hairy situations

How to Trim Your Bangs at Home Without Screwing Up

Photo: Caroline Schiff

Please note the story you’re reading was published more than a day ago. COVID-19 news and recommendations change fast: Read the latest here to stay up-to-date. We’ve lifted our paywall on all essential news and updates about the coronavirus.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it looks like we’ll be holed up with inanimate objects (beans, clothes, our own hair) for the foreseeable future. It’s a good time to learn how to cut your own hair and how to trim your bangs, if you have them. Keeping your eyes framed and unobstructed per usual may help maintain some semblance of normalcy over the next few weeks (months?!). Plus, should you falter, no one but your pot of beans will ever know.

For guidance, we turned to San Francisco–based hairstylist Michelle Fiona of Harper Paige Salon, who is an expert in the field of bangs (she’s had her hands on the heads of Zooey Deschanel, Karen Elson, Amanda Peet, and Maggie Gyllenhaal). Though she firmly recommends going to a professional to get bangs cut, she’s fine with at-home bang trims, provided you follow directions and use a pair of legitimate cutting shears. “Nail clippers, kitchen, and paper-cutting scissors are all too dull and will make hair jump when you cut it,” she warns. “If the hair jumps, you’re going to go shorter and shorter.”

So ransack your apartment if you haven’t already, drop a pair in your virtual cart if need be, and follow her step-by-step guide to DIY bang maintenance below.

Step 1: Start Sober

Photo: Caroline Schiff

When in quarantine, any hour can be happy hour, but please schedule your 11 a.m. beer for after the snipping. “Do not do this drunk. A lot of people have the tendency to do this, and it is not a good idea,” Fiona warns. Another thing that should be dry in addition to you: your hair. Wet hair shrinks as it dries, so you could unintentionally end up looking like Lord Farquaad or Pikachu if you cut right out of the shower.

Step 2: Find Your Bangs

Photo: Caroline Schiff

Next, you need to locate where your bangs truly begin. “Hold a comb flat on top of your head. Turn sideways towards the mirror so you can see where your head starts to round in the front,” says Fiona. “That is your starting point for your bang section.”

Step 3: Make Your Bang Triangle

Photo: Caroline Schiff

Now, it’s time for some math. “Using a wide-tooth comb, separate your bangs from the rest of your hair by making a triangle shape.”

Step 4: Find The Length

Photo: Caroline Schiff

Once you have your triangle, pull it straight out from your head in front of you. “Your fingers should be generally where you want the final trimmed length to be,” says Fiona. Start further down if you’re unsure; you can always go back in, we have nothing but time.

Step 5: Flip 

Photo: Caroline Schiff

Keeping your bangs between your fingers, delicately flip the very ends of your bangs upwards.

Step 6: Cut!

Photo: Caroline Schiff

If you take away one thing, make it this: Do not cut straight across! It will end badly! “Go in at an angle with the scissors; it’s called point cutting. You point with the scissors like a clock’s hand pointing to seven and then lightly trim across.” Re-familiarize yourself with what an analog clock looks like and study the image above before you snip, to be safe.

Step 7: Check Yourself Out

Photo: Caroline Schiff

The hardest part is over. Now you must reckon with what you’ve done. “At this point, if you’ve made a mistake you should probably just go to a professional, because I’ve only seen it get worse,” says Fiona. But in the name of social distancing, just wait for it to grow out, or lean into an intentionally bad haircut; those are super in right now.

Step 8: Style It

Photo: Caroline Schiff

If you’re pleased with your handiwork, time to really let it shine. “Put your dryer on high heat and high power, hold it above your bangs, and brush your bangs back and forth in an X shape,” Fiona advises. “What happens is your forehead acts like a gigantic roller and it makes everything fall in a pretty way.”

Ta Da!

Photo: Caroline Schiff

“It really works! When my clients come back in after doing their bangs, I’m like, ‘Good job!’” Now, proceed to your Zoom call and filter your newly framed face.

This article was originally published June 21, 2017. It has been updated throughout. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

How to Trim Bangs at Home Without Screwing Up