Look, cutting a fringe / cut bangs (whatever you want to call it) at home, without a hairdresser on hand to do it for you, is not a good idea. Let’s just start there.

There are many things that can go wrong, the least of which is that you cut it wonky and the worst case being this:

But hey, we’re all bingeing Normal People and getting inspired by Marianne over here:

same tbh

I already have bangs. In fact *dusts shoulder arrogantly* I have been told by many people I am Marianne’s doppelganger and NO I am not going to take that with a grain of salt. I AM. I ACCEPT THIS COMPLIMENT.

Anyway, the point is for the time being, it’s hard to get to a hairdresser. COVID-19 lockdown rules, which are ever-changing, are making it harder to go get a trim let alone cut bangs, which means you’re left to your own devices.

I asked my hairdresser Amanda Tua for her tips, and of course she immediately was like… hmm ideally don’t do it.

“Remember that cutting is permanent… so if you accidentally take too much off, that hair is GONE! (For the next 4-6 weeks anyway).”

YIKES. Ok but you’re still gonna do it aren’t you, you naughty little quesadilla. FINE. Here’s how.

1. Don’t Cut Bangs Until You Read These “Don’t’s”

There are a few immediate don’t’s that you need to know about before reaching for the scissors. The first? If you have a cowlick, you’re fucked.

“It is super common to have cowlicks – which cause the hair to grow in different directions. Often a person will have hair that moves in one direction on one side and pushes in the opposite direction on the other – hence why we always have a “good side” that tends to behave.”

Is that you? Don’t think that your bangs will just sit nicely at the front then. They’ll follow the rules of your cowlick, which means bangs probably aren’t for you (unless you see a hairdresser and let them assess first).

Also – widows peaks. This is when your hair moves into a point at the front quite a lot. Kourtney Kardashian has one:

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

“Someone with a Widows Peak would really struggle with a fringe, it just wouldn’t sit flat!” says Amanda.

The third don’t is tension – as in, do not pull the bit of hair you’re cutting down really hard.

“This refers to how hard you pull the section down when cutting. The more tension you use to pull the section down, the shorter it will bounce up after cutting.”

Tension is how all those YouTube fails ended up with really short fringes. You might think you’re cutting it nice and long, but you’re… not.

2. Collect The Right Tools

Don’t half ass your bangs, ok? Go to the chemist and buy hairdresser scissors. None there? Do what you can to get some, but worst case Amanda says to use either sewing scissors, or “the sharpest you can find.” NOT nail clippers or the kitchen ones, please.

Then you’ll need:

  • a water spray (or dampen it down in the sink or shower first.)
  • A blow dryer
  • Comb

Got ’em? Great.

3. Dampen, Then Blow Dry

So Amanda is running us through what she calls a “softer, curved Brigitte Bardot style fringe.” Which is more in line with Marianne’s bangs, but also she’s done this because she says a straight across fringe is way harder to nail at home.

“With your blowdryer pointing downwards onto your fringe area, dry your roots forward onto your face using just your hand. Use your fingers to firmly rub your hairline roots while you dry, this will iron out any cowlicks or pesky growth patterns and get everything sitting flat and forward in the right position. Once the roots are dry, keep blasting the ends until dry. For frizzy or curly hair you can smooth the ends with a brush.”

Here’s Amanda showing us how it should look:

cut bangs

The reason she hasn’t given a specific centimetre amount for how much hair to add, is because it varies per person. A good guide? “Don’t force hair into the fringe unless it naturally wants to sit forward,” she says.

Then, clip the bits that won’t be your fringe outta the way.

4. Start Small

None of that twisting method to cut bangs here, friends. Instead, start with a 1cm wide section in the centre, like this:

cut bangs

“This will be the shortest point of your fringe. Hold the section really loosely and as close to your face as possible (do not elevate) and cut in the first piece.”

Ideally cut this longer at first, then shorten it slowly so you don’t have a dramatic “WTF have I done” moment. Say, cut at the bridge of your nose, then go up until you’re happy.

Need more guidance? “A longer fringe would be to the middle of the nose, and a shorter fringe wherever you like, just above the brow is good,” says Amanda.

5. Move To The Side Bits

Then, Amanda suggests you move to the side 1 cm piece, closest to your ear, and decide how long you want that to be. It’ll depend on how short you’ve gone with the middle of your fringe – these two pieces:

Obviously Amanda isn’t going to actually CUT BANGS for us to learn, but she’s showing you the two pieces here.

Take a 1cm section on the outer edge (in front of ear) and cut to desired length using no tension.

That means don’t hold it tight – just cut it while gently holding it in place.

From there, it’s about graduating the length, using 1-2cm sections, so the shortest is in the middle, and the longest at your ear. It’s hard to explain how to decide that in an article (hence why you generally cut bangs at the hairdresser) but the good thing with this type of fringe is it’s hard to fuck up too badly.

6. Do The Other Side

Moving on! Now you go to the other side and do the same as step 5. “Be sure to use your mirror to ensure both sides are even,” says Amanda. You know how hairdressers pull both bits of hair on either side of your face to see that they’re even? Yeah, do that for each bit so your graduating lengths toward the middle aren’t wonky.

7. What If I Screw It Up?

So you still managed to screw up your bangs? It’s ok. Just do some damage control.

“Bobby pins, headbands, gel on damp hair to slick black for a “wet look” will hide it,” says Amanda.

Or go and see a professional hairdresser and hope to hell they are open.