Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bringing Back the Bangs!

Oh hey! It's me! I've been a little absent lately. What have I been doing?

You know, stuff. Work stuff. A lot of work stuff. Exercise stuff. Not running stuff due to major heel pain (another story for another day). Just stuff. Oh yeah, and I got bangs. How did that happen?

So one random Thursday at midnight when I should have been in bed...

I wondered what I'd looked like in bangs. Why? I have no idea. I guess I was looking at celebs like Taylor Swift, Emma Stone, and Lauren Conrad who recently tried bangs and looked great. Not to mention Zooey Deschanel, who has long been known for her bangs (and happens to be my favorite celebrity style inspiration!).

I haven't had bangs since my awkward middle school phase.

We're talking glasses, frizzy, wavy hair I didn't know how to style, high-waisted 90's jeans that didn't fit well, an honest but sad effort to play volleyball, my first experience trying to (unsuccessfully) manage my weight, my nose typically in a book, and endless insecurity as I struggled to feel accepted by my peers. Oh yeah, and bangs that went to my nose, that I poofed out with a giant round brush and curling iron. Yep...

It was a rough time to say the least. The memories from those years are still real, but I've grown and moved on. In fact, I'm trying to find an old picture to submit to The Awkward Years Project. When I was 15, I moved to a new school (where I met my husband), got contacts, became a makeup junkie, and grew my bangs out as part of a clean slate. I was determined to put my nerdy past behind me. It didn't completely work - I'm still an introverted, quirky, nerdy person at heart, which somehow works better as an adult - but at least I felt like I looked better.

Fifteen years later, I've sworn I would never go back. I've moved on. I'm an adult with degrees, a job, friends, a husband, and I'm a runner.Why would I reopen that chapter?

Until that fateful night on little sleep, too much celebrity news, and possibly some dark chocolate, when I opened up a hair simulator site and "tried on bangs". Those simulations always look ridiculous, but the Nicole Richie style I tried didn't look half bad.

That led to my 1 AM venture upstairs to mock-up bangs with hair clips. This was looking promising! I'd be a quirky Zooey Deschanel type! I just needed a fun dress!

Believe it or not, I still thought about bangs the next couple of weeks. Could they really work? Here's how I approached the decision and what I recommend thinking about:

What type of bangs are right for me?

  • My face shape - My face is pretty round. Often times really short, blunt bangs make faces look rounder, so I looked at examples of other fringed celebs with round faces, like Emma Stone.
  • How thick? My forehead isn't big, so I didn't think couldn't handle super thick, heavy bangs.
  • What shape and texture? Because I didn't want a style too blunt or heavy, I thought wispy, layered bangs that were longer at the sides would be a good fit. Also, my hair has natural wave, which I thought would work with the cut.
I recommend researching bang styles for the shape of your face, and looking at friends or celebrities with similar face shapes as examples.

Ask your hairstylist!

I have a great hair stylist that I've gone to for over 5 years. She knows my hair's texture, has cut everything from chin length to long layers in my hair, and knows what works and doesn't work on me. I walked in and told her to brace herself, and I explained what I wanted. I came armed with all of these examples, expressed no poofy 90's bangs, and asked for her opinion. She agreed with my wispy, layered approach for the texture of my hair and was excited that I wanted to do something new! She was on the same page and brought my vision to life! 

Also - she offers free bang trims in between cuts, and she is located less than 5 minutes from my office. Since bangs typically need to be trimmed every 3-4 weeks, I recommend asking your hairstylist what he/she offers in terms of trims.

The result?

I also found that fun dress at Old Navy!
Find it here.
It was $12 on clearance in my local store!
I'm ALL in on the chambray now!

I'm pleasantly surprised! I love the shape and texture. The longer sides look great when my hair is up. 

Oddly, I do see a little "middle school me" now, and I don't know if that's a good or bad thing...

How I style them

I asked my hair stylist if I should blow dry them with a round brush. She promptly replied, "I thought you didn't want poofy 90's bangs?"

Touche. Here's what I do instead: 

  • After washing, I leave my hair in a towel to apply my moisturizer and foundation. 
  • Then I take my hair out of the towel and I use a paddle brush under the bangs to blow them out straight. I dry and style the rest of my hair. 
  • Finally, since my hair has a natural wave, I flat iron them so they aren't poofy. I run the flat iron straight down and barely turn it under at the ends so the bangs slightly curl under instead of stick out. 
  • To avoid heaviness and clumpiness, I don't use any product - not even hairspray! 
  • Also try to not touch them during the day! That's easier said than done, but it will just make them oilier and clumpier. I actually like when the wind hits them - it just makes them wispier, like I have effortless style (yeah, right!).

What I like about them

I like that they add more shape and dimension to my overall look. When I didn't have bangs, I had long pieces of hair in the front that laid heavy and were hard to style. I don't have to deal with that anymore. They add an extra "something" when my hair is completely up.

How they are (slightly) more difficult

Keep in mind that this is very minor. I don't think you'll ever hear anyone say, "OMG! My life is so overwhelming now that I have to style my bangs!" I mean seriously. Remember those first world problems I talked about?

However, it does change the way I do my hair in the following ways:

  • My morning hair and makeup routine is a little more detailed, as I stated above.
  • I'll have to go in every few weeks in between cuts for bang trims. 
  • Refreshing hair in between washes is a little more difficult. I have oily hair, but I can wash my hair every other day if I use dry shampoo on the off days. Unfortunately, that just doesn't cut it for bangs. They are too oily and clumpy. Instead, on the off days, I do the following:
    • I pull the rest of my hair back into a ponytail and and use shampoo and water at the sink to wash, rinse just my bangs.
    • Then I style my bangs, just like above.
    • Finally, I work dry shampoo in the rest of my hair and style however I want - curled, straightened, up, whatever.
  • I feel a stronger need to wear lipstick. Don't ask me why, I just think my bangs need lipstick to go with them. Maybe because there's a lot going on over the forehead, and I need to balance it out? I don't know. I just think styled bangs plus a good lipstick look sophisticated and great together. It could be just me. My fall and winter go-to lipstick is Buxom (R) in Bombay.
Overall, I like the the bangs. I'm also glad that Brandon likes them (although his opinion is secondary to mine). Remember it's just hair, and it will grow!

Do you have bangs, or are you considering bangs? How do you like them?



  1. Your bangs look great. I love them! Great post about tips for bangs. They definitely do require some maintenance. I have a sort of side diagonal bang going on. I think it adds some definition to my face. I also have a round shaped face.

    Miss Adventures in Running

  2. if it's one thing i love about hair is that your hairstyle is never permanent because hair grows!! i haven't had bangs in a while but i've been thinking about them too...maybe for 2014?? you look great, btw :)