People are often divided on the subject of bangs: some recoil with horror when they think about their junior high school-era bang cuts, while others consider it an intimidating style that only the likes of Anna Wintour could pull off. But lately, we've noticed a handful of trailblazing celebrities sporting a chunky fringe that's sleek, chic, and versatile enough to wear casually or dressed up (red carpets for them, hot date for you). Whether it's an eyelash-grazing curtain (Bella Heathcote and Rachel McAdams), a shiny and precise trim (Rooney Mara and Rose Byrne), or a slightly disarranged, wispy fringe (Jessica Biel), bangs are clearly the preferred new 'do among our favorite It girls. And after observing how beautifully this style flatters so many different face shapes, we made it our personal mission to find out exactly how to achieve the whole shebang!
Celebrity hairdresser Harry Josh certainly did a bang-up job on Byrne's mane for the Screen Actors Guild Awards in late January. Josh recommends this particular look for those with medium or thick tresses, as it's not ideal for fine-haired women! If you're after the actress' dramatic fringe, just relay Josh's specific instructions to your hairstylist and remember that the key lies in thickness and length. "The only way for bangs to really look good is to cut them so thick that they fall bold and heavy," Josh says. "There's not too much layering. It's blunt for the most part, but it is texturized. The ends are slightly thinned out, but we tried not to thin them out too much. We really wanted to make a bold, blunt statement that frames the face. Another important thing is length, which should always cover the eyebrow. That makes it more modern and sexy, and less junior or high school." Thankfully, styling your Byrne-inspired bangs at home isn't an impossible task. First, massage John Frieda's Full Repair Protecting Root Lift Foam ($6) into wet hair to give lift at the roots, then apply the brand's Full Repair Perfect Ends Deep Infusion ($9) to smooth your ends. Blow dry section by section-Josh suggests using Mason Pearson's Hair Brush ($170)-followed by velcro rollers at the crown to guarantee volume!
Still feel like you're not cut out for this trend? Celebrity hairstylist Andy Lecompte admits that even though bangs require a little TLC, they make an unforgettable statement! "You need to work at them daily and get regular bang trims," he explains. "They're not for a no-fuss girl. However, they are an easy way to give a strong, stylish look even if you pull your hair back and only style your bangs." After asking your stylist for a blunt, heavy fringe, maintain the look with a few of Lecompte's simple suggestions. "I suggest you go to the salon for bang trims, but if you must, you can chip cut them with manicure scissors," he says. "Always flat iron bangs first to get them nice and straight." He also recommends using Wella Professionals' Velvet Amplifier ($20), which keeps bangs from looking oily or piece-y.
If you're ready to take the plunge, cull some inspiration from our bang-bedecked tastemakers. Though Byrne's sleek '70s-esque look is certainly fabulous, it's only one way to wear this bangin' hairstyle. We also adore the 'do that McAdams debuted at the Los Angeles premiere of The Vow; her full fringe, accompanied by tousled waves and dramatic makeup, oozed glamour and sophistication. Heathcote aimed for a more polished look (hair blown out straight and bangs cut right across the forehead), while Mara sports the shortest one of all (a snipped bang with cool, slightly uneven ends). We must also point out Biel's low-maintenance fringe, which looks stylish worn down or pulled-back in an easy ponytail. With a generous sweep of hair covering her forehead and a few wispy strands grazing her cheeks, Biel's look is effortless and totally attainable, proving this style gives you plenty of bang for your buck!--Tiffany Tse
Photos of Rooney Mara and Rachel McAdams, courtesy of Splash; photo of Rose Byrne, courtesy of Getty Images; photo of Jessica Biel, courtesy of X17.