All my friends told me it would be too much work, but I did it anyway: bangs. I asked my stylist, Shelby Samaria in Soho, for face-framing, temple-length curtain bangs. I showed her photos of the actress Lucy Boynton and the French “It” girl Jeanne Damas for reference. Shelby agreed that a fringe would suit my face shape (which I had long suspected because I have a big forehead), but right before the chop, she stopped to ask if I knew what I was in for. According to Shelby, very few people have bangs that air-dry perfectly. To get your fringe sitting in that perfect, messy, effortless-looking swoop we see in photos, you have to get familiar with round brushes, blow-dryers, and curling irons, among other tools.
My fringe looked great when Shelby styled it that first day — I was stoked to prove my friends wrong. But after my first at-home wash, I understood what Shelby meant. When air-dried, my bangs fell totally straight and flat. They looked weird and stringy, nothing like when I left the salon.
I quickly turned to YouTube for help. A few tutorials in, I discovered a relatively easy curling-iron technique that helped my bangs fall perfectly. I brush my fringe to the front, clamp the tips of the bangs around the wand (clamp side down), and roll up and back (toward my hairline). I hold the curling iron in place for about ten seconds, release, and brush the bangs out. With this method, my fringe centers perfectly down the middle and falls into natural yet refined ’70s-esque swoops.
Now here’s the catch: As you may already know from my previous article, my hair is extremely bleached. Yes, I have since gone back to my natural hair color — a very deep brown — which has made my hair look a little less damaged, but underneath, my dark hair is still very (double) processed. This means that hot tools in general are a very bad idea for me; they can damage my hair even more and cause breakage.
Since the TikTok algorithm knows me well — a little too well, if you ask me — it took only a day or so for fringe-curling techniques to show up in clusters on my “For You” page. In these videos, I noticed a few people using this sort of old-fashioned hair roller and claw clip that reminded me of the ones my grandma used to sleep in. Even though rollers seem retro and antiquated, they have long been a staple in hairstylists’ kits for a reason: They work. According to TikTokers, this particular roller is the perfect size for styling fringe. And seeing as I’m the type of person who buys practically anything teenagers on TikTok tell me to, within a few days the rollers arrived at my door.
A simple, heat-free way to get perfect bangs
I use the same method with the hair roller as I do with my curling iron: I start at the tips of my bangs and roll up toward my hairline until my fringe is wrapped around the roller about one and a half times. But instead of doing it on dry hair, I put the roller in while my hair is damp. I use the big clip that comes with the roller to lock my hair in place. Then, once my bangs have air-dried (which happens much more quickly than the rest of my hair dries), they fall into big swoops, similar to what they do when I use a curling iron. I’ll admit it’s not quite as perfect as the curling iron, and the first three-ish times I used this method, it went wrong. I either left the roller in for too long and the bangs went full Shirley Temple, or I took it out too early, leaving my fringe too straight. But once I got the hang of the timing (about 20 minutes, give or take), it became a simple, heat-free way to create my perfect fringe shape.
For special occasions, I’ll still reach for my curling iron. The shape lasts a little longer, and I prefer the look of the neater style on nights when I think my picture might be taken. But this technique has been a reliable, extremely easy way to make my hair routine a little less stressful. After I’ve washed my hair, I’ll throw this curler in, and by the time I’ve gotten dressed and put on my makeup, my fringe is dry and ready for the curler to be removed. I mess my fringe up with my fingers a bit, maybe rake a teeny tiny bit of hair oil through it, and I’m out the door.
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