I just got bangs for the first time in five years. Before that, the first time in 12 years!

And I’m not getting rid of them. In addition to hiding what I consider to be my too-large forehead (some may call it a fivehead), bangs are a fun, easy way to update your hair. Side-swept or straight across,  bangs are a phenomenal hiding place for those forehead wrinkles, so they can make you appear younger!

However, bangs-lovers beware: it can be easy to make a mistake at the salon. If you’re like me, you will find a stylist you TRULY trust. Here are the dos and don’ts to make sure you get the best bang for your buck at your next hair appointment.

Length

Do allow them to graze your eyebrows. If you are getting straight-across bangs, make sure they just graze your eyebrows. If they are side bangs, the absolute shortest layer should hit your eyebrow, then taper off to your ear or longer. Also, make sure your stylist slightly curves them so they don’t look too harsh across your face.

Don’t go too short or too long. Anything shorter than your eyebrows will make you look like a toddler whose mom cut their hair too short to keep it out of their food (yes, that happened to me). Anything longer will look like you missed your last appointment for a trim and they are poking you in the eyes at every turn. Luckily, most salons will offer inexpensive or complimentary bang trims to keep your fringe at just the right length.

Thickness

Do get them thick enough. Whether your bangs are straight across or side-swept, they should be about as thick as one layer of the rest of your hair. When the bangs are brushed out flat, you should just barely be able to see your forehead.

Don’t go too thick or too thin. Wispy bangs were cool in the ’80s, when the rest of your hair was larger than a lion’s mane. Now, wispy bangs look out of date. Too-thick bangs will also make your hair look heavy and weighed down.

Texture

Do give your bangs some movement. When you wear your hair in curls, remember to give your bangs a little lovin’, too. Use a curling iron to create a slight wave that blends into the rest of your tresses.

Don’t wear your bangs like ’80s Bon Jovi. Remember Jon Bon Jovi’s “effortless” crimpy mane in the ’80s? Of course you do. It was sexy on him then, but I guarantee it will not have the same effect on you now. If your hair is naturally curly or wavy and you want to let your natural texture take hold for a day, remember to still style your bangs to blend in, and not stick straight up.

At the same time, wearing stick-straight bangs with curly hair is also a don’t. Make the textures match as much as possible – but be careful, too much of this and you’ll end up in mullet territory.

Color

Do pick a bold hue. Bangs are an awesome way to showcase a bold hair color. Bangs hide forehead wrinkles, and dying them with the rest of your hair is a perfect way to hide grays that crop up along your hairline. The perfect anti-aging hairstyle! But really, a bold color like auburn is a wonderful way to showcase trendy bangs.

Don’t get streaks of color. When you dye your hair, make sure your bangs match the rest of your head. This sounds simple, but can be tricky with highlights. A couple strands of blonde in the front are fine, but beware of a stripey look.

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