Women across the world have found themselves at many hair-related crossroads this spring during quarantine. Let your natural color grow out or attempt a DIY dye job? Try to train your scalp by washing your hair less often? Grow out the bangs or trim them yourself?
Those are just some of the questions.
For many people, growing out bangs is equal to a scourge even when you don’t have to regularly show your face in public. This is the reason why you may have witnessed the expansion of bang-trimming tutorials across the internet.
However, similar to doing a cat-eye, one of the risks of trimming your own bangs is going too far. You already know how this goes. Your first snip looks kind of crooked so you decide to cut a little more to even it out. Then that looks uneven so you go a bit further, and – bit by bit – your bangs are way too short!
If you have ever considered getting baby bangs, now is the time to go all the way. It will give you a fresh look with an edge. Some people don’t understand the appeal of baby bangs, but many people actually want to get this look.
And let us tell you – it does often look good.
We will show you how to style and care for baby bangs, whether you’ve come to them intentionally or by happenstance. There’s no way you won’t be satisfied with the outcome once you learn how to care for your bangs.
A Brief History of Baby Bangs
By now, fashion has proved to be cyclical again and again. Baby bangs, also sometimes referred to as the micro fringe, are no exception.
Hollywood royalty and pinup models
Their first five minutes of fame can be traced back all the way to the 1950s. Perhaps the most famous and iconic image related to baby bangs is that of Bettie Page.
Bettie Page was an American pinup model in the 1950s. As the story goes, Bettie cut her own bangs to make her forehead seem smaller. She made them short so she would still allow light onto her face when taking photographs. Needless to say, the micro fringe is definitely part of what set her apart from other models of the era and what cemented her image in our minds.
However, Bettie wasn’t the only 1950s vixen who loved the trend. Looking back at the most iconic Hollywood stars of the time, it is clear this style was all the rage.
One of the most legendary style icons of the era Audrey Hepburn was joined by many of her colleagues. Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Joanne Woodward. All of these big names kept their bangs short and high off their eyebrow line. Given that these lasting icons of style all followed in Bettie’s footsteps, it is no wonder that it keeps making a comeback.
The first real time this happened for baby bangs was during the 1990s.
Riot grrrls and indie icons
In the case of the ‘90s, a micro fringe went from mainstream to quite a niche audience. While the 1950s saw its biggest stars partake in the trend, during the 1990s, baby bangs solidified themselves as a decidedly alternative hairstyle. For the most part, the riot grrrl aesthetic was to blame.
Natalie Wood’s baby bangs were reminiscent of her look as a child star. The riot grrrls followed that same logic.
Wearing infantilized hairstyles which included braids, ribbons and baby bangs was the riot grrrl way of reclaiming girlishness as part of their feminist agenda. They took the sexualized images of girls so present in media (think Britney Spears and her pigtails in the video for “…Baby One More Time” at the end of that decade) and made it their own and slightly off-kilter. The edgy nature of a micro fringe can be traced back to this incarnation.
There were other examples of this style in the 1990s as well. Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction with her iconic bob with slightly shorter bangs is one example. Natalie Portman in Leon had a similar hairstyle. Another actress that loved the style towards the end of the decade was Drew Barrymore. Hers were blonde, curled and blunt.
The new millennium
Since baby bangs emerged as a somewhat edgy, niche hairstyle for women in the 1990s, they remained so up until now.
During the noughties, they could be seen on indie actresses like Shannyn Sossamon. Others that sported them mostly devoted their entire look to a particular aesthetic – be it rockabilly or riot grrrl. To that point, Christian Dior did their models’ hair in the style of Bettie Page for their spring 2011 collection.
From time to time, major celebrities will go for the micro fringe hairstyle to add a little edge to their look. 2018 was the last year when baby bangs gained particular prominence. Among others, actress Emma Watson wore a choppy micro fringe to the 2018 Oscars, while musician Grimes has made hers somewhat of a trademark.
The Benefits of Baby Bangs
As you can see, these days, baby bangs are just another hairstyle at your disposal. It doesn’t really matter what your face shape is or what you align your aesthetic with. There are different ways to style them and have them offset other parts of your look and introduce a bit of toughness into the picture.
Hairdressers say baby bangs are well suited to people with heart-shaped faces and defined cheekbones. You might be thinking, well, what kind of hairstyle doesn’t suit them?! And you’re right, of course. They will look good in anything.
However, this is not to say these are required in order to sport this edgy style. Pretty much anyone can rock baby bangs. The main thing you need to have for this hairstyle is confidence and attitude.
