How to Cut Your Own Bangs

Do you have bangs? Do you want them? You can cut your own bangs at home—it’s actually not that hard. Our cute reader Ambika, above, wanted to learn how to create bangs, so my friend Reagan, a hair stylist, agreed to show us how it’s done…

How to cut your own bangs

Tip: Always cut bangs when your hair is dry, since hair shrinks up when it dries. If you cut your hair while it’s still wet, you might chop off more than you intend to. (You don’t want to wind up looking like Dumb and Dumber.)

1. Find the spot where your bangs should begin.
For a full fringe, like Zooey Deschanel, part your hair perfectly in the center. After you’ve parted your hair, feel the top of your head, and find the spot where it starts to slope down. Starting at the slope will make a pretty thick bang, so go a little less than that. (Although if you have a small forehead, you can start your bangs a bit farther back, so they have more length.)

2. Create your triangle.
A common mistake is to just pull a section of hair down and start cutting until it looks right, but it’s important to start with the correct sections so your bangs slope correctly. You want to create a triangle using the hair between the top two points of your forehead (your “high recession”). Be careful not to go too wide. Take equal amounts from each side; the most important thing is that your triangle is even.

3. Pull the rest of your hair into a ponytail.
You’re going to be cutting soon, so it’s helpful to keep the rest of your hair out of the way.

4. Part your bangs into three subsections: the center and two sides.
The center should be a little smaller than the other two sections. (This way, your bangs will slope correctly once they’re cut.)

5. Start cutting your bangs!
Cut the center section first. Pull the hair downward and hold your fingers at the length you want the bangs to be, then cut right beneath them. (Tip: ALWAYS plan on cutting bangs twice—cut them longer at first and refine them later. Even hairstylists always do a rough draft!) When cutting hair, it’s helpful to hold your scissors at an angle, so the blades are pointing to 11 o’clock. (If you cut straight across, you’re making a precision line, and there’s a better chance your bangs will look crooked and severe. If you cut on an angle, the end result is more forgiving and produces a softer, more textured line.)

6. Move on to the side sections.
To keep the length consistent, combine a little of the center section with the side that is about to be cut. It’s very important to SLOPE your fingers down at the angle you want your bangs to frame your face. (See how Ambika is holding her fingers?) Again, cut with your scissors pointed at 11 o’clock.

Repeat on the other side…

7. Wet your bangs down and blow dry them so they’re smooth.
Now’s the time to refine the bangs to make sure they’re even and balanced. At this point, you can decide if you want to go shorter, or if you’d like to make the entire horizontal section a little bigger (if so, you just make the triangle a little farther back).

How cute does she look? Would you try this? Would be a fun look for the summer.

Thank you so much, Reagan and Ambika! And a few behind-the-scenes shots, just for fun… :)

P.S. 16 hair tutorials, and two beauty uniforms.

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for A Cup of Jo. Hair tips by Reagan Baker)

  1. Lisa C says...

    George Northwood has a great YouTube video with Alexa Chung about trimming your own bangs….he says when you section it you should imagine you’re cutting a tiny triangle…then slowly pull sections forwards and trim to balance. It’s worth watching

    Cheers Lisa

  2. Bhavna says...

    Ambika u have a beautiful smile ?

  3. Tamie L Taenzler says...

    very helpful!

  4. Leilani says...

    So helpful. Thank you.

  5. Thank you!! This tutorial helped me cut the first bangs I’ve had in over 25 years and I adore the outcome.. everyone asks if I went to a salon!

  6. Chrissy Flicker says...

    Yay! I cut my bangs with a flat parting but used your triangle trick to make them awesome. Thank you so much!

  7. Jo says...

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve never cut my bangs on my own until I came across this! GREAT JOB! It was explained and shown perfectly, especially for us first time bang cutters! I followed each detail exactly and they came out great!

  8. LOVE IT!

  9. Jane says...

    Hi! Thank you for this post, it’s really informative. I got a question though; my hair is parted a bit on the side, and I was wondering how I should go about getting a blunt bangs? I was thinking that if I made a perfect triangle with the tip at the center of my head, wouldn’t that make my hair look messy, since it’s parted on the side? Hope you could reply. TIA!

  10. Marie Muldowney says...

    Amazing post!!!

