I'm obsessed with the '70s. The decade has informed everything from my iTunes library to my half-thrifted wardrobe. But let's be real, these things can only take you so far if don't have the right boho-era hair. On one end of the spectrum, there's brushed-out disco curls, which my natural texture caters to quite nicely actually. But on the other, grass-is-always-greener side, there's The Shag. Or rather, its 2016 update The Swag.
Steeped in badassery, The Swag is lethal combination of feathery waves and wispy bangs we've seen on Alexa Chung and Taylor Swift alike. Alas, because of my frizz-happy curls, fringe has always been, and always will be (thank you for reminding me of this, Making a Murderer), a terrible idea. But eye-on-the-prize determined, I decided to hack the look once and for all.
The obvious solution was clip-in bangs, which I'd previously written off as expensive, high-maintenance, and not totally natural-looking. But as I learned in under an hour at Bumble and bumble's Downtown salon, it's actually none of those things.
For one, my 100% human hair, clip-in fringe cost only $22 at Wigs and Plus in NYC, which is about what I spent on last night's Seamless-order-for-one (oops). And then once I had the piece, it just had to be secured into place, cut by a professional (first and last trim ever), and lightly styled. But while the utter ease of it all was truly mind-boggling, what really got me was how real it looked.
Not a single person (at least not to my knowledge) questioned it, and when I admitted I was wearing hair that was not my own, they were baffled. It really was like magic. Which is why I'm officially campaigning for every woman, no matter what kind of texture they may have, to invest in commitment-free clip-in bangs that are, of course, professionally styled first. Whether it's for everyday, once in a while, or a one-night-only affair, the transformation is everything.
For those just as skeptical as I was, I documented the majority of the process via the Marie Claire Snapchat for a step-by-step peek into the process.
Step 1) Prep the Hair
Full disclosure: For the sake of this look, I got a blowout pre-styling because as I said before, curly hair and bangs do not a happy marriage make. After making a center part and smoothing out my hair, Bumble and bumble hairstylist Francesca DellAquila used the salon's Dryspun Finish Spray to give me a lived-in, tousled '70s texture. "It's shaggy, not too styled," she explained.
As for the clip-ins, the night before my appointment, she shampooed and conditioned the hair piece. "When it's straight out of the package, it's super shiny," she explained. "This gives it a more natural shine."
Step 2) Braid the Base
In order for the bangs to stay in place, you need to create a base for the built-in clip to sit. DellAquila did this with a small braid, which will always lay flattest on the head. (If you're not one for plaits, you can hack this with twist.) She cornrowed the braid about an inch in from the hairline, using the bang piece itself as a reference for how large the section should be. After braiding the length of the section, she tied it with clear elastic and let the rest of the hair lay normally.
Step 3) Clip and Trim
Once the base is in place, clipping in the bangs is pretty intuitive. You just have to make sure you're sliding it underneath the braid. After they were secured, DellAquila cut my bangs according to my face shape, eye shape, and my inspo pic (T-Swift at the 2015 Grammys). She did so using a razor as it yields more natural-looking fringe i.e. soft and feathered.
Step 4) Powder the Roots
As you can see in my before picture, I have dark roots. To ensure that the super-blonde bangs blended in, DellAquila brushed Bumble and bumble's Soft Hair Powder in brown on the roots of the clip-ins so that it matched the roots. This ensures they look organic from every angle.
Step 5) Make the Texture Fluid
To finish the look, DellAquila made sure the texture of the bangs matched that of the rest of my hair. To do this, she used the heat from a blow dryer and her hands to smooth out fuzziness while using her fingers to create the right cool-girl bend. "The hair isn't attached to your head, so you can't put as much tension on it," she explains. "The texture is all about balance."
Another trick is to create more volume around and over the crease between your hair and the clip-in to ensure fluidity. Once everything was evened out, she set the look with more Dryspun spray.
Step 6) Turn Your Swag On
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