October 5, 2022

wispy

Bangs can be an intimidating new style to try the first time around, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Truth be told, bangs have a ton of versatility. The various lengths and shapes leave room for them to flatter all hair types and face shapes, and light, wispy bangs, in particular, are the perfect example of a one-size-fits-all bang.

Light, wispy bangs can be worn on thicker, textured hair to break up the hair’s density around the face, or they can be worn on thinner hair to help effortlessly add shape to the overall haircut. Side bangs, blunt bangs, micro bangs, curtain bangs—they can all be cut to accommodate a lighter, wispier feel. “If you want something fun that’ll incorporate new styles into your regular hair routine, wispy bangs can be a simple way to do just that,” says hair expert Megan Giaimo. We tapped Giaimo and Gregga Prothero to get their input on what to consider as you approach what may be uncharted territory.

 

Below, find 40 of our favorite ways celebrities are wearing the light, wispy bang trend.

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Long, Piecey Curls

Zazie Beetz
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We love the way Zazie Beetz sports a light, wispy bang in her naturally curly texture, which may require an array of tools to achieve, according to Giaimo. “Regular shears can provide that baseline shape,” she says, “but polishing the look off with a razor will help give that texture and movement to blend into the rest of the hair.”

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Choppy Cascade

Selena Gomez
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Wispy bangs are often cut with a feather razor on thicker hair to give it that airy, edgy look. Here, Selena Gomez wears her razor-cut wisps at choppy lengths around the eye line and isn’t afraid to rock those chops in a cascading face frame against her longer strands.

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Soft as a Feather

Dakota Johnson
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Dakota Johnson’s finer hair isn’t falling flat and lifeless thanks to these feathery soft bangs and face-framing wisps. Keeping a straight edge cut above the brow line will help give the illusion of fullness. “Also if you have natural curly to wavy hair, prepare to straighten your bangs to achieve this look,” notes Prothero.

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Bits ‘n Bobs

Rashida Jones
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Light, wispy bangs are the best little bits to accompany your bob. Giaimo notes that this style can bring the hair a lot of volume around the face without a lot of daily effort required, especially on finer hair types.

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Overgrown Curtain

Hailey Baldwin
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One of our favorite hair muses, Hailey Bieber wears her hair up while letting her bangs frame her face. “Wispy bangs are the softer feathery version of the blunt straight across bangs. They differ from curtain bangs in that curtain bangs are parted down the middle, and are cut longer to frame your face on both sides,” explains Prothero. If you can’t decide between the two, go for Bieber’s version, which is something of a wispy curtain bang mash-up.

If you have grown-out curtain bangs and are looking to try on something a little gutsier, ask your stylist to take a feather razor to your center pieces for an easy trim. This simple detailing will take you from curtain bangs to a wispy, feathered fringe—you’ll be in and out of the salon in a few minutes with a very different look.

 

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Short Side Bangs

Olivia Wilde
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Bangs don’t need to be light and wispy all over to fit the criteria. These side bangs are a perfect example of how to gradually work your way into a fuller bang from the more approachable wispy look.

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Face-Framing Fringe

Kerry Washington
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“The good news about wispy bangs is it works well with all hair types and textures and it’s easy to pull off,” Prothero tells us. This face-framing fringe is seriously cool, and the light, wispy texture has everything to do with it. Plus, we love the way any updo can highlight the bangs as such a strong statement.

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Soft, Wispy Layers

Kirsten Dunst
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Soft, wispy layers pair well with soft, wispy bangs. This note is specifically directed to all our thin and straight-haired friends. Adding layers with a feather razor can bring a lot of that desirable texture into the hair, and bring those bangs into a cohesively cool look.

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Lash-Grazing Lengths

Priyanka Chopra Jonas
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We love the way these lash grazing bangs tie in with Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s longer layers. “While wispy bangs are fresh and stylish, they do require regular shaping maintenance and daily styling efforts,” Giaimo notes. The perk is that you look effortlessly edgy between trims.

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Sweeping Fringe

Suki Waterhouse
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“Cowlicks are another factor to take into consideration,” says Giaimo. “Depending on where the cowlick is, wispy bangs may not lay properly on their own.” Prothero agrees: “What this hairstyle really depends on is the density of hair and if the hair has any cowlicks or quirks in texture at the front hairline. These will factor in most in determining the length and the amount of thickness that is cut for the bangs,” she says. Unless your cowlick is directly near the front of the hairline, you should be good to go. Even a smaller off-center cowlick, with a little daily styling, can offer a piecey, sweeping fringe.

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Textured Wisps

Zendaya
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Sometimes a haircut says it all, like this layered mid-length look on Zendaya, which features wispy, textured bangs. Working with your texture to provide a shape it can fall into naturally can be the make-or-break deal behind sporting your curls.

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Brow Graze

Jessica Biel
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A common length for light, wispy bangs is to let them graze right at the brow line, parting their way around with ease. The stark contrast against longer lengths makes for a great statement bang. “This style works well with all face shapes. However, if you tend to break out easily and have a very oily t-zone or are prone to sweating, this can make the bangs very greasy and look stringy,” comments Prothero. To combat greasy bangs, she recommends Davines This is a Texturizing Dust ($29).