  11. Tammy Buchanan says...

    So I haven’t had bangs since I was a teenager. I turned 49 yesterday. I studied this technique for a good bit before I actually went and did it. It turned out better then I thought it would. And it is the first time I have ever done it. But somehow I’m still not happy happy. Even after I’ve been told by many they loved the look on me. So I will most likely let it grow bk out and leave well enough alone

  12. Teresa says...

    Wonderful technique. I’m one of those girls who just looks better with bangs, but I don’t like having to always pay for it, especially if I need only the bangs trimmed. I also have been a frequent victim of the at-home haircut disaster, from my mom’s attempts to my own. Following your steps today, this is the first time I’ve done it at home with such success! Thank you!

  13. Beautiful woman. :)

    I just cut my hair to make bangs. LOL! This is my first time cutting my hair AND I haven’t had bangs since I was 9, so THIS is a new hair style for me as a 22 year old.

    Hahaha, such a fun, exciting, laughable, and fresh experience. :D

    Thanks for blogging this!

  14. Lu says...

    Hi Jo!! I officially lost count of how many times I read this post and hold a pair of scissors in front of a mirror! But I’m still hesitating! I’ve been growing my bangs for 2 years now, waiting for it to even out with the rest of my hair. And now that it’s finally even… I want to get bangs!!!! I was thinking about side bangs first… Can you do another tutorial?! I’ll be in NY in a month, I can be your model if you want ;)
    By the way, Ambika looks gorgeous with and without bangs!!!
    Bisous from France, chère Jo!

  15. Lu says...

    Hi Jo!! I officially lost count of how many times I read this post and hold a pair of scissors in front of a mirror! But I’m still hesitating! I’ve been growing my bangs for 2 years now, waiting for it to even out with the rest of my hair. And now that it’s finally even… I want to get bangs!!!! I was thinking about side bangs first… Can you do another tutorial?! I’ll be in NY in a month, I can be your model if you want ;)
    By the way, Ambika looks gorgeous with and without bangs!!!
    Bisous from France, chère Jo!

  16. Great tutorial! However as a hairstylist, I have a couple of tips to add :)
    1) Do NOT pull down tightly on the sections you’re cutting! Hold the hair loosely between your fingers without any tension and still cut just below where you think you need to. Any cowlicks, wave, or simply drying will cause it to bounce up quite a bit after you let go. (As my dad would say– Measure twice, cut once!)
    2) The “11 o’clock” shear angle is a good tip, but it may be unclear as to how to cut after that… you want to make several tiny notches. It’s much harder to mess up a quarter inch snip than a big horizontal slice with the scissors. The section should look like this on the bottom:

    Hope this helps anyone brave enough to try it!

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  18. Took the plunge also and cut bangs using this tutorial – had a great evening gingerly trimming them down, but looked alright in the end I reckon! I keep on getting compliments on them, so they can’t be too bad :P By the way Ambika, you’re gorgeous, your smiling face totally convinced me to do it :)

  19. This is the best How to cut your bangs I have ever read !I cut my bangs myself (and it’s rather tricky, in fact) so I can tell you that this How to is full of very good advices :) I am going to share it right away ! Thank you Joanna,Reagan,Ambika an Alpha Smoot !

  20. I cut my own bangs regularly! I simply don’t have time to go to the salon for touch ups. So long as you’re patient, and cut in little diagonals then you’ll be great.

    As for thinning hair, I highly recommend Baptiste’s dry shampoo! They have colored dry shampoos and it’s perfect for making hair look fuller! My hair started going silver when I was 12, and it grows VERY quickly. Silver roots with dark brown hair means an optical illusion of bald patches. Spray a little colored dry shampoo though and I can wait a little longer before coloring my hair, and it means that when I do fun braids, I can hide my scalp and make my hair look much fuller. I also use it for ponytails with bangs. Just a little spritz so make the bangs look more plentiful. It’s a great trick and I highly recommend it!

  21. This story is true to my heart this week… my 8 year old daughter really wanted “side” bangs…and got them this week. She loves them!!! I keep catching her looking at herself in the mirror. She has loved the attention, and I have loved her boost in self esteem…but I don’t like how much more grown up she looks. Hair is fun!

  22. This is amazing! So brave of you! I wish I could pull of bangs as well as you, my silly cowlick won’t allow for bangs without some serious effort!


