Everyone has their own reaction when they hear ‘bangs.’ For some, it may conjure a memory of (accidentally) getting a blunt bowl cut bang that took a year to grow out. For others, it might be a flashback to a DIY quarantine chop. Regardless, bangs have steadily increased in popularity over the past few years, and many of us have tried the look on for size at least once.
Thanks to social media, wispy bangs are now the fringe du jour, with one style dominating in particular: Korean air bangs. The ultra-thin, minimalist style adds a layer of softness to your haircut without taking up too much real estate on your face. We asked hairstylist and L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador Sabrina Bias to tell us what makes Korean air bangs so desirable, what to ask for at the salon, and must-have styling tips. Here’s what we learned.
What are air bangs?
Air bangs are extremely piece-y strands of hair that rest somewhere between your eyebrows and eyelashes. Also known as Korean air bangs or see-through bangs, they’re a more delicate and understated way to embrace fringe, especially if you’re hesitant to commit to a drastic cut. These wisps allow most of your forehead to peek through, and unlike thicker bangs, they won’t completely cloud your vision if they fall past your eyes.
“Think ‘straight across bangs,’ but a lot more wispy and thin—that’s how you should describe it to your stylist,” says Bias. “Korean air bangs have been popular for years, maybe even decades in Korea, and it’s exciting to see them make their way to the mainstream American market.”
Are air bangs high maintenance?
Since air bangs are a slightly longer style of bang, you’ll want to stick to a strict upkeep schedule so they don’t reach the point where they blend in with the rest of your haircut. Bias recommends trimming your see-through bangs about every four weeks to maintain their shape. p>
If you can’t make it to the salon, manage your split ends between appointments with a system to repair frayed ends. Our pick is Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate. Using the line’s Intensive Treatment can result in a 63 percent reduction in breakage when paired with the coordinating shampoo and conditioner.
What is the difference between air bangs and curtain bangs?
While both curtain and air bangs are softer versions of a full-on blunt bang, there are some key differences. Wispy Korean air bangs skim most of your forehead, lending softness to your haircut. Contrarily, curtain bangs are parted down the middle and swept to the side of your face like drapes, gently framing your features. Plus, air bangs are usually the same length all the way across. Curtain bangs, on the other hand, are typically shorter in the middle and gradually get longer on the sides to blend in with the rest of your haircut.
Are air bangs good for round faces?
The great thing about Korean air bangs is that they’re a neutral style, so they can complement any face shape. For example, when cut long enough, the feathery layers can draw the eye down to help flatter a round face. You can also ask your stylist to cut your bangs to a length that will accentuate your favorite feature, like your eyes or cheekbones.
We always recommend visiting a professional who can best help tailor the look to your unique face shape—this is not a look to DIY at home.
How do you get air bangs to stay up?
Thanks to their fine, wispy structure, Korean air bangs are predisposed to falling flat against the forehead, especially when styled straight. Luckily, the right hair products and styling tricks can keep them voluminously propped up.
The best way to infuse volume into your air bangs is to set them with hair rollers, then run a comb through them and lock them into place with hairspray. Pick L’Oréal Professionnel’s Tecni.Art Infinium 4 High-Hold Hairspray for medium-hold without stiffness or crunchiness. The spray provides shape and memory, plus leaves hair feeling so natural that your bangs can be combed and re-combed. Or, you can achieve a more pinched-together appearance using a paste like Redken’s Pliable Paste. Formerly called Rewind 06, this lightweight formula is ideal for shaping and molding your bangs into your desired style while adding texture and grip.
Dry shampoo can also add extra texture to your hair, pumping up your bangs so they don’t deflate. “If you do get Korean air bangs, your hair might feel like it gets greasy faster because there is less hair for the oil from your scalp to travel down,” says Bias. “Dry shampoo will be your new best friend!”
Now, what are you waiting for? Make your appointment for Korean air bangs ASAP. Here are 15 styles to show your stylist —just promise you’ll tag us in your latest Instagram story to show them off!
15 Ways to Try Korean Air Bangs
Air Bangs With Long Wolf Cut
“[Air bangs] look best with layers and updos,” notes Bias. “If your hair is too thick, it can look unbalanced without layers.”
Extra Thin and Wispy Air Bangs
Go extra subtle and ask your stylist to snip ultra-fine wisps into your next cut. These see-through bangs add lightness to your haircut and are a breeze to style.
Messy Updo With Air Bangs
One of the best things about Korean air bangs is how they frame your features, even when the rest of your hair is pulled up. If you don’t already have a few claw clips in your styling arsenal, now’s a good time to stock up, so you can keep those messy updos on lock.
Copper Air Bangs
Pair your wispy bangs with cowgirl copper—2023’s most-wanted hair color—for an unforgettable result. Red hair is known to fade faster than other shades, but you can keep your fiery hue vibrant with an at-home gloss like Pureology’s Top Coat + Tone Copper.
Air Bangs and Choppy Bob
For those with fine, straight hair, a choppy bob with air bangs can give your mane natural movement so it appears thicker and fuller. We recommend completing your styling routine with a texturizing spray for extra volume-building grip. Our pick: Matrix Miss Mess Dry Finishing Spray.
Air Bangs With Frace-Framing Layers
As Bias mentioned earlier, Korean air bangs and face-framing layers are a match made in hair heaven. A pro stylist will use your facial shape as a guide for the length of your angles.
Curly Air Bangs With Pink Color Block
Air Bangs With Flipped Ends
For a fluffy look reminiscent of 1970s styles, flip the ends of your hair to and fro using a flat iron or, for a healthier approach, the L'Oréal Professionnel Steampod. Learn more in our guide on How to Style Flipped Out Ends Like a Pro.
Skunk Stripe Air Bangs
Make your wispy bangs the star of the show by turning the front sections of your hair into bright ’skunk stripes.’
Air Bangs With Voluminous Blowout
Prevent your delicate bangs (and your hair) from falling flat with a little help from Redken’s Full Volume Mousse. This conditioning hair mousse volumizes from root to tip using polymers for added lift and body. For runway-worthy volume, work the mousse through your damp hair before going in with a blow dryer and round brush.
Air Bangs With Beach Waves
We adore opposing hair textures, so go ahead and complement your straight bangs with beachy S-waves. If you’ve yet to try this hair-waving technique, let this S-wave tutorial from hairstylist Shelley Gregory guide you.
Angled Air Bangs
Calling anyone who can’t commit to touch-up appointments! Have your stylist blend your air bangs into your haircut at an angle for a more seamless grow-out.
When growing out your bangs, you’ll want to ensure your hair can healthily reach its goal length. We suggest adding a repairing hair mask into your routine, like Biolage Professional’s Strength Recovery Deep Treatment Pack.
Side-Parted Air Bangs
Overgrown air bangs? No problem. You can easily part and style them like curtain bangs to keep the hair from falling into your eyes. A hair wax or paste will be your best bet to hold them in place.
Air Bangs With Choppy Ends
Blunt haircuts with bangs will never go out of style (have you really lived if you haven’t tried a French bob?!). However, if you want to experiment with a more undone combo, swap your careful cut for wispy bangs and choppy ends.
Air Bangs With Berry Balayage
Berries are often one of our go-to sources for beauty ideas, and we want to take a bite out of this fruit-inspired balayage. We love the contrast between brunette bangs and dark strawberry ends, which slightly edges into fantasy color territory without going overboard.