The humble fringe is a timeless accessory which can switch up your look in a matter of moments (or rather, scissor snips). From a subtle side-sweeping fringe or a light wispy fringe to choppy full bangs à la 60's Jane Birken - everyone can get become firmly acquainted with the very covetable hair trend that took off again n a big way last year thanks to Daisy Edgar-Jones and her character Marianne in BBC1's Normal People. Now that salons are (thankfully) back open after lockdown, we're able to head to the professionals in order to get a fringe cut than try and DIY it ourselves… but there are a few things to consider before getting the chop.
It's worth acknowledging that growing out an unwanted fringe can be a rather lengthy process, and a bit of a bugbear period all things considered (read: kirby grips, lots of kirby grips) so it's definitely recommended you swot up on the ins and outs of fringes, bangs, whatever you like to call them, before booking in for a hair appointment. If you're already flaunting your ideal fringe but it could do with a bit of a trim read our illustrated guide to trimming your fringe at home here - but remember: snip with caution!
Whether you're debating getting a fringe cut for the first time, you're wanting to turn your block bangs into a lighter wispy fringe style or you're a regular fringe wearer - here is everything you need to know about bangs and how to keep them looking their best...
The Biggest Fringe Trends To Know About This Year
Fringes are a timeless, classic look and certain takes and styles come in and out of style. Just think back to Audrey Hepburn's micro-fringe back in the 60s and Brigitte Bardot's full, long fringe that enjoyed a real renaissance when Sienna Miller hit cinema screens with a similar look in Alfie. Last year we spotted several broken, uneven and jagged looking looks on the Spring/Summer 20 catwalk (including Toga and Longchamp) and many celebrities are dipping into the longer, wispy fringe look at the moment.
The Parisian full fringe is also a look currently trending c/o Daisy Edgar-Jones in the television adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People. This look is very reminiscent of the Jane Birkin style of the 70s.
The History Of The Fringe
The full fringe wasn’t a thing until the 1920s, when it was memorably donned by Louise Brooks in the 1929 film Pandora’s Box. Then there was 1950s pin up girl Bettie Page’s fringe which, along with her jet black hair and blue eyes, was her trademark look. And who can forget Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic blunt bags in the film Cleopatra, which catapulted fringes to the forefront and was requested by every hairdresser in the 1960s?
In the 1980s and early 90s, the fashion set opted for a more natural feel and fringes were often curled and wispy.
In the 90s, we saw two stars reach dizzying heights of fame for their enviable bangs: Uma Thurman who, in her portrayal of Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, sported a black blunt fringe and jaw-grazing bob, and, as Rachel from Friends, Jennifer Aniston, whose subtle, side sweeping bangs and choppy layers saw everyone asking for that ‘Rachel’ cut.
The fringe then went away for a few years, before coming back as a force to be reckoned with in 2007 - for which, we have Kate Moss to thank.
Finding The Best Fringe Style For You
Side swept fringe - A fringe or bangs that start from a side parting and often only covers one half of the forehead. It is longer than a full fringe and is universally flattering.
Full fringe - A fringe that is combed straight down and is cut vertically across.
A wispy full fringe - A full fringe that is on the thin side. A fringe perfect for those after something with less commitment and styling.
A blunt full fringe - A fringe that is cut sharply and is often thick and heavy, adding definition to your face.
A rounded fringe - A fringe which is similar to the full fringe, but has a rounded feel and is longer on the sides where it meets the rest of the hair.
A parted fringe - Often nicknamed the ‘Bardot fringe’, it is where your bangs are parted (usually in the centre) and each side is swept away from the face.
A cropped fringe - A full fringe which is shorter than the traditional style and often falls above the eyebrow.
The Benefits Of Getting A Fringe
A fringe feels youthful: Dubbed the ‘French facelift’ the humble fringe brings attention to your eyes.
A fringe can make you look more 'done': The groomed hairstyle polishes up your look and gives the illusion that you have spent hours on your tresses. The perfect antidote for those early morning meetings...
