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Trust Me, Now Is Not the Time to Experiment With DIY Bangs

A former bangs-haver shares advice for anyone getting the urge to snip while in quarantine.
Dakota Johnson, a perfect-bang-owner, asking you with her eyes to put down the scissors. 

Dakota Johnson, a perfect-bang-owner, asking you with her eyes to put down the scissors. 

Although TikTok has become my preferred escapism method of choice these days, there is one trend taking over the app which has seriously disturbed me. It's not teen girls doing overly-sexualized dances (can we do stuff less...air-humpy?) or hot young men doing POVs where they pretend to be serial killers (though that is disturbing and I am going to call your mothers) — no, it's all the people who are using this time of social isolation to pick up scissors and cut their own bangs.

I'm not talking about handling your touch-up trims at home, which is something I can fully endorse as a former bang-owner myself. No, I mean going from no bangs to hella bangs, armed with your own hands and a false sense of hairstyling confidence. I know it seems like a good idea because if you fuck up, no one will see you — no one, that is, but the people on Al Gore's Internet who will make your bad bangs go viral — but unlike a lot of other beauty experiments, bangs are best left to the experts. Trust me on this.

To begin with, there are so many different kinds of bangs! What kind of fringe are you going for, which style is going to suit your face and your style and your beauty routine? You could do a baby bang (and honestly, many of you are doing this accidentally) reminiscent of Amélie; a thick, straight-across style à la Zooey Deschanel; layered bangs which frame your face at the sides in a laid-back, '70s kind of way; side-swept bangs that would make any late-aughts scene queen jealous. The word "bangs," in other words, carries loads of different meanings. (I am specifically referring to hair here, please do not be weird, I am trying to help you.) 

When you go to a professional stylist, they should walk you through this and help you find a version that is both what you had in mind and what works best for you. It's not as simple as holding hair in front of your face and chopping off a bunch at once. There's an art to this! There's gentle layering at the side to blend them in with the rest of your hair, a light dusting at the ends to keep them from looking too blunt. Your run-of-the-mill kitchen shears ain't gonna do the job, sweet thing!

And if you mess this up — I hate to be discouraging, but it's more likely than not that you will mess this up! — it takes a very long time to grow bangs out. Again, I am a reliable narrator here: I had bangs for nearly a decade before deciding to grow them out last spring, and they are only just now long enough to pull back into a ponytail. A year's worth of growth and those babies barely hit my chin! If anything, this period of social distancing is the ideal time to grow your bangs out, since the most awkward phase hits in the first few months. 

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But I digress. My point here is that, while we might not be venturing back out into society any time soon, we're going to be seeing people again in some way eventually, and you're going to emerge from your cocoon with blunt hair that hits your cheekbones like you're a member of a '90s boyband. I don't think that's what you have in mind! (If it is though, that's cool and absolutely no judgement, you do you.) If you still want bangs when salons are open again, go forth and prosper, my friend. I loved having bangs. Hell, I still get the urge to have them cut in again. 

There are plenty of other things you can do with your hair at home to scratch that itch. Shaving your hair off is extreme, sure, but you can be sure you'll do that uniformly and if you've always wanted to try it, why not now? While that will also take ages to grow out, at least it'll be months before your hair hits an awkward period, unlike bangs, which take a matter of weeks to go south. Why not try a fun hair color? Professionals would advise you to step away from any kind of bleaching, but you could certainly experiment with slightly darker shades, especially in semi-permanent dyes. (I recommend red, since it fades super fast regardless of whether you hate or love it.)

Let's say you've already cut your bangs and you hate them. I'm sorry I arrived too late! But I can help you with some handy tips for growing those bad boys out. Invest in headbands and hair clips; as it gets longer, you can try different styling techniques at the hairline. If you made them too blunt, try these at-home trim tips, or here's what I did to trim mine at home between cuts: take a razor like you would use for your body and carefully — I mean carefully, slow and steady wins the race here — pull tiny sections of bangs taught and run the blades along the very ends to soften them. Ideal? No. But we are nothing if not a resourceful species. 

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