We have to talk about curtain bangs. Whether you decided to binge Normal People during quarantine and you can’t get over Marianne’s (Daisy Edgar-Jones) fringe or the hairstyle has totally taken over your Instagram (thanks, Ariana Grande) and TikTok feed, there’s no denying the fact that curtain bangs are trending in a major way this year—and judging by how flattering and low-maintenance they are compared to other types of bangs, we don’t expect the look to go away anytime soon. While typically we're not quick to hop on board with the latest hair trend, the stylish shag is seriously worth considering.
In fact, even just writing this story has me itching to add bangs to my look. Whether you love the look of bangs, are considering a bangs hairstyle for the first time, or are still scarred from your grammar school yearbook, (I fall in the latter category), if you’re interested in dipping your toe into the bang pond, curtain bangs are a great gateway into the world of fringe. “They can be grown out easy and they are low maintenance,” says David Cotteblanche, hairstylist at Frederic Fekkai in NYC.
Want to know more? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about curtain bangs before you start snipping away.
About the Expert:
Not sure what makes curtain bangs different from regular bangs? Compared to the bangs you might’ve rocked in your third grade class photo in front of a laser background, curtain bangs are “longer and wider,” says Cotteblanche. They also look flattering in a variety of hair types. While regular bangs go straight across, curtain bangs are typically shorter in the center and longer on the sides, so you can wear them parted.
In fact, we like to think of curtain bangs like the cooler older cousin of regular bangs, mainly because of the effortless vibe one exudes when they’re sporting the stylish fringe. “Curtain bangs are full with an arc shape but leave a wispy feeling,” says Cotteblanche. Traditionally, curtain bangs are worn with a middle part and are left to frame the face. Parting hair to the side “is a different look and approach to the haircut,” says Cotteblanche.
The beauty of curtain bangs is that they can work on anyone and everyone. “Almost any face shape can pull off curtain bangs,” says Cotteblanche, who says it’s best to adapt the look to compliment your face shape and hair texture. Since there are so many different varieties of the style, it makes it so easy to customize. If you have curly hair and haven’t rocked bangs before, it might be best to try out the trend during the colder months, when humidity isn’t a major concern. “They would have to be heat styled every day,” says Cotteblanche. Whether you are rocking a lob or have long hair, curtain bangs also look good on a variety of hair lengths.
If you’re ready to make the cut, Cotteblanche recommends bringing inspo along with you when you see your stylist so you can discuss expectations. “Have pictures of your favorite/desired look ready to share,” Cotteblanche says.
One of the biggest reasons many opt out of cutting bangs, (aside from the PTSD associated with bad childhood haircuts), is because of maintenance. Typically change is going to require new styling, and bangs often need to be trimmed frequently to keep their shape. “Generally you should trim them every eight to 12 weeks when you visit your salon for your regular haircut,” says Cotteblanche. In today’s current climate, if you can’t make it to the hair salon, you can also attempt to trim your bangs at home. Unlike regular, blunt bangs which might be harder to cut yourself, it’s a little easier to maintain curtain bangs from the comfort of your own bathroom mirror.
When it comes to styling, less is more to maintain the effortless look. “You can style curtain bangs natural with your hands,” says Cotteblanche. Depending on heat texture or the look you’re going for, you might use the blow dryer and a round brush to polish off the look. Cotteblanche advises his clients not to overdo it. “You can use a brush but don’t over curl them,” says Cotteblanche. When it comes to working your wispy bangs with the rest of your hair, the options are endless. You can opt for wavy hair, straight hair, or even an updo—anything goes. For a tousled, undone look, spray your hair with a little dry shampoo.
From Kerry Washington to Hilary Duff, Alexa Chung, Taylor Swift and Halle Berry, the celeb set can’t get enough of side swept bangs. Need some inspo before your next trim? Check out some of our favorite styles of the popular haircut trend below.
Hailey complemented her army jacket and hoop earrings with face-framing fringe, adding to the list of celebs and influencers embracing the trend. To pull off her polished take on the trend, spritz your tresses with hairspray to keep your style intact.
Dakota Johnson took a break from her signature, straight-across fringe to sport a wispier curtain bang at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Selena proves that curtain bangs look just as good with an updo. “Curtain bags look especially attractive with an updo, giving a Brigitte Bardot vibe,” says Cotteblanche.
Yara Shahidi tops the list of cool, curly-haired girls that prove that curtain bangs look just as covetable when created with natural hair. Simply embrace your natural texture and show off your tendrils.
Are curtain bangs the best bangs? Judging by their functionality, how easy it is to maintain the hairstyle, and how popular it is on social media, we would say so. If you’re itching for a change but aren’t sure you can commit, curtain bangs are a great way to switch up your hairstyle without sacrificing your length or changing your hair color.
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