Bangs Aren’t as Scary as You Think

Bang-haters need not apply.

06.06.17

Bangs are such a look. They’re powerful the same way red lipstick is. They pack a lot of punch per square inch, you know? They’re memorable. Who are Zooey Deschanel or Twiggy or Jeanne Damas without their bangs?

A few months ago, I asked people on Instagram: “Should I get bangs again? Check Yes 🐀 or No 🚨,” alongside an old bang-y photo of me. I received 63 rats, 26 sirens and hundreds of exclamation points — a beautiful, rodent-ridden emergency. I was surprised by how strongly people felt. For how divisive they are, you’d think bangs were more than just a few short locks of hair.

Like cilantro, bangs are not for everyone. I understand that and won’t snip them in your sleep, promise. But is it really such a big deal to get them? I don’t think so. I may be biased because I love mine, but most of the concerns people have pre-chop strike me as unnecessarily inflated. If you’ve always wanted to try them but are terrified, let someone who recently took the plunge walk you through why it’s not as scary as you think.

Fear #1: What if bangs look bad on me? Then I’ve really COMMITTED.

Bangs work on loads of different faces, in unexpected ways. (I think mine give me the appearance of a stronger bone structure, for instance.) The long grow-out is the cornerstone of bang-fear, I know. But listen: bangs grow out pretty fast! Our hair grows half an inch per month. If you hate your bangs, you’ll be able to pin them back in six weeks and tuck them away another month later. In half a year they’ll become long and swoopy and be as unnoticeable as you want them to be. Six months! New Year’s Eve was six months ago and that was like, yesterday! Also, as they grow, you get to try out different bang lengths sans salon trip. More bang for your buck.

Fear #2: Having to style them every day sounds like so much work.

Bangs take about 45 seconds to style with a blow-dryer. You can get them wet and do that whenever your heart flutters. I let mine air dry and they do whatever they want. Wavy, curly, bendy bangs are weird and make me feel like my mom in the ’70s. Perfect bangs are kind of 2006, no? If messy-ish bangs won’t work with your look, though, you’ll definitely have to exert more effort in this department.

Also, bangs make it so I don’t have to touch my hair as much generally. You know, behind-the-ear tucking, part-changing, all the little finicky things we do before a photo to make our hair look right — because the hair that would normally be in my face is short. If those little behaviors bother you, maybe bangs could help.

Fear #3: Won’t they get all sweaty and terrible on my forehead? What if they give me acne?

I think this is only a problem if you’re precious about how they lay, but maybe I’ll change my tune come August. I’ve had no trouble with acne — perhaps due to my vigilance with my skincare routine — but I also don’t put any makeup on my forehead now, which helps too. But if I didare bangs not built-in coverup?

Fear #4: I can’t handle the maintenance!

This depends on the kind of bangs you have, but I’ve just been snipping at mine when the moment strikes. It’s not foolproof, but it’s kind of fun and impulsive-feeling, like lopping your pants into shorts on a whim. They honestly look fine. I suppose the maintenance is as high as you are picky — so take that into consideration before you decide.

Fear #5: What if my hair is just weird around my hairline, destined to look a mess?

I don’t know your hairline personally, but angles don’t have to be a deal breaker. Mine sometimes give themselves a middle part or a side part or no part at all, depending on their mood. Maybe everyone think it looks terrible (very possible), but I think the change is nice. They feel like an accessory, like a fun pair of earrings. They make a ponytail or bun look less gym-ready.

I’m making the same point over and over, I know, but bangs don’t need to be perfect. Sure, mine are a little sloppy. And, on their worst days, as evidenced below, they certainly break all the bang rules — parted, flippy, greasy, uneven. I just don’t really mind. I still think they’re cool. Maybe you would too.

(Call me in six months when I hate them so much.)

Photo by Edith Young. Modeled by Eydis Evensen, follow her on Instagram @eydisevensen.

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  • meme

    Love bangs and cilantro forever.

    • Haley Nahman

      love bangs hate cilantro

      • Bo

        Disappointed re the cilantro

  • Bailey Stark

    I have been debating bangs for the past month and I think this article just convinced me to give my hair dresser a call. tysm. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/920679016855356932b502380a8ca510c38549dbd94d9af39a3c432654680ffd.gif

  • Inspired by every French girl I follow on Instagram I cut bangs just last week and I could not be happier. Definitely found my look with this effortless and playful style! 🙂
    xx
    http://mariannelle.com

  • Maria

    Imogen Poots´s bangs <3

    • Aydan

      YESSS she was one of the photos I showed my hair stylist!

