When I got my first pair of curly bangs, a glow-up immediately ensued. I was fresh out of college, and I still remember how free and flawless I felt after getting layers and fringe for the very first time. Styling my curls became so much easier, and I couldn’t stop staring at my front-facing camera, wondering why I’d taken so long to do it in the first place. Anyone who’s successfully taken the plunge with bangs knows the vibe: That exhilarating feeling when you take a beauty risk that pays off and doesn’t end in tears and disaster.
Though my foray into fringe was way back in 2015, the ’70s-inspired look has gripped the trend cycle ever since, so you may be considering some curly bangs for yourself. They are a commitment, no doubt—but they also hold a unique power to showcase your facial features, switch up your vibe, and even make your styling process more seamless (not to mention offering an energy shift that screams “new me”). One might cringe at a mental image of mullets from the ’80s—those meticulously carved perms that haunt countless family photo albums to this day—but when executed correctly, they can be a game changer.
So if you can’t stop swooning over tousled layers while scrolling through social, it might be time to try the look for yourself. Whether you’re ushering in a major life change and want a new look to match or are feeling inspired by fall fashion campaigns featuring face-framing fringe, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve had my fair share of experience dealing with my own curly cuts, but I wanted to get experts’ two cents on essential tips to consider before making your appointment. Check out their wise words below before dialing up your stylist, and may the fringe be ever in your favor!
Fake it till you make it.
If you’re not sure the look is for you, fake the bangs in the mirror first. I’ve thrown my hair into an updo and pinned a section in the front beneath a bandana (with the ends left out around my face) to give off the same vibe. Vernon François—celebrity hairstylist, educator, brand founder, and the mastermind behind iconic looks donned by Lupita Nyong’o, Tessa Thompson, and Willow Smith (the list goes on)—recommends creating a quiff with pins or clips to change up your look. “If your hair is long enough, take a center section of hair, fold it back on itself, and pin in place with a clip, hair comb, or bobby pins,” he says.
Start with a shag.
Getting bangs doesn’t have to feel so dramatic, and the textured shag that’s been having a moment for quite some time now is a great way to ease in. Opt for tousled layering around your face for a flirty seasonal refresh. “Curly bangs cut into a longer shaggy style are great for fall—they work well with hats this season for a casual look,” says François. “Think woolly bobble hats or caps lined with satin or silk, which is kind to strands by minimizing friction. Pair back bangs with clips, or add a part on the days you want to switch up your style.” In other words, go for the gusto and experiment with accessories to top off your new ’do.