Some people fear bangs like the plague, while others swear their lives by bangs.
Have you seen Zooey Deschanel without bangs? She’s hardly recognizable! Watch Elf to get a glimpse of her pre-New Girl look.
Fortunately, for those who aren’t totally committed to the full bangs or no bangs look, there is an intermediate look that works for just about everyone: side bangs.
Side bangs are versatile and often used as a transition from straight across bangs to a no bangs look.
The cut of your bangs can really affect the way you look. For some it is about providing more coverage for their forehead and exerting some control over how their hair shapes their face, while others keep their bangs wispy for more of a fun, easy-going look.
Whether you like thick, luscious bangs, that sweep seductively down over your eyes, or a tousled fringe that makes your eyes pop, you’ll find a decent option in side bangs.
The main difference between side bangs and full bangs are the way in which they’re cut and/or styled. Side bangs are cut on a slant usually, but they don’t have to be. Straight bangs can be transformed into side bangs merely by brushing your hair in the direction you want it to go.
That’s right – some haircuts with bangs are even convertible, allowing you to choose each morning whether you want them straight or side.
For those who know that they want some form of side bangs, but aren’t sure what kind of cut to recommend to their stylist (please don’t attempt to cut your own bangs with scissors – doing so is often a disastrous plot point in romantic comedies, and for good reason), here are some options to consider.
Top 7 Types of Side Swept Bangs
Side bangs can come slanted, long, choppy, and short. It’s up to you to choose which style will best complement your face shape, or which look you’d love to rock most. All you need is confidence and a hairdresser to nail any of these side bang looks!
1. Long, Wispy, Side-Parted Fringe
If you’re nervous about trying out bangs for the first time, go for a longer look. This is a good idea mainly because you know it’ll soon grow out again. If you get your bangs cut too short and find you hate them, well, you’re going to have to wait a while before they grow out again.
By embracing long side bangs, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to give bangs a go without having to commit to them for months and months. Long bangs are much easier to put behind your ear or pin back than short bangs, and are therefore a more versatile option overall.
With a long, wispy, side-parted fringe, you’ll get a flowy side swept look from your bangs without changing your look too significantly.
This style of side bangs works great for a beachy, delicate look, and frames the face more than it covers the forehead.
Hairstylists recommend long side swept bangs for those with wavy hair in particular, and measure the length at “hitting the cheekbones.”
2. Choppy Side Swept Bangs
For those hoping for a slightly more edgy look, choppy side bangs might be for you.
This look is definitely a lot bolder than the last, but isn’t meant to be a forehead covering sheet either. The choppy look means having your bangs cut at slightly varied lengths (versus in a straight line), and the side sweep will make you look less like Hannah Montana and more like Bella Hadid.
Choppy bangs may require some piecing apart on your part, as a part of your daily styling but, for the most part, will compliment a bed head look that appears chic and not messy.
For those who love to roll out of bed and get going, these will be great side swept bangs for you. While bangs are by no means low maintenance, the deliberate messy look of choppy bangs will let you get away with a little more sleep and a little less styling.
Choppy side swept bangs are great for a carefree, edgy look, and go great with straight hair. Just keep in mind that the more you chop from the front, the more your look will go from 2006 Kristen Bell to 2008 Katy Perry.
Of course, whether or not you want to go hard for a scene/emo chop or tread carefully with a thinner side bang look depends solely on your preferences. People of all hair types can rock either with the right amount of chop.
3. Softly Parted Layered Bangs
This might be one of the subtlest side bangs looks. It might even appear like you don’t have bangs at all, but as long as those side pieces are shorter, you can claim you’ve got them.
Layered bangs will help your bangs blend well with the rest of your cut, and add just a little more of a frame around the upper half of your face. This look is effortless and chic, and works great with long bobs as a way to give your hair a little more complex of a shape.
Remember The Rachel – the iconic haircut on Jennifer Aniston from when she played Rachel on Friends? That’s in part what these bangs draw inspiration from, and is clearly an element of The Rachel’s popularity.
This look is great for those who might not want serious bangs, but are looking for a little more shape or something new on top of the look they already rock without bangs.
It’s an easy, effortless look that will help you escape the difficulties of having serious bangs that need styling and care, but also one that isn’t really about the bangs at all, but having a haircut that better frames your face.
However, if you’re looking to go full Rachel with your look, heed Aniston’s advice: It’s not easy to maintain. And who is surprised – that volume is out of this world (AKA likely assisted by blow dryers and hairspray to stay in place).
