Why Growing Out My Bangs Didn’t Suck

Courtesy of Cat Quinn.
I had my Jane Birkin inspiration photos pulled, an appointment with my longstanding hairstylist in New York City, and was going through a rough patch in my relationship. In other words, I was in the perfect (and worst) position to get bangs. As the 14-inch snips fell to the floor, I instantly felt a sense of freedom and excitement. I was actually doing this. I looked in the mirror and loved my blunt-cut fringe more than I love Chipotle burritos. That week, all my outfits looked cooler, my hair felt “done” even in a messy ponytail, and the Instagram likes were breaking triple-digits. That was it: I was officially a bangs girl.

And then, I started to sweat. No, seriously, I really started to sweat. What started as cute, sexy fringe ended up as sticky, separated hair plastered to my forehead by day’s end. I realized that between my oily hair and my oily forehead, bangs were going to take way more time and maintenance than I had previously considered. And I didn't have the schedule or the patience to tolerate them. About two weeks into daily sink-washings and blowouts (and more than a few cans of dry shampoo), I’d had enough. I was due for a bang trim, and I called and cancelled it. That’s right — my bangs lasted just two weeks. And it was going to take years for them to catch up to my waist-length hair. You already know what I was thinking: What. Have. I. Done.

“Oh no, growing out bangs suuuuuckkks,” everyone (and every story I read on the subject) told me. So I invested in multiple packs of bobby pins, hair ties, gel, and hairspray, and hunkered down in my bathroom like a category-five hurricane was approaching. But it never came. Instead, styling my in-between bangs became the best thing that ever happened to my hair. It just required me to stop hating them, and instead embrace them for what they are: incredible volume-givers.
Courtesy of Cat Quinn.
Rather than aggressively pulling, braiding, and pinning my bangs into submission, I figured out a better solution: lightly teasing them and spraying them up and back with strong-hold hairspray — and no pins. This would not have been possible without R+Co Vicious Hairspray, a product I started talking about so much that people thought I was secretly in-pocket with the brand. The hairspray gives extreme hold, but looks and feels totally soft and brushable, making my swept-back strands blend in seamlessly with ponytails, topknots, and updos. And since I could manipulate my fringe without the constraints of pins, I was able to get flattering volume at my roots — more than I'd ever achieved with my long, weighed-down hair. The look was so convincing that several of my friends asked if my bangs the previous week had been clip-ins. (No, but that might have been a better idea.)
Eleven months later, my blunt fringe doesn't quite reach my chin. And again, it's a stage that many people would describe as “awkward,” but that I actually love. I style them with a center-part and use a flat iron to flick them back — and the look flatters and frames my face. Or I let my naturally wavy hair air-dry, and I enhance the curl of my bangs for a textured, model-off-duty swoop.

Now fearless about making hair mistakes, I've also gone from brunette to dirty blonde (something I've always wanted to do). I braid, twist, and style my hair into the craziest possible updos I can. (If I'm going to a formal event, even better.) In other words, my hair has become way more interesting than when it was long and single-length. I can't even remember the last time I went in to get the #basic blowout I was shelling out $50 for weekly.

Yes, it’s hair, and yes, it grows. But if the cut you got isn’t right for you, you don’t have to wait months (or years) to love your hair again.

Even though I’ve spent a year growing out my bangs — and I'm only halfway there — I don’t regret cutting them. With the right tools, I ended up with more style versatility than I had before. And I learned an important lesson: Yes, it’s hair, and yes, it grows. But if the cut you got isn’t right for you, you don’t have to wait months (or years) to love your hair again. In fact, you might find that the best hair days are ahead of you — if you just decide to embrace them.

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