What can make a face softer but edgier at the same time? (Don't worry, this isn't some complicated riddle.) Bangs can enhance any face shape—if you wear them the right way, that is. We've rounded up five ideas with fringe benefits, along with hairstylist Nathaniel Hawkins's tips for pulling them off.
LASH-GRAZING: Taylor SwiftTrimmed to the eyelashes and angled down slightly at the temples, these bangs pack major attitude. "They add mystery and are the focus of the entire hairstyle," says Hawkins. Dramatic as it is, the horizontal line softens Swift's heart-shaped face. Since blunt fringe is heavy and adds width, it also flatters oval faces (and thick textures). Blow-dry them with a round brush.
TIP: Don't rule out bangs if you have naturally curly hair—Swift does! "Determine how smooth your hair gets when you blow-dry it before you cut anything," Hawkins says. Ask your stylist to cut your bangs while they are dry (hair stretches when it's wet), so you'll know exactly how they'll fall.
"Bangs cut above the brows are strong," Hawkins says of Stone's straight-across fringe, ideal for round or square faces. "It becomes a fashion statement." Flatironing these bangs once they're blown dry gives them edgy definition.
TIP: To avoid having your bangs cut too short, ask your stylist to trim them gradually. "A quarter of an inch too short may not matter when you're getting a haircut, but it makes a big difference with bangs," Hawkins says. "Ask your stylist to cut them longer at first and take them up in increments until you reach the perfect length."
(See more: How to get the eyebrows you've always wanted)
ARCHED : Rachel ZoeA lighter—and more bohemian—version of Swift's lash-skimming fringe, Zoe's are trimmed with a razor in two sections: one that falls directly over the forehead, then longer layers on the sides that blend with the rest of the hair. Bonus: This style, perfect for oval faces, expertly camouflages the forehead and corners of the eyes, where many women show the first signs of aging.
TIP: Go easy on the styling products. "Style them with whatever you'd normally use on your hair but apply it to the rest of your hair first with your hands," Hawkins says. "You can use whatever's left on your bangs." If you're using a shine spray, mist it on your brush first and then comb through.
PARTED : Zooey DeschanelAnother way to wear bangs? Parted down the middle like Deschanel does: It keeps hair out of the way but still draws attention to her insanely blue eyes. "With the contrast of her dark hair color, it actually makes them look more blue," Hawkins says. Curtain bangs like these can help make the transition to a grown-out style, too. The wispy side layers look soft and feminine, especially when the rest of the hair is swept back.
TIP: When applying rich face creams and makeup, make sure they're fully absorbed before letting your bangs down. Hawkins's trick? "To be safe, dab the forehead with a blotting tissue. You don't want the oils to transfer to your hair and make it look greasy." Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets are one of our favorites.
SIDE-SWEPT : Debby Ryan
And of course, there are side-swept bangs. Or as Hawkins calls Ryan's take: the non-bang bangs. "This version is more like a long, sweeping layer that has the effect of bangs," he says. "It creates a vertical line where the hair starts to swoop and thins a round face."
To steal Ryan's look, ask your stylist to trim a section of hair in the front of the face so that the longest point falls above the tip of your nose; blow-dry it with a round brush and set in a pin curl for ten minutes. "With the others, the hair is falling straight down," he says. "You need to condition your hair to drape to the side, and a pin curl will set that shape."
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