Fringe Benefits: How to style and maintain a fringe

Ah, the fringe (or bangs, if you’re from the other side of the pond). The Marmite of the hairdressing world. Most people I come across seem to either vehemently love or hate a fringe, or have some horror stories of having one cut too short or trying to grow one out.

 Image via Google Image via Google

One of the things I get asked most frequently is “is it a pain having to style a fringe every day?”. For me, my fringe is kinda my thing. I’m never seen without it unless I have it clipped back for washing my face or when I’m ill. I’ve had it since my late teens in one form or another, whether it was in that emo sidesweep of the early 2000s that engulfed most of your forehead and half a can of hairspray daily (don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean), full and blocky or parted in the middle 60s style.

Exhibit A: Emo fringe, full fringe (that’s my lovely Dad in the bottom photo)

These days it varies from full fringe when it’s just been cut, and then gradually grows into middle parted bangs, because that’s what I’ve found suits the way my hair falls the most and requires the least work! I absolutely have to have a fringe, because quite frankly I look weird without one. I have a pretty big forehead and don’t have the best hairline. I tried to grow it out during 2011 sometime, which incited a lot of people asking if I was ok or ill or making not-so-thinly veiled comments about how much I suit my fringe. As soon as I got it cut back in it was like my entire social circle breathed a sigh of relief; Lucy was back!

And so, since it’s going to be with me forever, I’ve had to make friends with my fringe and learn how to tame it. Here are the answer to all of those burning questions you always wanted to know about having a fringe!

1. Is it a pain to style every day?

Not really! It’s such a normal part of my styling routine that I don’t notice. I only wear minimal make up for work which takes 5 minutes, and through the week I leave my hair to dry naturally to try and preserve it from heat damage – except my fringe! That would be a disaster. So every morning I straighten it (more on that in a minute), dry shampoo it and it’s ready to go. Probably around 2 minutes all in. I touch it a lot when it gets in my eyes, so it does get a little greasy on the ends after a day or two, so every couple of days (just before hair wash day usually) I wash just my fringe under the tap after I clean my teeth. This also takes about a minute and is no big deal really.

2, How do you style it?

This depends on the kind of fringe you have. Mine is fairly full but softly parted in the middle, so for this (or any fringe look really) you don’t want it too straight. I straighten it in layers (the underneath bit has a really prominent cow’s lick) but ALWAYS make sure that I curl the end of it under a little – this creates bounce and shape and also is what makes the sides flick out slightly Zooey Deschanel style.

 Image via Google Image via Google

If you don’t do this you end up with a super straight primary school mum-just-cut-this-for-photo-day fringe. I always add a bit of dry shampoo even if it doesn’t really need it, as this fluffs it up and makes it look thick and bouncy again.

This was one of my favourite ever fringe eras during my “I wish I was Alexa Chung” phase… and I do miss my red hair!

3. How do you know which fringe will suit you?

As I said above, I’ve been through all of them. I do suit the side sweep but it’s much more of a pain to maintain (mainly the sheer amount of money I used to spend on Fructis Hard spray and the horrid residue it left all over everything in my bedroom). There are some things to consider when choosing a fringe: do you have a cow’s lick? How thick or thin is your hair around the front of your face? Do you want length around the sides or a short, blunt look?

I’d love nothing more than a really thick, blunt fringe like I used to have, but my hair has thinned over the years and now the middle part of my fringe is thinner than the rest, which means it always wants to naturally part in the middle. The trick is to go with what your hair does naturally. Some people think that if you’ve got a cow’s lick, you shouldn’t get a fringe – WRONG! The hair on the front of my hair is practically a crescent moon in the morning before I style it. A cow’s lick can actually be a great thing and help to shape your fringe, if you learn how to style around it. Mine helps my fringe to part in the middle and flick out slightly at the sides. I like to have the hair at the sides a little longer as I find it more flattering and face framing when I have my hair up.

4. Do you cut it yourself?

Well… this is a contentious one. I used to trim it myself all the time and was alright at it, but nothing beats a proper trim by the hairdresser. I’m so lucky that my hairdresser gives me free fringe trims, but he’s the director of a busy salon in town so it’s not that easy to get in to see him between hair cuts. He has expressly told me a few times now not to cut it myself (he can always tell!) and I THINK he’s joking but a the same time I also think he’s deadly serious… it’s not as easy as cutting it in a straight line and hoping for the best! Yes, fringes do need trimming a lot because unless you’re super cool and can pull off a micro fringe above your eyebrows, within two weeks it’ll be in your eyes and will need a trim. I pop in every few weeks or so for a fringe trim, and my hairdresser will often re-shape it a little for me too. There has been the odd time where I’ve snipped away at the middle (*ahem*, last week), but don’t tell him that…

5. Should I get a fringe?

I haven’t seen your face so I don’t know. Most people will suit some kind of fringe, you just have to find the right one. It is a little bit like having a pet; needs some looking after but you’ll reap high rewards. Fringes hide unwaxed eyebrows, wrinkles, forehead pimples and weird brown marks where you’ve used dry shampoo for dark hair. Fringes are awesome, everyone should get one!

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