The humble fringe is a timeless accessory which can switch up your look in a matter of moments. From a subtle side-sweeping fringe to choppy full bangs à la 60's Jane Birken - everyone can get become firmly acquainted with the very covetable hair trend.
However, it's just as acknowledged that growing out said fringe can be rather painful (read: kirby grips, lots of kirby grips) so it's definitely recommended you swot up bangs before booking a hair appointment.
Whether you are someone who is debating getting a fringe cut for the first time or you're someone whose friends have never seen their actual forehead before (#guilty) to everyone in between - here is everything you need to know about bangs and how to get them looking their best...
1.) Firstly, are fringes in fashion?
Fringes may look good, but if they aren’t 'in fashion, dahling' then it can be a deal-breaker. It’s a bit like getting your noughties chain-belt from the loft because it looks nice with your new frayed-hem jeans (spoiler alert: it doesn’t).
However, be rest assured that fringes are definitely in, with celebrity fans such as Taylor Swift, Georgia May Jagger and the Hadid sisters all having recently opted for the cut, giving us civilians an insane amount of fringe-spo.
2) What is the history of the fringe?
The full fringe wasn’t a thing until the 1920s, when it was memorably donned by Louise Brooks in the 1929 film Pandora’s Box. Then there was 1950s pin up girl Bettie Page’s fringe which, along with her jet black hair and blue eyes, was her trademark look. And who can forget Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic blunt bags in the film Cleopatra, which catapulted fringes to the forefront and was requested by every hairdresser in the 1960s?
In the 1980s and early 90s, fashionistas opted for a more natural feel and fringes were often curled and wispy.
In the 90’, we saw two stars reach dizzying heights of fame for their enviable bangs: Uma Thurman who, in her portrayal of Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, sported a black blunt fringe and jaw-grazing bob, and, as Rachel from Friends, Jennifer Aniston, whose subtle, side sweeping bangs and choppy layers saw everyone asking for that ‘Rachel’ cut.
The fringe then went away for a few years, before coming back as a force to be reckoned with in 2007 - for which we have Kate Moss to thank.
3) What different types of fringes are there?
Side swept fringe - a fringe which starts from a side parting and often only covers one half of the forehead. It is longer than a full fringe and is universally flattering.
Full fringe - A fringe that is combed straight down and is cut vertically across.
A wispy full fringe - A full fringe that is on the thin side. A fringe perfect for those after something with less commitment and styling.
A blunt full fringe - A fringe that is cut sharply and is often thick and heavy, adding definition to your face.
A rounded fringe - A fringe which is similar to the full fringe, but has a rounded feel and is longer on the sides where it meets the rest of the hair.
A parted fringe - Often nicknamed the ‘Bardot fringe’, it is where your bangs are parted (usually in the centre) and each side is swept away from the face.
A cropped fringe) - A full fringe which is shorter than the traditional style and often falls above the eyebrow.
4) What are the benefits of a fringe?
A fringe is anti-aging
Dubbed the ‘French facelift’ the humble fringe can hide a multitude of sins (especially if it’s your forehead) and brings attention to your eyes.
A fringe can make you look more 'done'
The groomed hairstyle polishes up your look and gives the illusion that you have spent hours on your tresses. The perfect antidote for those early morning meetings...
You can forgo the monthly eyebrow appointment
Meaning less pain and more money to spend in Cos. Result.
Fringes are extremely versatile
Whether you brush your hair to the side, opt for a parted fringe or decide to clip it all back - you can change up your look daily. Perfect for those who get bored easily.
Fringes can conceal a large forehead
Only if you want to conceal it of course - a high forehead would be considered a sign of aristocracy in Elizabethan times.
5) Are fringes high maintenance?
To put it more bluntly than Lady Gaga’s bangs circa 2008 - yes. To look good fringes need to be washed daily, styled with precision and trimmed every few weeks. When it rains or is spectacularly windy, your fringe can look a little on the grungy side, and of course with it being on your actual face, it can impact your whole look. Fringes barely stay still and are notorious for having a life of their own - a very wild one at that.
