’s fringe:
and wide-set eyes will benefit from a narrower bang, a’ la Anna Wintour:
Remember that bangs touch your skin, so be sure that both are clean and free of oil, to avoid this unfortunate situation:
Bangs also need to be maintained more regularly, so either learn how to trim them yourself, (always cut the hair when dry to avoid surprise shrinkage) or ask your hair artist about bang maintenance.
One thing’s for sure, a fringe can make or break your style, so consider it carefully. If you’re stuck in a hair rut, a bang is a great way to get out of it, but do your research and be sure you’re making the right decision.