Micro bangs, baby bangs, whatever you want to call them: They’ve emerged as the hairstyle of the season, thanks to a handful of celebrities who have sported the statement cut recently. Emma Watson showcased a rough-chopped, inch-long bangs situation at the Oscars®, Gigi Hadid wore a powder-pink wig with said bangs at Jeremy Scott’s Fall 2018 show, and Michelle Williams was seen on the streets of Paris Fashion Week with sideswept baby bangs. Model and actress Rila Fukushima, who has been known to cut in and grow hers out season after season, also recently transformed her blonde, side-parted hair into a brunette bob with bangs that sit above her brows.
Of course, this isn’t the first time micro bangs have been in the spotlight – in fact, they’ve been seen throughout pop culture for decades and have been styled by some of the coolest women both IRL and on screen. Audrey Hepburn’s layered bangs made way for her scene-stealing square brows,and allowed her doe eyes and cut-glass cheekbones to shine on screen. Audrey Tautou’s title character in Amélie also wore her micro bangs soft, her jawline-grazing bob only adding to the whimsicality of her story.
For another movie character with a remarkably similar style, Natalie Portman’s micro bangs in Leon accentuated the rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic of her on-the-run (and, yes, underage) outlaw. Gwen Stefani, too, used her baby bangs in the 90s to add to her alt look (although we highly recommend avoiding her Bindi-wearing cultural appropriation of the same era), while musician Grimes wears her statement fringe framed with long bubblegum-pink hair.
We have inspiration aplenty for this hairstyle, but when it’s historically been touted by such distinctive-looking women, is there any hope for us mere mortals of wearing it? “If, like Audrey Hepburn, Emma Watson, or Grimes, you’re blessed with a heart-shaped face and great cheekbones and are toying with the idea of baby bangs, I say go for it,” says stylist Rob Scott at Larry King’s London salon. “You can pull off just about any hairstyle and fringe, long or short. You can wear your baby bangs straight and blunt and with plenty of attitude.”
And if our faces err on the side of the moon emoji? “If you don’t have a heart-shaped face but are still drawn to the idea of micro bangs, then approach with a bit more caution. Maybe go for slightly less blunt, softer-textured bangs,” Scott advises. “Have your stylist razor cut or chip into the ends to get the look.”
Chie Sato, head of education at Taylor Taylor London, says the cut is for everyone. “Whichever face shape and hair texture you have, you can find the perfect one for you by taking care that you balance the face and create harmony,” she says. “With a round face you can go for a curve, so it’s shorter on the sides and longer in the middle on the nose. It will frame the face because you can see the sides of the forehead and more of the face.”
Maintenance-wise, Hare & Bone founder Sam Burnett says it’s all dependent on your personal style, but there are products that can help make it as low-effort as possible. “For a more controlled finish, blow-dry with the nozzle directing the air flow down, so it smooths and seals the cuticle. Always prep with a good heat protectant,” Burnett says. “For natural styling, simply let it dry naturally, apply an oil to protect and smooth, then finish with salt spray.”
Scott notes that, whether soft or blunt, baby bangs are “always a statement regardless. They should be worn with confidence. You need to work it and own it, and this might mean slightly changing your makeup,” he says. “Go stronger with your eye makeup or turn up the volume on your lipstick.” Most salons offer free bangs trims, too – meaning once you’ve taken the plunge, it’s straight sailing from there on out.
Unless, of course, you get instant regret. If you’re worried it’s less Amélie and more Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, fear not. “First thing to note, there’s always an out,” says Burnett. “If you feel it’s not really you, talk to your stylist and they’ll be able to help you manage the growing-out process so that you’re happy with your end result that works with your lifestyle. The easiest style to recreate from baby bangs would be the iconic Brigitte Bardot fringe, because as it starts to get longer, you can start to part it and have your stylist tailor and adapt it to your face shape and features.” Sato recommends playing around with accessories like grips, scarves and berets until it grows out; either way, you have plenty of options if you decide it’s a statement too far. Us? We’ll be cutting our baby bangs in come summer, when a few inches off our hair is the perfect antidote to city heat.