How to Try the Curtain Bangs Trend for 2020 According to Hairstylists

Sry, but did I miss the memo or something that declared curtain bangs as the #1 trend of 2020? I mean, take one quick sweep through your IG and TikTok feeds and you’ll see the wispy, face-framing style on everyone from Ariana Grande to that girl you haven’t talked to since high school. And unlike some of the more ~timely~ trends that came and went during quarantine (*cough* soap brows), curtain bangs have actually stuck around—especially now that we’ve entered cold-weather season (aka the unofficial primetime for getting bangs).

There’s just one thing about curtain bangs that I’m not fully sold on: how easy they actually are to style. So after spending literal weeks debating whether or not I should get them myself (seriously—my DMs are a weird place right now), I decided to chat with three expert hairstylists about everything you should know before getting curtain bangs. Pls join me on this important journey, ahead.

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What are curtain bangs?

First, a v necessary definition: Unlike straight-across bangs, curtain bangs are angled so they’re shorter in the center and longer on the sides. They’re usually parted right down the middle, creating a curtain-like effect that perfectly frames your face and eyes. “Curtain bangs really look great on everyone,” says Josh Liu, the hairstylist behind Ariana Grande‘s ’60s-style curtain bangs. And since they typically have a soft, feathery texture, Liu says they’re easy to style in a number of ways (think: blowouts, beach waves, curls, lived-in styles—whatever you damn please).

There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to curtain bangs, BTW—it’s a super customizable look. “There’s really a curtain bang for everyone,” says Stephen Thevenot, senior stylist at David Mallet in NYC. “Whether you want something more ’80s, or French girl, or punk, there’s a variation for every look.” That means you’ll definitely want to bring a few reference shots to your appointment to make sure you and your stylist are on the same page.

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Why am I seeing them everywhere RN?

Welp, the rise of curtain bangs is chalked up to a few reasons, but celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan thinks it has something to do with quarantine. “So many of us got scissor-happy in quarantine and cut actual bangs, so curtain bangs are the perfect grow-out look if you went a little too short in March and April,” she says. “They’re also a great way to change your look without doing anything too dramatic like sacrificing your length or changing your color.”

The cooler weather is definitely a factor too. I mean, who wants to invest in cute bangs during the sweaty-ass summer? “Bangs are a lot easier in the fall or winter because they require way less maintenance when the weather cools down—they’re aren’t as likely to get sweaty or frizzy and need to be restyled,” says Thevenot.

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Are curtain bangs high-maintenance?

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Here’s the best part: Since they’re a bit longer, curtain bangs are surprisingly low-maintenance—at least, in comparison to other bangs. “Whereas straight-across bangs usually have to be pinned down, curtain bangs are typically still long enough to put back into a ponytail, though they also look amazing if you want to keep them out of your ponytail,” says Liu. “They also don’t need to be trimmed every two to three weeks like typical bangs, so you can let them grow into face-framing layers relatively easily.”

So even if doesn’t feel super realistic—or safe—to be getting your hair cut regularly right now, you can still try out the curtain-bang trend fairly easily. Plus, unlike more dramatic styles—like heavy side bangs or straight-across fringe—curtain bangs are subtle enough that you won’t have to worry about that awkward grow-out stage.

How do you style curtain bangs?

Okay, how you style your curtain bangs depends entirely on the look you’re going for. That said, all three experts say a good round brush and hair dryer are musts. Flat irons, curling irons, and texturizing sprays are also great for adding some grit and texture to your look. Need a visual? Keep scrolling for three easy ways to style your curtain bangs at home.

☆ With a flat iron: ☆

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In this tutorial, you’ll kick things off by rough-drying your hair with a blow dryer and then using a round brush to give your curtain bangs some extra body. The real magic of this style though is in the texturized, flat-iron waves. “Twisting your flat iron away from your face will help give your bangs more direction,” says Liu. Peep the video above to see how YouTuber Maria Bethany gets it done, then make sure your flat iron is up to the task:


☆ With a blow dryer: ☆

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If you’re after a more voluminous look, grab a blow dryer, a round brush, and prepare to follow this tutorial to a T. “For super-bouncy curtain bangs, I like to blow them out with a 1-inch round brush,” suggests Liu. BTW: If you aren’t totally comfortable with the round-brush technique, Marjan suggests using a blow-dry brush instead (it’ll help you with all of that multitasking, and it’s a good way to refresh your style on dry hair). You’ll see that YouTuber Leighannsays uses a combination of both methods in the video above.


☆ With a curling iron: ☆

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Want the blown-out look but don’t feel like using a hair dryer to get there? Liu says you can also use a curling iron, like YouTuber Chloe Hayward does above. “A 1- or 1.25-inch curling iron is great for faking the round-brush blowout look,” says Liu. Make sure you also have a texturizing spray on hand (Liu says it’ll help add some piece-y texture and bounce) and a medium-hold hairspray to keep your curtain bangs in place (and, you know, out of your eyes).


The final word

Honestly, if curtain bangs have been in your saved Instagram folder for longer than you’d like to admit (hi, me), it might be time to go for it. Just remember: Even though curtain bangs are easier to style than other bangs, they still require some styling, so they may not be best for the supremely lazy. Still, if you feel comfortable—and can stay safe!—you can always book an appointment with a pro who will walk you through pros and cons of getting bangs for your texture—’cause, let’s be real, you definitely don’t want to DIY your curtain bangs.

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