On the Fringe

There are many factors to consider when deciding to add or take away bangs from your current hairstyle. Every consultation that I have with my clients includes a little chat about the hair near your face, and—surprise—it doesn’t need to graze your eyebrows to be considered fringe! I’m talking about any length of the front hairline that so much as dusts the lips. There is a major reason why I decided to chat about the bangs. (Call them what you will, but only in America do we say “bangs.” The rest of the world prefers the verbal etiquette of “fringe.” From France to Australia, it might as well be a naughty word.)

Every woman has contemplated whether to cut fringe or grow them out at some point. When I am asked what I do for a living, a high percentage of the time the next question pertains to my opinion of what to do with this sacred area. From family gatherings to girls weekend and happy hour, everyone wants to chat about the most important part, so let’s do it. Here are my tip-top answers for bangin’ fringe!

What kind of fringe works best for my face shape?
This is arguably the most important question to have answered in a consultation. Bangs surround your face, so the shape of your face and the shape of the hair style must work together. In a professional hairdresser’s brain, we are always filling in an equation to make your face look more like the perfect oval. If you’ve been given an oval shape face via the gene pool, you can rock most styles. For everyone else, we use hair as a tool to make an optical illusion. Add width here, point to cheek bones there, highlight sparkling eyes, or bring attention to full lips…you get the picture!

Round Face Shape: same width forehead and lower face with prominent cheeks
Avoid a full blunt bang, or layeres that fall near the jaw and chin. These types of fringe crowd the face and accentuate roundness. You should be trying to elongate your face from hairline to chin, and avoid building width.

If you have a medium to large forehead, try the Side Sweeping Fringe. Hair is parted slightly to one side and should be soft looking with a piecey feel.

If you have a shorter forehead, consider going much shorter or much longer. Ginnifer Goodwin wears a pixie fringe to point to her gorgeous eyes.

Many round-face hairstyles also work best with the absence of bangs when the rest of the hair is long.

Heart Face Shape: wide at the forehead and narrow at the chin.
Avoid super short styles and blunt concave bobs. They make the chin look pointy.

Opt for a fringe that decreases width above the brows. Brittany Snow showcases a just-off-center part, with choppy pieces that land near the cheekbones. Almost all fringe shapes work well on a heart-shaped face, as long as they are long, skimming the brows, and kept looking soft.

Square Face Shape: angular jaw and structured bone definition
Avoid any cut with hard lines. Lots of face-framing layers and a deep-set side part can soften a square shape. Also try adding loose waves for a beachy texture and a more feminine feel.


Oval Face Shape: same width forehead as lower face with symmetrical long sides
Ovals can wear any shape of bangs. Know that if you tend to be more oblong-shaped opt for a fringe that is wider than the ends of your eyebrows to stretch you back into an oval.

Here are a few of my favorite fringes for ovals (as well as Scarlett Johanssen, pictured above right):


What type of fringe can I wear with my hair type?

  • Make sure that your front hairline is clear of cowlicks or growth patterns that make hair separate or stick out if you’re looking for a smooth, sleek fringe. If you do have a strong growth pattern, consider a side-sweep fringe. If the cowlick is soft, you may be able to cover it by parting on the opposite side. Consult with a stylist for a definite plan.
  • Make sure that you are using enough hair to make a statement. Nothing is worse than wispy, see-through bangs. Add more hair if you can clearly see skin through your bangs.
  • Make sure you can smooth out your natural curl properly. Avoid wrapping your head in a towel after washing. Immediately brush out your bangs and place in the direction that you wish to wear them. Add a smoothing or light-hold product for all-day wear.
  • Make sure you’re not too oily! Oily skin can drag bangs down, and oily hair can make your forehead break out.

I have these bangs, and I can’t style them. Now what?
Come to see me at Root Salon for a complimentary consultation and lesson! Proper product and blowdrying with a brush is highly recommended. A boar bristle brush is a lifesaver. Start by blowdrying on medium heat in the opposite direction of your part. When hair is 50 percent dry, switch back to your natural part. Finish by blowdrying straight down with cool air and placing into desired style. Finish with light-hold hair spray.