• Tue, Nov 26 - 4:34 pm ET

How To DIY Your Own Bangs Without Looking Like An Idiot

I have a confession. I am addicted to bangs. Ever since I was a pre-teen I’ve been enamored with the look of thick, face framing bangs a’la Zooey Deschanel (before anyone had even heard of her, which makes me a hipster for bangs).

This style wasn’t always cool, of course. For years I had to ask for them at the salon in a very specific way, or I would get those wispy, see-through bangs that were all the rage for so long. I once tried to describe to a stylist what I wanted and she replied “Well, you don’t want to look like a 12-year-old.” *Shame face*

Eventually I stopped asking and just learned how to do them my damn self. Turns out it’s not that hard. All you need are some basic supplies, a mirror and balls of steel. Below is my handy dandy DIY bangs tutorial to achieve this adorkable look (cheesy, I know. I’ll see myself out).


DIY bangs tutorial suppliesTo start out you need:

  • Rat tail comb
  • Sectioning clips (or something to hold the hair back, a regular clip will do as well)
  • Brush (optional, but I like to have it handy)
  • Hair cutting scissors

Tip: Do NOT use regular scissors. I tried this many moons ago when I was a teenager and the results were terrible. You need a good pair of SHARP scissors designed to cut hair. You can get a pair at basically any drug or beauty supply store.

Step 1. Starting Out

DIY bangs tutorial before


You should always start with dry hair. Cutting your bangs while wet is a no-no because the hair stretches when wet and you’ll end up lopping off more than you wanted to. I’ve ended up with goofy looking, super-short bangs more than once before learning this trick. I don’t bother to wash my hair beforehand either, you’ll see why in a later step.

Step 2. Find a Good Width

DIY bangs tutorial width check

A good rule of thumb is to start at the edge of your eyebrows and go up, that way your bangs aren’t too wide for your face. I like them that width, but some people might like them a bit less or more wide. It’s just a good starting point, do what works best for your face.

Also, you can see how the separation between where the bangs start and the rest of the hair begins is rounded, instead of straight across. This creates a thicker fringe. Going straight across will leave them wispy and  in my opinion odd looking. The video below explains this really well:

Step 3. Section the Bangs

DIY bangs tutorial sectioning

Once I find a good width, I like to section my hair so that the hair I intend to cut is well-defined. This is a good way to prevent accidentally cutting some oddball hairs from the side or whatever (I am a very klutzy woman, trust me).

Step 4. Gird your loins, aka making the first cut

DIY bangs tutorial width check


Cutting this much hair can be daunting if it’s your first go-round, but trust me, it’s worth it.  Before making the first cut, I gather my hair like this again (the same as step two). Your best bet is to cut less rather than more. You can always snip off more if you want shorter bangs, but unfortunately there’s no miraculous “follicle growth” spell to make wonky looking bangs grow in faster. Now here is the tricky part. You want to cut upwards, not straight across. You can also follow the “gather and twist” method from the video above, but I find that doing that creates less even bangs, so I generally cut like this:

DIY bangs tutorial this way

This way…

and NOT like this.

DIY bangs tutorial not this way

NOT this way

I trim until I read just below my brow line, and then angle the fringe around my eyes a bit so that the ends are a bit longer and frame my face.

Step 5. Even out any messy parts

DIY bangs tutorial prior to washHere are my bangs pre-wash. I like to either wet or wash my bangs (or my whole head) and blow dry to I can double check to make sure everything is even.

Here I am sporting that sexy "wet dog" look.

Here I am sporting that sexy “wet dog” look.

Once again, do NOT attempt to cut your bangs when they’re wet. You might think you’re just evening things out, but before you know it one side will be an inch long and the other will be down to your nose and there will be tears. Lots of tears. Blow dry your bangs (or your whole head if you washed your hair entirely) with a round brush. No need to straighten them with a flat iron unless this is something you do daily. This should let you see any uneven areas you need to fix.

Step 6. Grooming


DIY bangs tutorial grooming products

Here is one of the hardest parts of pulling off the “Zooey Bangs” look. Grooming.

If you’re like me, and you have oily hair, having bangs can be a constant struggle to keep the grease at bay. Discovering dry shampoo was one of the great triumphs of my life.

DIY bangs tutorial grooming productsMy all time favorite dry shampoo is the Dove Hair Therapy Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo. Unlike some dry shampoos, which seem geared towards people with dry or normal hair (ie: adds a ton of moisture), this product has the perfect balance of oil-absorption and fragrance without feeling like a bunch of residue is left behind. A close second is Pssst Instant Dry Shampoo, which I always keep a small can of in my purse.

The Big Reveal!

DIY Bangs Tutorial After picVoilà. If you’re looking for the total Manic Pixie Dream Girl look, I think this would work well with the bombshell hair tutorial that Mandie Williams posted earlier today.

Also, here is one last video that shows you a lot of the same tips I gave you. My bangs are quite a bit thicker than her’s, but you can get the gist of it.

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  • Julia Sonenshein

    You look fucking adorable. I could just punch you!

  • Ellen

    and bookmarked. If I ever grow my hair long again, I’ll consider your tips! Until then, I’m rocking the pixie crop.