Baby bangs make quite the statement. They can be seen as aggressive, a bit rougher around the edges than regular bangs which are softer, gentler. This is exactly what makes them so attractive. They give people an air of confidence, mystery and allure.
You should make sure you really do want this style before coming at your hair with the big scissors, though. If you think growing out bangs is annoying, just think of growing out baby bangs.
But, in case you need some convincing, here are just some of the positives of sporting baby bangs:
- They will frame your face
- Your eyes will pop
- Your cheekbones will be highlighted
- You can be more daring with eye makeup
- They bring a confidence boost.
Style and Care
In the simplest of terms, baby bangs are bangs which go only a couple of inches below the hairline, settling somewhere in the middle of your forehead.
The cut is usually quite blunt, though depending on your facial features, you can decide to go for a slightly modified version. You might get a more curved shape with longer bits on the sides. If your face is round, your hairdresser would probably advise you to go shorter on the sides and longer in the middle. You can also make them a bit less blunt if you want. In this case, you can razor cut or chip into the edges to soften them.
As you can see, this is quite a tricky style to pull off successfully on your own. Visiting your hairdresser would be advised no matter your face shape. However, if you are not able to do so, perhaps you can get them to FaceTime you and give you a consultation. This way you can be a bit more confident even if you end up doing the cut yourself.
While you are consulting with your hairdresser, make sure you talk about the length that would work best for you. Even though you are aware that baby bangs are short, sometimes people can be quite surprised once their bangs are cut. And it usually isn’t a pleasant surprise! Agreeing on a certain length beforehand will soften the blow.
The length will depend on the rest of your hairstyle, the shape of your face and eventually – the size of your forehead. If your forehead is not particularly wide, be prepared for your baby bangs to be super tiny!
Essentially, there are two ways to style the different types. The styling will mostly depend on the natural texture of your hair. People with straight hair will usually go for more of a blunt, controlled style. You will have to blow-dry your bangs. This can be quite a high maintenance version since you will have to be very careful.
For example, you should watch how you sleep so that you don’t wake up with your micro fringe sticking out at weird angles. Before you get used to it, set aside some time in the morning to style them again if something changes during the night.
In order to get that perfect, glossy fringe, with every hair in its place, follow these three easy steps:
- Spray your bangs with the heat protection spray.
- Get your blow-dryer, point the nozzle downward and dry. This way the hot air will smooth and seal the cuticle.
- Comb through to let it settle and do a spritz of hairspray.
On the other hand, if the texture of your hair is more wavy or curly, you might want to opt for more of a choppy cut. It will look less controlled while retaining the edginess that attracted you to this hairstyle. And great news! Choppy cuts can (or even should!) be air-dried.
This style is a bit lower maintenance. Apply an oil for protection and once it’s almost entirely dry, finish it off with a salt spray. This will give your bangs a bit of a nice texture.
Also, in order for them to have the desired effect, you have to keep them in line. This means going into the salon for regular trimmings. Thankfully, most hair salons don’t charge for fringe trims.
In order to care properly for your baby bangs, you might need to get some new equipment:
- a boar bristle brush,
- a silk headband,
- a mini flat iron,
- heat protection spray,
- dry shampoo.
A boar bristle brush is great for all natural hair textures. You should use it on dry hair and it will make it look glossy and neat. It’s also a good test for your bangs. If you wake up in the morning, give your baby bangs a little brush and they look just like you want them too – you’re good to go. No muss, no fuss!
One of the ways to ensure your bangs to stand at odd ends in the morning, no matter what style you go for, is to wear a silk headband at night. The headband will keep your micro fringe flat and easier to style in the morning if need be. Silk maintains the natural oils in your hair and eliminates friction which can lead to split ends. In a word, silk keeps your hair healthy.
Now, in case you go for a straight style for your bangs, you may want to invest in a mini flat iron, no matter the texture of your hair. It will make it much easier to quickly style your hair in your day to day. However, don’t forget to use a heat protection spray before each use. Without it, your hair will soon turn brittle and dry, or you even risk burning! Don’t play with fire when it comes to your hair in general, but especially when it comes to your baby bangs.
Hairspray and dry shampoo are the final weapons you need in your arsenal. And we say this just in general. As you know, a spritz of hair spray will keep your style in place. Dry shampoo is great to have on hand when you have bangs, especially if you suffer from an oily T-zone. It will absorb excess oil and give your bangs a bit of pizzazz. If you have extra time, though, you can always just wash your bangs in the sink and voila!