Sure, quarantine bangs might have sounded like a good idea back then, but after months of trimming and chopping, you’ve finally decided to ditch your styling tools and retire your bangs. Don’t put away your round brush and flat iron just yet. It turns out that some of the best ways to transition from an awkward, fully grown pony are via warmth and products. The most important part? Make sure your hair stays healthy and protected. “Always take care of your hair with conditioning products and heat protectants,” says IGK Hair co-founder Franck Izquierdo. “So you don’t damage your bangs as you style them and don’t cause breakage or split ends that could take even longer to grow out.”
Below, Izquierdo and R+Co co-founder and creative director Howard McLaren share the best ways to grow your bangs gracefully.
This article originally appeared on elle.com
#1 Go behind the curtain
The most natural progression from a blunt pony is a soft, romantic curtain bang. “Part [your bangs] in the middle and wear trendy curtain bangs,” says Izquierdo. “I call them ‘Birkin Pony,’ inspired by French icon Jane Birkin.” If you’re experienced with cutting your own bangs, try cutting down the middle to get that swooping effect. “The first thing I would suggest is to cut down the middle of the bangs to create separation and what’s called a curtain or 1960s bang,” adds McLaren.
#2 pin it
When in doubt, pin down. “There are some great accessories like bobby pins to keep bangs out of your face,” says McLaren. “Spray a little hairspray to hold them in place.” To get hair really straight, take an unused toothbrush and brush away flyaways. “Spray on some hairspray [the toothbrush]’ adds Izquierdo. “Part your hair and accessorize with two crease-free pins – one on each side to keep the bangs out of your face.
#3 Go for face-framing layers
Ask your barber to camouflage your bangs with some face-framing layers. “Adding face-framing layers to the front hairline helps blend the bangs during the growth phase,” says Izquierdo.
#4 Host a side party
Contrary to what Gen Z thinks, side parts come in handy for growing out bangs. Izquierdo suggests creating a deep side part and using some heat to set. “Train your bangs so they fall in the direction you want,” he says. “Blow dry to set the shape and direction of your hair.”
#5 Rock a sleek pony
Yes, sleek bangs are still possible with bangs. The trick? Lots of hair gel. “Use styling gel to push the bangs back into a sleek ponytail,” advises McLaren. Work the product into strands and use a fine toothed comb to smooth them back down. Secure with a tight elastic and set with hairspray to tame flyaways.
#6 Try a pompadour
Go ahead, get experimental. “For an adventurous look, try creating a 1920s wave or pompadour with a texturizing spray,” says McLaren. Pro tip: A pompadour works best with lots of volume and curls.
#7 Put your braid on
Baby braids are all the rage this fall, seamlessly blending grown-out bangs. For the middle part, try two small braids on each side. For a side part, create a side braid and secure with bobby pins. “Braiding bangs into your style or an updo is an easy way to secure bangs during the growth phase,” says Izquierdo.