Curtain bangs are all the rage this fall, and have never truly gone out of style (from Alexa Chung’s wispy fringe on 2014 Tumblr to Brigitte Bardot’s classic 60s cut!) The timeless, symmetry-promoting ‘do is seemingly everywhere— whether you’re scrolling TikTok or finding pics from New York Fashion Week, you can almost always spot an it-girl rocking French-inspired, middle-parted fringe. We checked in with professional hair stylists and experts for a complete DIY guide on how to get the look for yourself, and common mistakes to avoid when trimming your hair in-between salon visits.
@sukhmanikhokhar DIY curtain bangs at home! #howtocut #curtainbangs #bangs #hair #hairtiktok #hairtutorials #tutorials #haircut #style #fyp #foryoupage #foryou ♬ original sound – sukhmani
First Off, What Are Curtain Bangs?
This cut, which requires face-framing, longer fringe parted down the center, “flatters just about any face at any age,” according to Ghanima Abdullah, hair expert and cosmetologist at The Right Hairstyles. Curtain bangs, she explains, “neatly frame the face while drawing attention away from serious aging signs.”
Celebrity hairstylist Michelle Cleveland of Hair Addict Salon agrees, adding that curtain bangs are the perfect answer for someone who “wants bangs but also doesn’t want the commitment of a full bang.” They are essentially a “version of the classic face frame that so many women choose because it flatters almost all face shapes,” she continues. The wispiness of the shape that is created, Cleveland notes, is “soft and delicate and provides a more lived-in look,” which is why she believes the celeb-fave style is “so popular.”
Tools Needed For DIY Curtain Bangs
Before snipping your locks, hairdressers stress the importance of gathering the right tools for yourself to ensure the best cut possible. These include:
These will be your best friend when cutting your tresses, stylists say, as you’ll be able to pin back certain strands and section off others while targeting specific areas. Also, if you choose to air-dry your bangs after a shower, for example, using clips in different ways can create a new look as they dry. The possibilities are endless— it’s fun to experiment!
Round Brush (for styling)
As someone with curtain bangs herself, I too can recommend a round brush for that classic blown-out, voluminous and symmetrical look. Curtain bangs will naturally split in the middle as your hair gets used to the new part, but using a round brush when blow drying and brushing can elevate your look instantly.
This will come in handy when you want to create a perfect middle part, to get tangles out of your bangs, and to keep your fringe looking bouncy and not flat on your forehead. (Pro tip: take a mini one with you on-the-go!)
While many of us have impulsively cut bangs with regular scissors over the bathroom sink (myself included), experts suggest opting for professional hairdressing scissors, which are naturally smaller and can help you acquire the wispy, angled look that celebs with curtain bangs rock.
How To Cut Your Own Curtain Bangs At Home: 7 Steps
Wash and Dry Your Hair
Before even thinking about cutting or trimming bangs, it is vital to begin with a clean slate. This means washing, drying and brushing out knots and tangles from your hair before taking any scissors to it will provide the best results.
Create a Center Part
For the symmetrical, middle-parted look, take a comb, start at the back of your head, and move the tool across your scalp towards your forehead. From here, make sure that your part aligns with your nose and chin, and is not in a zig-zag or crooked shape. This will help create bangs that are just as face-framing.
Part Out a Triangle From the Top of Your Head
Cleveland advises to now “section off your fringe area by finding the point of the top of your head where it starts to head downward towards your forehead.” From that point, she says to section downwards towards the recession points on both sides of your forehead. “This should create a triangle shape and is the area you will cut,” she notes.
Cut Your Bangs Straight Across at Chin Level
Before taking any scissors to your tresses whatsoever, Cleveland says to “secure all the remaining hair” that you don’t want to cut in a clip or an elastic. When cutting a curtain bang, you “need to have a shorter center which progressively gets longer in the outer corners,” she adds. To do this, Cleveland says to take a narrow vertical subsection in the center of the triangle and cut to your desired length. By keeping your longest newly cut strands at chin level and working your way inwards, it will look even, and you will have a cut that frames your face on both sides.
Part Your Bangs and Trim Each side at an Angle
Beginning with one side of the first cut, she then recommends continuing to “take narrow vertical sections and over, and direct them towards the original section, using it as a guide,” before repeating on the other side. In other words, making sure your part is even and that your hair is angled in a way that frames your cheekbones and chin, with your bangs falling at your eyebrow level, is the way to go.
Blow-dry with a Round Brush
While Cleveland suggests “cutting your bangs when they are dry” (to avoid a surprise length if it is wet and then dries to a shorter look later), if your bangs are indeed wet, the cutest and most efficient way to style them is with a round brush.”The best way to blow-dry curtain bangs is to use a wide barrel brush,” Cleveland says, and “blow-dry rolling down towards your nose first, and then a second pass blow-drying back. ” This, she says, creates the “appealing swoop of the curtain bang.”
Cut Ends Vertically and Feather
If you’re opting for that Farrah Fawcett 70s-shag-esque look, this can be acquired through careful and strategic feathering. To do this, take your scissors, twist your bangs and vertically snip at the ends (not horizontally!) This, experts say, will create a feathered-out look that will add more volume to your locks, and won’t look too blunt or straight-across.
@livpamp its so easy to do at home! #curtainbangs #hairtutorial #hair #foryou ♬ Feel No Ways – Drake
4 Common Mistakes To Avoid
Not Sectioning Correctly
When creating the middle part and triangle to cut from, it is imperative to start the part at the back of your head, continue in a straight line and stop at the beginning of your forehead. From here, it is important to make sure this lines up with your nose and chin, perfectly dividing your face in half and looking symmetrical. Any zig-zagging or crookedness can result in a slight side bang, which isn’t what you are going for.
Going for the ideal length immediately
Cleveland suggests taking your time when cutting curtain bangs, as you can always cut off more hair, but cannot grow it back immediately if you cut off too much. Taking careful little snips is ideal, as you can slowly determine which length is best. If you are a beginner to bangs, you might need time to adjust to the new look, and having longer fringe can feel less jarring and extreme.
Not Using a Reference Image for Guidance
Whether you want your curtain bangs to look like Jane Birkin’s, Kerry Washington’s, or Zooey Deschanel’s, having a reference photo will make cutting your own hair so much easier. Knowing your hair type and texture is also crucial, and finding an image of this with bangs can help you feel more prepared when taking on the task by yourself. Cutting your hair without a photo in mind can lead to other mistakes, and might create a look you aren’t ready for or might not like later on.
Using Generic Scissors
While this might not seem like a big deal, choosing not to use standard hairdressing scissors can lead to more blunt bangs. As curtain bangs promote symmetry and softness, blunt bangs do the opposite— and using professional scissors to trim your fringe is a sure way to have more feathered as opposed to jagged or rough ends.
@livpamp which way is your favorite? #curtainbangs #hair #hairtutorial #foryou ♬ Conceited – Flo Milli
Overall, DIY-ing your own curtain bangs is certainly possible— whether you’re a beauty guru who is excited to try the trend on your own, or just don’t have time to hit the salon. Being prepared is the way to win when it comes to cutting fringe, and this means equipping yourself with the right tools, following tips from experts when taking scissors to your strands, and avoiding common mistakes that beginners often make. In no time, you’ll get used to the stunning, timeless and symmetrical look, and feel confident trimming your own bangs in-between salon visits or anytime you need a change!