Bangs Guide: Everything you need to know for a flawless fringe

There’s something about the change of seasons that makes many women keen to debut a new hairstyle. If you’re wary of changing your length, this season’s solution is clear – especially if numerous fall runways such as Saint Laurent or Louis Vuitton are any indication: snip a sexy new fringe.

“I’m obsessed with a bang,” says Dove celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend, who works regularly with A-listers such as Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, and Jennifer Lawrence. “It can totally transform any face, but the key to that perfect fringe is to choose the most flattering one for your face shape.” So we've done just that, rounding up the perfect A-list inspiration for every face shape, from heart to elongated to square. Plus, products you'll need to maintain the perfect set!

If your face is … HEART-SHAPED

Look to Taylor Swift to inspire cuts on heart-shaped faces. Photo: © Getty Images

If your face is widest at the cheekbones and narrows out to a prominent chin, such as Mark’s client Dakota Johnson or pop star Taylor Swift, choose an edgy, piecey fringe that’s longer at the outside edges, à la iconic beauty Jane Birkin. “The extra length on the side draws the eye toward the centre and balances out your face’s symmetry,” says Mark. Ask your stylist to “point cut” your fringe (by chopping into your hair vertically) to give it a bit of a jagged effect. “An unperfect texture takes it from ’80s housewife to off-duty model,” says Mark.

If your face is … ELONGATED

Jessica Chastain should inspire cuts on longer faces. Photo: © Getty Images

“A blunt bang is gorgeous for someone with a long visage, since you need a style that creates as much width as possible,” says Mark. Take a cue from Jessica Chastain and go for bangs that are cut straight across, which will help widen and soften your bone structure. Take your hair’s texture into account when discussing your new look with a stylist and deciding how dense the fringe should be. “Bangs cut too thick can swallow up your face, while those cut too thin will give you the dreaded spider-leg bang,” says Mark.

If your face is … SQUARE

Penelope Cruz is your girl if your face is square. Photo: © Getty Images

Those with flatter chins and a prominent jawline, such as screen siren Penélope Cruz, should look to side-swept, cheekbone-grazing bangs that draw attention to the eyes. “Avoid anything with hard edges and straight lines, as this will only emphasize the sharp angles in a square face shape,” says Kristjan Hayden, hairstylist and creative director for Aveda Canada. Ask your stylist to cut with a razor, which creates soft, vertical lines. “Side bangs bring versatility to any haircut and can make a ponytail look like a chic, put-together style,” Mark adds.

Helpers to style your bangs:

Herbal Essences Naked Volume Shampoo and Conditioner, $3 each, drugstores and mass-market retailers, herbalessences.com. Dove Pure Care Dry Oil, $12, drugstores and mass-market retailers, dove.ca

Look to a moisturizing, silicone-free shampoo and conditioner when washing your new ’do. “Harsh cleansers strip moisture and make fringe frizzy and hard to manage, whereas overly conditioning products can leave your bangs lifeless and heavy,” says Kristjan. If you have full, thick hair that naturally comes with a side of frizz, Mark suggests prepping it with a hydrating dry oil spray, which penetrates the shaft and keeps it smooth from the inside out. As the weather gets cooler and drier, it can also help you deal with static by neutralizing the electric charge in your strands. To blow dry any style of bangs, start when your hair is wet and use a paddle brush to push the hair across your forehead in both directions. “If your hair dries at all before you hit it with the blow-dryer, you will not have as much control over your final look, and definitely no control over cowlicks,” says Kristjan. Once your roots have dried, change brushes depending on the finish you want. A natural bristle brush will create a smooth, straight look and a round brush will give more volume and movement.

Problem Solvers:

Pureology Fresh Approach Dry Shampoo, $24, www.pureology.com or select salons. Aveda Control Force Firm Hold Hairspray, $38, aveda.ca

To fix an oily fringe caused either by your forehead or touching your hair throughout the day, spray a generous amount of dry shampoo (from at least 30 cm away) into your bangs and use a brush to distribute it. “Most importantly, when finishing your style, use a small spritz of firm-hold aerosol hairspray to hold long, sweeping bangs in place and out of the eyes or to keep a straight-across fringe smooth and intact,” says Kristjan. If you expect to find yourself in a hot or humid setting – say, a night on the dance floor – Kristjan suggests battling a sweaty, parted fringe by subtly backcombing the underside of your bangs to create a bit of a cushion, which will act as a barrier to moisture.

Trim your bangs every two to three weeks. Most stylists will allow you to pop in for a quick snip between visits for little to no charge. If you’re in a pinch, make a minimal cut at home with small, sharp scissors. “Always cut into your bangs vertically. Never cut them horizontally unless you’re really going for the toddler bowl-cut look. Remember, less is more,” says Mark.

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