How to trim a toddler's bangs
September 30, 2013 4:12 AM   Subscribe

I don't want to take my toddler to the salon every three months, can I realistically trim her wispy bangs myself? Can you talk me through it, or what online resource can you recommend?

I definitely don't want her to have blunt bangs, I want a wispy, natural look like the stylist gave her last time. I don't have any special scissors (only sewing scissors), but might buy some if they're not too expensive.

I am a visual person, so pictures or video tutorial would be best. There are lots of tutorials on youtube, but many don't seem useful (blunt bangs, special equipment required etc.).

Thanks for your help!
posted by Omnomnom to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Take the scissors and cut up into the bangs. Like, hold the section hair between your fingers as if you were doing a blunt cut, but instead of holding the scissors parallel to the bangs, hold them vertically and do a few random snips up into them.

You can also take sections of the bangs, twist them around, and chop those.

Do you want to have the bangs straight down in front or kind of swoopy? If you want them swoopy, pull them in a clump towards the area where you want them shortest and chop from there. That'll give you a smoother gradient from the shortest part of the bangs to the longest part.

This is completely doable. I don't know if I've described it well, though. I cut my own bangs for years and I have very little ability in this arena. (Just ask the roommate who got a hair cut from me back in college. If only she had wanted bangs...)
posted by phunniemee at 4:46 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

This may be a hairstylist faux pas but I wonder if you couldn't go to a hairstylist and ask them if they could give you a bit of instruction on how to do this. Or maybe you could just pay close attention the next time you take her in.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 5:09 AM on September 30, 2013

Buying special hair-cutting scissors makes it much easier. Get both straight and thinning shears. The thinning shears, which cut only some of the hairs in a line, are perfect for cutting natural wispy bangs and for getting the ends of the hair to look natural anywhere on the head, at least for people not trained in hair cutting (like me). Be sure to keep the hair-cutting scissors put away between haircuts so that they are never used for anything but hair.
posted by Ery at 5:11 AM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

My wife's stylist will touch up her bangs for free between cuts anytime she needs it. She does the same for both kids too. I was under the impression that that was a standard practice in the styling world.
posted by COD at 5:37 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're worried about messing up, tie some yarn/thread into a long fringe a few inches wide and practice the style you want on the fake "bangs."
posted by DoubleLune at 5:56 AM on September 30, 2013

Here's a step-by-step with pictures of how to do it.

Cutting a toddler's bangs.

Buy proper cutting shears at Sally Beauty Supply, although some drugstores have them too, and frankly, for the one snip you're going to do, it's not that big a deal.

Cut them dry! Wet hair is longer.

Says I, a person who had the worst bang cuts in the history of the world. (Thanks mom.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:19 AM on September 30, 2013

My bang-cutting technique is a two-step process. First, I cut them off blunt about 1/4" longer than I think I want them, using my long-bladed sewing scissors to get a smooth straight line. Then I take a pair of smaller embroidery scissors (are you sensing that I do more crafts than I do haircuts?) and make little vertical/diagonal snips up into the ends to disrupt the smoothness; I've had okay luck with the hair lying flat, and slightly better luck picking up little tufts of hair and shaping them one at a time.
posted by aimedwander at 6:44 AM on September 30, 2013

DO NOT tape the bangs down with celo tape then cut across the center of the tape in a "straight" *cough* line. On the morning of picture day. No.

The thinning shears mentioned above are exactly what you need. It's much harder to mess up, especially if you trim super gradually. Doing it on dry hair is safer because you can see the end result as you go, though much more irritating with all the little pokey hairs that will get in her mouth.
posted by pajamazon at 6:48 AM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Another option is to follow the blunt bang tutorials to get the length that you want (leave them slightly longer), and then cut up into the bangs to add the wispy texture. Hold the bangs in the teeth of a comb, place the scissors parallel to the bangs, and make a few random cuts. The goal is to cut only a little bit of hair with each cut.

I would really recommend hair cutting scissors. If the scissors you use are blunt at all, as paper scissors often are, you won't be able to cut in a straight line and will be left with a diagonal look that is not great. Hair cutting scissors are not that expensive, and last for years. I cut my high school bangs with the same scissors my mom used on my toddler bangs...

And yes, cutting the hair while dry will help to avoid the dreaded minibangs.
posted by snorkmaiden at 6:50 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding the link Ruthless Bunny posted. This method is what my stylist told me to do when I wanted to trim my own bangs at home. It works great.
posted by ephemerista at 7:08 AM on September 30, 2013

Yes, definitely get thinning shears if you want it to look more like a stylist did it. (Buuut, I definitely remember my mom cutting my hair with sewing scissors, and I didn't care because I was a little kid!)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:19 AM on September 30, 2013

Cut wispy toddler bangs on an angle. You can see how she "picks" at each piece rather than holding a big layer and doing one big horizontal cut.

Toddler bangs. At 1:47 she shows you how to soften the layers a bit - hard to explain but watch this section and it'll be easy to follow.

Baby's first haircut. You can see that you don't want to take all of her hair from the back of the crown. Make sure you're only cutting bangs out of the front of the hair. At 1:33 you can see the hairdresser is making short little snips across the bangs rather than one long horizontal cut.

Get some sharp hair shears. It'll make the whole thing much easier and won't fray her hair as much. Sewing scissors are actually fine but if you want to make this an ongoing thing, it's easier and cleaner to just have dedicated hair shears. They make baby shears with slightly duller end if you're nervous about having them near her face.
posted by barnone at 8:04 AM on September 30, 2013

I know you want something wisper than the "hold the chunk of hair together and do one horizontal cut", but here's a thought in favor of that method (for future readers of ask, if not for the OP) -- if your toddler is squirmy, one cut is a lot safer than many.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:14 AM on September 30, 2013

OK, I'm not entirely serious but when I was cutting (or brushing) my girls' hair, I would have them face me, standing, and I would stand on their little feet with my big feet to keep them in place. They thought it was hilarious, being "trapped" for hair maintenance. YMwillcertainlyV, but they remember it fondly today ... long time later.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:19 AM on September 30, 2013

Thank you very much!
posted by Omnomnom at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I used to put music videos on for her to watch - the benefit of wispy bangs is that you don't need to be right in front of them for a lot of the wisping.

Now we stand in front of a mirror when we do trims so she can see and direct.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:30 PM on September 30, 2013

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