Should I amp up my hairstyle with bangs?

To put it bluntly, Rooney Mara’s Oscar hairstyle is a bit extreme (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello).

Everyone from Zooey Deschanel to Jennifer Lawrence to Taylor Swift is rocking a little face-framing fringe these days. But before you commit to cutting your hair, there’s lots to take into consideration.

You need to decide if you’re OK with being carded every time you order a glass of wine and if you’re committed to wash and style those brow-skimming tresses every day.

Read our take on whether you’ll really get more bang for your buck at the salon …

April Trotter

April Trotter Smart Editor and blogger: This isn’t my first rodeo. I had bangs the whole time I was growing up — only getting rid of them after my senior pictures (you’re welcome, Mom).

This spring, while trying to settle on a style change-up that didn’t involve me chopping off all my hair or dying it brown, I convinced my stylist to give me bangs once again. She did on the condition that I only get my tresses trimmed by a professional — no taking a pair of scissors to my bangs in between cuts. My sister is convinced I brought my senior portrait from 2003 to the salon as inspiration.

I’ve kept the bangs — and my word — since March. I usually swing in a chain hair salon and pay between $5-7 for them to do a quick trim. In addition to a appointment every few weeks, I’ve also had to stay on top of styling.

Going to bed with my hair wet and waking up in the morning no longer works, even with my naturally straight hair. I need to wash and style my bangs each morning … or risk looking like Cameron Diaz in “There’s Something About Mary.”

While the extra time and cost of bangs are a hassle, there are definitely perks. If I don’t have time to pluck my brows to perfection, no one notices. My wardrobe is already inspired by Jess from “New Girl,” so it’s only fitting that we now also have the same hairstyle. And, somehow, the eyelash-skimming fringe dresses up even a low ponytail.

I’m sure I’ll get used to breaking out my ID every time I order an adult beverage — who wants to look their actual age anyway?

Ashley May

Ashley May Multiplatform journalist and Smart blogger: As a general rule, ladies with short foreheads should not wear bangs. I have a high forehead and, because of this, I feel like I have to wear bangs.

Often, I get bored with the hairstyle — so, my hairdresser angles them in a variety of ways or chops them at different lengths. I’ve also played around with thicker bangs for a more dramatic look.

Bang pros: Bangs can be styled in a variety of ways to make eyes pop. Bangs also give a softer, less severe look when hair is in an updo.

Bang cons: Bangs make you look younger (depending on your age, this can be a pro or a con). Bangs get oily faster than the rest of your head, so touching up with a dry shampoo in the evening is often a must.


Sam Dellinger

Samantha Dellinger Multiplatform journalist and Smart blogger: I have a love hate relationship with bangs — I love having them when I first get them cut, but then I get the itch to grow them out. That’s the stage where I’m currently at.

My bangs fall just above my nose, so I look like a shaggy dog if I just let them hang. So styling them is a key to keep them from obstructing my view. When I have time I use a big round barrel brush to bend my bangs and give them body. Then I use a flat iron to to give them a finished polished look.

I hate when I hear stylists/designers put restrictions on wearing or doing something with your hair or makeup. I remember one hair stylist telling me my face was the wrong shape for bangs. I didn’t listen to
her and went home and cut my own bangs that very day.

My husband in return gave me lots of compliments and some of my friends said my bangs made me look younger. So, instead of listening to what a so-called expert says, it really should be what you’re comfortable with.

I will say, side-swept bangs look better with my face shape then blunt, straight bangs. I think wispy bangs also can compliment a lot of face shapes, too. If you want to try bangs on a trial basis, check out HairDo’s Clip In Bangs.

If your bangs are a bust don’t worry, hair grows, here are some tips:

    • Style them to the side
    • Gather your bangs and twist and pin into place
    • Use a headband
    • Once the bangs are at least to your nose, they should be able to be pinned back with bobby pins
    • Get some face framing layers to help blend your bangs into the rest of your hair

Here are tips on how to cut your own bangs

What you need:
Hair scissors (don’t use regular scissors)
Rat tail comb
Elastic band (to pull the rest of hair back from your face)

Before you start, your hair should be wet and comb straight.

Step 1: Part your hair down the center (Fig.1)
Step 2: Separate what you want to be your bangs into an inverted “V” section of hair (Fig.2)
Step 3: Holding hair with one hand, make the initial cut at eye level. (Fig. 3) Don’t make the first cut higher, or it will be too short, trust me on this.
Step 4: Comb out, take a look in the mirror and decide how much shorter you might want them to be(Fig 4,5)
Step 5: Wispy edges look less severe than straight blunt bangs. So hold scissors at an angle to snip ends.

Please leave your thoughts on this week’s question. We’d love to hear what you have to say about bangs. If you have a fashion or makeup question for Smart, email

Read last week’s question: Is makeup primer really necessary?

April Trotter

Editor of Smart. NEPA transplant. Penn State and Shippensburg grad. Kickball and craft beer enthusiast. Collector of cardigans. "Bennie and the Jets" fanatic. Contact me at, at "Smart magazine" on Facebook, @SmartMagPA on Twitter or by phone at 717-771-2030.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. August 20, 2012

    […] Need a new back-to-school ‘do for the kids, or a fall update for yourself? Our fashion and beauty bloggers explain when bangs are a good idea — and when to skip them. […]

Leave a Reply