Hair Tips: Trim Your Own Bangs
If you watched the movie, Runaway Bride, you may remember news columnist Ike Graham, played by Richard Gere, wandered the streets of New York looking for column inspirations.
I don't often wander the streets of New York, though I would dearly love to. Instead I'm inspired for my articles by my own attempts to deal with my tresses. I guess that makes me a reality guinea pig of sorts.
A few days ago I was slumped over the bathroom sink at the crack of dawn attempting to trim my own bangs without botching them completely.
Yes, I have a fabulous Dallas based hairdresser who trims my bangs with finesse, thanks for asking.
Unfortunately, with my crazy work schedule, I struggle with finding time for a much needed snip. As a result, my bangs often grow unattended until they snake down into my eyeballs and drive me totally insane.
Once I start bumping into things because of my impaired vision, I grab a pair of scissors and start chopping with frustrated abandon.
Needless to say, the results range from acceptable to horrifying. I vowed this time to do the best possible chopping. I was hoping to save myself from total embarrassment during the re-growth period.
Since I was researching the very best way to trim my own fringe, I decided to jot down some notes and share my experiences with any other bang challenged people.
The Hair Pros Really Do Know Best
Let me take a quick moment to put in a disclaimer. Cutting bangs really should be left to a seasoned hair pro.
Keep in mind a pro can craft spectacular bangs which are custom designed to fit your unique hair type and texture, face shape as well as other requirements.
Botched bangs can be very difficult to grow out or recover from.
If the mood strikes me, I'm more than willing to snip away at my already professionally created bangs which have overgrown their boundaries,
I'd never consider or recommend any one who didn't already have professionally created bangs try to make it a DIY project.
Dump The Rusty Scissors
Everyday use of any type of scissors will cause them to become dull. In addition, they may actually accumulate a layer of gunky dirt and yes, rust. Definitely not a good thing for any hair to experience.
Whether your household scissors are clean or not, if you plan on trimming any part of your hair on a regular basis, invest in a pair of good quality hair cutting shears or scissors.
When you attempt to trim either the bangs or your ends with dull scissors you may damage the strands, causing them to split, rip or tear.
Keep in mind that the shorter the blades on the scissors, the easier they will be to control.
Buy scissors which fit your fingers and hands comfortably. Generally speaking it's best to search for hair cutting scissors which fall in a range of 5 1/2 to 6 1/2" blades. This should be the longest blad length you should buy.
I have tested all of the Professional Trimming Scissors by Conair, They are very affordable ($7.99 - $8.99) and work great on all parts of my hair from the fringe to the ends.
I've used all of the Tweezerman scissors with equal success although I do prefer Conair.
Since every person has a different budget and range of hair trimming needs, it's important to select a brand and model which feels right for you.
Dry Versus Wet Trims
I've tried trimming my bangs both wet and dry. My most disastrous trims have always seem to occur on wet strands. Wet strands tend to shrink significantly when they dry. I've learned after walking around in horrible super short bangs that a fringe trim conducted on bone dry hair is the only way for me to go.
If your hair is naturally curly or wavy, like mine, it's essential you work on bone dry strands. Not only will you have more control as you snip, the final length will be a lot more accurate.
Snip Your Own Bangs
I ask my professional stylist to even up my bangs when I get to the salon for my regular trims or to have my highlights touched up.
I strongly recommend that anyone who indulges in home bang clipping sessions make a point to have them recalibrated at least once a year for good measure.
How To Trim Your Bangs
To clip your own bangs follow the recommended steps below:
Step 1: Shampoo and condition your bangs with your normal products designed for your current hair type, texture and condition.
Skip any rinse-out conditioning products, especially on your bangs. Some conditioners might leave hair too slippery soft or more difficult to trim. If you must use a rinse-out conditioner, make sure you limit how much you use and that you concentrate on the middle to the ends.
Note: Shampoo product to try: Phyto - Phytojoba Hydrating Shampoo
Step 2: Towel blot strands bangs. Detangle bangs completely to remove knots. If your hair is prone to frizz, apply a defrisant product before you blow dry.
Note: Anti-Frizz Product to try: Rene Furterer - Control Emulsion Anti-Frizz)
Step 4: Optionally you can blow dry the rest of your hair at this point or leave the non-bang area wet.
Separate all the bang hair from the rest of your strands. Clip the non-bang hair up to keep it out of the way of the bangs.
Step 5: Locate a good mirror with a great light source for easy viewing during your trimming.
Step 6: Separate bangs into three equal sized sections.
Step 7: Clip the two end sections away from the middle section. Firmly, without stretching hair, grab the middle section of bang hair between the index and middle finger of your dominant hand so it forms a smooth even line.
Note: Do not stretch the bangs tightly or else you won't be able to accurately gauge the length as you trim.
Step 8: Hold your trimming scissors at a 45 degree angle to avoid crooked slicing when chopping straight across. Start very slowly and snip off tiny pieces of the bangs with the scissors moving from the right to the left. Finish clipping the middle section. Check the length. If you need more hair removed, repeat the same action cutting from left to right.
Continue moving back and forth, alternating directions, until the bangs are the perfect length you desire. Avoid lifting your eyebrows or crossing your legs while trimming since this may also impact the ultimate length.
Note: Remember to take your time. It's better to snip too little hair than too much. While you can keep snipping you can't glue cut hair back on.
Step 9: Once you're happy with the length of the middle section, unclip the right side.
Using the finished middle section as a point of reference for the length you desire, cut first the right and then the left side sections.
Remember to go slow and cut back and forth from right to left and then left to right.
Step 10: Once both sides have been trimmed, study the complete sweep of bangs from edge to edge. Make any adjustments to the middle or either side.
Other Bang Snipping Tips
With a little practice anyone can become skilled at trimming their bangs on a regular basis.
Many hairdressers may provide complimentary bang trims for their long term and regular customers. Always ask your hairstylist if they have a free bang trim service.
For a lot of people, like me, the issue is probably more about scheduling.
Additional Bang Trimming Tips
Some other additional tips to consider when trimming your bangs for the best success:
1. Trim your bangs when you have peace and quiet. Concentration is important to create bangs which fall evenly at the desired length.
Turn off your cell phone and lock the bathroom door to avoid any unnecessary interruptions. Avoid talking while trimming since little hairs can fly into your mouth and can alter the true length factor.
2. Consider putting on an old shirt or covering your shoulder and neck with an old towel before you start clipping. No matter how careful you are little hairs will fly around and make a bit of a mess.
3. Clip the hair over a wastebasket when possible. Little hairs which go down the drain may ultimately cause problems.
4. Be careful when snipping close to the eyes to avoid getting hair in them. If the ends do make contact with the eyes, immediately rinse them with cool water.
With a little practice and a good pair of trimming scissors you can definitely get the best bangs for the buck. Happy snipping.
Original Publication Date: 03/01/1997 - Revised Publication Date: 06/25/13
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