Bangs (hair)

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An example of bangs
Zooey Deschanel with bangs

Bangs (North American English), or a fringe (British English), are strands or locks of hair that fall over the scalp's front hairline to cover the forehead, usually just above the eyebrows, though can range to various lengths. While most people cut their bangs straight, they may also shape them in an arc or leave them ragged.


The term bangs originally referred to hair cut bang-off (i.e., straight across at the front), although the term is now applied to diverse forms of hair styling. It is probably related to bang-tail, a term still used for the practice of cutting horses' tails straight across.[1] The term fringe refers to the resemblance of the short row of hair to ornamental fringe trim, such as those often found on shawls.[citation needed]


Bangs occur in many styles of short hair-cuts.[citation needed]

In the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bangs were popular among young female immigrants because the hair covering the forehead helped hide skin blemishes such as smallpox scars and acne which, popular magazines assured them, prevented them from looking like authentic Americans.[2]

Hairstyles that feature bangs have come and gone out of fashion as frequently as other hairstyles, and they can be worn in any number of ways. Influential people with bangs in modern times (since the 20th century) have included silent movie actress Louise Brooks, 1950s glamor model Bettie Page, the Beatles, and actress Elizabeth Taylor in the title role of Cleopatra (1963).[citation needed]

An example of bangs on a woman

In the 1970s, English actress and singer Jane Birkin helped establish the iconic look of brow-length bangs combined with overall long hair.[citation needed]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, curly, teased bangs were in fashion, often held very big or high in place with copious amounts of hair spray. This style was called "mall bangs".[citation needed]

In 2007, bangs saw another massive revival as a hair trend, this time thick, deep and blunt-cut. In October 2007, style icon and model Kate Moss changed her hairstyle to have bangs, signalling the continuation of the trend into 2008.[3]

Fringes also had another revival during the 2020s, particularly self-styled curtain bangs, mainly on social media apps such as TikTok.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Noo Yawk Tawk, Bangs, Flabbergasted, Playing Hooky, Gigs, Pugs, Succotash, Begging the Question, Bloviating, Poms, Poodling and a Spot of Round Robin". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  2. ^ Israel, Betsy (2002). Bachelor Girl. HarperCollins. pp. 68–69. ISBN 0380976498.
  3. ^ Braukamper, Tania. "Kate Moss gets a new hairstyle, with fringe -". Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  4. ^ Decker, Megan. "The Curtain Fringe Is Trending & Here's All The Inspiration You Need". Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  5. ^ Schild, Darcy. "You can watch people on TikTok cutting their own bangs at home so you don't have to do it yourself". Insider. Retrieved 21 January 2021.

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