Jane Birkin. Bettie Page. Zooey Deschanel.
These ladies are all superstars in their respective fields, but there’s one thing they have in common: they’re as famous for their fringes as they are for their talents.
The fringe, or ‘bangs’ if you speak American, has a long history that’s believed to stretch all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Although we usually associate them with women’s cuts, the men of Ancient Greece and Rome are often depicted with high, straight bangs, while many fashionable gents in the 15th and 16th centuries rocked a blunt fringe to rival Rooney Mara’s.
The fringe really took off in the 20th century, with early film stars like Louise Brooks and Veronica Lake, and later Jane Fonda and Farrah Fawcett, making bangs part of their signature look. (Post continues after gallery.)
It’s gone in and out of style over the years, but right now the fringe is Having A Moment. Recently, Emma Stone’s new choppy full fringe sent red carpet paparazzi into a tailspin. (Meanwhile her Amazing Spider-Man co-star, Dane Dehaan, seems to be on a solo crusade to bring back the man fringe, which is a truly admirable cause.)
Tempted to try one? Good move. Of course, as with any hairstyle, when fringes go wrong, they can go very, very wrong – we’re talking “cry for days and only leave the house when wearing a beanie for two months straight” wrong. But when they’re done right, fringes are incredibly flattering. Depending on what kind of cut you opt for, they can soften your face, disguise a high forehead, give your haircut an update, or completely eliminate your desire to use Botox.
There’s just one hurdle to overcome. And anyone who’s ever tried to explain their dream fringe to a stylist, only to walk away with what looks like a makeup brush stuck flat against your forehead will know, it’s a high one to jump. I’ve been there too, and yes, it’s a very dark and miserable place.
But don’t fear fringes forever. It is possible to walk out of the salon with a foxy fringe and not a single tear shed – it’s all about your choice of words. We asked a flesh-and-blood hairdresser to tell us how to request a fringe in Hairdresser Speak so you get better bangs for your buck.
Multi-award-winning Sydney hairdresser Brad Ngata has 30 years of experience in cutting fringes, and considers himself a ‘Fringe Whisperer’, so he knows his stuff. Click through the gallery for Brad’s words of wisdom: