How to get Zooey Deschanel Bangs

I have spent my life on a womanly quest, often ending in heartbreak {or heartbreakingly awkward photos}. I earnestly sought an answer, striving to be cool, or at least not uncool. It was a gift my mother could not pass down, a challenge my sister did not share. I journeyed alone and it took me 30 years to arrive.

I wanted bangs.

In 2nd grade I cried when forced to slick back my bangs for a ballet recital, convinced I had a huge forehead.

In 4th grade three supercool 5th grade girls spoke to our class, flipping their hair from side to side every few seconds {I immediately began folding that into my own mannerisms} all with giant, dual level, curled two directions, teased bangs.

I attempted this artistry at home but mostly ended up with smushed to the side hair with lots of hairspray. 

High school brought bizarrely thin whispy attempts. College a stringy swept-to-the-other-side version {in case it was just the right side of forehead that had been the problem?}. My early 20's saw a run of unfortunately short bangs.

Finally in my late 20's I made a magical discovery when Jeanne Coyne, who died in 1973, changed my life.

Cast to play Jeanne, Gene Kelly's wife, in a show about their love triangle during "Singing in the Rain" I made the transformation to look like her using synthetic fake bangs.

I fell in love. Thick gorgeous bangs were mine on stage every night!

Soon I had discovered, for sale at a beauty supply store in Manhattan, real fake bangs. Not an oxymoron, but rather faux bangs {they clip on} made of real hair so they could be cut, washed, curled, straightened.

For years {almost} no one knew the difference. In fact, I was wearing them when I launched Dean Street Society! {See my first photo shoot below.}

One day my hair stylist said, "I think we can do this for real. Do you trust me?" And I didn't. Not really. But if I figured worst case scenario they would suck like always and I could just wear my fake ones over them until they grew out.

It took a few weeks. But thanks to a great stylist/haircut and some advanced steps, I have become a woman. I have bangs. Which of course gets me a lot more Zooey Deschanel comments these days. But if you too lack a thick mane like Zooey, if your hair is thin or wavy or your forehead sweaty, here's my 8 steps to cute bangs that will make you want to hair dance.

 

1) Shampoo twice daily. Even if you throw the rest of your hair in a bun, sink-wash your bangs. Twice. The first time gets off the residue, the second {holy foamy lather worthy of a commercial, I promise!} gets a deeper clean. 

2) Use a saltwater/beachy spray. This gives fine hair some stick to avoid total whispyness. Only apply at the roots.

3) Blow-dry in a variety of directions. Curl comes from the root and the desire here is to "confuse the root". Instead of just drying down/straight, direct the root every which way to break it from it's habits. I love using the ghd brush to avoid the oils from my fingers.

4 + 5) Use the ghd straightener dividing your hair into 3 layers. Ghd is what my stylist uses, and if you're going to use it everyday, go with what the pros use. If you try to clamp the full bang all at once, you won't get all of it as straight, so do the bottom, middle, then top layers pinning the upper ones back with a bobby pin. If you want a bit of curl at the end, just finish off your ghd strokes by angling towards your face instead of straight down {which can look a bit harsh}.

6) Dry shampoo at your roots. This gives more volume, less shine.

7) Use a teasing comb. I don't do this daily, but if I know I'm headed to an event where I'll be taking photos this gives extra volume and stay-in-place-ness. 

8) Don't. Touch. The bangs. Avoid the oils on your fingers. First, let it go. Resist the urge to touch. I promise you can break this nervous habit over time to both look more chic in your mannerisms and keep your bangs less greasy! Two, when you do touch, try to use an item other than your fingers. In addition to the handle on the teasing comb, I've been known to use my credit card or keys. I'll sometimes use one finger at the roots to fluff them up without running my fingers all the way through them, or fluff them with the nail-polished side of my fingers. 

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Shop this Style { Hair Straightener c/o ghd | Fine Hair Shampoo: Evo's Gluttony |  Sea Salt Spray: Evo's Salty Dog  | Dry Shampoo: Suave | Red Lipstick: MAC Lady Danger} + Photography by Sara Kerens 

 

I guarantee you'll want to put on a fan and make sexy faces at the camera too.

Now it's your turn to help a sister out!

What are YOUR tips for better bangs, or just hair in general? Leave 'em in the comments below!

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