You can forgo the monthly eyebrow appointment: Meaning less pain and more money to spend. Result.
Fringes are extremely versatile: Whether you brush your hair to the side, opt for a parted fringe or decide to clip it all back - you can change up your look daily. Perfect for those who get bored easily.
Your Guide To Fringe Maintenance At Home
To put it more bluntly than Lady Gaga’s bangs circa 2008 - yes. To look good fringes need to be washed daily, styled with precision and trimmed every few weeks. When it rains or is spectacularly windy, your fringe can look a little on the grungy side, and of course with it being on your actual face, it can impact your whole look. Fringes barely stay still and are notorious for having a life of their own - a very wild one at that.
What To Consider When Choosing A Fringe Style
The good news is, just like red lipstick, there is a bangs style out there for everyone. The only people that should perhaps give the fringe a little more thought, are those with a cowslick. It’s best to book a consultation with your stylist and they can recommend the most flattering cut for your face shape. You can also try out a ‘winge’ aka a clip-in fringe to see if you like it IRL.
If you are looking to switch up your look following a break up, avid fringe-wearer Alexa Chung advises against it, telling Stylist, ‘ My advice if you’ve just suffered heartbreak or you’ve broken up with someone, is not to touch your hair. It’s the first thing women do, but you’re not in a fit state to make decisions that are long term - you’ll have to spend the next four years growing it out. Don’t have a fringe cut. Don’t bleach it. You’ll regret it. Buy a lipstick instead [...] otherwise you'll still feel sad and you'll have weird hair.'
What fringe styles suit oval faces?
You lucky things! If you have an oval face, your hairdresser has probably already gushed how you could ‘pull off any style!’ We suggest asking for a thinner fringe, so you can style it to the side or clip it back occasionally.
What fringe styles suit round faces?
Hairdressers suggest avoiding a full, blunt fringe if you have a round face as they can often look too harsh. A side fringe, however, will give the illusion of a longer face and the asymmetry will add definition to your cheek bones.
What fringe styles suit heart-shaped faces?
Longer fringes are great for those with a heart-shaped face as they distract from your chin and draw attention to your eyes instead. Heart shaped faces best suit full fringes that skim the eyebrows, or a side fringe. A fringe that is piecey will help balance out your features.
It's recommended to avoid any style that is slicked back or that has height on the crown.
What fringe styles suit square faces?
A full fringe will look great on you - just ask for a fringe that is slightly feathered in the middle to soften. Try to avoid styles that are too blunt as they accentuate any harsh angles and lines.
What To Know If You Want To Cut Your Own Fringe At Home
Can you cut your fringe at home. It's the age old question that still very much divides people. Some people swear by cutting it themselves and as Caroline de Maigret (the brains behind the best-selling book How To Be Parisian) revealed in an Vogue interview, ‘I just cut vertically!’
Read our full guide here on how to cut your on fringe at home.
If you have an unsteady hand or an important date coming up, it’s probably best to leave it to an expert. Between cuts, salons often offer free fringe cuts in between appointments, to keep your fringe out of your eyes.
Top Fringe Tips
There are any fringe hacks to make sure they are full of life and vigour and as Hairspray's Tracy Turnblad so rightly noted, 'hair can't just sit there like a dead thing on your cheeks!'
- 'Always blow-dry your fringe straight away' - Your fringe naturally dries quickly and can begin to set right before you've had a chance to find your trusty hair protector spray! So the sooner, the better to ensure your fringe stays in place all day.
- 'Dry your fringe in every direction' - Up down, left, right, repeatedly to get rid of any dreaded kinks.
- 'Dry shampoo is your new BFF' - It's time to become acquainted with dry shampoo as your fringe will become a lot more greasy, a lot more quickly. You can also wash your fringe separately (to avoid over-washing the rest of your hair).