Fortunately, if you’re just looking for some subtle side bangs to add to your current, layered chop, you’ll find maintenance a lot easier – and still reap the benefits of a lovely, Rachel-esque look.
4. Angular, Long, Side Swept Fringe
This look is a combination of the long, wispy, side-parted fringe and the choppy side swept bangs look. With angular, long, side swept fringe, you’ll be rocking a look that’s both sexy and edgy.
These bangs will mostly go to one side, versus the others, which can flexibly be cropped short on both sides or one side. This look is a lot more dramatic and has a bit of an Old Hollywood revitalized feel.
Most people with this cut have it sweep over their eyes, adding a touch of mystery and romance to your look. It’s a great style for those with a round face, as it will add some edge to the softness of a circular face shape, and also create a more angular look to your style.
This bangs style looks great with up-dos, and will add sophistication to any ponytail or messy bun. Fabulous and elegant, these bangs also create an illusion of a slimmer face, if that happens to be something you’re going for. For those with longer faces, keep in mind that bangs like these will just accentuate that length.
It really all comes down to whether or not you mind having your face look a little bit thinner and longer – more oval than round – and if you want to add a harder edge to your otherwise softer look.
5. Medium-Length, Side Swept, Blunt Bangs
Yep, believe it or not, you can have both.
Side sweeping blunt bangs are the best of both worlds for those not confident in taking on a fully straight-cut fringe, but interested in getting a little bit of a taste.
The side swept look of these bangs is in part up to you to style. Depending on your hair, your bangs might want to go in all kinds of directions (and wind will likely make the decision for you on some days), so it’s up to you to keep them under control.
If you are down to style your look, however, you’ll find these bangs to be a dream.
Keeping these bangs piece-y and divided along your hairline – AKA pushed to opposite sides for a side swept look – will give you a very trendy and bold look.
These bangs will also be nicely convertible, allowing you to opt for a mostly straight, non-side swept look when you’re feeling daring, and a more easygoing side swept look when you’re feeling fresh and casual. Having options is never a bad thing, and when both are as stylish as these, there’s really no major downside.
That said, keep in mind that the more your side swept bangs go hard across, and the shorter they get, the more work they might require in order to stay in place. But it’s nothing a brush and blow drier can’t fix!
Also keep your shelves stocked with dry shampoo, so you can keep your bangs looking fresh all week long.
6. Short Side Swept Fringe
Some might say that this one is for the hipsters. In reality: These bangs are for anyone! And don’t be ashamed of the hipster label that some tie to this look. Be proud that it connotates your trendy and artsy fashion sense.
This hairstyle is probably the edgiest look on this list, and one that the meek or demure might reject as being too hard to pull off. People who are hoping for a more generic look might think, generally speaking, that no one wants their bangs to be cut too short.
But some people do – and they own the look, too!
If you’re a conversation starter who’s not afraid to turn heads, you will feel empowered by this look. It’s a favorite among those with a pixie cut, as it matches the shortness of the rest of their hair and makes their glowing face the star of the show.
From Emma Watson to Alison Sudol, there are plenty of stars that prove that going for a bold look can be completely awarding. Plus: These bangs won’t get in your eyes! On that front, they’re convenient, stylish, and nuisance free.
7. Shaggy Side Bangs
If you’re fun and you love the bedhead look, then these bangs are for you. Messy, shaggy side bangs can be whatever you want. You can sweep them left and right with ease, make them piece-y and bold, or pin them back – they’re completely versatile.
These bangs mesh edgy with effortless, and will go wherever your fingers sweep them. This style is for people who aren’t bothered by the wind (it will only make you look even more windswept and effortless) and won’t always bother to style their bangs.
This look compliments all face shapes, but is pretty close to true bangs – so make sure you’re not afraid of a little hair over your eyes before you ask for this cool chop.
Side Swept Bangs Are What You Make Them
Bangs come in all kinds of styles, lengths, and thicknesses, and side swept bangs are no exception. What hairstyle you ultimately choose can come down to factors like face shape, face length, hair type, and so much more.
But the real decision is not about how bangs can make your face look “better” by whatever standard you’re holding yourself to (which you shouldn’t anyway, because that’s no way to live!). When it comes to choosing bangs, choose the style that makes you the most comfortable, the happiest, and the most confident – because you’ll likely have them for a while.
And liking your bangs is so much more important than following any trend.
With that in mind, go boldly forth to your hairdresser, or to your own pair of haircutting scissors, if you dare, and enjoy your brand-new look. There’s nothing more fun than switching your hair up now and again, so make sure to enjoy your side bangs glow up!