No matter how uncertain times are, there is one thing you can always count on (at least when it comes to beauty and fashion): whatever was old will become new again. Just consider tie-dye, hair ties, super glossy lip gloss, shoulder tops, and shoulder tops from the '80s, which, by the way, continue to make a great comeback.
But perhaps no trend is getting a greater revival than the slicked-back, slicked-back bangs that were rooted in the '60s and '70s. Celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Hillary Duff, Kasey Musgraves, Halle Berry, Gigi Hadid, Elizabeth Olsen, Katy Perry, and The Crown Emma Corinne, to name a few, have embraced them. Plus, she can be seen in famous TV characters (think Cassie, played by Kaley Cuoco in the HBO miniseries Max The Flight Attendant). And yes, they have spread all over TikTok (the hashtag alone has over 640 million views). The knocking of curtains seems to be sweeping the nation (no pun intended). In fact, even Jennifer Lopez, who debuted in May with super soft, straight bangs after a breakup, couldn't resist the trend.
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It's easy to see why - soft, wavy curtain bangs are not only versatile, meaning they flatter any face shape and look equally good on straight, wavy, and curly hair, as well as long and short hair, but they also require a lot less than that. Maintenance is another explosive approach, both in terms of daily styling (hello, air drying) and growth (bye, biweekly hairstyles).
So, if you've ever asked yourself that age-old question (no, not "What am I doing with my life?" but "Should I get bangs?"), you're probably thinking again about making the cut. That's why we spoke with a variety of stylists to find out everything you need to know before getting on the sidelines.
Okay, remind me, what are curtain bangs?
First made famous in the 60s and 70s by actresses like Brigitte Bardot, Goldie Hawn, and Farrah Fawcett, as the name suggests, bangs parted in the middle (or sometimes left or right) and moved to each side, so they perfectly frame your face and eyes, just as you would a curtain with a window. "It's very sensual because you can be flirting and flirting with them," says designer Juan Carlos Masix, who lives in New York City. "You can hide behind them, but people can still see your eyes."
While fabric bangs, a softer version of traditional straight bangs, can vary in length, they are generally shorter in the middle (think: between the middle and below the brow) and longer at the sides, with soft ends that blend into the rest of your hair. However, if it's your first time doing the cut, you might want to go a little longer, says Los Angeles stylist Aviva Perara. This way, you'll also have the option to put it back into a ponytail or tuck it behind your ears.
There's a reason that curtain bangs have become so popular in 2020 and are still trending in 2021.
It's clipped in a way that blends in with the rest of your hair, so curtain bangs are a perfect middle ground (which means you can have bangs some days and not bangs others), which is super flattering, whether you want to try. More manageable bangs before committing to something shorter or if you want to switch up your style without doing something sexy like small bangs for example. Plus, you don't have to worry about going to the salon every two weeks for a regular haircut. "You can basically forget about maintenance if you want to let it grow," says Macaques. "Over time, they'll just become layers framing the face."
But there may be another, more surprising reason behind the increase in bangs on fabrics. Like most things recently, stylist Emily Heiser at Cutler Salon in New York thinks it may also have something to do with the coronavirus pandemic. "I've seen a huge increase in bang requests," he says. "Which I think has to do with wanting to feel like you have some style even when your face is covered with a mask. Not to mention some people told me they were more inclined to take risks in the last year because they haven't seen that many people."
Now, as people begin to return to a "normal" life, many continue to make major changes to their hair, which makes sense. A 2013 study found that stressful life events make people more likely to dramatically change their appearance.
Will I look good with curtain bangs?
Here's the best thing about curtain bangs—they look good on just about anyone, whether your hair is straight, wavy, or curly, says Perara. "Anyone can wear bangs as long as it's tailored to their best features," Hesser adds. “Some people can look better with them just above the eye, while a length that flatters the cheekbones can be more flattering to others. This is why finding a stylist who listens to you is so important.” (Just as important? If Your hair is wavy or curly, be sure to tell your stylist if you're going to wear it natural or straight, as this will help determine the length and correct the depth of your bangs.)
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Not to mention, fabric bangs look equally good with all face shapes (yes, even round faces) and hair lengths. "As long as the shape looks balanced, bangs can work with any style," Heser says. "Whether you have a pixie cut, a bob, long hair, or even waist-length tufts, you can have the bangs spread out on the sides in a way that complements the rest of your look."
But there are one or two exceptions: If you have a tuft (those pesky strands of hair that grows their own pattern) near the front of your hairline, it can be hard to get that distinct center part, Perara warns. Also, if your hair is very fine, blunt bangs may be more flattering. "To get the lightness of a curtain bang, you have to cut your hair," Perara says. "Whereas when you cut it bluntly to get straight ends, it does add weight to the hair."
Curtain strokes require relatively low maintenance.
The fact is that all bangs, including those on the curtains, require additional effort. "There's no such thing as a blowout that requires very little maintenance," Perara says. "Anyone who says this is lying." But still, curtain bangs can be easier to style than other types of bangs, and this is especially true during the cooler fall and winter months. "Bangs are easier to work with when there's no moisture because they're not prone to sweating or frizzing," Hesser says.
Here we show you how to design it.
Start by dividing the hair in half, then take a 1-inch section near the temples and wrap it around a 1-inch round brush, making sure to keep the brush perpendicular to the hairline. "You shouldn't blow your gravy horizontally, as this can make it look too puffy or bubbly," Perara says. Make a few passes with the hairdryer, turn off the heat, and hold the section of hair in the brush for a few seconds to help shape it. Repeat this process, working in 1-inch sections toward the center of the blast, before starting over on the other side. Once you're done styling your hair, you can also spray a disposable mascara wand with some hairspray and run it through your bangs to help keep it under control.
Would you rather be normal? Air drying is even simpler: Just style the bangs however you like and use some wrinkle-free clips to hold each side in place to dry, Hesser says.