This winter, the not-so-humble fringe is in.
The likes of Bella Hadid and Emma Watson have made a case for micro-fringes (full, but super-short and a little bit edgy) while the school girl-esque sweeping side fringe made a massive comeback on autumn/winter 2019's runways, so it was only a matter of time before the rest of us got involved.
The fringe we're loving right now? It's all about the 'French girl fringe'. Ideal for anyone growing out a full fringe or for those tip-toeing their way into the trend, the French girl fringe is grown out, centre-parted and totally laissez-faire. Think Brigitte Bardot with an injection of Alexa Chung indie.
We caught up with pro hairstylist and founder of London salon Hare & Bone, Sam Burnett, to get all the details on how to work the ultimate fringe like the French girls.
Why is it in right now?
"The French girl fringe is super versatile and can be tailored to work with different face shapes, hair textures and express your individuality, so it’s ideal for reinventing your style for 2020.
"The length, lighter texture and slightly more square line of FGF open up the face a lot more, visually strengthening and lifting the cheekbones whilst widening the eyes compared to the heavier more face framing fringes from previous seasons."
What should I ask for at the hairdressers if I want one?
"Ask your hairdresser to consider your face shape so you choose the best fringe line that’s most flattering for you. The FGF can range in length from the centre of the forehead above the eyebrow to skimming or even sitting in your eyes.
"The main difference is usually a more square line compared to previous seasons and the texture is much looser, lighter and textured. If you have finer straighter hair you would be best to opt for fuller fringe that is visually broken up with a deep point cutting technique, that way the hair has enough weight to sit well without too much styling from you.
"If your hair is thicker and has more natural movement, ask for a layered fringe over-directed to a stationary centre point or where your hair parts naturally, this will give you shorter more textured hair in the centre of the fringe that naturally gains weight and length towards the cheekbones."
If a full on fringe is more your cup of tea, read on for your expert guide to all things fringe and don't visit the salon before you're done reading.
1. Never cut your own fringe
Put the scissors down. Rule number one of getting a fringe is to not cut it in yourself, regardless of whether you're feeling optimistic or even if you've had one before.
"Surely we've all seen disaster videos on Facebook," says Sophia Hilton, director of Not Another Salon, "so why do we still think this will work out well? Put it this way, fringes are the one thing that all trainee hairdressers are scared of because they are so difficult to do."
Got it, and according to hairstylist Paul Edmonds, the exact same goes for a trim, because wonky curtains aren't a cute look.
2. Take your face shape into consideration
You've heard of brow mapping? Well the same philosophy can be applied to fringes because believe it or not, your face shape is detrimental to picking the right style.
"Anyone can pull off a fringe," says hairstylist Paul Edmonds, "but they have to be adapted to the shape of the face. Many assume that fringes need to be hard and blunt but this style doesn’t work with all face shapes, there are so many styles of fringes that can be tailored to each face."
A sweeping side fringe is your best bet, and if you want to elongate your face, ask your hairstylist to leave it a little longer at the edges, so that it falls just below the cheekbone. Curtain-style bangs that sit at both sides also work to lengthen round faces.
"Long thin faces can pull off a longer, heavier fringe." says Paul.
Think super-blunt and full.
"If you widen and bring the fringe straight across it'll help gives width to the upper face, instantly emphasising the eyes and cheek bones."
A Brigitte Bardot-esque, fringe is one of the most flattering cuts for heart-shaped faces, especially if it's super-textured and choppy, but you can get away with pretty much all styles, including much heavier, fuller fringes.
According to the experts, soft, layered, sweeping fringe styles complement more angular face shapes without detracting from your cracking bone structure.
3. Do fringes work on curly hair?
Yep, girls with curls can get involved, too. Think more Alanna Arrington, less '70s Top of The Pops.
"Big curls and a fringe is so underrated," says Sophia, "but be careful. When you call up the salon make sure you ask for the curl specialist or at the very least a person that loves curly hair."
Why? Because it really pays to know the curl pattern.
"With our curly clients we cut the fringe in when wet and at a longer length," says Paul. "When it dries and the curl shrinks, so we can then trim it again to the right length. If you have curly hair and are getting a fringe for the first time, start gently with a subtle, shallow fringe. Once your stylist knows how the curl sits, you can be braver with the cut."
Afraid it'll take over your entire face? Paul suggests isolating a keratin treatment to the fringe only, as it helps soften the look.
4. Can I get a fringe if I've got fine hair?
If you have super-fine hair that gets oily really quickly, you might want to re-think those Alexa Chung-inspired bangs...
"It might not be the style for you," says Sophia. "Just a little sprinkle of hairs hanging over your face is never going to a be a good look, but if you’re really adamant you need to go for a super thick fringe where your hairstylist will take a chunk of hair from further back."
5. How should you style and look after a fringe?
"Soft fringes can grow into different shapes but straight, strong fringes look awful if they aren't maintained," says Sophia. "When deciding on a fringe with your stylist, you must consider how often you can come back to the salon realistically."
To keep your fringe looking sharp, less straggly, it pays to get a trim every three weeks to a month. Conveniently, a lot of salons offer free fringe trims in between cuts, as they're super-quick to do.
6. Will I suit a short fringe? Possibly not...
Micro-fringes, or 'Euro-fringes' as they're known in-salon, are flooding Instagram feeds everywhere. Super short and totally selfie-worthy, all manner of celebrities have given the look a go recently, from Emma Watson to Emma Roberts and Bella Hadid, but like all major chops, it needs to be very carefully considered.
"This look can go from looking vintage and quite playful to edgy and intense," says Sophia, something Paul seconds: "It's almost an elfin and really quite dramatic look that usually suits smaller faces," he says.
7. You might need more styling products
"Often, people straighten or blow-dry their fringes every day so the hair is very prone to heat damage," says Paul - cue split ends, brittleness and breakage, so it pays to invest in products that are going nourish and protect.
8. How to grow out a fringe properly
Cast aside the notion that growing out a fringe will take yonks or make you look unkempt. According to Paul, it's not that difficult - if you're clever about it.
"Fringes aren’t as scary a commitment as people think and they can be grown out in three or four months," he says. "It means another trip to the salon, but once you get it cut into and blended into the hair at the sides of the face, then the growing process is simple."
"It’s seems counterproductive," agrees Sophia, "but constant trims are the only way. Growing out a fringe feels like forever, so it's best to keep it in shape while it's growing longer."
Makes sense, right? Bye, chunky bangs.