Bangs (also known as a fringe) are strands or locks of hair long enough to fall over the scalp's front hairline to cover the forehead, usually just above the eyebrows, though sometimes they can even cover the eyes. While most people cut their bangs straight, they may also shape them in an arc, leave them ragged or ruffled, or give them other shapes.
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. The term fringe refers to the resemblance of the short row of hair to ornamental fringe trim, such as that often found on shawls.
- Straight-across or full bangs: The most common fringe style where hair is combed straight down with no interference, as opposed to the side-swept style. Can be a bit wispy or blunt depending on the cut.
- Side-swept bangs: The hair is cut slightly longer than straight-across bangs, usually to a chin length that if it were not brushed to flow to one side of the face, would cover the whole eye area. It may be as thin as see-through bangs or as thick as blunt bangs. Mostly trimmed using a point cutting technique, in which hair is cut using the tip of the shears rather than its blade to achieve a more feathered or uneven or natural look.
- Blunt bangs: The hair is cut straight across the forehead in a blunt manner. Similar to straight-across bangs but thicker and sometimes heavier looking.
- See-through or wispy bangs: A type of bangs regarded as the opposite of the blunt style. It is a style that mainly originated in South Korea and some East Asian countries as a trend. Usually, it acts as a versatile, less commitment fringe style and is considered by some to suit all types of faces. It can be worn as a full fringe or as a side swept fringe. Commonly, it is done by the point cutting technique, in which the shears are held vertically or slightly at an angle rather than a horizontally blunt cut. Unlike the typical straight across or full bangs, see-through can easily be concealed by its thinness without the trimmed portion even being noticed. Unlike the straight-across or side-swept styles, which each have their respective lengths, see-through can be of eyebrow length or even as long as side-swept or peekaboo bangs, where the hair can reach eye level. Unlike typical bangs that require high maintenance, such as brushing while being heavily blow-dried, ironing, and/or styling, see-through bangs need just a simple light combing with a narrow-toothed comb after a shower and light blow-drying.
- Angled or asymmetrical bangs: The bangs are cut into layers at an angle, such that there are different lengths of hair overlapping each other. The hair towards the hairline is usually longer than the hair above, creating a feathered effect. It can also be cut into a side-swept style and brushed back to enhance the effect.
- Arch or rounded bangs: A more rounded type of cut, in which the bangs form the shape on an arch, similar to a crescent moon shape pointing upward. The style is similar to full bangs but the bangs are longer as they approach the two sides of the forehead. Usually, it is achieved by twisting the hair on the fringe area using one's dominant hand and substituting it with the non-dominant hand to form a cross hair and underneath the fingers is the amount of hair that must be cut off. Usually, this style is thicker and looks heavier than straight-across bangs.
- Curtain bangs: The hair is parted down the middle or slightly off center. It is rather similar to side-swept in terms of length and to see-through in terms of styling and thickness. It flows outwards the sides of the face and is commonly longer as it goes on the sides. Similar to arch/rounded fringe in structure yet longer in terms of length.
- Baby or statement short bangs: The hair is usually cut above the brows, normally bluntly across the middle of the forehead, but may be shorter. It usually compliments a child's short haircut or a bob cut.
- Brow-skimming or Textured bangs: A style that falls below the brow and can look "heavy" or "light" on the face which is more of the uneven, choppy looking fringe to make a peek-a-boo effect on the forehead.
History and development
Bangs occur naturally in many styles of short hair-cuts.
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 have included silent movie actress Louise Brooks, 1950s glamor model Bettie Page, the Beatles, and actress Elizabeth Taylor in the role of Cleopatra.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, curly, teased bangs were in fashion, often held high in place with copious amounts of hair spray.
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.
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