“That sounds like a question for your therapist,” my boyfriend replied offhandedly, after I asked him yet again, if I should get bangs. It’s something I’ve asked him hundreds of times, and a thought that rolls around my head when I’m trying to fall asleep at night. To me, the most defining characteristic of womanhood is sitting in front of the mirror, wondering if the right pair of bangs will change your life.
Now, I wouldn’t go as far to say that bangs can be life-changing, but I strongly believe that everyone can benefit from them. If you prefer yourself bang-less, please, continue on. But if you’ve ever wondered “can I pull off bangs?” the answer is a resounding yes.
It’s important to note here though that not all bangs are created equal. After lusting over straight-across bangs since middle school (thanks to 500 Days of Summer and Alexa Chung, obviously), and accepting they will never work with my round face, I finally got curtain bangs three years ago, and I haven’t looked back since.
Curtain bangs, for the uninitiated, are those shaggy, effortless bangs that—as the name suggests—frame your face perfectly, much like a curtain does with a window. The look has roots in the ’60s and ’70s (think Jane Birkin), but today’s take on it works with a range of styles and textures—messy waves, curly shags, sleek blowouts, high ponytails, you name it.
“Curtain bangs are the gateway to bangs, because they’re super versatile,” says Emily Heser, stylist at Cutler Salon in New York City. “They’re long enough to grow out or pin back if you want, but they can also be cut into a shorter look.” The look has steadily become both a celebrity and Insta-girl fave for its easy-going vibe.
Celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown has noticed that curtain bangs have become increasingly popular in the last few years, largely due to how easy they are to manage. “They don’t take on the commitment of adding a full throttle bang to your hair,” she says. “They’re less work and are so easy to grow out.”