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Curtain Bangs

Halle Berry
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These curtain bangs are longer and wispier than the norm, but they’re a great way to break things up and can ease into soft, face-framing layers effortlessly. “Any type of wispy bang,” Giaimo says, “can dress up a simple ponytail or bun, creating a much softer look.”

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Piecey and Face-Framing

Bella Hadid
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These long, piecey bits frame Bella Hadid’s face shape effortlessly. Face shape is another important consideration for any type of bangs, says Giaimo. “Heart and oval face shapes are excellent candidates for wispy bangs, in my opinion.”

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Center Part

Rihanna
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Even with a stubborn center parting that won’t budge, wispy bangs are proven to look flattering. Rihanna complements her bang’s lightweight movement with piecey, textured waves all around.

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Coarser Cuts

Penelope Cruz
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If you have a lot of hair that’s thicker in density, ask your stylist to remove some of the weight from your bangs by cutting directly into them for that lighter, wispier look. This way, the bangs can get pushed around casually and you’ll have the assurance that they aren’t sitting too bulky all over.

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Overdirected Side Bangs

Taraji P. Henson
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If you have commitment phobia, don’t worry, we get it. Instead of cutting length to get this look, try overdirecting a few longer strands beside your side bangs to give your ‘do a wispier, fashion-forward look.

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Different Textures

Tyra Banks
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Light, wispy bangs have a softer feel to them than many of the heavier fringe options out there. One of the perks to this lighter look is how seamlessly different textures work together.

If you want to wear your natural waves all over but want to smooth out your bangs, use a vented brush to push the hair from right to left at the roots while blow drying. Make sure to tell your stylist how you plan to wear your bangs from day to day so they can cut with your needs in mind and offer any specific styling tips that’ll benefit your desired outcome.

 

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Extended Lifespan

Elizabeth Olsen
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If your wispy bangs are overdue for a trim, give them a little boost of volume to keep them lifted out of your eyes while still sporting that rock and roll vibe. Spritz some of Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray ($49) at the roots before blow drying, and use a small round brush or Mason Pearson to help morph them to your desired shape.

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Light Micro Bangs

Laura Harrier
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Even micro lengths can have that airy quality that qualifies them as lighter, wispier bangs. For thicker fringe, like Laura Harrier’s (faux) bangs, ask your stylist to lighten things up at the center of your bangs. This allows you both to collaborate and work your way out until you find a level of wispiness that best suits you.

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Wet and Wavy

Sienna Miller wet and wavy bob with wispy bangs
STEVE GRANITZ / FILMMAGIC / GETTY IMAGES

Wispy bands get a side of edge à la textured bob. If you have thick tresses, going shorter will help to remove some of your hair’s weight and lend movement; however, it’s important to incorporate long layers to help define your cut’s shape. Wet look styling will also keep hair from looking too “poufy.”

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Bouncy Curls

Nathalie Emmanuel natural curly wispy bangs
DAVID M. BENETT / GETTY IMAGES

Nathalie Emmanuel’s curls lend texture and interest to her fringe, and she looks darling. To get her bouncy bangs, it’s important to keep curls moisturized. Try a styling product like Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Nourishing & Conditioning Styling Pudding ($10).

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Flipped-Out

Zooey Deschanel wispy bangs and medium-length hair
PAUL ARCHULETA / FILMMAGIC / GETTY IMAGES

The lovable Zooey Deschanel is pretty much the poster girl for bangs, and these wispy ones are at the top of our list. To keep thick hair from feeling too heavy, break up your bangs like Deschanel by separating strands post-blowout using a light styling cream.

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Long and Straight

Heidi Klum long and straight wispy bangs
STEVE GRANITZ / FILMMAGIC / GETTY IMAGES

Long, straight hair pairs well with bangs of the same variety. To pull off wispy bangs, “Always have your bangs styled; meaning, this look isn’t a wash and go,” emphasizes Prothero. “You’ll need to at least make sure the shape of the wispy bangs is to your liking via blow drying and styling. It doesn’t take very long to do but is a necessary step in maintaining the look,” she says. Heidi Klum makes it work.

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Mussy Curls

Sandra Oh curly wispy bangs updo
MIKE MARSLAND / WIREIMAGE / GETTY IMAGES

Forget the messy bun (okay, maybe not entirely), Sandra Oh makes a strong case for the messy ponytail. Her curly bangs and pulled-out face-framing tendrils are what make this look visually effortless. The best part? It doesn’t have to look perfect; the messier, the better.

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Short and Choppy

Kat Graham short wispy bangs and braid

Wispy bangs don’t have to be long, just look at Kat Graham as proof. She turned heads when she debuted this look at Cannes. With a sleek braid and choppy bangs, it’s Sporty Spice meets modern-day Caesar.

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Thick and Choppy

Ciara thick and choppy wispy bangs
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Does Ciara ever have a bad hair day? The answer is a resounding “no.” Just look at the way she upgrades the classic bob with loads of texture—bangs included. Not only does it create some edge, but it also frames her heart-shaped face perfectly. To keep your fringe looking fresh, “Wispy bangs need to be maintained by getting them cut every two and a half to three weeks,” advises Prothero.