  23. Hi! Ambika is beautiful and looks to be so fun! Could you start a “real-girl” beauty forum (you know how you have Motherhood Mondays, and the wardrobe uniform?) well, some us readers are in our 20s and slightly younger than you and the moms. Your blog is great because it’s like I have all of this great life inspo and role models in one blog… but it’s still fun to read about real girls’ beauty routines. I like Ambika because her skin color is like mine, and she has basically no pores! Thanks, this was a cute post. AND SHE LOOKS GREAT WITH BANGS! If my hair wasn’t so thin and wavy, I would use this tutorial! But I am so lazy and don’t like to blowdry my hair– and I think I would have to do that for bangs in the AM in order to look polished. Thanks for reading, have a great day!

  24. Love this post, and the babes on the floor – great! What is she wearing? Can there be a follow up about how to style bangs? I have cowlicks, and so although bangs would flatter my face, I”m always hesitating about having them because it may take too long to blow dry or iron. Also, as some mentioned, sweat etc causes one to need to style bangs more often. I have a longer cut which doesn’t take much time. But maybe there are some good styling tips. And maybe dry shampoo for bangs in between hair washes? Beautiful model and result: love the triangle tip. makes so much sense.

  25. I’ve had side bangs before, but I’ve grown them. I wish I could get bangs like hers, but I go to the gym 5 times a week, and it’d be a hustle to style them all the time! I barely have time in the morning to comb my hair:(

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  27. Noooooooo don’t cut your own bangs. I did that for years and it was always a hot mess. If you want bangs, just have a professional cut them and GO FOR BANG TRIMS. A good salon should offer at least the first trim for free (plus a fiver for your stylist). It’s seriously worth it, huge huge difference.

  28. That light is so pretty – I can’t tell if the photographer lit it or is that your natural light in your apt??

    I still hope to shoot for you some day, Joanna :) :) :)

    She looks very pretty – I love bangs (my husband does not, unfortunately)

  29. i totally took the plunge this morning and cut my own blunt bangs! and they look amazing! it was just the change that i needed. this is why i always love your blog!

  30. These haircutting tutorials are GREAT. You gave me the courage to cut my daughter’s hair after the last one. I would love to see a tutorial for how to give long, all-one-length hair a trim.

  31. She’s so beautiful! I love how the bangs look with a ponytail.

  32. P.S.- I’ve been a reader for 3 years now and I truly appreciate all of your new models! I think it’s so cool that you talk about readers on your blog.

  33. She’s so beautiful! I love how the bangs look with a ponytail.

  34. What a great tutorial :)I have trimmed my bangs many times but never cut them on the first place, maybe next time I feel like having bangs I’ll try this.
    Ambika looks great before and after ;) and loved the behind the scenes shots with the kiddos playing on the floor!

  35. I definitely had some anxiety scrolling through those pictures — there is NO WAY I would have the guts to cut my own bangs. Hers turned out amazing, though! Pinning this post for when I’m feeling brave someday…?

  36. What a perfect spring bang! And how adorable would these look with the outfit you posted?! Cargo jacket, converse and bangs… LOVE!

    PS I miss HDOF!! Reagan, we need more hair care tips!!

  37. I loved this! Best hair tutorial yet! You inspired me: I trimmed my daughter’s hair with great confidence and success. Thanks! PS your model is Crazy beautiful.

  38. First, I agree with @natalienoods. Bangs in summer get old quick!

    Secondly, although I would NEVER take the plunge of cutting bangs into my hair, I would consider trimming them myself. Can we have a tutorial on that?

    I hope your week is cheering up. :)

  39. Cool work done !

  40. Sending this over to my aun! She asked me to trim her bangs and I said no way…was scared I was going to mess it up :) Now I have a tutorial to show me/her how to do it haha

  41. Great tip! I cut my bangs throughout the year between haircuts, and this tutorial was the perfect alternative to my usual routine. Thank you!

  42. she looks so beautiful with both hair styles! what a friendly face :)

  43. Love the bangs! I’m always nervous to cut mine. I usually am only brave enough to do a quick trim, the rest I leave to my stylist.

  44. thanks for the tip, Natalie (I was just going to go try this this week :)). My stylist WILL NOT cut bangs in my hair b/c she believes that as a mom of little ones I won’t have time to style them and they’ll get in the way, so she only cuts sides bangs. They’re pretty, but they drive me crazy b/c whenever I bend over to do something for my kids, they get in my eyes. I’ve had bangs and loved them, so I guess I’ll just have to switch stylists or cut my own!

