Soft and side-swept or bold and blunt? Find your most flattering new look.
Chelsea Traber Burns
February 22, 2016
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Bangs with benefits
Considering bangs? There's a reason why the hairstyle continues to be popular season after season: bangs flatter many different face shapes and can even give you an instant face-lift, since they accentuate your cheekbones. Before you head to the salon, find the perfect cut for your face shape and hair texture with this guide.
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Meet your basic starter bang: "If you don't want the commitment but still want to try bangs, a long, swooping style is for you," says Mark Townsend, a celebrity hairstylist for Dove in Los Angeles. "It requires the least amount of maintenance and flatters any face shape and hair texture—even fine." To get these soft side bangs, ask for face-framing layers starting at the tip of your nose; you'll have a flexible cut that can be pushed to either side.
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"The sweet spot for this cut is right between the eyebrow and the eyelash," says Townsend. "It makes for a super-flirty look as you bat your lashes." The downside is that you'll need a bang trim about every three weeks to keep hair out of your eyes (many salons will do it for free). Have your stylist cut hair upward into strands (not straight across) to "thin out the length and add movement," suggests New York City celebrity stylist David Lopez. "Texture is key." Note that longish bangs look great on longer faces but out of proportion on smaller, wider ones.
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The thick, layered Brigitte Bardot—style fringe is back. And while it works for most face shapes, it's especially flattering on square faces, as it softens sharp lines. "You want the cut to be in the shape of an inverted V," notes Townsend, "keeping the shortest pieces just above the eyebrows, from arch to arch, and tapering off around the eyes from there." To avoid looking too Farrah Fawcett feathered, blow-dry strands from side to side using a flat brush, with the dryer blowing from above to ensure that ends lie flat instead of rounded. Finish with a spritz of dry shampoo for an effect that's "rough and modern," as Townsend calls it.
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Want a quick fix for forehead furrows? "My little saying is that it's either bangs or Botox," jokes Townsend. "This youthful fringe stops just at the eyebrows, bringing attention to the eyes and cheekbones." Leaving the bangs disconnectedrather than layered into your hairmakes the style current. "People with broad cheeks should get a more narrow bang to slim the face, and vice versa for someone with a more slender profile," says Lopez. Blow-dry bangs with a large round brush to create a slight bend at the ends; let the rest of your hair stay loose and natural for a more casual take.