The Salon Solved It: Failing at Fringes

When hitting the bleach, Layered’s editor Amanda only experienced #EpicFails at her fringe attempts. Now she’s growing out the bottle blonde, can she make bangs her BFF once more?

I started 2019 with a resolution, one I hoped would be more simple than trying to shift a dress size or ‘Marie Kondo’ my way out of a cluttered house… a fringe. I can hear you scoffing at this now, at the lack of ambition. But for the last three years or so, I’ve had a scalp bleach on the regular to allow me to play with pastels and platinums, and it changed the texture of my hair to the point that a fringe just Would. Not. Sit. Straight. I gave up, and tried to embrace my Klingon-style expanse of forehead. But just recently, I’ve really noticed how Lady Time has been particularly unkind to that area, and I really don’t want to start injecting cow botulism into my head. I just need a goddamn fringe.

Due to a variety of factors, I’ve decided to forego the scalp bleaches, grow out the fried lengths and tone everything down a tad. Once those roots hit eyebrow length, it was time to break out the bangs once more, and see if they would be manageable once again. Now, the challenge here is not for a hairdresser to cut in a fringe (too easy!). It’s for that hairdresser to give me a fringe I can manage, that will sit correctly across my forehead, and one I will feel compelled to maintain.

So, Mr Darren Fowler of Fowler35 in London and stylist to stars including Salma Hayek, can you meet this challenge?

My appointment with Darren also involved colour, and he was conscious that as I embrace the balayage, that my bangs didn’t sit in a curtain of block brown while the rest of my locks reflected carefully placed multi-tonal hues of caramels and butterscotches. So, a plan was hatched – he would colour my hair first, rough dry it, cut in a fringe, then snip and perfect accordingly. I grabbed an almond latte and a custard-plump pastry and readied myself for this arduous task…

The colour all went according to plan (I sat and baked under one of those spinning heaters) and after a trip to the backwash for an intense conditioning treatment, it was snip time. There’s always something a little heart-stopping seeing inches of hair fall to the floor. I swallowed and steeled myself.

Darren cut in a fringe, then styled it. We both looked in the mirror and agreed there needed to be more. So he snipped again. Then he snipped a bit more from either side, above my ears, to give my new fringe some friendly support and to add a bit more lift. He blow dried it carefully, and once done, I could see blonde pieces interwoven across those new bangs, ensuring the black colour threat had been dissipated.

In terms of maintenance, we chatted about washing and blow-drying the fringe even on days when the rest of my hair wasn’t being washed, and how blasting the dryer down and brushing my fringe in both directions would help it sit obediently. A little bit of dry shampoo underneath, even when it’s freshly washed, can work wonders too…

So two months later – have I stuck with it? Well, yes. I’ll admit my blow drying skills need some work, as I never get the same frizz-free finish (and using straightening irons make it look a bit tooooo straight). And it doesn’t sit perfectly across my forehead, but I’m fighting a cowslick there I know and the winter weather hasn’t helped. But when your seven year old daughter turns round and says: “Mummy! You look so much younger!” at your new fringe, you know you’re gonna work hard to keep those bangs beautiful. Botox can wait…