It’s the night before a big event and you find yourself staring in the mirror, scrutinizing your ‘do. Suddenly it occurs to you that if your bangs were just a little bit different, everything in the universe would be improved. Do they need to be shorter? Choppier? Blunter? Wispier? You reach for the scissors and in a flurry of determined snips (isn’t it so satisfying?) you hack away at your fringe.
This story, of course, doesn’t have a happy ending.
When the smoke clears and you look in the mirror, you see a shadow of your former self. Where there once were bangs is now just your forehead. Sound familiar? Most of us have, at one time or another, been less-than-proud members of the 2 a.m. Bang Disaster Society. It’s hard to go through life without at least one desparate attempt at home fringe maintenance.
Traumatic tress experiences aside, we remain hopeful that there is a way to successfully cut one's own bangs, and to find out just how to do it, we talked to Shaun SureThing, lead stylist and co-owner of Seagull Salon. Of course, right off the bat he said, “If you have a reputable stylist, you should be thinking about making complimentary bang trim appointments in between cuts, not about cutting your own bangs.” We know, we know! But sometimes a girl’s just got to engage in a little DIY 'do action.
So, if you’re totally committed to the self-snip, SureThing says to make sure that you’re not cutting your hair as the final touch to your look. “It’s not going to be the element that pulls your look together,” he says. He also suggests setting aside a solid 20 minutes to do it. Additionally, make sure you don’t raise your eyebrows when you start cutting, because that will distort your bang placement. Finally, SureThing says that we shouldn’t be holding our hair in place during the trim. “It makes it easier for hair to pop up short if you’ve pulled it down long to cut it,” he says.
Now that we’re ready to start trimming, it’s time to section the hair. “You can section the hair vertically or horizontally. The important part is taking small sections at a time.” No matter which way you’re sectioning, start from the middle and work your way outward, which will give you the most natural shape. Cut vertically in little snips, never using more than 1/4 inch of the scissors — that way you won't risk taking off too much length. For a more broken up look, "leave the whole section 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch longer that you want. Then, very carefully, crop off 1/4 of an inch of the longest bits starting in the middle and working your way out, curving down toward the edges." This will create a strong visual line, which is hard to achieve in a DIY cut.
For a choppier look, change up the angle of your snips, from straight up to 45 degrees. Another way to get choppy bangs is to get chunking shears, and SureThing assures us this isn't as scary as it sounds. "Grab hold of your bangs and with two good chops, you'll get insanely great chopped bangs." For a less drastic measure, you can also use thinning shears. SureThing says, "If your bang is too bulky, go in and very carefully take horizontal sections across your forehead. Pulling the sections down one by one, cut 3/4 down the length with the shears once. Repeat on the other sections, or just on the very ends depending on how wispy you want them. The more towards the middle you get, the thinner they will be."
For side bangs, pull your hair to the side that's going to be the shortest. Once you determine the length you want, add 1/4 of an inch. Then, pull sections over to the same area and cut them to be the same length (this is called over-directing — now you know!).
If you mess up, we think you should rock your new tiny bangs. As SureThing says, "If you're a sun's out, gun's out kind of girl, hack away however you want. Your confidence will turn any glitch into a statement piece, guaranteed."
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