As a child, I had terrible hair. Who am I kidding; this continued throughout high school. When I was just a toddler, I had a typical, adorable bob. As elementary school began, I shortened it to a men’s “regular haircut” (think Chris Pine’s hair on a seven year old girl in a Scooby-Doo shirt). Then, along came the bangs. I hated those bangs so much that I used to wear a handkerchief to hide them. I decided that wasn’t quite embarrassing enough yet, so I changed the handkerchief to a headband pushed to the front of my head so the bangs popped up and hung over my forehead like a tidal wave. I called this classic “the rooster”, and there are photos to prove that I rocked it on the daily. These are just a few examples of the horrible hairstyles I had, and were just the beginning of over a decade more of terrible hair. When I finally came into my own, I learned how to style my hair more suitably. This embarrassing account of my hairstory (get it? Be warned – I am going to repeat this awesome pun a lot) may seem like shame-filled word vomit, but I needed to share my hideous experiences to emphasize how dramatic my recent decision was.
I decided to get bangs, and the thought of it made my stomach turn. I know how ridiculous it may seem to someone whose hairstory is more typical (did you have a rattail? I did. Picture that seven year-old girl in a Scooby-Doo shirt with a rattail. Needless to say, I was not popular with the boys). But, my brothers and sisters who also suffered through their own repeatedly-offending hairstory can back me up that a big change can be nerve-wracking. Before the appointment, I bought a hairstyle magazine that had pictures of different bang-styles. Bringing pictures to a hair appointment is always good, as it ensures there is no confusion about exactly what you want. I went to a hairdresser that I have been to many times and have faith in. Since I was getting a more drastically different cut than normal, seeing someone I was comfortable with was key. I talked to my hairdresser about what I wanted and what we thought would suit my face shape, and agreed upon loose, straight bangs with longer pieces at the side to ensure my face wouldn’t look too round. She cut them long at first, to the tops of my cheeks, so that if I hated them I could brush them off to the side, making them wispy side bangs. But, I braved on, and she slowly brought them shorter and shorter until the bangs skimmed my brows, as we had originally agreed. Luckily, I was very happy with my new hairstyle.
At first, I couldn’t help but be uncomfortably aware of my bangs. I kept trying to move what I thought were misplaced hairs off of my face, forgetting about my haircut. By the second day, though, I had gotten used to them. I quickly realized that bangs need to be washed daily. This is because they’re on your face, require more hair product, and are touched more often. Normally, I wash my hair every other day, so I began washing my bangs every morning. The first week with my new bangs, I had to figure out how to style them. I found that if I let them air-dry, they were too flat. If I didn’t straighten them with a flat-iron, they flipped outwards. If I didn’t spray them with hairspray, they wouldn’t stay in place (if I used mousse, they would frizz out). I use gel if I’m going for a piecey look. I quickly learned things that bangs do not mix well with: rain, wind, exercise, open windows and humidity. Most of these things can be overcome with the right amount of hair product. I’ve come to love Got2b’s Smooth Operator hairspray; its lightweight formula and staying power make it a steal for the price. Obviously, my system is specific to my hair, so don’t be afraid to experiment if you get bangs. Luckily, I already spent time every morning styling my hair, so adding some extra time to do my bangs was a minor adjustment. Now that it’s been a few weeks, it only takes me ten minutes longer. Every two weeks, I trim my bangs myself in the bathroom. Although this may sound daunting, it’s not as hard as it may seem. If you’re really clueless, ask your hairdresser for tips when she’s cutting them.
If you’re looking for a less drastic change for your hair, fall’s runways are a great place to look for styling inspiration. Many runways, such as Lanvin, John Galliano, and Ralph Lauren, were graced with low ponytails. Other designers, such as Bottega Veneta and Nicole Miller, showcased “windblown”, voluminous hairstyles. Creative braids also popped up, like the ones on the Rodarte and Badgley Mischka runways. Slicked back hair is making a futuristic return this season, spotted in the Etro, and Balmain shows.
If you’re looking for a more radical change, like I was, autumn runways had answers for you, too! All types of bangs graced runways, from Brigitte Bardot inspired hair on the Pucci runway to casual side-swept bangs in the Dries Von Noten show. Of course, punk looks are still going strong. If you’re looking for a tougher haircut, the Fendi runway is probably more your style.
Fall is a great time to revamp your hairstyle since the weather isn’t too rainy, dry or humid. Plus, if you hate your new look, you can grow it out by the holidays. Even just trying different style can bring you some newfound confidence. The internet is a great resource for discovering new looks and learning how to achieve new styles. It’s never too late to start a new chapter in your hairstory and look bangin’!
This piece was written by Rebecca MacDonald, Fashion Columnist at Rhetoric Magazine. Come back for more every Thursday!