Curtain Bangs Have Taken Over—We Have the Screenshot-Worthy Styling Tips

We’re big fans of all types of bangs here at Who What Wear. Side bangs, wispy bangs, French-girl bangs… If you have bangs, you can bet good money we’re drooling over them. That said, if we had to choose an absolute favorite, the oh-so-beloved curtain bang just might be our crowning glory. Not only is curtain-inspired fringe à la the ’70s one of the trendiest trends to reemerge in this decade (it made a resurgence last year, and we predict it will have legs well into 2021 and 2022), but it’s also, comparatively, one of the most low-maintenance and versatile bang styles one can test-drive. Afraid to dive headfirst into the sea of major bang moments? Curtain bangs are the perfect gateway thanks to the leeway they offer in terms of styling and commitment. 

“Curtain bangs are soft, flowy, and longer than more traditional styles of fringe or bangs that sit at or above the brow,” explains celebrity hairstylist David Lopez. “Curtain bangs gently split open in the center, and they sit just along the cheekbones. Unless you have super-coily or textured hair, they’re wearable for almost any length or hair type.”

Not only are curtain bangs chic and beautiful in their own right, but they also have the added benefit of immediately elevating the look of ponytails or messy buns. Lopez notes they can even give the face a subtle slimming effect (if you’re into that) since they simultaneously open up the eye area and hug in your cheekbones. Of course, like any specific haircut, getting used to and styling curtain bangs can take some training and patience. If you have your sights set on the chop or if you’ve already taken the plunge and are in need of some pro-level styling tips, don’t fret. Below, Lopez is sharing his six top curtain bang–centric styling tips along with the must-have products you’ll need to deck out your new routine. Keep scrolling! 

Anyone with a cowlick knows the next-level mischief it can cause when styling your strands, especially when bangs and/or face-framing layers are involved. Luckily, curtain bangs can still be 100% wearable if you have a cowlick. You just may have to reorder your styling routine. For instance, Lopez recommends tackling your fringe first and foremost if you’re working with curtain bangs and a cowlick. “If you have a strong cowlick, style your bang area first,” directs Lopez. “This allows you to control the final shape of your curtain bangs before they’re completely dry, and it will save you the headache of having to try and manipulate the shape too much.”

To get more control and to ensure your curtain bangs reach their maximum potential in the smoothness and shine departments, Lopez recommends reaching for your hair dryer’s concentrator attachment for pro-level styling and to help direct the airflow exactly where you want it. “I love using the T3 Fit Compact Hair Dryer with the concentrator, and I push the bangs back and forth and from side to side as they dry to create a loose, flowy parting,” he adds. For the record, most dryers come with the concentrator attachment, but they’re also sold separately if you’ve lost yours or have a different model. 

If you don’t already own a set of creaseless clips, we highly recommend making the investment. They’re a must-have in every pro stylist’s kit, and Lopez says they’re one of the best-kept secrets for keeping the shape and style of your curtain bangs on lock.  “Pinch your bangs together right at your hairline, set with a clip, and swoop each side out to create a ‘C’ curtain shape before gently clipping those ends as well,” says Lopez. “Allow it to set for a couple of minutes and then release.”

Sorry, but to really get the right style and shape of your curtain bangs, simply air-drying or breezing through with a haphazard rough dry probably won’t cut it. (However, if you’re an alien blessed with perfect curtain bangs, we’ll try not to resent you.) “Blow-dry your hair toward your face and then toward the floor,” explains Lopez. “Once your hair is dry and you push it back, it will create a nice curtain swoop.”

Getting the hang of blowing out your entire head of hair with a round brush is hard with a capital H. (Hair dryer brushes can help!) But luckily, getting the hang of the practice just on your bangs is a tad easier to master. Oh, and according to Lopez, your blow-drying need not be the bicep workout of your worst nightmares. “If you’re using a round brush to smooth out your fringe, direct and roll the brush down toward the floor without raising your arms up,” Lopez tells us. “This will help create that really pretty curtain bounce.”

This might be obvious, but trying out a new bang MO is not the time to test your snipping skills at home. Definitely leave your new curtain bangs to a stylist you trust, and don’t forget to bring some photo examples of what you like and what you don’t like. “If you want to ask your stylist for curtain bangs, my best advice is to show your stylist a photo of bangs or a fringe you like,” says Lopez. “Your stylist might have to adjust the length or thickness depending on the density of your hairline, but having a clear visual guide of what you’re looking for will help the most.” Oh, and if you’re too unsure to dive all the way in at the salon, natural-looking clip-ins are an easy way to dip just one toe into the curtain-bang waters! 

Up next, In Defense of Side Bangs: Here’s Photographic Evidence the Style Isn’t Dead