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The Resurgence of Bangs


By Kim Reyes-Palanca

Classics stay on forever. They might seem to lie low for a while, only to re-emerge when the time is right. As in fashion, classics come full circle at some point before going back to a state of limbo. For a limited time, of course, these get reintroduced once again into the cycle of trends, fresh and re-imagined.

Some say a trend comes in five stages: introduction, rise, culmination, decline, and obsolescence.

In the case of the fringe, it has outdone itself with a back-to-backto-back resurgence in the beauty sphere. With no debate hanging over it, the bangs haircut is a permanent part of modern styles. These multiple interpretations in the last two to three years deserve an in-depth discussion.

Big Bang theory

Bangs have existed since the 19th century with ancient Egyptians pioneering the hairstyle. We, on the other hand, came to be aware of it in the 1920s and 1930s by way of the bob trend. Top of mind when it comes to this hairstyle, Louise Brooks sported a clean and faultless hairstyle with those bewildering eyes and lips. The ’50s followed suit with Audrey Hepburn’s baby bangs. Blunt bangs from Vidal Sassoon’s geometric bobs and Mia Farrow’s pixie with frayed bangs dominated the next decade. Then came a personal favorite, the Birkin and Bardot era, as Jane and Brigitte’s loose, side-swept bangs and curtain bangs ushered in the sexy, soft, and lived-in look. Meanwhile, the ’80s was about big, feathered, and brushed out statement bangs. As for the tail end of the century, the hairstyle movement went haywire with weird girl bangs or inspired fringe from past eras.

In recent years, all of these played out as trends in some shape or form. With so many modern reincarnations of the bangs hairstyle over the decades and the latest fringe fest of 2017-2019, we can expect more inspired iterations in the coming seasons. Case in point: the sculpted fringe for 2020. Styles were so varied and customizable that anyone could find something suitable—for any length or style while pairing it with one’s new or current haircut.

If there’s anyone I know who could speak eloquently about the history of hair (during interviews or even casually while cutting hair), it is celebrity hairstylist Henri Calayag, “Mother H” or “Mama H” as he is fondly called, the “H” in whose name could very well stand for history. Henri could relay hair history in the most engaging manner.


Hairstylist Henri Calayag is a master in hairstyling and refined fringes

In one of our chats, I asked about the enduring trend of the French fringe. “When you do it, it’s just one snap. It’s not precision bangs. Length is jagged, not perfected. Not blunt, like that of Vidal’s (Sassoon),” Henri explained as he snipped my bangs that were twisted neatly in a bundle. As to demonstrate my new look, he had his grip unravel my piece-y, wispy bangs.

I went on talking about the year of the lob, which went mainstream in 2016. That year started many fringe appearances that, by 2017, when the blunt bangs trend was in full swing, styles were heavier with shorter lengths. The look then progressed to the French fringe. The fringed bob then became very popular, so were micro and baby bangs displayed with feathery fringes.

With so many modern reincarnations of the bangs hairstyle over the decades and the latest fringe fest of 2017-2019, we can expect more inspired iterations in the coming seasons. Case in point: the sculpted fringe for 2020.

While keenly observing the trend the past few years, I’ve noticed that modern reincarnations coincide with the reinvention of the bob hairstyle. Safe to say, bangs are directly proportional to bobs. And Henri confirmed my hair equation, “The bob is really here to stay. It’s the easiest to maintain, pull off, and it’s favored by many. Look what era the bob covered! Flapper bob, Gatsby bob, and so many more. Women identify with bobs.”


Henri Calayag with muse Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez

Henri explained that the constant evolution of fringe styles had something to do with transitioning the hair: “After a hard bob or a blunt cut, where the silhouette is very polished, women need something new. From a short bob, you try to layer it into a long pixie or long-ish bob, which is really like the mane of a modern lioness.”

French girl fringe, blunt bob bangs, and Birkin bangs

Model Bella Hadid has probably worn most statement bangs, including frangs or fake bangs for a Council of Fashion Designers of America event. She’s even known to grow her bangs sporadically, as now seen in her long, face-framing wispy bangs. Fellow model Kendall Jenner sports the same fringe style. When it comes to more unstructured bangs, British model and multi-hyphenate Alexa Chung is the go-to gal, whose hair has inspired so many asymmetrical, “undone” fringes and haircuts for the younger set.


Fringe queen Bella Hadid has done it all including blunt and wispy bangs. Here she wears frangs (aka fake bangs) for the CFDA awards


Kendall Jenner wears wispy bangs

Birkin bangs are the most effortless to wear: side-swept, parted in the middle, or just left alone.

Actress Dakota Johnson has strongly embodied the ’60s Jane Birkin bangs for quite some time now. But our very own beauty, actress Liza Soberano, pulls it off even better in my opinion. That face could handle any type of hair.


Liza Soberano embodying the Birkin bang

“The French fringe is not so distinct,” Henri said. “It’s that one-week-old bangs, a little overgrown, with softer edges. It’s the in-between—not full, but wispy— and you still see some forehead.” He then went on to give more examples that became my favorite part as I appreciated his hair references more. Jane Birkin and Audrey Tautou for the French fringe style were mentioned while hairdressers Alexandre de Paris and Kenneth of London, stylists of Jackie Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor, popularized soft and undone hairstyles.

With women growing out their bobs and lobs, or just looking to change things up, the current trends born out of the French fringe are definitely the curtain bangs. Actress, artist, and super fashionista Heart Evangelista leads the pack in showing how to wear it.


Heart Evangelista is a pro at pulling off curtain bangs

With so many modern reincarnations of the bangs hairstyle over the decades and the latest fringe fest of 2017-2019, we can expect more inspired iterations in the coming seasons. Case in point: the sculpted fringe for 2020.

But whether you get Birkin bangs, Bardot curtain bangs, French fringe, blunt bangs, lob side bangs, or baby bowl bangs, everyone can benefit from this styling tip: “Use dry shampoo, sea salt, or sugar spray to create that tousled look. You could also use mousse but dry shampoo, unlike mousse, is matte. So hair looks naturally disheveled, as if you just came out of the bed,” Henri advised.

Lastly, a word of caution: Veer away from anything too asymmetric. “Don’t go straight to a pixie bang where styling is tricky. You’ve to keep up with regrowth and get a maintenance cut every two weeks,” Henri warned. Other than that, enjoy the fringe fest, ladies!

Henri Calayag Salon is at G/L The Residences at Greenbelt, Esperanza st., Makati; phone (+632) 799 1495, (+63920) 918 1880; follow ; email [email protected]

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