How To Grow Out Your Fringe
If you are trying to grow out a full fringe, you can grow it out by simply turning it into a ‘parting fringe’ (see:point 3). You may need lots of hairspray to initially keep it in place. As your hair grows, you can begin to sweep your hair away from your face and it will eventually give a slightly feathered look to your hair.
Another hack to growing out a fringe, is to sweep your hair to the side and to grow it out as a side fringe - just make sure you get regular trims to keep it flattering.
If you have decided that a fringe is what is missing from your life - here is all the celebrity fringes-inspo you need and that you can take with you to the hairdresser...
All The Best Celebrity Fringe Inspiration To Scroll Through Now:
Celebrity fringes 2020
We can see why Jameela has remained faithful to the fringe for some time. It's chic, choppy and slightly parted in the middle for that French-girl edge.
Rooney Mara opts for a razor sharp full fringe which paired with a red lip looks ultra sophisticated.
2020 is the year of the fringe and we're putting it down to Daisy Edgar-Jones who's broken bangs look effortlessly cool.
Barely-there fringes are a godsend for anyone who switches up their look as much as Badgalriri. P.S we salute you.
Liv Taylor's chocolate-hued full fringe looks sultry and oh-so girl next door.
Having a full fringe, doesn't mean you have to forgo the voluminous blow-dry. Case in point: this Hollywood starlet.
We couldn't leave Ariana Grande's signature fringe off this list, could we.
Chrissy's sweeping side fringe is oh-so-effortless. Just how does she do it?
Hailee Steinfield's fringe is part rock chick, part girl-next-door.
Remember when Bella Thorne had red hair and bangs? We reckon she should bring this style back, pronto.
This 50 Shades of Grey star often styles her bangs straight down the middle.
Pair a low bun with a full fringe to ooze elegance.
Anna Wintour is notorious for her blunt fringe and short bob. In fact, she's been committed to this hairstyle for decades. Maybe she knows something that we don't!
Feeling brave? Opt for retro bands a la Krysten Ritter.
Take a note out of Suki Waterhouse's book and cut a choppy fringe.
We think we've found the perfect off-duty hairstyle - fringe included.
A half-up, half-down hairstyle can always be complimented with a striking fringe.
We're big fans of Reese's blonde and layered side-swept bangs.
Lizzo's beehive and fringe combo looks perennially chic.
If there's one person who can rock a blunt fringe, it's Jessica Biel.
Keira Knightly always pairs a chic updo with an elegant side-swept fringe.
British royal Kate Middleton is our hair hero - we love her sophisticated, blow-out bangs.
Sienna Miller is one celebrity who experimented with a number of different hairstyles over the years. Here's one of our favourites...
Bella Hadid's side-swept fringe is a red-carpet winner.
Kylie's hair transformations have been radical - but this fringe style is one we keep on returning to.
Messy waves + long fringe = Winning hair combo.
Draw inspiration from this blonde model by opting for a shaggy fringe.
Jennifer Aniston made headlines with this side-swept fringe.
Granted, Emma Watson looks stylish with any hairstyle she debuts. But this middle-parted fringe has to be our favourite.
Tousled shoulder-length hair and long, airy fringes are a match made in heaven.
Wondering how to nail a top-knot? Add some choppy bangs into the mix, a la Kendall Jenner.
Taylor previously took to the Grammy's with luscious brow-skimming bangs.
Who remembers that time Gigi debuted a full blunt fringe? We do!
When Cara went for the chop and died her hair platinum blonde, she also opted for a mini side fringe to take her look to the next level.
Curly locks + choppy fringe = Winning A-list hairstyle.
Emma Roberts recently debuted some razor sharp baby bangs - daring much.
Blonde bombshell Kate Moss is the poster-girl for eye-grazing bangs.
J-Lo knows a thing or two about rocking the perfect hair combo: long layers and shaggy bangs.
Selena's statement middle parting and long fringe is giving us major mane inspo.
Brunette actress Katie Holmes works a choppy fringe like a pro.
Rita Ora was spotted sporting a blonde bob and block fringe - a combo we certainly approve of.