Ask any hairstylist from New York to Los Angeles about the biggest haircut trend born out of this pandemic year, and chances are they'll mention the rise of the curtain bang. L.A.-based hairstylist Sal Salcedo says that it's not just the long, center-parted variety that are taking over: Bangs in general are trendier than ever before. Salcedo cites a few different contributing factors for the surge, but says that a lot of the reasoning is actually psychological.
"From a holistic perspective, hair is a tool that can mirror societal changes," Salcedo explains of why he feels that bangs are resonating in this (hopefully) post-COVID era. "Right now, people are starting to see a lot of changes in society. In order to see, we need our eyes, and a bang accentuates them."
Beyond the relationship to the eyes, Salcedo says that a fringe can also serve as a physical representation of change that doesn't involve chopping off all your hair.
"We're all kind of in this period of change, looking within and thinking "Who am I right now?" Salcedo explains. "So the bang makes sense because it's one of the easiest makeovers that changes your hair and your energy: You can keep your long hair or you can go short, but a little bang automatically gives you a taste of a new you."
While bangs were once an alarming proposition — a universal symbol of a dramatic or even sad life event, like a breakup — they're getting a rebrand, with hairstylists like Salcedo showing how they can elevate your summer haircut.
"We're changing the connotation and the conversation," Salcedo says. "Artists are showing a lot of bangs, and they're becoming more accepted than ever before. When you start seeing good bangs out in the world, you start to consider it for yourself. I always tell my clients: We want to get rid of any bad bang memories and change them into happy ones."
Moreover, Salcedo says that there's no perfect candidate for bangs, because in his experience, some variation looks good on everyone — it's just a matter of finding the right style for you.
"The bang is really just a tool for highlighting the face," Salcedo explains. "I ask my clients what parts of their face they want to highlight. If you add another layer of hair at the eye level, for example, you're accenting the eyes. You can highlight your cheekbone or your eyebrow; it's all about personalization and tuning into what you want your hair to frame."
If you're thinking about a gateway bang, Salcedo says to start with a soft curtain fringe — but don't be surprised if you want to take it heavier down the line.
"Curtain bangs are easy ones to grow and they're so low-commitment," he explains. "But it's funny, I'll often give a client a curtain bang and they'll come in a week later and say they want more — and that always gets me so excited. It shows that people are ready to be seen; they're ready to express themselves again."