Fake Bangs Are Still Happening — & Here's Exactly How To Get 'Em

Photographed by Cris Fragkou/@cris.fragkou.
Thanks to social media and the unprecedented transparency it's ushered in, Hollywood's best-kept hair secrets are now on full display. A few years ago, extensions and hair pieces were talked about in hushed tones — and now, they're flooding our Instagram feeds. The latest, and most surprising, hair trickery to hit the mainstream? Faux bangs.
"I've been using fake bangs for a long time," celeb hairstylist Kristin Ess tells Refinery29. And you've definitely seen them on her clients. She's clipped them on for stars like Lucy Hale (on many occasions) and Jenna Dewan (just last week). Clearly, fringe is in — and Ess agrees: "Bangs are having a huge moment," she says. But apprehension is normal, which is why she's taken to faux options.
But how the heck do you use faux bangs at home? (Without looking like you're wearing a bad pageboy wig, that is?) Fret not, because Ess was happy to share an in-depth, step-by-step tutorial exclusively with Refinery29: "We're living in a time where you spill your secrets a little more," she says.
Click ahead to find out how Ess delivers enviable bangs — without the commitment — every time. At this point, scissors are her only competition.
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Gather Your Supplies

1. The Bangs: It's fine to use a synthetic clip-in set you already own, but if you want to go big — or you're lusting after the realistic results Ess has given Hale and Dewan — then you'll want to invest in a set of "V-bangs" made with real human hair. For this tutorial, Ess picked up a set at The Hair Shop in Los Angeles.

She notes that most human-hair V-bangs ring in just under $100 and last a lifetime if you take good care of them; you can also have them trimmed and color-matched by your stylist for the perfect result, if desired. "V-bangs are available in every different color, with roots and no roots, and follow the curve of the head, so they look far more realistic," Ess says. [Ed. note: These exact bangs aren't available online, but Ess says they were around $90 and you can find them at most hair boutiques.]

2. Dry Shampoo: Tinted is preferred, but you can use any formula you like. For this tutorial, Ess used Bumble and Bumble's Brown Hair Powder — which also comes in blond, black, and non-tinted white for all hair colors.

3. Hair Tape & Remover: Tape is available online or anywhere you can purchase your bangs; tape remover is as well.

4. Haircutting Scissors

5. A Comb
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
The Before

Start with clean, dry hair.
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Step 1: Part Your 'Do

Mimic the parting that Ess has created here using your comb. The goal is to create a soft "Y" shape. The shorter your forehead, the longer the bottom of the "Y" should be. Smaller foreheads can stick to two inches or more; longer foreheads can do one inch or less.

Section the hair behind it to keep it out of your way.
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Step 2: Prep Your Bangs

Remove any included clips. You may be temped to keep the clips attached to make things easier, but Ess warns against this: "The clips give you a puffy result," she says. "They raise the bang that quarter of an inch that screams, 'This is a fake bang!'"
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Step 3: Apply Tape

Apply two strips of tape, one to each side of the back of the seam. Before removing the backing, hold the bangs up to your part to make sure everything will come together seamlessly. Note that the bangs will be too long in the beginning, so don't worry about that just yet.
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Step 4: Place Your Bangs

Peel the tape backing off and very carefully place the bangs onto your "Y" shape. Note: The tape is very, very sticky, and once you place them, they will be hard to adjust.

"Put the very edge of the bang up to the part, but don't cover the part," Ess advises. "Just go right up to it; you don't want the tape to hold down any of the other hair."
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Step 5: Check Your Work

Press the bangs into place, and be sure they're secure by giving them a gentle downward tug...
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Secure and looking a bit like this? Great work — now release the hair you sectioned off at your crown.
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Step 6: Trim Those Bangs

You have two options here — so choose wisely.

If you're using inexpensive bangs and just want a fun look for one night only, then by all means trim 'em yourself. But if this is something you're investing in and want to wear for years to come, Ess recommends getting a professional trim. Either way, the bangs will be too long in the beginning and you'll need to cut them to your liking. Sure, it sounds like a pain, but a custom trim is the key to a realistic finish.

Those who want to have them for years to come should book a bang trim with their stylist, which rings in for far less than a haircut, takes about 15 minutes, and makes all the difference.

Really want to commit? Have your stylist bring a very small fanning of hair over the bangs, trim all the hair to bang length, and marry the two by styling them together. "If you can afford to trim a little of your hair, it will help," Ess says. "I definitely did this with Lucy [Hale] and Jenna [Dewan]." Tip: Just make sure the section you're laying over the bangs is thin, so it will blend back into your locks afterward; those with layers should have no trouble concealing the pieces.
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Step 7: Blast With Tinted Dry Shampoo

Don't even think about skipping this step, because this small trick makes bangs look far more realistic. Why? Hairpieces tend to be high in shine, a dead giveaway they're not real. Adding a bit of dry shampoo at the roots of the bangs and your own roots will marry the texture and color — not to mention make things look cohesive and lifelike. "This conceals the part and takes away that fake shine," Ess says.

Notice the shine on the bangs before...
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
...and the matte finish after.
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Photographed by Kristin Ess.
Step 8: Prepare To Fool Everyone

And that's it — you've got fake bangs that look lifelike and will stay in place all day and night — literally. "You can wear this for a whole weekend because this tape isn't going anywhere," Ess says. "If I apply them on Lucy or Jenna they can wear them for a few days."

When it's time to remove the bangs, simply heed Ess' advice: "Buy an alcohol-based tape remover when you buy your tape," she begins, "then just apply a little bit of the solvent, wait a few seconds, peel it back a bit, apply a little more, and repeat." Ess notes the bangs should slide off in under a minute and shouldn't damage your hair or scalp, but it's still a good idea to jump right in the shower and lather up when you finish.

Comb your fringe and store it flat in a dry, safe place. (If you really want to fool people, consider your safe.)
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