6) What type of fringe would suit me?
The good news is, just like red lipstick, there is a style out there for everyone. The only people that should perhaps give the fringe a little more thought, are those with a cowslick. It’s best to book a consultation with your stylist and they can recommend the most flattering cut for your face shape. You can also try out a ‘winge’ aka a clip-in fringe to see if you like it IRL.
If you are looking to switch up your look following a break up, avid fringe-wearer Alexa Chung advises against it, telling Stylist, ‘ My advice if you’ve just suffered heartbreak or you’ve broken up with someone, is not to touch your hair. It’s the first thing women do, but you’re not in a fit state to make decisions that are long term - you’ll have to spend the next four years growing it out. Don’t have a fringe cut. Don’t bleach it. You’ll regret it. But a lipstick instead [...] otherwise you'll still feel said and you'll have weird hair.'
Before making your hair appointment, it’s also best checking out our handy guide of what hair experts told us you should consider before getting the fringe.
7) Which fringe style suits oval faces?
You lucky things! If you have an oval face, your hairdresser has probably already gushed how you could ‘pull off any style!’ We suggest asking for a thinner fringe, so you can style it to the side or clip it back occasionally.
8) Which fringe style suits round faces?
You should avoid full, blunt fringes if you have a round face as they can often look too harsh. A side fringe however will give the illusion of a longer face and the asymmetry will add definition to your cheek bones.
9) Which fringe style suits heart-shaped faces?
Longer fringes are great for those with a heart-shaped face as they distract from your chin and draw attention to your eyes instead. Heart shaped faces best suit full fringes that skim the eyebrows, or a side fringe. A fringe that is piecey will help balance out your features. You should avoid any style that is slicked back or that has height on the crown.
10) Which fringe style suits square faces?
A full fringe will look great on you - just ask for a fringe that is slightly feathered in the middle to soften your face shape. Try to avoid styles that are too blunt as they accentuate any harsh angles and lines.
11) Can I cut my fringe myself at home?
This divides people. Some people swear by cutting it themselves and as Caroline de Maigret (the brains behind the best-selling book How To Be Parisian) revealed in an Vogue interview, ‘I just cut vertically!’
This fringe-cutting tutorial is fantastic:
However, if you have an unsteady hand or a date coming up, it’s probably best to leave it to an expert. Between cuts, salons often offer free fringe cuts in between appointments, to keep your fringe out of your eyes.
12) How do I make my fringe bang-ing?
There are any fringe hacks to make sure they are full of life and vigour and as Hairspray's Tracy Turnblad so rightly noted, 'hair can't just sit there like a dead thing on your cheeks!'
1) 'Always blow-dry your fringe straight away' Your fringe naturally dries quickly and can begin to set right before you've had a chance to find your trusty hair protector spray! So the sooner, the better to ensure your fringe stays in place all day.
2) 'Dry your fringe in every direction' - up down, left, right, repeatedly to get rid of any dreaded kinks
3) 'Dry shampoo is your new BFF' - It's time to become acquainted with dry shampoo as your fringe will become a lot more greasy, a lot more quickly. You can also wash your fringe separately (to avoid over-washing the rest of your tresses).
For more fringe hacks, make sure you check out our comprehensive fringe maintenance guide.
13) How do I grow out my fringe?
If you are trying to grow out a full fringe, you can grow it out by simply turning it into a ‘parting fringe’ (see:point 3). You may need lots of hairspray to initially keep it in place. As your hair grows, you can begin to sweep your hair away from your face and it will eventually give a slightly feathered look to your hair.
Another hack to growing out a fringe, is to sweep your hair to the side and to grow it out as a side fringe - just make sure you get regular trims to keep it flattering.
If you have decided that a fringe is what is missing from your life - here is all the celebrity fringes-inspo you need and that you can take with you to the hairdresser...