Trimming your own bangs is a lot like doing electrical work — you do NOT want to try it yourself without first seeking advice from a professional and obtaining a solid set of instructions. We consulted with senior stylist Erica Rae at Roar Salon to get just that, and hopefully this post will help to cut down on all those needless bang-related home accidents. Speaking from experience, I can say there’s not much worse than standing at the mirror (scissors still in hand) with way-too-short, wavy, weird bangs and asking yourself, what just happened here?
If you’re considering bangs for the first time, Erica recommends that you have your hair cut by a professional stylist. But if your existing bangs are longer than you like them, she has some great tips and instructions for how to trim them like a pro at home. “Unless you’re growing your bangs out,” she says, “I usually suggest trimming them at home at least once a week.” The key to her technique is “point cutting” — holding the scissors vertically while cutting small sections of hair — as opposed to blunt cutting with the scissors straight across. Brave model Shalyn Nelson agreed to trim her own bangs for us in front of the camera with Erica’s guidance. We have to admit, we’re impressed with the results.
“It’s like plucking your eyebrows,” Erica says. “Just keep up with them, even if you’re barely cutting anything. It will save you a trip to the salon and keep your haircut looking good longer. It’s amazing how freshly cut bangs can make a overdue haircut look better!”
The day she came in to Roar, Shalyn’s thick, straight bangs were covering her eyes. She didn’t want short bangs, but didn’t want them in her face, either. Erica gave Shalyn tips on how to give her bangs a subtle trim without losing the look that she likes.
- First, section the hair. Start by pulling the sides away from the bangs and clipping them out of the way.
- Use a comb to figure out how far back your bang section should be. A proper bang section should follow the shape of your head. Rule of thumb: any hair that falls forward from where your head starts to round off will naturally fall forward. Gravity will cause that hair to fall in your face. If you decide you only want a thin section for bangs, know that you will constantly be trying to separate your bangs from the rest of your hair. It’s possible to do so but requires more work (and usually more product.) As far as how wide the section should be, I usually determine this by following their hairline. If they have very thin hair then make it a wider section. If they have thicker hair them go with a narrower section. Sometimes I just use their temple as a guide. This is all personal preference.
- Once you determine how you want your bang section to look you can then start preparing to trim the hair. You’ll want to pin back most of the bang section now. I ALWAYS start trimming with a very thin layer of hair from the bang section. This is going to be your “guide.”
Trim this first thin layer to your desired length and then take inventory — do you like how it looks? If you decide the length is too short you easily hide your mistake with the next few sections you take. That’s the benefit of starting with the super thin section. If you decide you actually want them longer, you can simply cut the next sections a bit longer and it will all blend together. On the other hand, if you’re happy with the first section you cut then simply cut every other section at that exact same length. I always take horizontal partings when doing so.
- Another point to make is ALWAYS point cut. This will keep you from looking like Lloyd from “Dumb and Dumber.” Remember, this is a tutorial on how to TRIM your bangs. I wouldn’t expect anyone to dare try and cut a blunt short bang at home. It never fails, you usually end up with way shorter bangs then you wanted because you couldn’t get them straight so you kept trying… and before you know it you have Lloyd bangs. Not in a cute way. Never in a cute way!
- Continue taking small sections and meeting them to your previous section.
- Once you have cut all the sections you can, then unclip your hair and see if any old bangs were hiding from you in the clips. If so the just blend them in by point cutting them as well.
ERICA’S PRO TIP:
“The way to get the best results is to ALWAYS cut your bangs when they are dry and styled the way you usually style them. If you usually flat iron your hair then do that first. If you round brush your bangs then create that volume before cutting. Remember to always point cut and use a set of scissors that are meant for cutting hair. NOT your kitchen scissors (or even worse, your kids plastic scissors. Please don’t do this. You’d be surprised to how many times I hear this from clients!) Target sells hair cutting scissors.”
photographed by kristen kilpatrick