Thursday, 18 May 2017

My Year with Betty Bangs

So around this time last year, I decided to get bangs cut in. This wasn't a difficult decision for me, as I regularly play around with my hair style and have no qualms about making somewhat drastic changes. A year later, I am so glad that I made the decision, but it has been a far more high maintenance experience than I was expecting. So if you are thinking of getting bangs cut in, read on for some first hand advice and some key do's and don'ts!

My year with Betty Bangs

First thing's first. If you are thinking of getting bangs cut in, make sure that you go to either a vintage hair salon, or a regular hair salon with a stylist who is familiar with vintage styles. Betty Bangs are not the same as a normal fringe. They require an understanding of the specific style, cut and length. I visited Flint in Norwich and hairstylist Alex did a superb job of getting the shape just right. She took my cowlick into consideration and I couldn't have been happier with the result. Also, unless you are an actual hair dresser, please don't attempt to cut them in yourself! It is just not worth it!

My year with Betty Bangs
Pre Bangs - Note humongous forehead (although you can't really miss it!)

My year with Betty Bangs
Fresh from the salon 1 year ago.
I decided to get bangs for 2 main reasons. The first reason, is that I have a massive forehead and to be honest, I was sick to the back teeth of looking at it! The second reason, was that I was finding styling Victory Rolls on a daily basis very time consuming. Also, if I didn't wear Victory Rolls, my hair didn't have any vintage style at all. I am not great with styling my hair, so I had got into a bit of a rut! I needed a style which I could wear quite easily on a daily basis, no matter whether my hair was up or down, which was also low maintenance. I thought that Betty Bangs were the answer. They were to a degree (they dealt with the forehead issue!), but their upkeep was far more challenging than I had expected!

My year with Betty Bangs
Day 1
Day 1 was not what I expected. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The first mistake I made was that I washed my bangs back with the rest of my hair (I now wash them down, onto my forehead). What I was thinking, I don't know? This obviously made them sit in a very peculiar fashion. I also decided it would be a good idea to blast dry them in my usual heavy handed fashion - also not a good idea (I now dry them slowly, over a small round brush, curling them under). The result - they lost all their shape and style. Also, this hair had previously been swept back in the complete opposite direction, so naturally, it took my bangs a fair few weeks to settle down into their new position.

This 'look' (if you can call it a look!) continued for the next 5 weeks, in which time I was realising that my hair grows incredibly quickly and it was dawning on me that I would need to go and get these buggers trimmed at least every 3 weeks - not exactly convenient considering the salon is a 3 hour round trip!

My year with Betty Bangs
Week 5 - I needed help!
By week 5, I needed help. I had still not managed to get them to look like they did when I left the salon, they had grown about an inch and a half in 5 weeks and I wasn't entirely sure that it was all going to work. I went back to the salon for a trim, but I knew that I couldn't keep doing that every 3 weeks.

Starting to look a bit better after a trim!

So I got a trim and they were looking considerably better. However, I knew I needed a more sensible solution to keep on top of them. It was then that a fellow Instagrammer @pinupskulls told me that she cuts her own bangs. At first, I thought she had maybe had a fall and was out of her god damn mind, but now, I owe her EVERYTHING!!! This is the single best piece of pinup advice I have ever received, so thank you my dear!! She said that there were loads of YouTube tutorials out there that I could watch and that it was the best way to keep on top of them. So, armed with a pair of my husbands knackered, rusty old clippers, I braced myself. I was terrified. Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' was playing in the back of my mind whilst my sweaty palms gripped the clippers and I took the first few tiny bits of hair off of my fringe. Knees weak, I followed the shape that the hairdresser had already cut in and used it as a guide, slowly taking off a small amount at a time. About 1 hour and a good stiff Chardonnay later, I had done it. They looked.....dare I say it...styled! 

My year with Betty Bangs
After my first attempt at cutting my bangs myself, you can see some definite improvement in the shape!
I was delighted with the result. Once I had gained my confidence, I was trimming my hair every couple of weeks to keep on top of them and was starting to take them higher in order to cut out my cowlick completely. I quickly realised that trimming them every 2 weeks was still not really enough. 2 weeks was sufficient time for them to lose their shape, for my cowlick to return and for it all to go back to square 1. Over time, I began trimming them every few days.

My year with Betty Bangs
I started to take my bangs higher, above my cowlick. 
Once I had the hang of cutting my bangs, I bought some nice new clippers and started to trim them on a near daily basis. However, my respect for just how high maintenance bangs are was still not sufficient. I still had days where I thought I could get away with not styling them properly....

My year with Betty Bangs
Despite my new found talent for cutting my bangs, I still had bad days! This was Christmas Day
2016 and I was in a rush!
A year on, and I still have days when my bangs have a mind of their own. They are high maintenance AF, but I am so much more confident with this look than I was before I had them cut, that to me they are worth the effort. I cut them now on a daily basis, without fail. I have learnt how to dry them and style them in a manner that works for me. I have watched lots of tutorials online for styling bangs, but none of them have really worked for me, as my hair behaves in its own peculiar way.

My year with Betty Bangs

So, in summary, my advice is this:

  • Get them cut in by a vintage hair stylist, or someone who knows about the style.
  • Trimming them regularly will help maintain the shape and keep them looking sharp. 
  • If trimming yourself, less is more! Don't start hacking at them, as you can't put it back on, but you can always take off more! 
  • If self-trimming, invest in a decent pair of trimmers; salon grade if you can afford it (£60 +)
  • Always keep your trimmers clean and in good condition, that way you will get a sharper cut.
  • Find out what works for YOU. Take notes from others but style them your way. 
  • Persevere! They will look crap for 6 months, if you are lucky! It takes time for them to bed in and also for you to learn how to style them, but don't give up (although if you do, I ain't judgy!) 

I hope this has been helpful, but if you need anymore advice or have any questions, hit me up.

- x - LMDW - x -