      • Haley Nahman

        omg yes!!

  • Heleen Peeters

    Now I want bangs

    • oh god me too
      I’m just saying to myself ‘you won’t style them, you’ll only like them once a week, you’ll have hair in your face all the time’ as a mantra to keep me from grabbing scissors

      • Haley Nahman

        i meannnnnnnnnn maybe you should do it!!! but i wouldn’t do it yourself

        • it doesn’t count if you’re not doing it yourself at 2 am!

          well actually whenever I’ve had bangs I’ve cut or recut them myself bc stylists never give me what I want despite very clear explanations and reference pics 🙁

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    I’ve always had bangs, either full or side-swept. I have had side swept bangs for the last few years. Easy maintenance.

  • kate

    As a 40 year old lady with a 40 year old lady’s forehead, I am so envious of women who can do bangs. My hair is too frizzy and even the time I got a kertatin treatment to have bangs, they made my forehead sweat, causing my bangs to get all stringy. No bueno. As much as I long to look like a 1960s French girl, bangs are not how I am achieving said look.

  • Rose Leger

    Getting bangs was the best decision of my life because they finally made me look my age (22, not 13) also I think no one realizes that I have never NEVER had to style/fill-in/pluck/trim/shape/microblade/dye my eyebrows because you can’t see them!!!

    • Aydan

      girlll this is all to real! noticed some way-ward hairs the other day and laughed cause in the past I would’ve never let them get like that!

    • Haley Nahman

      YES!

  • I’ve had bangs for a long, long time and I love them!

    Charmaine Ng
    Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • Haley Nahman

      lolol tbh still like em

    • Erin

      THIS. I really want bangs but I sweat profusely right at my hairline.

  • I feel like bangs are the female equivalent of growing a beard – not everyone can do it and not everyone can pull it off and some people just look wrong with/without them.

  • Hil

    pretty soon after getting bangs I was pinning them back and set on growing them out (mostly because hair touching my face annoyed me) BUT no regrets bc if I hadn’t done it then I would have done it later. I’m pretty set on never having bangs again, but I needed to try it to know that. So if you’re thinking about, go for it, bc you prob won’t stop thinking about it until you do and hair grows back!

    • cici

      You get used to that feeling, give it a few days.

      • Hil

        nah this was months ago. not for me.

    • Haley Nahman

      good good good point

    • I get it! I like my bangs 4/5 days a week. I got them about a month ago and now that we’re hitting summer I’m starting to see the REAL downsides. I try to only wash my hair every 4-5 days and by day 3 my bangs are pretty unreasonable and need to be pinned away and out of sight, I’ve also noticed that my current length of bangs will need to be trimmed way more often than the rest of my hair, which makes my wallet sad.

  • cici

    I love my bangs. I grew them out once and felt like an alien. Had a friend tell me if I ever cut them again she wouldn’t be my friend. We’re no longer friends but I have my bangs back. 🙂

    • Haley Nahman

      Worth it

      • cici

        Agree.

  • Aydan

    I got bangs over a year ago and also wear fairly large round glasses. Needless to say, I’m def supports a “look”, couple that with pink lipstick (my standard) and its def a lot, but it just feels so so me now! I hate pinning them back (only on those crazy windy / rainy days) and even have a mini straightener in my desk at work (to help tame on rainy days like today in NYC). I’m still a 15 minute girl in the morning and for that I couldn’t be happier! For those debating, there is a bit of adjustment in figuring out how to style, what products to use (I use dry shampoo only on my bangs typically), etc. but otherwise def take the plunge! Its so worth it!

  • Isabella Beroutsos

    ok this is the first time i’m joining an MR discussion…I can’t resist commenting here because I LOVE MY BANGS. i got them in April 2015 and don’t know if i’ll ever get rid of them. i thought i had a weird hairline before (even though people told me i didn’t) and bangs have completely fixed that. i literally don’t “style” them at all — in fact i barely brush my hair, only when i need to get any tangles out. i only comb my bangs when i get out of the shower and sometimes straighten the ends when i go out at night! honestly they’re somehow dramatically easier to deal with than my hair was before. they’ve also somehow fixed (???) my forehead acne — maybe because they serve as some special divine protective shield…of which i am incredible grateful. and yeah bangs can get a little stringy but reaaaally not a problem at all. i can just push them to the sides or rustle them. not a big deal TBH.
    also, incredibly important side note: bangs are a great way to pass for French. many people have told me i look french (i’m half-greek) and i think it’s partly because of the bangs.

