How to pull off the perfect fringe at home and style it like a pro
Written by Rebecca Cox
Whether it’s a heavy 70s fringe or edgy baby bangs, fringes are bang(s)-on-trend for 2021. Ready to go for the chop? Read our guide first to decide which fringe to go for, how to pull it off, and how to maintain it (with a little help from celebrity hair stylist Adam Reed).
Reader, put down the scissors and step away from the mirror. Yes, you’ve just re-watched Normal People and – in lieu of being able to get close to Connell and his chain – you’re aching to recreate Marianne’s bangs. But be patient.
Whether you’re completely new to the world of fringes or you’re wondering how to work grown-out bangs between salon visits, pulling off this face-framing style can be tricky. From picking the perfect look to maintaining your bangs in lockdown, we’ve got some top stylist tips and a host of catwalk and celebrity inspiration to ensure your 2021 hair is, ahem, banging.
Let’s start with a little fringe-spiration, shall we? (If you’re here to learn how to trim your own fringe in lockdown, you have permission to skip this part.) From full-fat eyebrow-skimming cuts to baby bangs, there’s a look for everyone.
A classic full fringe a la Daisy Edgar-Jones (aka Normal People’s Marianne) is one of the most popular looks for the new season. But just because it’s a favourite, doesn’t mean it’s the obvious starting point if you’re new to bangs. This style is particularly reliant on a straight, eyebrow-skimming line, so if you’re not too steady of hand, you’re definitely better waiting until you can get to a professional for this look.
Otherwise, you’ll take a little off the left, a little off the right as you even up, only to end up with baby bangs (not necessarily a bad thing, more on this later). If you can get to a stylist, however, and get used to blow-drying your fringe just-so (a blast straight down followed by a barrel brush is the go-to technique), this could be your forever-look.
Often referred to as ‘curtain bangs’ for their sweeping, centre-part look, this iconic 70s hairstyle is making a comeback this season thanks in part to the popularity of BBC show The Serpent, starring Jenna Coleman. You can either go full Farrah Fawcett for this look or just take this as an opportunity to put off trimming your full fringe yourself (maybe for the best?) and blow-dry those bangs into centre-parted flicks.
This look is often accompanied by face-framing feathered layers, soft waves, and nonchalant silk neck scarves. Great practice for a summer of flowing white dresses and (please, oh please) festivals and picnic dates.
Not ready to commit to a full fringe, but ready to dip your toe into the trend? Choppy, piecey bangs are a great way to go. Not only is this look on-trend for the new season, the asymmetrical styling of this cut gives more margin-for-error with a DIY at-home cut (tentative permission to reach for the scissors).
Curls, curls, curls
Thought fringes were just for straight hair? Think again. Curls and waves can actually make pulling off a fringe a whole lot easier, because you don’t require a dead straight line, and the extra volume helps to shape your face perfectly.
Unless you’ve been working this look for a while or you know exactly how your hair will fall in bangs, though, you might want to wait until you can get into a salon and let the professionals work their magic.
Once reserved to music videos and people thinking about moving to Berlin, baby bangs are slowing seeping their way into the mainstream. This fringe falls mid-way down the forehead, so eyebrow maintenance is still necessary (grown-out brows can go in the ‘pros’ column of most fringe cuts), and a poker-straight line is necessary, unless you’ve got curls.
Side note: If you’ve been hooked on Bridgerton and are wondering if Daphne’s centre-part baby bangs could snag you your own Duke of Hastings, we fear the answer is no.
Ask the expert: how do you pull off a fringe?
So, now that you’ve picked your perfect fringe, what’s next? Before you attempt to cut your own bangs, read our expert guide from Adam Reed, Toppik brand ambassador and stylist with more than 30 years’ experience and clients ranging from Madonna to Ellie Goulding (and creator of many a beautiful fringe).
What sort of fringes are in fashion right now?
Adam: Getting a fringe is an instant style uplift and gives you that effortless look, when done right.For many reasons, slightly heavier, 70s-inspired fringes and the shaggy look has been at the front of hair trends for a good year now – so that worn-in, heavy fringe is key.
OK, let’s get down to it: how do we cut our own fringe in lockdown?
Adam: Cutting your own fringe is not as easy as it looks.It’s not something I would professionally recommend – because it is really quite difficult to do.But I do understand that desperate times can call for desperate measures. It is important to say that I take no blame for any mistakes!
If you already have a fringe and want to trim into it, make sure that the hair is dry, so that you can see exactly what you are taking off, and always point cut with the tip of the blade facing into the hair. Never try cutting a fringe straight across.
And if you are looking at adding a fringe to a fringeless style, my advice would be to buy a winge (fake fringe) first. (Hershesons have a great selection) and if you like it, wait until your salon reopens and leave it to your trusted stylist. A winge is the perfect solution if you are wanting a fringe without the commitment of doing it yourself, while salons are closed.
Cutting hair is way more difficult than we make it look. And remember, if you are going to do it, that a mirror reflection switches you around, so be very, very careful; even not so great hairdressing scissors are very sharp.
How can we style our fringes at home?
Adam: If your hair is fine, then Toppik Hair Building Fibers is the perfect finishing solution to help style a fringe. You can add density to wispier fringes easily at home: just apply to the root area where hair can tend to look finer or thinner to give the impression of a much thicker, substantial fringe.
What is your top tip for maintaining this look at home?
Adam: Try not to style your hair every day – try to get at least three days out of it, and you will find that ‘next day’ hair will look fuller and thicker – which is what you need to pull off bangs.
How do you style an afro or curly hair with a fringe?
Adam: It totally depends on the style of the hair, but to control and shape I would recommend using a GHD Helios and Diffuser attachment and some of Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil Pomade. To get that thicker effect, use Toppik Hair Building Fibers, and apply to the finer temple areas of the hairline. This area of the fringe where baby hairs sit can sometimes look much finer – it often appears sparse. The Dr Harris natural bristle toothbrush is a great tool to blend the edges in, too.
One last thing, who is your fringe icon?
Adam: It just has to be Brigitte Bardot –the most iconic perfectly imperfect fringe.
Good luck with the home trim: here’s hoping for Brigitte Bardot-level imperfection.
Images: David M. Benett on Getty, Instagram, INA on Getty
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