Welcome to Month of Me, where every day in January we’ll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article featuring a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including what it’s like to quit alcohol for 80 days, try Beyoncé's very strict diet, or completely overhaul your closet.
What did you try? Celebrity hairstylist Cervando Maldonado gave me bangs at 454 North, in West Hollywood. (He's also the co-owner with his business partner, Chris Bragg.)
Why did you try it? Aside from a (very unflattering) bowl cut I got at Kid's Hair when I was about 4 years old, the list of "dramatic" haircuts I've had in my life is short. I actually opted for some short side bangs a few years ago—and loved them—but immediately let them grow out and have kept my hair long and layered ever since. That said, I've been itching to make a change for a year or so now, and after going blonder late last year, I felt like I needed a cooler, chicer haircut for 2020. I've always loved the look of French-girl bangs, (think Brigitte Bardot circa the 1960s), so I decided to put my haircut fears to the side and try something new.
Ever since moving to Los Angeles a few years ago and becoming a beauty editor, I've exclusively seen Cervando to cut my hair. He's the best, it's always a treat to visit his beautiful salon, and he also happens to be a genius when it comes to retro-inspired cuts. (He routinely works with celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Margot Robbie, Reese Witherspoon, and many more.) We'd been talking about bangs for months, so he was the obvious person I entrusted with the fate of my long hair.
How did you prepare? I drank five glasses of wine (KIDDING). Honestly, even though I get a little squeamish when it comes to making changes with hair, I completely trust Cervando, and I just let him do his thing. Cervando is familiar with my hair, so I didn't go in for a consultation prior to my appointment, but if you're seeing someone for the first time, I definitely recommend meeting with them in-person beforehand to chat through your goals and share some inspiration pics. Cervando and I consistently DM each other retro hair inspiration, so he knew the kind of vibe I was looking for.
What happened during the whole process? First of all, as someone who has been to almost every major hair salon in Los Angeles at this point, I can say in full honesty that 454 North is my absolute favorite. It's tucked right off of Robertson, but it's this amazing, cozy two-story bungalow that Maldonado re-imagined as the chicest of salons. Everyone is lovely, all the stylists and colorists are so, SO talented, and I feel so lucky to have found such a gem. Since I get anxious with hair, a salon that's chaotic just doesn't feel like a good environment to me, so I appreciate the serenity of 454 North. After checking in at the front desk, I was given a gown and a can of LaCroix before being picked up by Cervando and his wonderful assistant Donnie Thorpe to head back to his chair.
After Cervando took a moment to look at my hair (no kidding, it's grown a foot since I regularly started seeing him and living by his and my colorist's rules of healthy hair), I told him that I was looking for bangs, but a style that wasn't too short and that would still feel low-maintenance and easy to style. (I suck at doing my hair and also wear my hair up a lot—I wanted my bangs to still feel functional!) Cervando agreed that while he loved my long hair, it was almost a little too long for my face and fine texture, so in addition to cutting my bangs, he wanted to take a couple of inches off my ends to keep my hair looking full; the idea was that the whole cut would frame my face better, something I was completely on board with.
Cervando did part of the trim when my hair was wet and with me standing (I'm tall, so this is important!) and then finished off my layers after Donnie had blown out my hair. Ultimately, we decided on a bang length that would hit right around my cheekbones. I'm obsessed! The haircut truly changed how my face looked in the best way possible.
Any challenges? No challenges! As I said, Cervando and the salon, in general, are a dream, and I couldn't have asked for a more positive experience. I'm still getting used to my bangs (there's always a little bit of an awkward phase when you're getting to know a new length or color), but all in all, I'm in love with end result and have been receiving tons of compliments.
Any surprises? No surprises!
How did you feel afterward? What kinds of changes did you notice? Because I had gotten bangs once before, I kind of knew what to expect in terms of how to style them. But since I opted for a look that was slightly longer and more grown-out looking, I've been surprised at how easy my bangs have been to work with. (I've found a round brush and curling wand to be key in order to keep them flipping and curving the right direction from my face.) I also noticed that I definitely feel more confident. I've been loving my long hair, but I knew my strands needed a fresh shape and look. I know I just mentioned this, but the biggest change I've noticed is how many compliments I've received and how much fun I've been having with hair accessories. I think headbands look so cute paired with bangs.
What did you like about it? In addition to loving the salon, my hairstylist, and the outcome, I also really enjoyed the experience of trying something new. It's easy to become kind of jaded or overly comfy when you work in the beauty industry. (It's like you live vicariously through the haircuts, colors, makeup, etc., that you're always writing about!) I think getting bangs was a great step in the right direction. My goal is to be more experimental in 2020—be it with hair, skincare, or makeup, so this was the ultimate kickoff. And I'm so grateful to Cervando and 454 North for making the experience so seamless and fun.
What did you hate? I didn't hate anything. Just maybe that it took me so long to go for it.
Would you try it again? One million percent. I plan on keeping my bangs for a while before letting them grow out.
Any advice for someone who is thinking about trying it? I think finding a hairstylist you really trust and whose work you consistently love and admire is key. Also, finding a salon with an ambiance that will make you feel calm and comfortable. As far as the actual cut, I think it's good to do your research and to find of a variety of inspirational looks you love and can bring to your stylist without being overly strict. Flexibility and openness are key! Listen to what your hairstylist thinks will or won't work for your hair texture, features, and face shape, and try your best to keep an open mind. Ultimately, you'll probably land on the perfect compromise together.
One more thing: It's important to be realistic about styling and maintenance. Make sure you have an idea of what the cut will entail in terms of upkeep and that it's in line with your commitment level.
A lightweight oil is key if you have bangs—they get greasy fast! I'm obsessed with this formula from R+Co to give me a little bit of shimmery shine without weighing down my fringe. I usually spray it into clean hands and then pull my hair back as if I'm pulling it into a ponytail to carefully coat everything without overdoing it.
Dry shampoo is another must—my bangs get greasy fast, so I keep this dry shampoo on standby at all times. I have a few favorite dry shampoos, but I like this one because it also helps blend out my roots. (Grab the tinted version if you have dark hair!)
Last but not least, I rely on this cult-favorite serum from Virtue to keep my ends from heading toward splitsville. You know how crisp and polished your hair looks right after a cut? This wonder formula maintains that for months.