Bangs. Do you want them? Do you have them? How are they working for you? Love them? Hated them? Never had the nerve to commit? Maybe someone down the road told you that you should never have bangs. Full fringe, side swept, or baby–they are all a great accessory. They can bring attention to features you love and distract from those you don’t. If you ever wanted to make a big change to your hairstyle, but didn’t want to cut it off, adding a fringe is the next best thing.
In the US most people say “bang”, everywhere else, including most of us in the hair industry, say “fringe”, like decorative fringe you would find on a lamp, but better. For this post I am going to use the word fringe. After our time together, hopefully, you will adopt the term as well. That way, there is no confusion when someone says “she’d like a bang”.
In order to talk about what type of fringe is perfect for you, it’s important to know your face shape. Guess what? I wrote and entire post about how to identify your face shape just so I could write this post about fringe. Here’s the info. If you haven’t read it yet, take a minute and do so before you move on…… Ok, up to speed? Here we go!
First, face shape as it relates to fringe. Most articles about face shape claim that oval is the perfect face shape. A big sigh for all of us who aren’t oval. Here’s my take on this. All face shapes are great, and I’m not sure that we need to be spending our waking hours trying to create the illusion of something we don’t have. Some of us are very proud of specific features of our face. Maybe you have your dad’s nose, the family chin, or amazing cheek bones. Fringe can bring more focus to these features. Rather than tell you what type of fringe gives the “illusion” of oval and what fringe doesn’t, I want to focus on how fringe can really be the key to accentuating the things you love best about your face or de-accentuating the things you’re not crazy about.
There’s also the issue of hairline. Some of us have high or maybe low hairlines, or maybe a cowlick or swirl that has made it seem like having a fringe is an unattainable goal. I’m here to tell you that those features shouldn’t discourage you from fringing away! If you follow my guide, you will be on your way and wowing your friends with your new hair style!
(Pardon the poor rendition of fringe. I wanted to show you all the options for each face shape. Here we go!)
Fringe for Oval Face Shapes
Oh Megan Fox, you’re so pretty it must suck to be you. Megan has an oval face shape which means every fringe looks great on her. Side, center or full they all add interest to her look.
Fringe for Round Face Shapes
Ginnifer Goodwin has a round face shape. This means the silhouette is shorter than oval, with soft round lines. She does a great job with her hair to work with the shape. To give the illusion of length, fringe should be side or center swept. Full fringe can accentuate the roundness. If you have a round face and want a full fringe, it should be cut so that it is slightly shorter in the middle. This will give just a enough length to make it work.
Fringe for Square Face Shapes
Here is a perfect example of a square face shape. Widest at the temples and jaw line with angular lines. To de-accentuate the hard lines, some softness is needed. Side fringe is best for this job. This is also a good opportunity to have a few face framing pieces of length to soften the jaw line. To accentuate a square face shape, a full, wide fringe is best. You can see how the lines mimic the jaw line, emphasizing the shape. Fringe with a center part adds length, but it also tends to emphasize a square jaw line.
Fringe for Triangle Face Shapes
Minni Driver has a great triangle face shape identified by the strong square jaw line and narrowing cheek bones and temples. Again, a side fringe will give added width through the top to create balance. Fringe with a center part will add length but accentuate a square jaw line. A full fringe, like square face shape, mimics the lines of the jaw accentuating the strength. If you are determined to go with a full fringe it needs to be cut extra wide and should “C” shape, being shorter in the center and longer on the sides.
Fringe for Oblong Face Shapes
SJP is one of the most famous celebrity oblong faces. Oblong means that the shape is longer than oval and narrow through the sides. The temples and cheek bones are close to the same width. To de-accentuate the length, fringe, particularly side or full fringe, is your best friend. A center fringe can accentuate the length. It’s like building vertical lines on vertical lines causing the eye to go up and down. In terms of hair style, fullness on the sides will take away from the long lines while volume on top will give added length.
Fringe for Heart Shape Faces
A heart face shape is widest through the temple area and narrows through the cheek bones and chin. To take away from the width, side or center fringe is the best choice. Full fringe is an option, but the width should not be wider than the cheek bones. A straight line in the fringe is better than a curved shape if you want to detract from the length of the chin. Reese has worn a variety of fringes but does it in a way that always makes her look fresh and pretty.
Fringe for Diamond Face Shapes
Scarlett has a diamond face shape, meaning she is narrow in the temple and chin with width through her cheek area. To accentuate this face shape, a fringe that splits in the center will exaggerate the length. To add more softness or roundness, a side swept fringe is perfect. It offsets the angles of the diamond and diagonal width to the shape. A full fringe can work, but be careful of how it balances with the cheek bones and the chin. A full fringe should be cut straight across to balance the shape.
Fringe with a High Hairline
Let’s take a look at Christina Ricci. Notice how she has a high forehead with a heart shape face. Look at the way fringe has brought the focus back to her face instead of her forehead. The secret is that the fringe needs to be heavy enough to weigh itself into place. If it doesn’t have enough thickness, it will split in unwanted places. I also love how the fringe has been angled to bring our her cheek bones.
Fringe on a Low Hairline
Fergie has a low hairline. Many people with this feature think they can’t wear a fringe. So untrue! It’s just about where the fringe comes from that makes it work. In the second image, Fergie is wearing a false fringe, and while it is not the perfect example, it does give an exaggerated look at how this can work. First, the fringe needs to be heavy. Secondly, it needs to come from far back in the hairline. This way it disguises how low the hairline really is. If someone with a low hairline wants a light fringe, it almost accentuates the lowness of the hairline. So if you’re going to do it, you need to go full-out and really commit to it.
Final Hot Fringe Tips
Cowlicks and swirls. When I consult with a client about adding a new fringe, I always check for any cowlicks or swirls in the potential fringe area. Almost all of us have something like this around our hairline, but it doesn’t have to stop you from adding your new fringe accessory. Two tips. 1. Create a heavier fringe to add weight which can overpower the direction of the swirl. 2. Be sure you know how to redirect that swirl and gain control of your fringe. Here’s what you need to do:
To redirect the swirl affecting your fringe
1. The wetter the fringe, the easier it is to redirect the growth. Therefore, your fringe should always be dried first.
2. You need styling product. A medium hold gel, mousse or spray gel will work perfectly. Place a small amount at the base of your fringe before you dry and style it. This will help “set” it into place and give it the ability to stay throughout the day. I love Redken’s Velvet Gelatine 07 because not only does it hold, it also creates a high shine, smells great and protects hair from humidity.
3. Finish with a light weight, dry hair spray. Redken’s Forceful 23 or Control Addict 28 are great choices. This final step ensures that your fringe will stay where you put it. I recommend a dry aerosol spray because it will not “freeze” the fringe into place, but it will give it memory so when it moves it will have a tendency to go back to where it needs to be.
Keeping your fringe fresh daily. While you may not wash your hair everyday, washing your fringe is a quick and easy way to freshen your look and let your fringe recover from a night in bed. I usually pull the rest of my hair back in a ponytail and do it right in the sink. I use a pea size amount of shampoo, like Redken’s All Soft, to lather it up. To save time, I usually skip the conditioner and go straight for the styling product.
Ok! There you have it! Hopefully I have covered all the bases when it comes to fringe. It really is the easiest way to make a noticeable change to your hairstyle. The secret to looking amazing is simply knowing how to work with your face shape and hairline. The next time you are considering a new bag, necklace, or lipstick, maybe you should be considering a new fringe instead!