How to Get Thick, Luscious Bangs When You Have Fine, Flimsy Hair

Just because you have fine hair doesn't mean you can't have chunky, broody bangs. You’re just gonna have to work for it.
Publish date:
October 12, 2015
bangs, teasing, dry shampoo, fine hair

"You have really thin hair. It’s a BAD thing. Means you’re probably sick."

I shifted noisily in my black plastic cape, trying not to move or look at either of us in the mirror. I was 17 when I last went to a salon. Well, not exactly a salon, but I did fork over $60 to the hairdresser in our sad, half-shuttered mall. She was rocking a so-high-it’s-see-through feathered coif that was bleached banana yellow, and she smelled of cigarettes and so much hairspray.

I had brought a photo of Liv Tyler’s thick, blunt bangs paired with a kind of wispy, short shag. The hairdresser tossed it in the trash and handed me one of those bizarre hairstyle magazines that people used to buy before the internet existed.

"Your hair’s too thin to have bangs like that. Pick out something else. I’m going for a smoke break."

I was such a giant wiener that I just picked out a wispy side-bang mom haircut instead. I went home and shaved it off without using a mirror.

Having fine hair can be a drag. Nothing makes my eyes roll harder than someone with an impossible amount of hair humble-brags about how they can’t find hair ties to contain the girth of their ponytail. Unless you are donating some of it to me, I don’t care, bro.

There are all kinds of hairstyles that are "off-limits" to us fine-haired folk—generally really structured or textured styles don’t quite translate. However, big, fat bangs isn’t one of them.

Start With a Good Cut

When I say "big, fat bangs," I don’t mean blunt, necessarily; I just mean a fringe that is chunky and thick. A lot of hairstylists will convince you to cut a wispy side bang, but if you have fine hair, it might just show off your temples instead of framing your face.

I went to a darling friend of mine who specializes in rad hair; she cut a few layers into my bangs to add shape and movement. She also kept them rather narrow, and tapered them to blend so there wasn't a big thin spot between my fringe and my temple. This is key for a wash-and-go fringe. (Thanks, Paige!)

Remember: Dry Shampoo Is Your Best Friend

Your best friend would never irritate the skin on your forehead, right? Neither should your dry shampoo. I’m on a very strict budget, so I only allow myself either DIY or under $5 (my general rule for beauty products)—I like Pantene, Not Your Mother’s, and Suave.

I concentrate on my roots, and use a makeup wipe to clean up any excess from my face—can’t be too careful with aerosol-propelled product that close to your face!

Shape Them

One of the problems with fine hair is its tendency to lie PERFECTLY flat. My hair is wavy, but without any coaching, my bangs are impossibly straight.

Since the lifespan of your fringe is so short (you probably cycle through it every three to six months depending on how fast your hair grows) you can use hot tools to shape it without really worrying too much about damage. A little damage gives it a bit of volume anyway!

I use the Mall Hair method: I separate my bangs into two or three layers, and quickly (I’m talking clip, wind, count to three and release) curl each layer. I don’t even let them cool before combing them down. (There is a such thing as too much volume!)

Tease ‘Em

No weaksauce wide-tooth combs! You’re going to need a teasing comb. Get one with oil baked into it to minimize frizz, or be metal and get a sturdy steel comb that can take some abuse. Tease them at the root after a spritz of hairspray for added volume.

Stop Touching Them! They Look Fine!

You are your fringe's worst enemy; your incessant handling introduces all kinds of grease. Instead of using your fingers to fidget with your bangs, use a small pick or a comb. Or best of all, just leave them be! Bangs are supposed to be uncomfortable, kind of like shapewear.