Nearly every parent, no matter how inexperienced, is one day going to attempt the feat of cutting their children’s bangs.
As a professional in the children’s haircare industry, my advice is: don’t do it!
I know the idea of trimming a fringe of hair straight across the forehead might appear to be an easy task, but only an accomplished stylist can whiz through a trim in two minutes and have your tyke looking like she just stepped off the cover of kiddie “Vogue.” Trust me, when you do it, it is not going to take two minutes, and “Vogue” will not be calling.
That said, I know you are going to do it anyway. Let’s face it, you don’t always have time or money in the budget for a trip to the salon for a simple bang trim. But maybe your son’s hair is in his eyes, although the rest of his hair could wait another two or three weeks before needing a trim, or your daughter really, really, really wants to grow her hair long, but her bangs are past overgrown.
So, let’s run through this together, so that when you do embark on this adventure, you will be armed with a few helpful tips.
First, brush all of your child’s hair all the way back, and then, let it fall naturally. This will establish where your child’s original part is, and it’s the place where you begin to section the bang away from the rest of the hair.
Make an isosceles triangle-shaped section with the point facing the part and the two ends of the same length coming down to greet the forehead. The side of the triangle that is not the same size as the others is the part that lies on the forehead. Remember, the hair growing from the top of the head is the hair that eventually grows down to fill in the sides of the hair, so if you pull all the hair forward without regard to sectioning, you will have too much bang, too much hair in the back, and not enough on sides. This is why you carefully section the hair, and this is half of your battle.
When you have the hair that you want to cut carefully sectioned, you must clip the rest of the hair back, so it is not in your way. Butterfly clips work great for this and can be found in any drugstore.
What kind of scissors are you using? What? Put those garden shears away! And the sewing scissors, nail clippers, and arts-and-crafts scissors, too. Hair scissors are a breed all their own, which is why they are called “hair scissors.” A lengthy discussion on hair scissors is not practical for this article or your quick bang trim, so just trust me, and go to the drugstore and purchase a workable pair for $20. And while you’re at the drugstore, pick up a spray bottle.
Before we go further, let me say that it is better to leave the hair a little longer on your first go around, because you may not achieve perfection immediately. Few parents do. It’s better to have some hair left to work with than to have the bangs be too short.
Next, don’t cut the bangs on the forehead. Children will instinctually raise their eyebrows, and this will throw off your line. (A little above their eyebrows is your target point, but remember to play it safe by leaving it longer rather than shorter).
Spritz the hair lightly with water. Then, working in three sections (middle and two sides), and taking the middle section first, put it flat between your index and middle fingers and pull it slightly away from the forehead and then down. When you can see the eyebrows below your fingers, move them a smidge more, and cut the hair below your fingers. Don’t worry if they are too long, as you can go back for another run once you get the feel of it.
To cut the sides of the bangs, you should move to each side when you are cutting them, in the same way you did the front section, remembering that the head is cylindrical in shape. If you cut the sides from the front they will be as long as the front pieces and hang longer than the front piece. Your bang will not be straight across if you do this.
And that is it! Practice these tips and you’re on your way to becoming an expert bang-trimmer.
Jennifer Bilek is a freelance writer living in New York City. She has been working in the children’s hair industry for 20 years and has written extensively about children’s haircare for parent magazines. Bilek also writes for The Upcoming Magazine (www.theupcoming.uk.co) about current affairs.