Hair Headlines: Bangs Make the Cut

(NOTE: This article by Janna Farley was distributed by Gannett News Service in March 2008. A Hair Fan saw it at the web site of the Shreveport Times, but it doesn't seem to be there anymore.)

Once thought of as a little girl's hairdo, a face framed with fringe is now sexy and sophisticated.

"Bangs look good on anyone," says Lori Williams, owner and stylist at Coiffure on Phillips in Sioux Falls, S.D. And women are taking notice, following in the footsteps of celebrities such as Katie Holmes, Reese Witherspoon, Sienna Miller, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum, just to name a few.

"I've been suggesting bangs for a long time," Williams says. "It's about 50-50 right now. But the more they see, the more they come around."

Kate Wismer is one of those women. Wismer, the reigning Miss South Dakota, got bangs as part of a makeover before the Miss America pageant earlier this year when she appeared on TLC's reality show "Miss America: Reality Check."

"Mine are right down to the eyebrows and straight across," says Wismer, a student at South Dakota State University. "They're really dramatic-looking. It was a pretty gutsy decision. I wouldn't have been able to envision myself with bangs and cut them on my own."

Since she's been back from the pageant, a lot of Wismer's friends have followed suit. "Maybe they felt inspired by me rockin' the bangs," she says with a laugh.

Whether blunt cut and straight across like Wismer's or swept off to one side, there's a fringe for every woman's style, says Christen Wermers, a stylist at Salon Artist Suites in Sioux Falls.

"You're seeing angled bangs - they're really in - with the longest piece right below the corner of the eye," she says. "You're seeing eyebrow length bangs, like the Katie Holmes-style bangs. And you're seeing a lot of wispy bangs."

And you don't have to be a twenty- or thirtysomething celebrity to look good in bangs. Older women wear bangs well, too.

"They give a really youthful appearance," Williams says. "They cover up lines on the forehead" - and receding hairlines. "The area of bangs that come forward covers that up and makes the hair look thicker."

The shape of your face dictates what type of bangs will look best. If you have a rounder face, blunt-cut bangs across the forehead will look good, Wermers says. With a longer face, go for something more angled.

Consider, too, the length of your hair, Williams says. If you have a heart-shaped face, balance the bangs with hair that falls at least below the chin line.

"You don't want to look like you're wide and square at the top and narrow at the chin." Same goes for those with square-shaped faces, she says. "You want the hair to come down past the jaw line to slenderize the squareness of face so it doesn't look like you have a square box sitting on the face."
The only danger with cutting bangs is cutting them too short. Even then, there are still ways to make the cut look intentional, Williams says. "Sweep them out to the sides and squeeze the ends together with pomade to make it look like you meant to do it."

For anyone who thinks bangs are a fleeting fad, think again. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour's iconic look includes fringed bangs. And as long as Wintour has them, they'll always be in style.

Do you have a tip for Super-Bangs which this article left out? Leave a comment at our message board, Let Your Hair Down.

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