A well-groomed full fringe can be a hairstyle in itself but don’t go to town with the scissors just because Kendall Jenner's new bangs, or the latest red-carpet look has you inspired—a too-short, DIY version could be enough to put you off for good.
The layers should be tailored to flatter your face shape. “Bangs tend to be a security blanket so before I cut a set, I discuss it with my client and give them couture bangs,” says John Barrett, hairstylist at NYC's John Barrett Salon. “I think it’s very important to tell your hairdresser how comfortable you are having your fringe at a certain length or if you’re feeling adventurous, express that too. It also helps to take a magazine or picture to the salon because there are so many variations.”
To debunk all those fringe myths out there—like the one that says people with smaller foreheads can’t rock the look—we asked Barrett to tell us the most flattering fringe for each face shape…
If you have a heart-shaped face
While your immediate reaction may be to downplay your chin, Barrett advises going for a more graphic fringe to complement the shape of your face. “A lot of people have an exaggerated view of what their faces look like and the thing I like to do is almost push it forward and get a much harder bang so it looks really intentional,” he says. “If you’re going to do it, go for it and make it strong.” For those who would rather balance their features, a choppy look, like Naomi Campbell’s impeccable fringe (above), is your best bet. “That sort of bang is so soft and sexy and you can leave a little more on the face or push some away,” adds Barrett.
If you have a round face
The right full fringe—namely a choppy, above-the-brow version—gives round faces, like Felicity Jones’, a more structured look. “If you have a small or slightly rounder face, a short fringe will bring attention to the eyes,” says Barrett. “It’s one of my favourite looks because it’s really youthful and gives length to the face."
If you have a long or oval face
Oval faces, like Zooey Deschanel's, can get away with a variety of looks but it’s the airy, below-the-brow style that proves to be the most sensual. “What’s crucial is the choppiness toward the end of the fringe—it should be fine enough that, although it’s going over your eyebrow, you should still be able to see,” says Barrett. This style calls attention to your cheekbones and if your face is on the longer side, the wisps can help to make it look wider.
If you have a square face
Similar to those with round faces, square shapes are flattered by a shorter fringe so channel your inner pin-up girl and opt for a style similar to Tatyana Ali’s. “If you want a more severe look, instead of angling your bangs from the middle and getting longer, you can do the opposite and have them shorter on the sides going inwards,” he says. “It’s slightly harder and I think that it looks more fashion-forward so you have to have confidence to wear it.”
If you have a smaller forehead
Contrary to popular belief, those who have foreheads on the smaller side, like Taraji P. Henson, can still look great with a full fringe. “Keep them short,” Barrett advises. “I love short fringes that frame the face because the shorter the fringe, the longer your forehead will be.” A side-swept look similar to Henson’s, which Barrett has dubbed the “gamine bang”, is another option if you prefer a style that isn’t so blunt. “It’s almost like pieces of hair getting slightly chunky and going to the side,” he explains. “There’s choppiness going on and it’s good for basically any shaped face.”
If you have a larger forehead
Those with high foreheads, like Rihanna’s, can get away with longer fringes—just be sure to get a fringe that starts in the middle and gets longer towards the sides. “It’s the most versatile and it’s the softest, sexiest look,” says Barrett, who recommends it for beginners. “That’s a great starting place and once you have that, you can become more adventurous: add or remove a little more length or make it choppy.”