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How to Blow Dry Bangs

Are you suffering from "Bubble Bangs?" Put down that round brush, stat.

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Bangs

An example of bad bangs (left) and good bangs (right) on Anna Kournikova

Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images & Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Too often I see women with bangs that would look 100 percent better if they simply changed brushes. 

You may know this look: blunt or side-swept bangs that appear to have been blown-dried with a round brush. I call them "Bubble Bangs." The bangs seem to be rounded into the shape of a Coke can. In fact, a hairstylist blew my bangs dry this way just a couple weeks ago. I wanted to scream, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" but because I am still a nice Southern girl despite my 20 years living outside of Texas, I let her do what she felt professionally inclined to do.

And then I immediately went home, dampened my newly shorn bangs and dried them with a flat brush. Bangs look best when they are flatter at the base and blown straight.

Put Down That Round Brush

Don't get me wrong: round brushes are great. They have a purpose, which is to add lift and body to your hair when blow-drying. But they do not belong anywhere near the bangs. Bangs dried around a round brush look dated. You may think you're adding body but what you are really doing is transforming your hair into an 80s hairstyle. Add some leg warmers and pink lip gloss and you're good to go. The example in the picture above of Anna Kournikova shows dated bangs on the left and modern bangs on the right.

Instead, you want to dry your bangs with a flat or paddle brush. The modern way to wear bangs is two-fold:

  1. Dry bangs with a flat brush or a paddle brush. Use your round brush on the rest of your hair if you're dying to create body, but use a flat or paddle brush to create the straight, smooth look that's so popular today.
  2. Ensure your blunt or side-swept bangs are not cut too short. Blunt bangs and side-swept bangs should sweep the top of your eyebrows. Anything shorter will date you, unless you can pull off a pixie. The sides of blunt bangs should be slightly longer than the middle. Yes, they are a pain to maintain, but that's the price you pay for fabulousness. And it's why I no longer wear blunt bangs. I'm simply too lazy for bang maintenance. (See How to Trim Bangs).

Wondering what a flat or a paddle brush are? I've pictured them here. You can find my favorites in  Best Hairbrushes List.

How to Properly Blow Dry Your Bangs

I like to dry my bangs before I hit the rest of my hair because I find bangs dry very fast -- they are shorter after all -- and if you work on the rest of your head first, by the time you get to your bangs, they may have started to dry in a way that you will despise, causing you to plead on Facebook, "I'm having a bad hair day, eeeeeek!"

Here are Julyne's Rules for Properly Blow-drying Bangs:

  • Always hold the blow dryer nozzle above the hair, blasting the air downward.
  • If you use product like a volumizing spray or styling spray, don't use too much. It will weigh hair down. Spray on hair first, then comb through.
  • Use a paddle brush or flat brush (examples of these can be found in my Best Hairbrushes List). If you only have a round brush, use it as one would a flat brush and DO NOT WRAP THE BANGS around the brush barrel.
  • With air blowing on your bangs, sweep them with the brush over to one side first then over the other. Keep doing this until bangs are dried. This keeps them straight and works on both blunt and side-swept bangs.

Ummmm, I Only Have a Round Brush, What Do I Do?

If you only have a round brush, that's fine. I used one for years before I bought a paddle brush (it made my blow drying life much easier). Simply use the round brush on your bangs as one would a flat brush and DO NOT WRAP THE BANGS around the brush barrel.

Hairstylist Nick Arroyo explains in his book Great Hair how to properly use a round brush to dry bangs:

"Instead of wrapping the hair around the brush, place the brush in at the roots and brush from underneath up, from roots to ends, with the heat of the dryer following the same path," he writes. 

This will give your bangs volume, while keeping them straight.

Hate the Dryer? Air Dry Your Bangs

If you're as lazy as I am, some days you want to skip the blow-dryer and let your hair air dry. Air drying is good for your hair, but it can wreck havoc on your style.

To properly air dry your bangs, simply comb them into place and let them dry. You can add body by ruffling them from left to right, and then finger combing them so they dry straight. You don't want any wave in them.

Help! I Have Wavy Bangs!

You can have bangs even if you have curly or wavy hair, but your bangs are going to be high-maintenance if you hope to wear them straight. I suggest embracing your hair's texture and getting a decent haircut that allows your curly or wavy bangs to flow naturally into your longer hair. 

If you do want straight bangs, use my blow-drying trick above, but follow-up with a small flat-iron run through your bangs. Pull the iron downward from roots to your nose.

How to Keep Bangs From Getting Gross & Oily

Before I became pregnant and my hair and skin dried up like the Sahara Desert, I suffered greatly from Oily Bangs Syndrome. You may know what I'm talking about: I blew my bangs dried and then 10 minutes later they were limp and sad as if I had dipped them in a vat of French fry oil before drying them.

The best remedy for Oily Bangs Syndrome is to apply dry shampoo on your bangs after you dry them, before they become oily. My hands down favorite dry shampoo is Klorane (buy it online for $18), but you can find a good dry shampoo in drugstores for less. They're all pretty much made up of the same thing.

Don't have dry shampoo on hand? Sprinkle baby powder in your brush and run it through your bangs. That works too.

You can also wash just your bangs and dry them if you want to go a day or 2 between washings. I find bang-washings to be incredibly annoying, but I know other women who do this happily. To do this, separate your bangs from the rest of your hair by pulling all hair but the bangs in a ponytail. Wet your bangs and massage in a small amount of shampoo. Rinse very, very well. Blow dry using my rules above.

More on bangs:

See my galleries of bang hairstyles:

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