Bangs are one of the most controversial ways to wear your hair. Whether you’re the style’s biggest cheerleader or fiercest enemy, you can’t deny these face framing beauties hold some psychological sway over us. We’ve seen many versions of bangs over the years—the kind that come after a breakup, the whimsical early ‘00s fringe, and the sensual French movie star kind—but we’re never sure what’s right for us.
To set the story straight on bangs, we called in Jill Engelsen, L’Oréal Professionnel brand ambassador and master stylist. According to Engelsen, there are two distinct types of fringe happening in hair salons today: textured bangs and wispy bangs. The style you settle on will depend on your face shape, the level of maintenance you’re comfortable signing up for, and your professional’s expert opinion.
What are textured bangs?
The word “texture” is quite the buzzy term these days. We see it in everything from long layers to hair products, adding a lived-in vibe to even the most polished cut. As it turns out, textured bangs combine both elements.
“Textured bangs are bangs that have some sort of layering in them, as opposed to a blunt bang,” Engelsen says.
Expect this technique to require more hair than other bangs styles—often up to 2 inches back from your hairline. Engelsen pulls a triangular section ending above either temple before trimming it short, aiming for a ‘50s and ‘60s-inspired vibe.
All bangs require a commitment to daily styling, but textured bangs take a bit more time because of the amount of hair involved. If you’re down with a little extra drying, you won’t have any trouble styling them.
“I would still style them...by using a comb or my fingers and blowdry them side-to-side across the forehead to get them to lay just right and not split. Then I can place them where I want them and add my final touches,” the pro explains.
Styling less hair doesn’t mean you get to skip out on protection, however. Always prime your fringe with a heat protection spray like Redken's Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Spray.
When it comes to maintenance, textured bangs require a regular trim schedule to remain in check. With extra hair in the mix, your layers can grow out and the fringe can lose shape. What’s left will be the dreaded bulky bangs we all swore off of after middle school.
“Usually they’ll have to not only be trimmed shorter, but also have weight taken out so they lay right,” Engelsen notes.
Textured bangs bring the drama, but they also require extra TLC. If you’d like something a little more effortless, it may be that wispy bangs are a better fit for your lifestyle.
What are wispy bangs?
As the name implies, wispy bangs are ethereal where their textured counterpart is bold. This delicate fringe is all about lightly framing the face.
“Wispy is great for someone who wants some definition around their face but doesn’t want to commit to a full bang yet,” Engelsen explains, adding that she often aims for a “veil” of hair instead of a full-on red velvet curtain.
While the styling technique is much the same on fine fringe, expect to achieve the finished product more quickly than you would with a thicker section of hair. As an added bonus, your bang trim appointments will be quick stopovers between major cuts.
“Usually I just have to trim the length until the next scheduled haircut,” Engelsen says.
Because of the maintenance level and minimal visual impact, wispy bangs are an excellent choice for those who aren’t sure about whether or not they should wear fringe. Think of these babies as a trial size before you commit to the full size bottle.
What’s a girl to do?
While your stylist will certainly make personalized recommendations, taking into consideration your lifestyle and face shape, the final bang decision is up to you! Interestingly, Engelsen reports seeing a serious uptick in clients trying bangs.
“I feel like women are seeking a change but not sure what, so they have been inquiring about adding bangs to their style,” she says. “This way they can have a completely different look with their hair without changing too much.”
Ultimately, bangs are bangs. Both will require daily styling and regular trims, unless you’re planning on growing them out between haircuts.
“It depends on how fast their hair grows for how often clients should get their bangs trimmed, but generally speaking I suggest two to three weeks. Some of my clients like the grow out phase, and style [their bangs] either to the side or with a little more volume until their next haircut,” she explains.
If you try either style of fringe and love it, Engelsen notes that big change may be on the horizon for your overall hair aesthetic.
“The next step is usually cutting a lob. So look out ladies, that’s where I see you heading! Be ready,” she says.