The curtain fringe has made a serious impact, with numerous celebs adopting the look throughout 2021. We look at how to rock this throwback style with some expert advice.
We’re not over the ’90s and ’70s revival just yet… In a report by Cosmetify, curtain bangs were identified as the hair style with the biggest search increase in the past year. These flattering, face-framing fringes have seen a whopping increase of 1,016 per cent year-on-year, from fewer than a million searches to more than 11 million.
The latest huge name to chop in a fringe is none other than Killing Eve and Free Guy star, Jodie Comer. Her hair stylist Patrick Wilson posted this photo set from a shoot that appears in the latest issue of Harpers Bazaar, with fresh ’70s-inspired curtain bangs gently framing her killer cheekbones.
This fringe style manages to straddle numerous aesthetics and can incorporate several references. On the one hand, curtain bangs can be distinctly retro in nature, just like Jodie’s dense, feathered fringe and the Stevie Nicks-inspired ones we’ve all seen on cropping up all over TikTok. But at the same time, the ‘90s sleek look is also growing in popularity. Simplified and chic, although ‘curtains’ may have been spotted on members of every single boyband from the decade, fashion-forward stars are now tapping back into that signature ’90s centre-parted and less weighty style.
Just look at blushing Bridgerton bride Phoebe Dynevor, who prior to Jodie, unveiled a stunning sunset hue complete with curtain bangs that share ’70s and ’90s elements, created at Josh Wood in London.
Feeling inspired? We asked top stylists to lift the curtain on what it takes to rock a set of curtain bangs. And as it turns out, it’s surprisingly easy…
Adam Reed, UK ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel Paris, explains that it’s all about placement to achieve the best effect. “Curtain bangs are without doubt one of the most versatile fringe styles, both a nod to the on-trend ’70s and easily maintained, but the real beauty is how they suit every face shape with small and simple tweaks after a thorough consultation with your stylist.”
- Oval: For oval shapes, some people look to tailor the fringe length to forehead length. For those with a longer forehead, opt for longer layers whilst those with a shorter forehead may look to a shorter crop to elongate.
- Round: Curtain bangs are a great look for round face shapes when full of texture and choppy layers to not elongate the face shape but add angles. A texture spray like L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Super Dust will be perfect to give that effortless, “lived-in” feel.
- Heart: The key for curtain bangs on heart face shapes is to avoid anything too blunt. Opt for smooth edges and a swooping fringe for a sleek appearance.
- Square: A square face shape really benefits from short and sweet curtain bangs. Opt for a deep centre part and a shorter, wispy fringe to balance out the cheekbones and jawline and help to elongate the face.
To style, it all depends on the vibe you’re looking for. However Jodie’s stylist Patrick explains that drying technique and getting things right at the root is key. “If you want a fuller look like Jodie’s, I always recommend by starting with a root lifter to give hold and stability,” he told us. “I start by spritzing the fringe with a product like Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray, combing it forwards and then blow drying with a round brush while moving the hair from side to side. This works to smooth and adds an important curve to the fringe.”
Another top tip is to avoid blasting a curtain fringe dry with maximum heat and speed. “I always use the medium setting on my ghd Helios hairdryer to make sure I have full control,” Patrick added. “With Jodie’s bangs, I then added some subtle movement with my ghd platinum styler to help it sit just above the cheekbones. Finally, I finished with a dry texture spray – my favourite for this kind of look is Sam McKnight’s Cool Girl texture spray.”
Emma Simmons, owner of Salon 54 in Thirsk, recommends a light touch when finessing your curtain fringe: “Typically, the soft arc shape combined with fullness and the longer length gives curtain bangs an effortless French girl vibe. As a result, less is more; you can finger dry and polish with a large round brush, but be careful not to over curl. Then for a soft, undone look use dry shampoo and sweep the ends away from the face from the centre.”
Suzie McGill, Schwarzkopf Professional UK ambassador and international artistic director at Rainbow Room International, loves embracing natural texture for this style and is also a huge fan of adding a bit of grit to help the fringe hold its shape. “Texture is so on trend at the moment. Adding some texturising spray, like a salt spray, to your hair and bangs is a great way to add movement and create a serious ‘cool girl’ finish.”
For a full hit of ’70s nostalgia, Andy Smith, Indola’s global ambassador, suggests letting a blow-dried curtain fringe set while you finish styling the rest of your hair. “I always find it better and easier to blow dry fringes forwards, then push them back once cooled because they tend to sit better and they will drop into the hair nicer. If you want to really open them up then you could use a tong and seal it through the edges of them and flick them out or bevel it off the face.”