Thanks to the ever present frown lines on our foreheads as we age, the refrain: “After 50, it’s bangs or Botox,” may be a familiar one. Sure, we know how well Botox works to smooth those creases, but bangs — whether wispy, blunt or blended — are a smart, and much cheaper, solution for concealing the deeper-by-the-year furrows. But there’s one bang style trending in particular that can do even more to turn back the clock: curtain bangs.
Not only can they hide forehead lines, but, “curtain bangs can give the illusion of thicker hair, and hide a patchy hairline,” says Kevin Lee, hairstylist and Style Director at the Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa in New York City. “They give great coverage for clients who have a sparse hairline at the temples as well.” Plus, the face-framing fringe can lift features and contour the face.
Not sure you’re ready to make the curtain bangs plunge? Read on to learn everything you need to know about hoe rocking the trendy bangs can turn back your clock.
What are curtain bangs?
The name comes from the bang-style’s curtain-like shape since they are typically middle-parted and drape down the sides of the forehead, framing the face just like curtains frame a window. One big perk of this bang style, since they blend in with the rest of your cut: “It’s a great way to change up your look without fully having to commit to a new haircut,” says Lee. Even better? These bangs are not one-size-fits-all. They can be tailored to best suit your face and can be made as heavy, or soft as you’d like.
Plus, adds Chaz Dean, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Wen hair care, “My favorite thing about them is that they complement virtually everyone. For long face shapes, it helps to soften and balance the facial features, while helping to elongate the facial features of those with round and square face shapes.”
Another nice thing about curtain bangs is that they’re just as flattering when your hair is worn down as they are when you’re sporting an updo. In fact, curtain bangs might be the easiest way to instantly elevate any hairstyle, even an effortless ponytail or messy bun. This is perhaps why swoopy curtain bangs are the hottest hair trend on TikTok right now.
How to cut curtain bangs
While we’re all for watching YouTube tutorials to do things at-home for less, when it comes to cutting curtain bangs, it’s best to let the pros handle. That’s because getting the right length and layers for your facial structure is key for curtain bangs.
Before you go in to get your cut, you’ll need to decide whether you want a center part or side part, and whether you want long layers or short fringe. Also, think about different bang styles and your own hair length and type. Plus, visiting a hairstylist allows them to look at your face shape and identify the most flattering style for you.
Adds Lee, “If you have strong cowlicks on the hairline, or the part you will want a stylist to guide you in what can be done and what you will be taking on as far as maintenance in styling.”
Curtain bangs are a commitment, but with the right length and style, they can become your new favorite haircut.
How to style curtain bangs
It’s true that curtain bangs can flatter any face shape, but hair type (fine hair, thick hair, etc.) also requires consideration. The care and styling routine for your curtain bangs will vary depending on what your natural hair looks like.
For straight or wavy hair, style them wet
Dean recommends this technique: Use a round brush to lift wet bangs straight up at the root and wrap slightly around the brush’s barrel. Have the hair dryer blow directly on the brush while moving it up through the ends of the bangs and then let them drop. Finish by twirling the ends away from the face to create a soft feathering effect. If you have longer bangs that you intend to grow out even longer, you’ll follow this same technique with a larger round brush, and consider setting the shape with creaseless pins or velcro rollers for a few minutes after blow-drying to lock in volume.
For curly or thick, wavy hair, let them air dry
Letting your natural curls air-dry rather than blow-drying works best in this case. Use a curl-enhancing cream, like Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Defining Cream (Buy from Target.com, $7.99), before scrunching hair, then let them take as long as they need to dry — the resulting curly curtain bangs will be naturally flattering and incredibly low maintenance. Alternatively, you can use a diffuser on a low heat setting to blow dry them without creating messy frizz.
For coily hair, twist while drying
Air-drying works for coily, textured bangs, but they can be styled into twists while drying to rein in coarseness and emphasize texture — plus, this helps minimize frizz.
Curtain bang maintenance
As with all bang styles, curtain bangs require a good bit of upkeep. Since they rest on your forehead, they pick up grease and oil from your skin, which means they need to be washed more frequently than the rest of your hair.
Tip: Lightly spritz bangs post-styling with dry shampoo, like Dove Advanced Dry Shampoo Volume & Fullness, (Buy from Walmart.com, $6.89). The powdery spray will absorb any oil and sweat to keep bangs looking fresh all day.
You’ll also need to visit the salon more often to get regular trims. “I would suggest getting them trimmed every 4-6 weeks,” says Dean. “At this time you usually only need to trim the center portion, to keep them out of your eyes.”
If the extra maintenance curtain bangs require feels like a burden, you can always test out the bang style with clip-in curtain bangs, like Hairdo Clip In Bangs (Buy from TheWigCompany.com, $30.60).
Say hello to your new anti-aging best friend
Whether a camouflage for wrinkles or a volume-boost for thinning hair, curtain bangs are a great option for women over 50. While it’s true that they aren’t the low-maintenance cut you might be used to, the bounce and body they add are worth the extra effort. Plus, you can rock them regardless of your natural hair length, style, or previous cut. Who needs the fountain of youth (or Botox!) when you’ve got curtain bangs?