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June 2, 2010 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to cut bangs into naturally curly hair without immediately regretting it?

I have naturally curly, unruly hair that I usually wear more or less straight (like this). For an idea of my hair's natural texture, when I don't blow dry or flat-iron it, it looks like this (and I usually look that cranky, because it's impossible to deal with). I have a big forehead and a weird hairline that doesn't hold side-parts too well, so I'm thinking I might want long, soft bangs like Zooey Deschanel's here or Jane Birkin's-- nothing too intense. I'm also not really into side-swept bangs. I'm not afraid to blow dry every time I wash my hair, but I've got a lot of volume no matter what. If you have hair like mine, have you found a way to make this hairstyle work? Teach me your ways.
posted by oinopaponton to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It looks better without straightening. But I'm biased, because you could probably find birds nesting in my hair.
What I've found that works is just straightening bangs. No problems there. The only danger is cutting it too short.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 11:19 AM on June 2, 2010

I don't have particularly wavy hair, but mine is pretty coarse and I have a cowlick right above my forehead. Nevertheless I have bangs, and while I usually don't do a damn thing with the rest of my hair, I urge the bangs into place with a comb and the blowdryer. It only takes a couple of seconds, most of which is taken up by getting the blowdryer out and putting it away afterward, and it lasts all day.
posted by padraigin at 11:26 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, but be ready with a wide-barrelled curling iron after every time you wash your bangs. Another point -you may need to wash your bangs daily. I need to, with my somewhat swoopy bangs. The rest of my hair is wavy and gets washed once a week, rinsed after workouts.
posted by kellyblah at 11:27 AM on June 2, 2010

It depends! I had straight bangs last summer that I've since regretted. Blow drying and a little-tiny bit of product had my bangs looking A+++ Would Buy Again in the bathroom - it's a great style for anyone with big eyes or a generous forehead. Problems only arose outside: my hair is thick and wavy but oddly baby-fine in texture, so humidity, wind, sweat and other elements would make the fringe separate like a weird curtain over my forehead. So if you have oddly texture-less curly hair like mine, they might just doom you to six months of bobbypins.

Also, and this might just be the crisis of fine hair, a huge curling iron made my bangs unnaturally round, so I looked a lot more like Stephanie Tanner than Zooey Deschanel.
posted by zoomorphic at 11:38 AM on June 2, 2010

I have weirdly wave hair that borders on curly in humid weather, and I am usually rocking bangs just like Zooey's. On those high-humidity days, it's tough, but with a hair dryer (hot-warm first, then set with cold), some de-frizzing cream, and a light-to-medium hold hairspray, it looks great.

You'd look adorable with those Zooey bangs, too. Especially with your big beautiful eyes. :D

Good luck!
posted by Lizsterr at 11:44 AM on June 2, 2010

My sister has a very small flat-iron that she uses just for bangs, her hair is very coarse and curly. That seems to have worked well for her.
posted by pinky at 11:46 AM on June 2, 2010

I can't see your pics since I am at work. I've got a mess of curls and have always coveted straight across bangs of bangs like Left Eye from TLC. Anyway, each time I have tried to emulate this style I have regretted it. At one point I was even attaching clips to the bottom of my hair to add weight.

If your hair has the right hang then go for it. If you can't really get your hair to lay how you want it to then I say NAY on the bangs. Or do it and post pics since the results are usually unfortunate but hilarious. Just kidding. Kind of.
posted by mokeydraws at 11:51 AM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

There's a reason that the people you see with those bangs have at most slightly wavy hair, and stylists who do their hair daily. It's possible to do it, but it's a lot of work, every day, and when the weather is unfriendly (too humid, rainy, too dry), it's even harder. If you do it, find someone in the city who has similar hair and a similar style and ask who cuts her hair.
posted by jeather at 12:03 PM on June 2, 2010

For what it's worth, I have the same exact hair as you. I own neither a blow dryer nor a curling iron. Unlike you, I love our hair; like you, however, I also have the Forehead of Doom.

