Thinking about a full fringe? I got one a few months ago and here’s what you need to know
If the ongoing existential crisis raging around us have you booking a hair appointment, here are a few things you should know before taking the plunge.
We’re still dreaming about Margot Robbie’s Oscars looks. Debuting a blunt fringe, her beauty look was one of the knock-outs of an otherwise sorry fashion year last year.
Naturally, many, many hairdressers got the Margot screenshot shoved in their faces afterwards and it was certainly not the first fringe that captured our imaginations during lockdown. Remember those early Covid days in the midst of our Normal People obsession, Marianne’s chocolatey bangs that made us all eye up our scissors. It’s also not a totally new look for her, but Taylor Swift’s messy, Folklore/Evermore fringe definitely got me thinking about the style again too, and now Nicola Coughlan is the latest fringed star on our beauty moodboard.
And so I took the fringe plunge myself in December last year. Was it the heady excitement of being in hairdressers again after so long? Did I crave change, any change in my life after weeks of monotony? Was I simply sick of looking at my own forehead on Zoom calls? It was probably a combination of all three, but it was a first for me, apart from a borderline-criminal side fringe I had circa 2008-2010, which I prefer to pretend never existed.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it, but a fringe is not without its downsides. I feel that everyone who asks for one at the salon should be presented with a little leaflet: So you’ve decided to get a fringe, outlining the reality of its upkeep. This is my version of that booklet, the issues I’ve encountered, so at least you’ll be going into any post-lockdown new look with your eyes wide open.
I think this one is fairly well-known, but not something you think will apply to you until you are living it — a fringe gets greasy much faster than the rest of your hair. How fast exactly will depend on your hair type, but as digital editor Lauren reminded me this morning, there’s a reason we all have a memory of girls washing their fringes in the sinks in school.
A good dry shampoo is probably a better solution than hunching over the sink (unless you love the nostalgia trip). I’ve been using Living Proof’s excellent one on days where my fringe needs a little refresh.
This is not something I considered when sitting in the salon chair, but as a short section of hair, a fringe is liable to fly off in any direction that a windy day might care to take it. On my (many) walks over the past few months, my fringe has decided to go anywhere from straight up, in three directions at once, and even, most frighteningly, into something resembling my late 2000s side-fringe.
I don’t know what the solution is here, especially once the winter hat is no longer needed. Some sort of headscarf perhaps? If anyone has an answer to this, please DM me on Instagram.
This is a problem quite specific to lockdown, but obviously with the timing of my fringe, I have not seen a hairdresser since I got it. This has meant having to muster up the courage to trim it myself, something with the potential to go incredibly wrong.
I know it’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to do, but I have found trimming it when dry much, much easier than when it’s wet. When it’s wet, it’s impossible for me to gauge what length it will be when dry, and how it would actually sit. I’ve also managed to avoid cutting it too short by consciously stopping myself every 30 seconds or so, taking a step back from the mirror and checking how it looks.
Thankfully, this hasn’t been necessary recently, my hairdresser quickly whipped it back into shape, but it does illustrate the point that if you’re not the kind of person who wants to go to the hairdresser every six weeks, this is probably not the style for you.
On the note of maintenance, I will admit that initially, a fringe was a bit of a step-up for me. For context, I don’t colour my hair, it was previously all one length, and although I sometimes blow-dried it, I also quite often just let it air-dry.
I have actually not been brave enough to let my fringe air-dry yet to see what it would do, but I am not confident that it will be a good look. Blow-drying it is an important step, as it basically determines how it will sit until I wash it again.
My hairdresser gave me some good tips on this, including drying it first, before any other section of your hair, as well as pulling it both left and right to help it fall more naturally, but it did take a couple of tries before I got good at it.
It has also literally just occurred to me that my brush is probably not the best type for this, and that I should invest in a round one with short bristles, like my hairdresser used. Glad that only took me a year to realise.
Photography by @nicolacoughlan.