Bangs: Straight Bangs
Bangs: Straight Bangs
Karen Marie Shelton/Dedicated To FFOS
Date: 12/12/07


Bai Ling
At ESPN The Magazine's
"Summer Fun" Party
The Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, CA

You might be surprised to know that bangs often make the celebrity news headlines.  Several celebrity watchers recently made a big to-do about the fact that actress Katie Holmes had arrived at the Bambi awards in Germany wearing brand new bangs.  What was noteworthy about Katie's bangs, according to the media, was that they were identical to the bangs worn by Katie and husband Tom Cruise's 18 month old daughter Suri.

The type of bangs that Katie was wearing that caused the media attention were what is known in the bang world as a full bang cut straight across the forehead. 

Katie's heavy straight bangs were actually introduced in the 1920s and were immortalized by actress Louise Brooks who paired straight across bangs with her now-famous bob hairstyle.  Some bang historians would say that the straight across bang has roots in the flapper era when some of the flappers favored the straight across bangs.

This bang is nothing new in the current hair world.  In fact, the celebrity poster girl for straight bangs is the gorgeous actress Bai Ling.  The straight bang offers many advantages from making the eyes pop to assisting with balancing a more narrow face shape.

Bai Ling almost always wears bangs of some type but even more noteworthy, the majority of the bangs she wears are the classic straight bangs that are cut stick straight and worn in a straight line right across her forehead.

When Bai Ling wears her bangs straight she looks like a classic China Doll. 

Straight Bangs With A Twist

Bai Ling
2007 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Day 1

One of the great characteristics of actress Bai Ling is the fact she is willing to experiment with many different hairstyles. 

At the 2007 Mercedes Benz Fashion Show the sassy model turned up with her trademark straight bangs worn in a line across her forehead but flanked on either side of her face by long ribbons of cherry red hair.

It was a stunning look which instantly transformed Bai Ling's look from soft, sexy China Doll to fun, fabulous and edgy.  Bai Ling really knows how to shake up her style, have fun and look amazing.

I had the great fortune to interview the lovely and talented Bai Ling after one of her famous haircuts.  I caught her as she was getting ready to fly to the Orient to star in a film. 

After chatting with the charming star I can just imagine her delight at adding the unique hair color to offset her famous straight bangs.

Besides her cherry red panels of hair, Bai Ling has been known to offset her straight bangs with a wide range of twists.

Straight bangs are typically cut to hang slightly past the eyebrow by anywhere from 1/8 to 1/4th inch.

Although some hair and beauty experts recommend that only some types of face shapes should wear the straight across bang style, other experts believe that every face shape can benefit from the look.  The reality? The straight across bang will draw attention to the eyes, nose and cheeks.  The straight across bang is best for thinner faces and to help minimize wide foreheads but is considered less ideal for round or square face shapes.

Types Of Hair Compatible With Straight Bangs

Bai Ling
Los Angeles Premiere of "The Tripper"

Just like the long eyebrow bangs, straight bangs can be stunning when combined with any type of hair length from super short to super long and somewhere in-between. 

Straight bangs do work best on hair that is naturally straight due to the fact that tresses with any type of bend, wavy or curl will be much more difficult to style. 

When hair is naturally curly or wavy, there can be a lot more challenges to wearing bangs of any type but definitely straight bangs pose the largest problem.

How do people with naturally curly hair achieve stick straight bangs?

There are a number of methods employed by naturally curly haired people although they can be quite time consuming and have as many disadvantages as advantages. 

Curly haired people can achieve straight bangs by taking the following action:

1.  Blow drying hair straight using straightening balms and/or a combination of straightening balms and anti-defrisants coupled with a good straight brush and/or flat iron.
2.  Apply a relaxer to just the bang area to keep the forehead hair straighter.  Keep in mind that a relaxer may not completely straighten the curliest of bang hair but it will help relax it so that it is easier to style straight.  The disadvantage to relaxing just the bangs versus the entire head of curly hair is that it may cause the rest of the hair to look out of proportion.  There is also the challenge of root hair growing in curly.
3.  Have the bang hair chemically straightened which will guarantee straight bangs.  Keep in mind that chemically straightened bangs may still need to be blow dried straight to avoid any curves or waves.  Also, there are the issues of curly root growth and the fact that the rest of the hair may look unbalanced due to the extreme difference in textures consisting of stick straight bangs attached to naturally curly hair.

Bai Ling
Black Enterprise Magazine's 50 Hollywood Power Brokers Party

Note:  For more tips on achieving straight bangs read  Bangs - The Straight Scoop.  Before you take any steps to relax or straighten your hair be sure to do extensive research since either method can provide long term  hair challenges.

Straight across bangs like Bai Ling's may not look as dramatic when created on hair which is naturally thin, wispy or baby fine.  Straight bangs also appear more stunning when worn on tresses that are darker, since they reflect light.  They also look best when the tresses are shiny, either from being super healthy or from the assistance of shine serums, sprays or similar.

Another option to achieve full, thick straight across bangs is to have tiny human hair extensions applied to just the bang area.  Yes, this has been done.  Another option is clip-in bangs which are less viable in most cases because they look unnatural and may create the dreaded 60s mall bang look.

To be considered classic, straight bangs must be cut straight across from side to side.  Some people like Bai Ling prefer to mix it up a bit so they opt to have their straight bangs cut in a way that the bangs angle down from the end of the eyebrows down towards the ears to create a more triangular effect.  This is a departure from classic straight bangs.

Highlighted Straight Bangs

If the goal of straight bangs is to punch up the eyes, carefully applied ribbons of highlights and lowlights intertwined throughout the bangs can have a spectacular effect.

If the highlights and/or lowlights are added to thin, fine hair worn in straight bangs, there is an added benefit of instant plumpness and volume.

Straight Bang Styling Options

Anita Pointer
Love Letters Performance Benefit

Long eyebrow skimming bangs can be styled so that they are worn down in a straight or jagged line extending across the forehead. 

Or, sometimes eyebrow skimming bangs are worn swept to one side with the bulk of the bangs draped over one eye Veronica Lake style.

Straight bangs can be worn without any type of adornment or they can be partnered with a wide range of hair accessories. 

Headbands are an ideal hair accessories since they can be worn a few inches back from the bangs with actually maximize the beauty of the straight bangs.  Experiment with ultra thin or super wide headbands to create a wide range of different looks. 

Another great accessory for straight across bangs are thin clip-in bangs in a variety of different clues.  The side hair can also be adorned with jeweled bobbies or sassy sleeper clips. 


The thick straight across the forehead bang has been around since before the days of the famous flappers.  The straight bang was adopted by Louise Brooks who wore the hair with her famous short bob.

Famed actress, model and star Bai Ling is known for her never ending array of gorgeous and classic straight bangs.

Do straight bangs look good on everyone?  Although everyone should wear their hair exactly as they please, straight bangs need to be selected on a case by case basis.

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