By Marissa DeSantis
As with most beauty trends, curtain bangs aren’t really a new style. But while many of the biggest beauty looks making a comeback are ’90s-inspired (think colorful scrunchies and super-glossy lip gloss), curtain bangs go back to the ’70s when “It girls” like actress Brigitte Bardot and model Pattie Boyd set the trends. Today, celebrities like actress Halle Berry and singer Kacey Musgraves are rocking the retro style. And you can’t count out social media, where the hashtag #curtainbangs has nearly 500 million views on TikTok and more than 100,000 posts on Instagram.
Though curtain bangs are surprisingly versatile, they’re still a major hair switch up (they are bangs, after all). So before you book your salon appointment, Sally Hershberger, celebrity stylist and founder of her eponymous salons and hair care line, is sharing everything you need to know about getting and maintaining curtain bangs.
As their name implies, curtain bangs frame the face, much like an actual curtain does with a window. “Curtain bangs are a wispier version of traditional, straight-across bangs,” Hershberger explains.
They’re typically longer around the sides than in the center, which gives this cut a laidback, effortless feel.
Unlike straight-across bangs, curtain fringe can often be worn parted to one side or pulled back into your ponytail because the sides are longer and blend into the rest of the hair.
Good news, no matter what your hair texture or length, Hershberger says curtain bangs can suit you. “Achieving a great cut with shape that is specific to your face is the most important first step to making this look work well on you,” Hershberger points out.
I tend to prefer curtain bangs with a center part, as I feel it blends in the most seamlessly.
“And when paired with long layers or a shaggy style with texture, it can really look great on anyone,” she adds of the most flattering cut for curtain bangs.
Just as you would with any big cut or color switch-up, Hershberger recommends saving a few inspiration photos to show your stylist so that you leave the salon with the closest recreation of that style (that suits your face shape and hair texture) as possible.
If you’re ready to go all-in, Hershberger’s curtain bangs of choice come courtesy of Dakota Johnson. “Because her cut has great range, she can easily style her curtain bangs for a sleek red carpet moment or something more undone and modern,” Hershberger says of the actress’ fuller fringe.
If you’ve never had bangs before (or you struggle to commit to one cut or color), opting for slightly longer curtain bangs is the best way to test out the style. “In general, when requesting a curtain bang, ask for a style that is longer at the sides to ensure you have the dimension of the look,” Hershberger advises. “If you want the option to sweep them over to the side, let your stylist know so they can plan the length and part accordingly,” she says of how to avoid ending up with bangs that are shorter than you expected.
Even though curtain bangs require fewer trips to the salon as they grow out because they simply become face-framing layers, you can still expect a little extra maintenance when it comes to styling. “On towel-dried hair, I like to apply 24K Supreme Body Volumizing Mousse to give the hair immediate hold and texture,” Hershberger says of how she likes to style curtain bangs. “When styling, always start with a blowout, using a round brush to first lift the curtain bangs away from your face and then blow out the sides so they are positioned appropriately,” she recommends.
From there, you can go in with either a straightener or curling wand depending on the finish you prefer, but for Hershberger, it’s all about adding texture. “I like to take a shot of my 24K Supreme Stylist Voluminous Dry Shampoo to give the roots a boost for added dimension, while also allowing the longer side pieces to blend seamlessly into the hair,” she says, noting that a few sprays of the dry shampoo throughout the day will also help to maintain body and shape. “To hold while still encouraging movement, finger-style your curtain bangs with a pea-sized amount of 24K Vanity Hair Shaping Balm,” Hershberger says of the perfect finishing touch.