How To: Maintain Bangs

All women (#yesallofthem) know that the single most important question a twenty-something will ask her friends is this: should I get bangs? Fewer people understand that bangs are not like white wine in that they aren’t always a good idea, and when you have a Middle Eastern forehead as compact as the one my parents gave me and a simultaneous complex fostered by your modern orthodox upbringing about looking like you’re wearing a wig even if you’re not, you are an even less likely candidate to look like a) Jane Birkin, b) Brigitte Bardot or c) Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Or are you?

I have been toying with the notion of bangs since my forehead and eyelids were first introduced to the concept during my senior year of high school. On a Saturday evening, after having watched The Devil Wears Prada not once but twice, I endeavored to cut my own. What came of it was a mullet that I have trained the visual receptors in my mind to erase, but as fate and my scalp follicles would have it, I have also, since that point, consistently wondered: if I were to do them right — as in, with the help of a PROFESSIONAL, could they work? Not one to seek aid when it comes to the affairs of my head, I did something fairly unbecoming: on Friday I went to Bumble and bumble where, with the help of the scissor-hands that belong to Roz Murray, I finally answered that pressing question.

No! Of course they don’t work! But who cares because I love them and think they look great and even though some semblance to the mullet is largely stricken, I am going to take them, run and literally (again, as in, not figuratively) pony up. Then I will laugh when my husband has to have sex with me because it looks like he’s doing a dude with a mushroom cut!

Here are five important rules for bang maintenance the easy, no maintenance way as told by Roz.

1) Top knots ALWAYS look cuter and “done” with bangs. (Leandra rec: Dryspun makes topknots both toppier and knottier.)

2) Easy on the shower curtain: Dry shampoo will be your best friend unless you are willing to wash only your bangs.

3) Don’t be scared to let them separate or part from within the middle — it helps you achieve that Bardot/Kate Moss flair.

4) Carry a brush or a comb for touch-ups. Roz recommends Mason Pearson for both.

5) When it’s cold, hats are practically made for bang-bearers in that they hold them in place and keep cowlicks at bay. This is supposing you are not interested in a cowlick. If you’re not, pray tell why.

cow lick

Bonus note: Try different lipsticks and eyeliners because YOU HAVE A NEW FACE AND SHOULD TAKE IT FOR A TEST DRIVE.

If you’re on a hair bender, read our thoughts on hair brushing, a study of Matilda’s bangs, and Leandra’s letter to her curly hair.

Get more Beauty ?
  • Leandra, you are one exquisite human being. And the side bangs look so good on you — I think in general bangs that don’t cover the entire forehead are more universally flattering. Especially with the aviator eyeglasses.

    Besides, you’re in good company:

    • Andrea Raymer

      Fun fact, my mom looks exactly like this picture.

      • Leandra Medine


      • Damn! Kate Jackson was a babe.

        • Abdalhay Benahmed


  • My younger sister got bangs and she looks real kewt and now i’m having serious FOMOOB (fear of missing out on bangs).

  • I just got bangs a few weeks ago for the first time ever. We are talking Zooey Deschanel bangs. I go through ebbs and flows of hating and loving them. Some days, I stare longingly at old selfies on my phone of when I could see my forehead. Other days, I embrace my new hipster meets kindergartner look with excitement when I see my new face in the mirror. They’re a good experiment, I don’t know how long I’ll keep them as trimming them is the world’s biggest hassle but they’ll be fun while they last.

  • Avril Brady

    haha that cowlick at the end made me LOL!! I agree wholeheartedly with the dry shampoo.. having accidently got bangs myself a few months ago. The bobby pin has also come in handy 😉 x

  • Marianne Ronsse

    The bangs look really good on you! And also that dress! It’s exquisite, and you look like an exquisite fluffy little bird (in a good way)!

    Side bangs do seem like a good idea, but I that cannot be said for shorter type of bangs, that only cover half of your forehead (like Jim Carrey in Dumb&Dumber)

  • A fun bar trick I have is to take out my phone and show people what I looked like in 2010/2011 with bangs. Gets a great laugh out of a crowd. Some people cry. You look great, and that “dude with a mushroom cut” line was GOLD.

  • love this. I am such a proponent of bangs since I cut my own 4 years ago. They’ve steadily evolved from a few wisps to a pretty blunt fringe and I can’t imagine my face without them. I also started winging my eyeliner around that time, leading to even more ethnic ambiguity.

