A definitive guide to getting bangs (plus all the fringe inspo)

We know bangs get a bad rap, but hear us out: The right fringe can be super flattering and offer a fun style shakeup. But before you run to the salon (pls don't DIY!), you'll want to pick the right option for your hair texture and face shape. We talked to top hairstylists to find the most fab fringes for fall. Happy snipping!

Feathered fringe


Who they're for: Light, feathered fringe is "great for heart and square face shapes," says hairstylist MariLynne Cosmillo. The curtain bangs' cute cousin, these are def a go-to for fine, thin hair, but also flatter wavier hair textures, as the spread-out pieces look surprisingly chic with some bends. 

How to style 'em: This is a lived-in look, so you can get away with letting feathered bangs air-dry instead of blowing them out to perfection (use a round brush if you want more polish). Choose an air-dry cream (like Kevin Murphy Killer.Twirls, $35) for your texture, then either scrunch or brush it through strands depending on how wavy you want them. 

Side bangs


Who they're for: Side bangs are the gateway to a more drastic snip, making them a good place to start if you've never had fringe before. They're super versatile and work for pretty much every face shape and hair texture. Plus, they don't require a ton of maintenance. Win, win, win!

How to style 'em: If you're growing out any bang type, you can easily part hair to one side and create the look of side bangs like Jenna's. Most of the time, they'll look best when hair is straight so that you get a sharp, angled appearance. Use a pintail comb (like Diane Ionic Anti-Static Pin Tail Comb, $4) to set them to the side then a frizz-fighting cream or spray to keep them sleek and chic. 

Baby bangs


Who they're for: These blunt-cut micro bangs fall above your brows. They're great for those with curlier hair because coils shrink up when they're dry, giving you the look of tinier bangs, naturally.

How to style 'em: "Baby bangs grow really fast," notes hairstylist Fabian Lliguin. They require frequent trims (like, every three to four weeks) to keep them looking sharp, and, well, short. If you have curly strands, encourage your pattern with some curl cream (like Not Your Mother's Curl Talk Defining & Frizz Taming Cream, $9) that'll nix frizz. For a sleeker look, a mini straightener is perfect for ironing out your fun-sized fringe.

Curtain bangs


Who they're for: Curtain bangs are ideal for someone with a round face and just about any hair texture, explains Lliguin. By sweeping the bangs to the sides, away from the face, they create the illusion of a more elongated shape. Plus, as Aveda Institute Dallas educator Todd Faulk notes, "The long layers mean you can still wear your hair back in a ponytail."

How to style 'em: The best part about curtain bangs? They're easy to style with some root-lifting mousse and a Mane by Mane Addicts BRB Ceramic Round Brush, $25 (grab a curling iron for extra volume). You can also use hot rollers to set your fringe for more of a swoopy style, like Shay's.

Blunt bangs


Who they're for: Perfect for gals with straight or thick hair, "heavy or more blunt bangs look best on oval or more round faces," says Cosmillo. "They can also help minimize a high forehead." Just note that blunt bangs are a bit more of a commitment, as they require cutting more hair to achieve that strong, straight line.

How to style 'em: Blow-dry your bangs with a round brush for extra lift and volume. Fringe falling flat from sweat or grease? Do a bang wash: Secure the rest of your hair with a shower cap and just wash your front pieces the same way you normally do your whole head, then dry and style. When done, refresh the rest of your hair with a few spritzes of dry shampoo (we heart Batiste Original Dry Shampoo, $10).

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our October/November 2023 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

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by Lisa DeSantis | 9/21/2023