Bangs – Your New Best Accessory

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!

How to Identify Your Face Shape and Why It Matters

I really want to write a post all about bangs, or fringe, as we in the hair biz call them.  But before that conversation can happen, it’s important that everyone knows how to identify their face shape and understand how it can affect your hair style. When you Google face shapes, tons of information comes up. For the most part, it’s pretty accurate. What isn’t accurate are the images assigned to each definition. For example, Reese Witherspoon is listed as heart-shaped, inverted triangle, diamond and round. Which one is it? Depending on how a person wears her hair, she can instantly alter or enhance her face shape. That’s the cool thing about hair. It is able to enhance or define what we want to show.

Knowing how to identify your face shape can help create balance in your hair style. It can help you determine where you want to place volume, reduce volume, accentuate or de-accentuate features. It can also inform what type of fringe or face framing pieces work for you. For this post, I want to focus on how to identify face shape and the best ways to enhance it with your hair style. In next week’s post, I will take it one step further and share what type of fringe or bangs work with each type of shape.

Identifying Your Face Shape

1. Remove all of your make-up and pull all of your hair away from your face. All of it. No fly-aways and no bangs. Hair and make-up can easily distract from the true shape of your face.

2. Now, go take a look in the mirror. Notice where your face is widest. Temples, cheekbones, or jaw. Maybe it seems like they are all the same width or maybe one of the three stands out more than the others.

3. Notice if your features seem hard and angular or soft.

4. Finally, don’t smile. Smiling distorts your face shape. Jennifer Lawrence looks like she has a heart-shaped face when she smiles, but when she isn’t smiling, she has a very strong jaw line and almost fits into a triangle shape.

There are 7 defined face shapes:

  • Oval
  • Round
  • Square
  • Heart (inverted triangle)
  • Triangle
  • Diamond
  • Oblong

Here is a description of each one and images to help better understand their differences:

Oval Face Shape:

Oval is considered the most balanced of all face shapes. An oval face is widest at the cheek bones with balanced width and length. This shape allows the owner to wear just about any style they want. Lucky girl! In addition to Megan Fox, Jessica Alba, and Naomi Campbell are all oval girls.

Round Face Shape:

Round faces are widest at the cheek bones, but shorter in length with a soft jaw line. Gennifer Goodwin and Kirsten Dunst both have round face shapes. If you Google images of Kirsten, it’s deceiving because she does all the right things with her hair to lengthen her face. This includes a side part and or sweeping side part bangs.

To accentuate this face shape, build volume at the sides and low volume on top.

To lengthen this shape, build volume on top and less volume on the sides.

Square Face Shape:

The biggest difference between round and square face shapes are hard and soft lines in the jaw and near the temples. In a square face shape, these two features are almost equal at the widest part of the face and are more angular and exaggerated. Like round, square face shapes are usually shorter than oval.

To accentuate this shape, build volume on the sides and top corners.

To soften this shape, build volume on top, add soft face framing pieces and a side part to offset corners.

Heart Shape Face:

Girls with this face shape are widest at the temples and narrow through the cheek bones and chin. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Love Hewitt both fit into this category.

To accentuate this shape, build volume through the top and sides

To soften this shape, use a side or center part to offset the width through the temples. Low volume in the top and sides, with more volume or length around the chin and neck area.

Triangle Face Shape:

It was hard to find a celebrity image that demonstrates a triangle face shape. This is mostly because it’s pretty easy to offset with hair. I chose this picture of Minnie Driver because her hair is pulled back which allows you to really see the silhouette. Triangle faces are widest at the jaw, which is usually very strong, and narrows as it moves up to the temple.

To accentuate this shape, low volume on top and add volume through sides and jaw line area.

To soften this shape, add volume through top. A side or center part will give the illusion of more width through the temple area.

Diamond Face Shape:

Diamond Face shape is more angular than oval. Narrow at the top, wide at the cheekbones and narrow at the chin.

To accentuate this shape, deep side part, volume on the sides and top.

To soften this shape, center or side part right at the corner of the head. Build volume through the top corners.

Oblong Face Shape:

Oblong face shapes are longer and more narrow than oval. The width between the temples, cheeks, and jaw line are almost even.

To accentuate this shape, build volume through the top and reduce volume on the sides. A center part will exaggerate the vertical lines of the shape.

To soften this shape, side part or a fringe will detract from the length. Reducing volume in the top and increasing it through the side will give the illusion of width.

Now that you know your face shape and have some direction on how to balance it with your hair style, you’re empowered with what you do with your hair at home or in your consultation with your stylist. Once you find some celebrities with your similar face shape, keep an eye on what they do with their style. It can be a great resource when you’re ready for a change. Next week we will take this one step further and go over what type of fringe works best with each shape. Even if you thought your weren’t a candidate for fringe, it will help you understand what type goes best with your face shape and hair line.

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How to Find Your Perfect Hairstylist

is2009083100470A great hairstylist is a girl’s best weapon–if you have the right one. If you don’t, they can be your worst nightmare. We all want to have one of those amazing experiences where our hairstylist gets us, the salon is cool, and our hair turns our fabulous. So how do you make that a reality?