Based on my experiences, no, you cannot cut bangs into them without immediately sporting mini-poodles. If you are willing to straighten them every single time, it can work if you get your hair cut by a curly hair specialist with a very good understanding of how your hair curls. Otherwise, they'll be cut too short, curl massively when freed from their own weight, and it will be three months before you can leave the house again.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:07 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think the Zooey bangs would be *great* on you! Your hair texture looks kind of similar to mine - I've had bangs most of my life, for all of the reasons you listed. It looks like your curl doesn't start right at the root, but a few inches down? If so, you may not even have to straighten the bangs (I don't, my hair is relatively straight for the first few inches from the root).
posted by chez shoes at 12:07 PM on June 2, 2010

Best answer: I'd say it's do-able, but only because of two things : you are used to straightening your hair (bangs must be straightened or they look pretty weird) and because your hair isn't too curly - it looks like it doesn't even make a full curl in the length of a long bang. It might become more curly when cut short, but you're probably not going to get tight ringlets, which is good for bangs. Also, think about how you would grow it out when you don't want bangs anymore. Sideswept bangs are a good option for the grow out period, would you be willing to put up with them for a few months?

I also have curly (slightly tighter curl) thick hair and my high-school bangs experiment went horribly, largely because I don't have the patience or ability to straighten it every day.
posted by fermezporte at 12:08 PM on June 2, 2010

I'd just like to add that if you decide to flat iron your bangs daily (or even a few times a week), you should get some product that protects against heat damage. Given your natural hair texture, over styling and heat damage will very likely leave you with dry and damaged bangs!
posted by Hop123 at 12:18 PM on June 2, 2010

Be careful! Curly hair tends to curl up even tighter when you cut it shorter, so your bangs may end up curlier than you'd expect.
posted by Eshkol at 12:21 PM on June 2, 2010

Best answer: My hair's texture is somewhat similar to yours, but less curly (similarly loads of it, and lots of volume, though), and I have longish, soft bangs like the pics you posted. I blow-dry only the bangs, like padraigan.

Anyway, my suggestions: (1) Don't cut too short. (2) Don't cut too straight-across, because that's what gives the "intense" look you don't want; taper on the sides, and then as a final step, run a comb down most of the way, and then cut upwards, sort of randomly, into the last quarter-inch or so of hair, in order to soften the fringe. (3) Wash and blow-dry the bangs every morning; use a ponytail holder and shower cap to keep the rest of your hair dry if you want. (4) Use an anti-frizz product, either a heat-set one before you blow-dry, or a finishing one when you're done. (5) Use the flat-iron after blow-drying if you are having trouble getting all-day hold and frizz control; I usually don't do this because it adds a step, but if I really care, then I do it, and it works like a charm.

I think they'll look great on you! They'll really highlight your lovely eyes. And anyway, that's what's great about hair, as opposed to, you know, limbs; it'll grow back.
posted by palliser at 12:26 PM on June 2, 2010

My hair is a little curlier than yours (and appears much frizzier). I flatiron my bangs only, and have for years... I also have a giant forehead which I prefer to cover. The only difficulty is getting them to stay put if it's humid out... I use gel.
posted by miss tea at 12:37 PM on June 2, 2010

Do you think you could wear your bangs semi-wavy like this? It doesn't look especially difficult, just some product and a few seconds with a diffuser, but you've got to convince the hair not to part and lay flat, either centered or to the side; you have to get volume at the root and make the bangs lay over the forehead without parting. Looking at your pics, maybe your hair won't want to do that, but I'm not sure. You might experiment with drying your hair with your head upside-down and see if you can get the 'no part' thing happening like in the picture.

I think the relationship of the bangs to the rest of the haircut is almost as important as what you do to the bangs. I think you need several levels of layers all around the face that graduate into bangs, and just short enough top layers all around to give the cut shape and volume without poof. The layers will avoid the 'too intense' look.
posted by slow graffiti at 12:41 PM on June 2, 2010

I also have tending towards gigantic curly/wavy hair which I also wear more or less straight and I say do it.

I don't know about you but I generally go at least 3 days between washing my hair, and haven't found daily bang upkeep to be that big of a deal. After washing, I blowdry them flat (regardless of what I do with the rest) and then flatiron them. I do NOT use a barrel curler because my hair sucks up curl like nobody's business and i will earn myself a round pouf that will not ever lie down. They stay pretty much intact till I have to wash it again.

LENGTH maintenance is more annoying; I'm prone to just leaving them to get long again, pushing them off to the side (see profile), till I go back to get colored/cut then I make my stylist re-do them. But I am lazy.