  • Ugh, those bangs are bangin’. They look perfect, like that in-between stage of growing out your bangs.

    I rarely ever let my hair down because I ALWAYS get bothered by hair that gets in my way. If I had the chance, I’d pixie-cut it, but the chance of that ever happening is always distant in the horizon. I’m already scarred by the bowlcuts my mom gave me when I was 7.

  • Charlotte Fassler

    This one time I had bangs ………….

    • ilze

      what the hell!!!!!!!

    • sgilmore

      Hah, just how long have you been waiting for bangsgate to surface so you could hit us with this snapshot of your superior life? SHOW OFF BANGS

      • Charlotte Fassler

        After Ryan and I broke up times got tough and this photo is the only remnant of the dark time I had bangs.

        • K-Low

          You look happy with….. bangs.;)

    • Holy shit i was not at all prepared for that.

    • Brittany

      this is seriously sick

  • Guest
  • currently trying to grow mine out…and today alone I think I have brushed my fingers through it/tried sweeping it to the side/plaiting it hoping it would just do something about 1,500 times…and counting.

  • Allie Fasanella

    You look so freaking fetching. Definitely a good move.

  • Dawn

    You look great in bangs! LOVE the dress! Both lighten you up.

  • Kelsey Moody

    Your hair looks SO good I didnt even notice the dress! Its like if Big Bird and a flamingo made sweet sweet love on Valentines day and made Fendi its godparent

  • AndreaMiles

    Your side bangs look great. P.S. Where are your eyeglasses from? I’ve been looking for some aviator/retro frames and I can’t quite find the right pair.

  • Andrea Raymer

    I cut my own bangs last Thursday. I am forever in pursuit of the taylor swift. full but slightly grown out bang that can easily be swept to the side but also looks like bangs. I almost hyphenated that entire sentence but that would have taken way too much work.

    I told the girl who does my hair in Virginia what I wanted and she didn’t quite get it. I had little side bangs that looked ridiculous with my super fine, pin straight hair. I cut them myself after weeks of hiding them in a deep side-part.

    I also, always want bangs after watching The Devil Wears Prada. Post-makeover Andy is really hair goals. If only I could get my hair that length without wanting to cut it. she was what converted me back to being a bang person in high school.

  • Brittany

    Well your bangs aren’t really fair because they are the perfect amount of grown out/ bumble and bumble perfection/ oh these? these are just my perfect bangs. Now I want bangs like that but am still remembering when my grandma used to cut my bangs ( weekly) and they would always land right in the middle of my forehead. Terrible!

  • Esty Turner

    When I had bangs for about .02 seconds, I was the weirdo who washed just her bangs. It escapes me to this day why I didn’t think to use dry shampoo.

  • parkzark

    I’ve never had bangs, maybe i’ll take the plunge. Probably never will because I haven’t changed my hair in 8 years.

  • cherie

    Leandra, you look great, as always, but are they actually bangs? I thought bangs had to at least be up around eye level? Otherwise they’re just “layers”, no? Do we need to discuss and vote on it? :-}

  • I peaked early and got bands in middle school. Rihanna had her bangs and I just fell in love with their fullness… although through highschool’s growing them out phase I didn’t have eyes in many pictures.

  • This seems like a lot of work and Im lazy! lol


  • I have some straight-ish across bangs and everyone says that I look SO GOOD WITH THEM and I SHOULD NEVER GROW THEM OUT! So they’re sticking around a little longer, but honestly, sometimes they’re a real pain in the ass. P.S. Your long bangs look great! Yay for profesh hair help.

  • When I saw the picture of the cow I don’t really know what I expected, but definitely not this.

  • Mia

    I made the bang commitment six months ago. I love it. However, I am lazy- so now it’s a constant life struggle of dam it woman get your bangs trimmed and remember to blow dry your hair (eh, up 10mins earlier in the morning, that’s my previous procrastination time). Versus how long will I look like a mop meets chewbaka as I grow them out??

  • M Nelson

    On washing only your bangs: it totally works and I do it on the daily, sans shampoo of course.

  • One time in sixth grade I cut my own side bangs and looked like someone had just yanked out a chunk of my hair. Maybe if I had worn a feather coat they would have looked better?

    Your bangs are actually amazing though. I am having hair envy.

