So Can You Actually Have Bangs With Curly Hair?

by Freyia Lilian Porteous

So, you're in a bit of a predicament: You've got some serious bangs-envy. Maybe it was Zooey Deschanel that did it, with her '60s sleek brow-skimming fringe. Or maybe you fancy a shortie á la Grimes. You've got a problem, though — your hair is naturally curly. What's a girl to do? Can you even have bangs and curly hair? Be your mane chicly frizzy or mermaid style au naturale, the thought of adding bangs to the already complicated situation of having curly hair can fill a girl with dread. And dread kills an adventurous spirit. Sad face.If you have curls (like me), you'll understand that a period of existential soul searching comes with the territory. Okay, I might be exaggerating somewhat, but there is no denying that having curly hair is not a walk in the park. Growing up, I hated my natural curls, much to my mom's dismay. I would literally spend days wanting to tear out my hair, crying, and looking in the mirror, wishing I had classically gorgeous Geisha hair. These were the days before ceramic styling irons, so I had to make do with my bad 13-year-old bow-out, and often had to put up with looking like a poodle at Crufts. Oh goodness, they were bad hair days. Cringe.After graduating from my teenage years, though — with a newly acquired pair of ghds, and a newfound handling on my hair — I have come to love my curls and their versatility. And guess what... I have bangs! I've pretty much had them all my life, in fact. It's not actually that much like hard work...

(Me with my curly hair and bangs before going various shades of mermaid.)

Talking to fellow bang-coveting, wavy-haired ladies, the main fringe fear is the upkeep. Closely followed by a previous bad bang trim, which put them off for life. My friend Marlene, 24, who has natural curls, told me on Facebook:"I thought it would be a good idea to get a fringe when I was about 13/14. I didn't own any styling tools and I didn't think it through, nor did my stylist warn me about the upkeep. It looked great for a couple of days until I washed my hair again, when it went all over the place! It's definitely a commitment for curly girls who haven't quite figured out their hair yet, and after the emotional trauma I don't feel ready!"Firstly, don't fret curly girls, you can have bangs. The idea is not as scary as it seems either. I promise, just bear with me. Follow my top tips and you'll be bang tidy (eyeroll, sorry) — or artfully messy, whichever is your preference.

Step 1: Search For A Great Hairdresser

Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

From my experience, a bad hair cut is usually down to a bad choice of hairdresser. They might have technical expertise, but if your stylist is someone who you just don't gel with, who doesn't quite get your hair or the way you manage it, you need to find a new one. Learn how to talk to your stylist. As with anything involving getting what you want, it's all about clear communication and the art of asking.

There are hair dressers out there who love to work with curls, and who don't just treat everyone's hair the same. Stylists who won't brush your hair out, or look at you in disgust as you slowly turn into a scarecrow. It is your job to seek them out. You'll be happy when you've found one!

Step 2: Find A Hair Muse


Miranda July, Zooey Deschanel, SJP, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Nicole Kidman, Karen Elson, Lily Cole... the list of naturally curly haired celebrities who have experimented with bangs goes on and on. This proves you too can brave the bangs! Of course, these ladies have the money to splash on expert blow outs and pro treatments on the regular, but looking at what has worked for other fellow spiraled sisters can really help you decide what sort of bangs are right for you.

Step 3: Get Your Hair In Good Condition

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If you want to work a smooth fringe blended into wavy or curly length, it will require some heat styling. Don't worry, to avoid damaged hair invest in some Elasticizer by Philip Kingsley. This pre-shampoo treatment acts as an intensive conditioner, which works by penetrating the hair's cortex and improving elasticity. It also protects and restores hair from heat damage and prolongs your color, if your hair is dyed. Oh, and it was developed specially for Audrey Hepburn!

Elasticizer Pre Shampoo Treatment, $30, Amazon

Step 4: Consider The Style

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Because of the spiral or waved formation of the hair strands, girls with a curl are prone to natural hair shrinkage. This causes the hair to appear much shorter than it is. You will need to consider this when choosing the right bangs. If you are planning on wearing your bangs natural, or want the option to, a longer style may be best for you. A naturally curly fringe can look eccentric and playful (think Miranda July) or kind of vintage inspired (think Juno Temple in Atonement), so don't be afraid to stray from the conventional straight style.

(My baby bangs!)

Micro bangs do wonders for opening up a little or round face, especially if you have a small forehead like me! I adore my short fringe, but before you try baby bangs, take into account that some people's hair gets curlier the shorter you cut it, whilst others' becomes flicky. As curly hair is unpredictable, it may not be the best style for low maintenance.

Also be sure to take into account the thickness of you hair if you want to try a full fringe. Another Facebook friend, Charlie, 25, told me:

"If you've got thick hair, curly hair looks great in a full fringe, but very fine curly hair like mine means the second you touch it, it goes like a poodle!"Consider taking a larger section of hair into your fringe if you have this problem.

Step 5: Invest In Some Thin Styling Irons

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If you're wondering how to style bangs, a thin pair of straightening irons will be a must-have. Even if you plan to make like Miranda July and leave yours as nature intended, you never know when you will wake up with your fringe stuck up in the air! It happens!

Jilbere 1 Inch Ceramic Styling Iron, $75, Amazon

The beauty of small irons is that they easily (and painlessly — straightener burns hurt) help smooth and curl/flick short hair. This way you can have the best of both worlds! If you have naturally straight hair and actually covet curly bangs, like Philippa, 16, they are a dream come true. She told me over Facebook:"I wish I had curly hair. Curlers are my best friend. I always make my fringe curly — unless I am pinning it back."

Step 6: Buy A Few Key Items For Emergency Precautions

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As a woman in possession of a mop of curls, you will know that a bad hair day can always be disguised by piling your hair into a quick messy bun. Just add in your bangs. Pin the short hair around your face back with few bobby pins to mask bad bangs. I promise it will look deliberate; no one can do an exquisitely distressed hairstyle like a curly haired girl.

60 Bobby Pins, $7, Amazon

If you desperately want to flatten your bangs, too, and your irons are not quite cutting it, just slip an elastic alice band around your head — boho style. You can leave it on for a '60s throwback, or take it off after about half an hour. Your skyward hair should have subsided.

Velvet Elastic Headband, $8, Amazon

So there you have it. You can have bangs with curly hair. All it takes is reading up on your facts, a little bit of practice, and a few tricks from someone who has been there and done that!

Happy snipping!

To find out more about your natural personal curl pattern and curly hair life hacks, visit the amazing for all things curl related.

Images: Author's Own; Getty; Courtesy Brands