10 Flattering Bangs for Women Over 50
Stylish fringe that fits your face and hair texture
by Lois Joy Johnson, AARP, September 13, 2018
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Leon Bennett/Getty Images; Romain Maurice/Getty Images for Haute Living
En español | Nearly every woman over 50 considers cutting bangs. And why not? They're a quick fix when you want a no-big-deal beauty update and/or need to counteract thinning hair, bad brows or forehead creases. Here's the catch: While some impulse snippers love their bangs, others call them a big mistake and can't wait for them grow out. As our celebrity photos reveal, flattering bangs come in all shapes, styles and textures. Here's how to get the ones you won't regret — and with all the fringe benefits.
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PHOTO BY: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for CinemaCon; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
1. Dipper Bangs
This is the lowest commitment bang of all. Basically, it's a long layer that swings across the forehead and ends below the cheekbone, level with your lips. Yes, it's a faux bang, but it's the best choice if you're on the fence and prefer easing into change. Part your hair on your stronger profile side for the most effective dip. This fresh detail works well on Taraji P. Henson's (left) wavy asymmetrical bob and Judith Light's long blond hair.
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PHOTO BY: Leon Bennett/Getty Images; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images
2. Sideswept Bangs
These bangs are cut on an angle so the shortest part grazes the brows and the longest curves down to the cheekbone. They have built-in versatility: Wear them as is, or brush them firmly up and over to the side to blend the bangs in with the rest of your hair. Grow-out is fast and painless if you change your mind.
Sidesweepsadd extraedge to LisaRaye's (left) statement two-tone hair and musician Kim Gordon's jagged bob.
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PHOTO BY: FilmMagic/Getty Images (3), Jon Kopaloff; Paul Archuleta; Jon Kopaloff
3. Full BangsAn eye framing side-to-side fringe makes long hair modern and dresses the face when hair is pulled back or up. Add long layers to the side hair around the face to keep the flow of the cut graceful, not boxy. To get a smooth and polished look like Jane Seymour (left) and Rosanna Arquette (center), blow-dry the shortest areas — bangs and layers around the face — first, then do the rest (especially if you have wavy to curly hair). For a straighter look like Suzanne Somers (right), touch up your bangs briefly with a miniature flat iron.
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PHOTO BY: Dan MacMedan/Getty Images; Dan MacMedan/WireImage/Getty Images
4. Bohemian Bangs
This is a relaxed, free-spirited version of No. 3. They're cut longer at the sides in a gradual, subtle arch at the center. These bangs are also longer, looser and shaggier, and separate a little due to variations in length at the ends. They suit women with a cool hipster style like Goldie Hawn (left) and Emmylou Harris, and are a little undone and messy — in a good way. Use a round brush to flick out the ends at the sides when blow-drying in order to create more movement and volume.
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PHOTO BY: JB Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images; Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
5. Brow-Boosting Bangs
Blunt, uniform bangs that rest just above the brows work if you have full, lush brows like Mary Steenburgen (left) or the patience to do brow makeup like Maye Musk. They're also a good solution for women who wear glasses and don't want the frames, brows and fringe competing with one other, or for those who love a full fringe but are sensitive to hair in their eyes. Whatever your reason, just say no to a too-short mid-forehead bang — they look dorky on all but the most extreme fashionistas.
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PHOTO BY: Theo Wargo/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Noam Galai/Getty Images
6. Crisp Bob Bangs
Blunt bangs make a classic bob or lob super-fashionable, and add definition and structure to your face. Maintaining that sharp horizontal line at the tips does require frequent trims, but most salons now offer this in-between service free (ask your stylist). Whether your bob is styled to curve like Anna Wintour's (left) or is a stick-straight version like that of Patti LaBelle, the effect is bold and crisp. Avoid cutting the fringe too wide at the sides — just to the outer-eye corners is an ideal proportion.
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PHOTO BY: Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty; Dave J HoganGetty; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NARAS
7. Feathery Fringe
Soft, airy bangs with some separation work well for hair that's fine. Don't worry about taking away hair — by cutting a frame, you actually gain the illusion of fullness. But you have to be OK with imperfection: If bangs split at the center or appear see-through wispy — that's all part of the "look," as (from left) Emily Mortimer, Twiggy and Reba McEntire prove. Beginners should start with a few long bangs at the center and gradually work up to a full set.
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PHOTO BY: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Romain Maurice/Getty Images for Haute Living
8. Spiky Shorties
Short hair pairs well with short, spiky bangs if you like a gamine look. Use a little bit of styling pomade, wax or paste to break up your bangs like Kris Jenner (left) or Sharon Stone do for piece-y separation. Oddly enough, short jagged bangs take easily to change. Keep your hair short and transform this look by simply growing bangs to your brows (see Emma Thompson in No. 9) or by sweeping them to the side ... before you scissor them short and feathery and start all over again.
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PHOTO BY: Fred Duval/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage/Getty Images
9. Layered and Full Fringe
Short- to medium-length hair that's fairly thick can handle a dense and heavy bang. Plumped up with graduated layers beneath, bangs this lush can be worn straight like Emma Thompson (left) or shaggier like Lisa Rinna. Use a small, round barrel brush as you blow dry them — directing the bangs to the left, then to the right and then to the center in order to avoid a "bumper" effect.
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PHOTO BY: Robert Kamau/GC Images/Getty Images; Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
10. Curly, Wavy, Textured BangsOnce upon a time, wearing bangs required some kind of straightening with a hot tool or treatment. No more! Any natural hair with a little spring — from soft, beachy waves like Halle Berry (left) to ringlets like Alfre Woodard — can sport forehead decor, even if it's only a few random spirals to bring attention to your eyes. Be sure your stylist cuts or trims when your hair is dry, not wet, to avoid excess shrinkage.
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