I want to share a few tips to get you closer to the perfect salon experience. From finding the right hair stylist to learning how to communicate what you want without feeling like you need a translator, here is what you need to know. So get out your notepad and pencil, we’re going to school…

Understanding Salon Types

There are basically two types of salons in the world: commission salons and lease salons (also known as booth rental salons). Commission salons are generally big salons that attract clients to a consistent brand they have created. In Seattle we have Gene Juarez as an example. The benefit of this type of salon is the consistency in their message and culture. Typically the salon staff is trained consistently so they are all competent in the same techniques. Continuing education is a big part of this type of salon, meaning everyone stays current on trends, products and skills.

In a lease salon the draw is usually the stylist over the brand of the establishment. Each stylist is renting their station from the salon owner and running their own business. The salon owner can set the aesthetic of the salon, but aside from that he/she has very little say over how each stylist runs things day-to-day. Skill set and techniques can vary throughout a lease salon because there is not as much emphasis on team education. Continuing education is at the discretion of the individual stylist. In this type of salon a stylist’s unique creativity can shine as they are not bound by performing set techniques that represent the “look” of a large branded commission salon.

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Finding the Perfect Stylist

A great way to discover a talented stylist is to find hair you like and ask who did it. Every head of hair is a walking billboard for a hair stylist. Keep your eye out for hair that stands out to you and then ask “Who does your hair?” Everyone loves a good complement and will be happy to give credit where credit is due. Ask enough people and eventually you will hear the same name or salon mentioned. Additionally, many salons and stylists offer referral discounts. When you call to book your appointment mention the name of the person who referred you and see what happens!

Go Online. Websites like Yelp and CitySearch can be effective resources for finding your hair stylist. You can start a search with a specific neighborhood and then start reading reviews. Each salon or stylist’s Yelp page will also tell you details like hours, payment options and possibly images of their work.

Look at Hair Brand websites. Do you have a favorite haircare line or color line? Go the manufacturer’s website. Many of them list salons or hair stylists who use their products. At Redken.com there is a “Salon Finder.” By typing in your zip code you will generate a list of salons and stylists using Redken products. You can also find Redken Certified Colorists and Designers who have taken the time to get tested and certified in their understanding of all facets of the brand.

Ask the receptionist. If you have narrowed down your search to a specific salon, but not to a stylist, ask for the receptionists advice. Their job is to help direct you to a well matched hair guru. Let them know a little about what type of style you’re going for and they will point you in the right direction.

Making the Most of the Initial Appointment

For your first appointment with a new stylist I always say less is more. Book a 15 – 20 minute consultation before committing your locks to a service. It’s like a coffee date before diving into a full-blown dinner date. You will have the opportunity to get the vibe of the salon and the stylist making sure they are a fit for you.

For this first appointment, do a little homework to ensure you come prepared. Bring pictures of hair you like as well as pictures you don’t like. Whether they are pictures of you or images from magazines or online, it’s a great way to help communicate what you are looking for. Words alone are open to wide interpretation. If you say you want to be red, there is a wide range of reds to choose from. But when you bring in a picture of the color you are after, you can effectively show exactly what you want. Keep in mind, from a hair stylist’s perspective, we can’t make you look like Jennifer Aniston. We can use her look as our inspiration for you and personalize it to your hair type and lifestyle.

Be sure to discuss cost and time investment. How much time do you want to spend in the salon? What is comfortable for your beauty budget? Your hair stylist should be able to give you an accurate price for service for your first appointment and future appointments. If your dream look is starting to sound too time consuming and pricey, don’t be afraid to ask for some other options that fit your budget.

Also, ask how often your potential stylist attends continuing education. Believe it or not, I know many hair stylists who haven’t taken one class since they stepped out of cosmetology school. The science of hair continues to advance, product options improve, and techniques evolve. If a stylist isn’t offering you the most current options, you could be cheating your hair of beautiful, healthy end results. Some states require continuing education for stylists and others, like Washington state, do not. I feel that every good hair stylist should attend at least one class a year. Hands-on classes where attendees actually perform new skills and product knowledge classes are the most valuable.

Lastly, inquire about the stylists’ availability. What days is the stylist in the salon? How far out do they normally book? These factors can greatly influence your ability to sit in their chair. Can you get in on short notice or will you need to schedule weeks out for your appointment? Are they in the salon on days and hours that fit your availability? It’s great if you feel like you connect during the consultation, but if your stylist isn’t available when you are it can create an ongoing challenge.

By covering all of these bases, at the end of your consultation you will have a good idea if this is the hair stylist for you. If it’s right, book your appointment and put your trust in their suggestions and creative approach. Someone recently asked me what my favorite type of cut is. My response is, I love a variety of cuts when my salon guest trusts my vision and professional opinion to give them what they are asking for. My most difficult cuts are those where a guest is second guessing my approach and changing their initial expectations midway through the process. By doing a little work up front, you are going to have an amazing experience that will lead to a lifelong relationship.