How to cut your fringe without ruining your hair/life — 5 important lessons I've learned
So, you're having a late-night and you finally hop into the bathroom to wash up before bed and catch sight of yourself in the mirror. Upon closer inspection, you decide that there is... something missing. Suddenly, an epiphany! A fringe! That's what you need. I'm here to tell you that—Honey, it's 3 am! Put. The. Scissors. Down.
Unfortunately, "Honey" is also me and I never do put the scissors down, which has inadvertently made me a seasoned veteran when it comes to fringes; from baby bangs to a block fringe to shaggy ‘70s curtains, I've tried it all. Admittedly, some of the adventures I have taken with my fringe have not been entirely intentional but you know what they say—spilt milk or something. Anyway, after years of DIY attempts and many a blunder, I've learnt a thing or two (or five) about DIY fringe trims.
Use the right equipment
I cannot stress this enough: you need sharp scissors. There is absolutely nothing worse than trying to get a nice, even and exact cut with kitchen or paper scissors that don't actually work. Also, cutting your hair with blunt scissors will just lead to frizzy, split ends. Why? Because, instead of cutting in a smooth motion (which you should be gunning for), it tears through your hair fibres.
If it's a one-time impulse makeover, at least use fabric scissors. They're sharp and the next best option. That being said, if you're going to commit to maintaining your fringe, you'll need to give yourself trims in between so it's worth it to invest in a pair of sharp hair scissors.
Other things you'll need include hair grips to keep the hair you're not cutting well away from your shears and a fine-toothed comb which you'll use as a guide to help you cut in a straight line.
Your hair is the red sea and you're Moses
What I mean is that you have to make sure you've parted the hair that you're going to cut properly. I usually start with a triangular section with the point starting from the mid-point between my hairline and my crown and the bottom two points at the corresponding arches of my eyebrows.
That way, the fringe I end up with is at a mid-thickness. If you prefer a wispier fringe, then move the point closer towards the hairline. If a more voluminous fringe is what you're going for, then move the point towards the crown of your head. But if you currently have a fringe and decide that you want it thicker, then the same rules apply. Easy!
It's all about the layers
Cutting a huge chunk of hair all at once is bound to end up wonky. So, sectioning your hair into two layers, a top and a bottom, will make sure that you get an even cut. Not to mention, it'll be easier for you to manage your hair while cutting.
Do it dry
Trust me on this one. There have been too many times that I have started with the perfect, eye-grazing bangs only to be left with baby bangs when the hair is dried and styled. If it does happen, don't worry—it's not the end of the world and pin-up-esque baby bangs are back in style anyway.
However, if you're actively trying to avoid it, then remember that hair shrinks as it dries. A sure-fire way to make sure you're cutting off exactly what you mean to is to trim your hair when it is freshly washed and dried. That way, you know that your hair is falling as it normally would when it is unstyled, and that you won't be getting any surprises with your new fringe post-shower.
But we get it—cutting wet hair is easier, and much less messy to clean up. So, if you'd rather trim your fringe when wet then remember to account for shrinkage—leave it longer than you think you need to because you can always cut more off as you go.
Onwards and upwards
In terms of technique, simply cutting straight across will leave you with a really blunt fringe. This can be cute, but if a heavy, full fringe a la Zooey Deschanel is not what you're after then heed my advice. Trim upwards, into the hair, in a diagonal direction.
If you're starting with really long hair then do a rough cut straight across until your fringe is chin length, then go in with the upwards cutting to get the hairs to where you want them. What this does is it feathers the ends of your fringe, giving you a softer, diffused and more flattering look. You can adjust how feathered your fringe is according to your personal preference by cutting closer to the edge for less and further up the shaft for more.
The most important thing here is to take your time; if you rush, you'll end up prone to making more mistakes. Also, make sure that you check that the fringe is symmetrical on both sides of your face as you're trimming—especially if you're cutting in face-framing strands. Pull locks of hair up and check that they are the same length on each side.
Finally, if in doubt, just go to sleep and book an appointment at your hair salon tomorrow.