    • Haley Nahman

      am so on board with this comment top to bottom

    • show us a piccccc!

  • Mikaela

    Bangs are the fucking best! Hair styling? Jewelry? Eye makeup? Forget it. I’ve got bangs.

    • Haley Nahman

      agree

  • I want bangssssssssssss now! I’m growing my hair out from a pixie, and it’s been a LOOONGGGG 5 months, and my hair still hasn’t hit my shoulders..I’m going for a trim at the end of this week, and now I’m wondering if I should make my stylist very happy and tell her to give me some bangs… I do have a STRONG cowlick in the front though..wondering if I can overcome this

  • Bo

    This is bracing to read. I’ve gradually been coming to the realisation that I have what I personally think is an endearing combination of giant forehead + pointy little ratty Malfoy face and have been pondering bangs as a means of balancing my odd couple features and convincing strangers that I am, indeed fRiendLY & aPProaCHab!e. I am waiting until I get my new glasses though so I don’t inadvertently get incompatible bangs and frighten small children more than I do already.

  • “Also, as they grow, you get to try out different bang lengths sans salon trip. More bang for your buck.” Yussssss.

    I cut my own bangs (bad idea) in May 2016 and then again in November 2016. I’ve been growing them out ever since because I simply don’t look good with bangs. However, I envy anyone that can pull them off!

  • Gahhhh I’m still on the fence about getting bangs. I have the curliest hair. Can MR write a post on interesting hair cuts to style with curly hair? Always looking to change things up but have NO IDEA how to.

    • How curly is your hair? My hair naturally forms fluffy 1980’s perm curls and I’m kind of digging my current bangs-curls combination. Granted, it means that I have to rock a more carefree and rockstar look than I’m used to.

      • I’ve got some serious curls when they’re not tamed. But may just go to my go-to hair salon and snip snip on a whim :/

    • allie

      I have curly hair and bangs! I was inspired by Mica Arganaraz, but I’ve been noticing tons of models rocking the curly bangs look (Ex: Alanna Arrington). I think the trick is to do them with a short, ’70s inspired shaggy cut so they read as super intentional and can be balanced by the rest of the cut.

      https://www.instagram.com/p/BUxD1NhDzAi/?taken-by=micarganaraz&hl=en

      • So beautiful! Thanks for the boost Allie- think I’m going to take the plunge after summer. (the heat and all).

        • allie

          Yes do it!! I really love mine—I think they add a lot of innate style to any outfit.

  • Good gravy I love this list!

    I made the bang commitment about a month ago after being haunted by the idea since last fall. Honestly, I’m still on the fence about them, some days I feel like a 1970’s sex goddess and others I feel like the worst version of my toddler self. I have no regrets, but I certainly miss an aggressive middle part.

  • Shevaun

    I used to be really afraid of the grow-out stage and the what-ifs around bold hair cuts, but since I shaved my head last year the what if’s have sort of vanished.

    I think any hair change just requires confidence. If you’re afraid of looking weird or dumb, then people pick up on that. If you 100% dgaf and just go for it then it usually turns out fine.

    P.S. Haley, your bangs look great 💯👌🏽

  • Sugar Bones

    I LOVE my bangs! I’ve had them pretty much forever: straight across, curved up or down, asymmetric.. my face just doesn’t look right without them. Next I’m going way wide with a touch of shave *just* at the corners. My hair grows straight forward, so I have to snip myself a lil’ window.

  • Emmie

    i came out of the womb with bangs – I’ve tried many other styles but always go back to bangs. 100% my comfort zone, which means i can try other scary different things in different ways. I will always advocate for bangs.