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Shag With Blended Bangs

Hoyeon shag haircut with wispy bangs
@JENNYCHOHAIR / INSTAGRAM

If you’re into heavily layered haircuts, may we introduce: the shag. This cut works best on medium to thick density hair and nearly all textures. And while you don’t have to have bangs for this cut, just one look at actress HoYeon Jung’s ‘do has us saying, “Why not?”

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Curly Tendrils

Rose Bertram curly bob and bangs
@ROSE_BERTRAM / INSTAGRAM

Curls just want to have fun, right, Rose Bertram? Her beautiful blonde ringlets are full of body and bounce from root to tip, making this look a must-have for curly-haired girls. Try air-drying this style or using a diffuser to keep coils healthy and defined.

30of 40

Wispy Waves

Winona Ryder wispy bangs and wavy lob
@MARCUSRFRANCIS / INSTAGRAM

A shoulder-length cut is universally flattering, whether you’re Winona Ryder—or the rest of us. And if you have thin or thinning hair, the shorter length and wavy texture of this ‘do is super flattering. Wispy bangs are also the ideal accompaniment since they don’t require much density like, say, a thick fringe would.

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Blunt and Separated

Minha Kim updo with wispy bangs
@EMILYCHENGMAKEUP / INSTAGRAM

Pachinko’s Minha Kim lets her bangs do the talking with this simple, yet statement-making ‘do. To replicate, style hair into a simple ponytail and pull out a few strands at each temple. Then, blow-dry bangs using your fingers to create separation. Finish with a light-hold hairspray like R+Co Outerspace Flexible Hairspray ($33).

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Face-Framing

Maggie Q wispy bangs and messy bun
@MAGGIEQ / INSTAGRAM

There’s more than one way to wear a topknot, but we are loving Maggie Q’s version paired with fringe. Have your stylist cut your shortest layers at the chin and then pull these out after styling your hair into a high bun. The result is this perfectly face-framing look.

33of 40

Barely-There

Yara Shahidi natural curly hair with wispy bangs
@EMILYCHENGMAKEUP / INSTAGRAM

Yara Shahidi’s soft, voluminous curls—including her barely-there bangs—are the epitome of It-girl cool. Keep hair hydrated with moisturizing products and amp up fullness with something like Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray ($20).

34of 40

Blown-Out

Ella Purnell textured bob with wispy bangs

Ella Purnell’s blunt, textured bob is cool and casual. Use a round brush, such as Moroccanoil Ceramic Round Brush ($30), when blowdrying bangs to get them straight and volumized. As for the rest of your mane, spritz on some dry texturizing spray then simply tuck hair behind the ear for a neat finish.

35of 40

’90s-Inspired

Rowan Blanchard '90s-inspired updo with bangs and double tendrils
KEVIN MAZUR / GETTY IMAGES

From her claw bangs to her double face-framing tendrils, Rowan Blanchard is giving us serious ’90s vibes. To really take this look to the next level, top it off with your favorite hair accessory: headband, barrettes, or butterfly clips—but only if you dare.

36of 40

Lightly Layered

Demi Lovato pixie with wispy bangs
@LACYREDWAY / INSTAGRAM

Demi Lovato’s bold look draws attention to the face, with bangs playing a starring role. To style, work some pomade through bangs and mussy them up a bit. Finish by spraying Fekkai Root Lift Volumizing Treatment ($28) on the top of your head to lengthen a round face.

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Glossy and Choppy

Lily Collins updo with wispy bangs
JON KOPALOFF / GETTY IMAGES

Not only are wispy bangs stylish but they can complement a bigger forehead. Lily Collins’s come with choppy ends of varying lengths, albeit subtle. Hitting right at her lashes, they work to draw attention to her eyes. To style, “Go for a lighter product with some hold, like Davines This is a Texturizing Serum ($26). This creates body, structure, and shape while you blow-dry,” explains Prothero. “Avoid too heavy products that have too much oil because it can cause the bangs to look greasy.”

38of 40

Overgrown

Charlotte Gainsbourg
CARLOS ALVAREZ / GETTY IMAGES

If you haven’t gotten around to trimming your bangs or are growing them out, do like Charlotte Gainsbourg and let overgrown bangs work for your rock-star chic aesthetic. To pull off this look, not only is it about incorporating long layers and texture, but also the attitude. Wear it with confidence.

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Beachy

Kaley Cuoco long beachy waves and wispy bangs
STEVE GRANITZ / FILMMAGIC / GETTY IMAGES

Kaley Cuoco could have worn her beachy waves without bangs but instead, she opts for wispy bangs that add maturity and versatility to her overall look.

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Lash-Grazing

Michelle Monaghan ponytail with wispy bangs
MICHAEL TRAN / FILMMAGIC / GETTY IMAGES

Simple, yet stunning, wispy bangs can dress up even the most basic of updos. Case in point: Michelle Monaghan’s high ponytail. The length, hitting just at her lashes, brings out her eyes—as would the right eyeshadow—but to maintain these bangs, frequent trimmings are a must, just FYI.