Fringes 101

If you’ve been flirting with the idea of a fringe thanks to Billie Eilish’s latest hair transformation, then you’re in luck. Get clued up on face-framing and avoid a style that’s bang(s) out of order with our A-Z guide

Ready for an emo throwback? An asymmetrical fringe gradually increases in length, usually from the side of the parting, to produce a diagonal, graduated effect. Not to be confused with a side fringe, an asymmetrical fringe often features a dramatic change in length from right-to-left or left-to-right, which is achieved by cutting rather than simply styling the hair.

Image: @bagriyaleksandr

Named after the ‘50s pin-up star who made the look famous, this itty-bitty fringe is small, but perfectly formed. Short and glossy, it falls in a neat horseshoe shape across the entire width of the forehead. The secret to the retro magic of this look is the bluntness of the cut, and the slightly curled under styling, which gives the fringe its signature rounded shape.

Image: @bettiepage

Cut straight across, a blunt fringe is weighty and face-framing, covering the entire forehead area. It sits at one length, is worn straight and usually falls at eyebrow level… or sunglasses level, if you are fashion maven and blunt fringe devotee Anna Wintour.

Image: @wintourworld

In contrast to a blunt fringe, a choppy fringe is full of texture. More relaxed, with spiky strands breaking up its shape, it can be cut just as thick as a blunt fringe, but gives a softer overall look. Think Jane Birkin or Dakota Johnson.

Image: @johnssonfeed

Hugely flattering when executed well, the key to a killer curly fringe is the cut. Its length needs to respect the individual’s curl pattern – Google ‘Zendaya curly fringe’ to see it done to perfection.

Image: @zendaya

Peekabo, curtain, Bardot – whatever you call it, this long fringe is a flirty one. Sweeping away from the face, and leaving a triangle part in the centre, this style works for both longer and shorter lengths equally.

Image: @walker_ash

Cautious about fringe commitment? Crafted using your own hair and involving zero cutting, a faux fringe lets you test the waters (providing your hair is long enough). Twist your lengths into an updo (Kendall Jenner opted for a trusty topknot a few years back on the American Music Awards red carpet) and use the ends of your hair to form a fake fringe. Simple, but transformative. 

Image: @amas

Often known as a ‘wispy’ fringe, a feathered fringe is light in texture and allows some of the forehead to peek through the hair. Blow-dried into shape, it can work alongside straight or curly hair – for a prime example see Camila Cabello’s enviable tresses.

Image: @camila_cabello

Designed to subtly blend into the rest of your hair, a graduated fringe features longer lengths at the temples that seamlessly transition into layers or the full length of your style. Step forward miss Billie Eilish herself, who has opted for this and a new darker hue.

Image: @billieeilish

An eye-grazing fringe draws attention to the lower half of your face and is often on the wispier side (for practical as well as aesthetic purposes). To make the most of a long fringe, wear one with a bit of tousled, carefree texture.

Image: @therighthairstyles

Small fringe, big statement. A micro-fringe sits high on the forehead (a good few centimetres above any of the other entries in this list) and adds an edgy twist to any style. Be warned though – the one thing that IS lengthy about this styling choice is the grow-out time.

Image: @toniandguyworld

Perhaps the least dramatic of cut-in fringes, a side fringe accompanies a side parting and sweeps across the forehead. Normally ending at brow height or falling at cheekbone level, a side fringe is often on the fuller side and its asymmetry can create the illusion of length on a round-shaped face. Emma Stone and Kirsten Dunst have this one nailed.


Dodge the scissors and fake it until you make it. A blend of the words ‘wig’ and ‘fringe’, a winge is a clip-in hairpiece that enables you to try out fringes without braving the chop.

Image: @lillyshairofficial

Want to make a statement? A triangle fringe is cut shorter at the temples and left longer in the centre of the forehead so that it falls into a forced widow’s peak. Futuristic, alternative and bold, to make the unique shape stand out, it pays to have hair that’s on the thicker side. And prepare to have regular trims to keep it looking sharp!

Image: @clareivesonhairstylistx

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