  • Marta Millere

    Love bangs, they make hair go from hair to a hair style. Gentle suggestion to ask for messy Dakota Johnson bangs –> http://images.boomsbeat.com/data/images/full/192210/dakota.jpg
    Longer on the sides (looks *spectacular* and very put together with a bun/ponytail) and a little irregular in the middle. They grow out nicely (into long Françoise Hardy bangs) and if you have straight-ish hair, they don’t need much attention. xx

  • Daniela

    I just got Parisian bangs which I think do not apply as they are way longer than yours…

  • bella

    oh okAY so i love a fringe is such a look i’m into it. i got a really bad fringe cut when i was like 15 and it traumatised me but i tried it again in first year of uni and i loved it. i live in australia and its bloody hot and i sweat like crazy so i cut a fringe in the beginning of winter and then grow them out for summer, i’ve been doing it for four years now and i love it. that way i don’t have to worry about my fringe looking streaky + wet ( I’ve got blonde hair which just looks brown if its wet) and it always looks funky. I don’t have to style my hair at all (not that i ever did) bc the fringe is a statement on its own, it looks cute when my hair is all down and it doesn’t make me look bald if its up in a ponytail i love it. plus you literally have to do no styling its so easy, i’ll usually brush it downwards post shower so it dries in the right direction and thats it! i’ve straightened it or blow dried it in a pinch but it really isn’t that necessary i like when it flicks out its all cute. also irrelevant but i literally get asked out 2x as much with a fringe idk if its a winter thing or a fringe thing but i’m here for it

  • SpiritAndCourage

    I’ve had bangs for almost a year and I am so happy with them. I have thick, wavy hair and I often just let my bangs do their own thing or straighten the ends a tiny bit because my hair likes to do a fun thing where the ends all curl in one direction like a wave. My BIG tip for anyone worried about them looking greasy and stringy is to make sure you ask the hairdresser to give you HEAVY bangs (i.e. adding more of your hair into the bangs). They not only look a bit more modern (and classic at the same time!) but then the bottom layer of your bang-hair touching your greasy forehead is covered by a top layer of hair that looks fresh! My other tip is that you can just wash your bangs in the sink either with shampoo or even just get them wet and then it allows you to last an extra few days without washing your hair.

    I do find that towards the end of the day (after staring at a computer for 8 hours straight) I get a bit annoyed with them and feel like they are in my eyes, but then I just brush them to the side for a while and when I readjust them later I feel back to normal again.

  • Kay Nguyen

    #1 and #5 pretty much summed up my relationship with bang! When you (sorta) have a baby face and your hair always looks like it just got through a tornado, bang isn’t really a good option 🙁 Also, bang makes me look 14…

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • ladle

    I have had bangs of some kind ever since I can remember. Grew them out once, got sick of that, cut them again. Mine are straight across, slightly layered (cause i have thick hair) and I can flip them on the side of have them lay flat, however they want. I sweat a lot, but my hair is too thick to show it, and it’s also dry, so these things help.
    I like myself more with them, but i can pull off looks without them too. And I happen to think bangs+square glasses with only a top frame+heavy eye makeup make me look awesome.

  • Jolie

    I’ve had bangs on and off (mostly on) since I was a child because they look SO RIGHT on my face. There was like a recent year and a half span when I grew them out and I hated every single picture taken of me during that time—just got them back a month ago and have been feeling like my old self again. They’re just a part of my Lewk forever. Plus they make my hair look more interesting without any maintenance whatsoever (I just shower before bed and let them air dry and they look cool as hell in the morning!)

  • I’m still really undecided, I’ve been wanting bangs on and off for a couple of months. I had cut myself some about 4 years ago (18 at the time) and I really don’t think I did a good job, ended up hating the process of growing them out etc. But maybe this time around would be different? The thing is, I have pretty fine hair and an oily forehead / no talent at hairstyling. I just let mine air-dry.

  • Keight

    Haley, any NYC keratin reccs? This is the only way I can be banged (sorry)

  • Dani beth

    I love my bangs and I hate my bangs. Every day is different which is probably why I love them a bit more than hate.

  • Alice Tye

    Think you’ve convinced me after a year of growing them out to cut bangs back in! I miss them

  • Tina-Maria Nuhad Brogaard Nass

    Took me years to finally cave in to my curiosity… I was positively surprised… If and when I feel my bangs are turning a bit greasy or unmanageable I spritz in some always-in-my-bag dry shampoo and brush through… Voila… Good as New…

  • young yoshiaki

    I LOVE bangs and I love how I look with them, but my hair is weird curly, and styling them daily makes me angry lol. Keeping them looking acceptable comes at a price of burned dry hair for having to use the straightener so much. 😩

  • Marie Gleichauf

    I’ve been trying to commit to bangs for years and can’t take the plunge! Maybe now is the time…