How to Get the Retro Side-Swept Faux Bangs From the Betsey Johnson NYFW Show

Since growing out bangs is an epic bitch, learning to fake them is a valuable skill.
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Publish date:
September 21, 2015
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Betsey Johnson, backcombing, Sexy Hair, runway beauty, fashion week, tutorial, hairspray, NYFW, Faux Bangs

Being backstage at Betsey Johnson's SS16 show has ruined all other backstage experiences for me for life. I was worried about being shooed away from busy stylists and makeup artists and the natural consequences of being my doofus self; then I remembered that this is Betsey Johnson we're talking about.

Instead of salty publicists and hangers-on, motivational posters covered in glitter were being taped up all around me. Food, good tunes, and high spirits permeated the air as all of the moving parts turned toward one goal: an extra-special 50th anniversary presentation.

Betsey is a personal hero of mine. Her aesthetic is as consistent as her legendary runway splits, and 50 years, later the punk sensibility remains ineffable and authentic. This year’s collection was based on Betsey’s love of dance and the show itself devoted to Ann Pimm, her 94-year-old still-kicking dance teacher.

The collection and subsequent hair and makeup looks were split between three phases of Betsey Johnson’s life and career. I chatted with Creative Director for Sexy Hair and Key Hair Artist Rafe Hardy about the inspiration behind my favorite of the hair looks, the French twist with faux bangs.

Rafe told me that the show’s concept is “The Curious Case of Betsey Button” as the looks travels back in time. This Debbie Harry feathered-fringed ‘70s look was very unlike most of what I saw around town during my NYFW adventures. Rafe’s team was so kind and driven, churning out head after head of fantastic hair, but the faux bangs were my favorite. (The other two looks were positively divine as well, taking on the ‘80s and ‘60s respectively. The team created a Hollywood bombshell curl look and a very funky crimped style.)

Since growing out bangs is an epic bitch, learning to fake them is a valuable skill. I used advice from Sexy Hair’s team and tweaked the style to work just in the front, so you can have fake bangs with any style you'd like.

You need:

  • Working hair spray
  • Dry shampoo
  • Styling paste
  • Bobby pins
  • U-shaped hair pins
  • Curling wand

How to get the look:

First section off the entire crown, leaving out the sides.

Add dry shampoo at the root to add volume and make shaping easier.

Split the crown into two sections. Take the back section and backcomb it.

Form a pompadour with the backcombed section and secure it with bobby pins.

Mist the front with working hairspray and curl with a wand .


Twist the section around one to two times until only the excess hair is sweeping across your forehead, and secure it with pins.


Ugh, I love this because it's so easy and so cute! You can adapt this style to your preferences. Do it the Betsey way by combining with a glamorous French twist or chignon or add a sophisticated but casual low pony.

Photos by Darnell Scott and Rachel Scroggins.