Remember when you got bangs last month? They were super-smooth, razor-sharp, selfie-worthy—we mean, for all intents and purposes, you were Zooey damn Deschanel. And now here you are, three weeks later, and your beautiful fringe has already grown into an eye-grazing hazard. Welcome, friends, to the wonderfully high-maintenance lifestyle of bangs.
But before you run back to the salon and shell out even more money, we’re here with some good news: It’s actually incredibly easy to trim your bangs yourself—no cosmetology license required. And to prove it to you, we got celebrity hair wizard Matt Fugate to break down the easiest, most fool-proof way to cut your bangs, without any mistakes or regret. Yes, it’s totally possible. Ahead, the only six steps you need to convince your friends you’re secretly a professional hairstylist.
Get the right supplies
First thing’s first: Put down your kitchen scissors and get yourself a pair of proper shears (like HHR Professional Hairdressing Scissors). “If you’re going to be cutting your own bangs, it’s so worth the investment to buy a pair of shears,” says Fugate. Otherwise, you’ll risk getting an uneven, imperfect cut, which can also lead to split ends later. And don’t forget to grab a handheld mirror—you’re going to need it.
Style your hair first
According to Fugate, the most crucial step in trimming your bangs is the prep work, meaning you want to make sure your hair is completely dry and styled before reaching for your shears, so you can see how your bangs will lay in real time (anyone with curly hair knows how real shrinkage can be, and you don’t want to get stuck with unwanted microbangs).
“Style your bangs the way you usually wear them,” says Fugate. “Whether you’re going to wear them smooth and blown out every day, or if you want to keep them natural and curly, style them that way first, because that’s how you’re going to want to cut them.”
Keep some clips handy
“As soon as you cut your bangs, they’re going to drop, fan out, and become much wider than you initially planned on, so make sure to section off and clip back the rest of your non-bangs hair on each side of your face before you begin,” says Fugate.
If you’re cutting your bangs from scratch, you’ll need to section off a chunk of hair that will eventually become your bangs by using the end of a comb to draw a tiny triangle from the outside of your eyebrows to the center part of your hair. The further you extend the triangle back, the thicker your bangs will be, so just keep in mind when you’re sectioning off your triangle and clipping the rest of your hair back.
Layer it out
“You don’t want to cut your entire chunk bangs all at the same time, or they’re going to end up looking wonky,” says Fugate. “Plus, it’s a lot easier to make a mistake in one swoop.” Instead, work in thin sections, dividing your chunk of bangs in two (or three, if your fringe is super thick) horizontal sections—as if they were layers in a cake—and clip back the top layer, working from the bottom up.
Yeah, this sounds counterintuitive, but you want to cut up, not out. “Resist the urge to cut straight across in a line,” says Fugate. “You want to hold your scissors horizontally and snip up into the ends of the hair to create a soft, piece-y, and diffused line that looks natural, rather than a blunt line that looks like you just cut it.”
If you’re creating bangs for the first time, though, it’s totally okay to brush your bangs section forward, gather it into a ponytail, and cut the whole thing off at about chin-length. Yes, your chin. But after that? Sections and upward snips only.
The biggest mistake of trimming your own bangs at home is going too short, too fast. But the best bangs actually have a few graduated layers that start longer around the face then get short and shorter. Which is why you want to cut your first layer at about nose-length, and see how your hair reacts before going any shorter.
Once you’re happy with the length of your first layer, the hard work is done. “Drop down your second layer and, using the shorter pieces as a guide, trim upwards until both layers are blended together,” says Fugate. Congratulations—you just cut your own bangs like a boss.
For the Nervous Nellies of the world, though, check out this step-by-step video before starting, just to ease your anxious heart. Now, excuse us while we go decide what we’re buying with all of our saved haircut money.