  • I’ve had my Bardot bangs since about 2010. It’s my signature at this point and I’ll never get rid of them. Everyone should try it at least once!

  • THANK YOU for a perfect set of side sweepy bangs. Lately I just want to take a pair of kitchen scissors and DIY the fake-a-bob thing with side bangs and layers around the crown, where you leave everything else long but can also put the bottom half up and voila, bob. Then I remember the last time I gave myself bangs. Nope!

    • Esther Levy

      you were adorable.

      • This definitely preceded the whole awkward phase!

  • Sarah Hale

    But there are no ‘bangs’ in those photos! I thought they were going to be the before pics!

  • Pandora Sykes


    O nice bangs too

  • Leandra, as a longtime bang devotee–I’ve had them and cut my own for almost ten years–I want to tell you that you could pull off the full-on blunt bang even with a compact forehead:) Tell your stylist to start the bang further back on your head–almost like a frontal combover. Rose Byrne knows the drill. Voila!

  • I had bangs when I was young and I have been longing for them again. This post makes me want them even more!

  • Hannah Climas

    Would you believe that I booked a hair appointment a week ago and this story came out that morning (I’m in Australia) so I thought hey, why not. Bangs it is! I ended up re-trimming them the next day (because my hairdresser didn’t do them quite as dramatic as I wanted) and now they’re kicking out and making my face look weird and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

    • Hannah Climas

      Don’t know why my post added extra pictures, but okay.

  • Michelle

    I’ve had bangs my entire life, until recently. I’m in the painful process of growing them out. Whenever I see pictures of girls with straight across bangs, or I see cute girls in the street with their straight bangs and perfect top knot, I have an inner wrestle fight with myself. I’ve come this far… keep growing….! I want to see what I look like at least once in my life without bangs! But I do love a good set of bangs.
    For the record, your haircut is very cute and flattering. but I’m not quite sure you can call them bangs! (sorry-not-sorry)

  • Dainty Chic

    Love the feathery vest she is wearing! So Dainty and Chic!!

  • After I read this article I had a dream that I cut my own bangs and woke up sweating.
    They look great on you, they didn’t look great on Dream Victoria

  • Amyzz

    Leandra, you’re such a fucking bae

  • Jamie Leland

    I like instant gratification and I hate making appointments, so my bangs have always been born in the night over a sink. Last time I had bangs and went in for a trim, the hairdresser stealth-chastised me by asking if I had cut them myself. I felt so shamed.

  • kline, mara r.

    i’ve been wrestling with this question for weeks and you may have just convinced me to make a hair appointment.

  • reversecommuter

    YAYZIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just succumbed to the bing bang theory myself after much debate and yes, carrying around a pic of Brigit Bardot as my screen saver just to test drive. Still feel like they might be clipons…

  • D Mateo

    Leandra, super great tips. I have another option you may want to check out: Shu Uemura Volume Maker. It is basically a texturizing powder you can put at your roots to create volume. Although it is pricey, it does keep your bangs from flattening and dying out by the end of the day.

  • Mae

    My stylist at Rheanne White told me never to cut my own bangs- booked my appointment at to get them cut! Wish I could keep them as well maintained as this makes it seem!

  • Julie Meowmeows

    I have full bangs, and pretty much always have because I hate my high forehead.

  • kduck

    Discovered these at my niece’s dance recital. Problem solved.

  • Stephanie Taylor

    Shorter than eyebrow bangs = Matilda! Consider fringed options as the “training bra for bangs”

  • That dress!!! I want so bad to see how the bottom looks <3

  • Mel Kenny

    Fringe-only washes! Deep love for those. + masking weird baby hairs. My own bangs testimonial:

  • Lola Mar

    Bangs are lovely but growing out bangs is the real deal in developing patience. I had baby bangs for a while and all of a sudden I wasn’t feeling it so I stopped cutting them. Right now I’m in that awkward phase when they’re not too long to be put on the side but not short enough to be to the front. I’ve been playing with headbands, Lauren Conrad-kind of side braid and, of course, bobby pins are my new best friends. If you’re going for the Kate Moss or Brigitte Bardot bangs it’s probably not as bad. My advice is to include this kind of issue into your list of considerstionations before facing the scissors.

  • Jennifer

    I have two cow licks on either side of my forehead (like DEVIL HORNS). Makes me look like a 90s boy with a middle part bowl cut. Hats definitely help. Cover them up.