Seconding everything palliser said about cutting, but if possible, go have someone do it for you. Wet or damp curly lair is longer than dry curly hair and you need someone that can account for this even if you plan to iron them later.

And if you hate it - welp. It's just hair, it'll grow back :)
posted by lilnublet at 1:01 PM on June 2, 2010

I have hair that's slightly curlier than yours. I found a hairdresser who specializes in curly hair. VERY IMPORTANT, THE SPECIALIZING.

You have to adjust for the curling, of course. And it works best if you're not super picky about where your bangs go. When curly hair is shorter, it can be... I think the polite term is "unruly."

To the outside observer, my bangs are about the length of Zooey's in that picture. But if I pull them down straight, they fall somewhere between the tip of my nose and my upper lip.

That's why it's important to get an experienced stylist. A stylist without a curly hair specialty will pull your hair to the right length and cut it there. HA HA NO.
posted by ErikaB at 2:16 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

You and I have EXACTLY the same hair (mine is thicker, but otherwise? totally the same). I also have a big forehead, so I wear bangs now. They look great if I flat iron them in the morning, but if I ever try to skip the flat ironing, forget it.

So I recommend the bangs, but only if you don't mind a little daily maintenance. I usually blow-dry just my bangs and then flat iron them enough to minimize unruliness, and let the rest of my hair air-dry curly. It works for me and takes about 5 minutes every morning.
posted by feathermeat at 5:20 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sweet pea, you do not have curly hair, you have nice wavy hair. If you want bangs, make sure you get a wide curling iron or a flat iron or get good with a hair dryer with a good brush to pull the bangs out instead of letting them get mushroom-y. It will probably look wonderful.

Reason I say this --

I have fine hair but it's extremely curly. The best thing I ever did is get rid of the bangs - at most, I've had a layer about 4 inches long at shortest.
posted by lucydriving at 8:27 PM on June 2, 2010

I have naturally curly hair and I always have bangs. If they get a little on the long side, I get "wings" - single curls on the side - but I just have them trimmed and all is well.

Also, I hate hate HATE to mess with my hair beyond simply combing it (I won't even blowdry it), mainly because as a small child I had butt-length hair and a very tender head, and it would take my mom half an hour or more to detangle it every day. But I just got a hairstyle that really needs a flat iron, and it actually doesn't bother me to do it. It really only takes a couple of minutes and I don't really have to worry about burning myself like in the days when I tried to use a curling iron to shape the curls I had.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:02 AM on June 3, 2010

my hair is thick and wavy but oddly baby-fine in texture, so humidity, wind, sweat and other elements would make the fringe separate like a weird curtain over my forehead

My hair looks exactly like yours in the picture, maybe a little curlier, and this is exactly the problem I had the only time I tried bangs. To be fair, I'm lazy and kind of like my curls so I was never very adept at the blow dry/straightening thing, but even when I did it right my bangs would start to float above my face after a few hours. They just had to be pinned back.

The weight/texture is key, more than the curliness.
posted by miagaille at 4:43 AM on June 3, 2010

Response by poster: Well, I was planning on thinking it over for a few days, but I ended up going for the bangs impulsively last night. Monkeydraws, I'm terribly sorry to disappoint, but I think they turned out pretty okay (awkward Photobooth picture here). Chez shoes and fermezporte, you were totally right about the curl in my hair not starting until a few inches down the hair shaft. Anyway, I still have some styling kinks to work out, and the insane humidity today isn't helping, but I don't have the "OMG what have I done" feeling I expected. A success! Thanks, everybody.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:32 AM on June 3, 2010

posted by palliser at 12:35 PM on June 3, 2010

They look great -- especially w/your eyes!

Sweet pea, you do not have curly hair, you have nice wavy hair.


I wish my hair had the texture yours has! Sadly, mine is very, very curly (think Alice in the Dilbert cartoons) and can't handle bangs. Which is too bad, because, like DarlingBri, I have the Forehead of Doom.
posted by virago at 1:06 PM on June 3, 2010

I love the bangs!

I have wicked wavy/frizzy hair and also got bangs about a year or so ago. I have to flat iron them every day. If they get too long, they curl at the sides anyway (tapered/longer on sides). Living Proof has a great anti-humidity line if it is wicked humid most of the time where you live.
posted by getawaysticks at 11:33 AM on June 4, 2010

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