Can curly hair work with bangs? I tried, and here’s what happened

I have coveted bangs my entire adult life. I’m not sure what prompted my desire for them, whether it was Jenny Lewis rocking them on stage, or Zooey Deschanel looking perfect with them on screen. I just knew they were beautiful, but ultimately, unattainable. I knew deep in my heart that I could never have them, because I have, in my possession, the sworn enemy of beautiful, blunt-cut bangs: curly hair. It was a doomed love.


And yet, the optimist in me whispered, but maybe! I knew the across-the-forehead, full-on bangs bangs weren’t going to work for me – curls aside, I have super a round face, so that cut was just not going to be flattering on me. Still, I’d seen enough curly-haired celebrities with pseudo bangs walking around. Their thinner, side-swept ones seemed to work, and could be flat-ironed straight or left curly as tiny, effortless tendrils. Having options seemed appealing, and I felt like I could pull it off. I made an appointment at a salon here in Portland, and confidently announced my plans on social media. Well-meaning friends politely asked, “Are you sure?” and I confidently said yes. I was in the honeymoon stage of this new plan. I would finally have bangs.

The morning of my appointment, I described to my stylist that I wanted side-swept bangs that I could leave curly, or straighten. I feel like I may have left “wispy” or “long” out of the description, because I ended up with a LOT more hair cut into (shorter) bangs than I had imagined. It was a rookie mistake to not bring a picture of the Taylor Swift circa 2011 bangs I’d had in mind, which was in no way my stylist’s fault! She did what I asked and she wasn’t a mind reader. Suddenly I had thick, straight bangs. Lots of them.


So many bangs.


I was leaving for a trip to Chicago, my former city, in 48 hours, so I didn’t have much time to deal. But while I was there, I called up my old stylist from when I lived in the city and begged her to fit me in. She was very kind and agreed to took a look. She sat me down and assessed the goods. She knew she couldn’t do much about the length, because the bangs were already shorter than I wanted them anyway. But! She was able to thin them out a bit, giving them an easier-to-manage thickness and slightly choppy texture. They’re still too short for me to leave them curly, so I’m stuck straightening them (or pinning them back) for the next few weeks, but there’s less of them to deal with now.


So: Can curly hair and bangs mix? Ever the optimist, I still think they can – you just really need to be prepared for the level of care they’re going to require. Also, be clear with your stylist, and absolutely bring pictures of what you have in mind. Ask for product recommendations, and maybe take climate into consideration. It was a little more humid in Chicago than it usually is in Portland, and my new bangs were not having it. Carry barrettes and bobby pins everywhere.

And in the end, of course, it’s just hair. It’ll grow back, and it’s fun to try new things. Even if I wasn’t wild about the thick bangs I had, I’m still glad I got to see what I looked like with them!

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