  45. While this is a cute look, can I just say, summer is NOT the best time to try bangs out. I can say from experience! If your face sweats, even a little bit–like when your waiting for the subway, hauling groceries, gardening–you’re gonna have some greasy bangs. Save this look for fall, in my opinion!

  46. She is so beautiful! I tried to cut my own bangs once when I was a kid, and accidentally gave myself a bowl cut. Whomp-whomp.

  47. I’ve cut my own fringe / bangs but these days I let a hair stylist take care of that hehe I do trim them every few weeks because my hair grows very quickly, and I only get my hair cut every 3-4 months (the bonus of having longer hair). The first time I ever cut it, I was petrified because I was very aware of the fact that it’s on my face, so any mistakes would be glaringly obvious. But like you said, it’s not as difficult as one would think!

  48. I think I would spend forever trying to make sure I got that triangle just right, haha. I wouldn’t do this to my own hair, but I love reading about it!! And agreed, the post baby hairs/bangs thing is a tricky one once all that hair starts growing back!

  49. maira, haha, i guess it’s 11 o’clock from her point of view? now i’m holding my hands up trying to figure it out :)

  50. NsarkiM, yes, i’ll ask reagan! my hair is still growing back after pregnancy—i have the most awkward baby bangs right now:) thanks for the suggestion!

  51. Maybe it’s because I had a “traumatic” experience as a kid when I cut my own bangs but i refuse to do it. Even as a chica with bangs I refuse to give myself a trim. Even seeing the pictures of her doing it gave me a bit of anxiety lol But she did it and looks fab!


  52. Cute! I cut my own hair (because it is long and straight and basically one length so I can’t swallow paying someone $60+ to trim up the ends of such an easy style) but I don’t know if I would be brave enough to whip out a whole new set of bangs. I did it once when I was younger and it was Dumb & Dumber all the way.

  53. Great tutorial! It’s hard for me to work trips to the salon in my schedule, so I usually trim my own bangs at home between trips. The tip about angling the scissors is right on!

  54. jm says...

    She looks awesome with bangs! I never would have cut my own bangs before, but I would love to try this. Really awesome.

  55. She reminds me of Rashida Jones:) …and what if i WANT to look like Llyod Christmas!? Hehehe awesome post.

  56. She looks adorable! I love bangs…my hairdresser trims them sometimes when I get my hair cut, but I maintain them myself. To do that, you have to hold the scissors at a similar angle – I normally hold them more vertical than shown. I’ve gotten very good at it over the years, which is not to say that at one point, I started WAY too far back on my head – no more! It’s also important to use good scissors – I have a pair of embroidery scissors that are small and sharp and used ONLY for cutting my bangs!

  57. I’ve never saw this technique before, after the triangle I usually see tutorials that indicate to cut all the fringe at the same time with the tip of the scissor vertical.
    I didn’t get the 11 o’clock scissor tip, to me it’s pointing to 1 o’clock LOL!

  58. Looks super cute but I wouldn’t be brave enough to do this myself. Does this remind anyone of Hannah cutting her own bangs in Girls? :)

  59. But only decide you want bangs BEFORE you open the bottle of wine for the night. I have some STORIES! :)

  60. Great tutorial!! I want bangs so bad, but I have curly hair that just gets curlier the shorter it is. I really want to try this, but I should probably leave it up to a professional :)!

  61. This is a great tutorial, and she looks A M A Z I N G !

  62. Adorable!

    I cut my own hair for years using a similar process. I don’t have bangs now but I would go back to cutting my own hair in a heartbeat if I had time to manage a better cut.

  63. Adorable!

    I cut my own hair for years using a similar process. I don’t have bangs now but I would go back to cutting my own hair in a heartbeat if I had time to manage a better cut.

  64. I second the thinning hair post! My hair is falling out like crazy since I gave birth almost five months ago…
    Great tutorial though!

  65. This indicates to my that the top of my head is shaped differently than most people’s.

  66. She is B.R.A.V.E.!!! Super cute but I could never try it on myself!!!

  67. I love bangs but my hair is so thin that when i cut it i feel like my hair is gone!
    But this tutorial is great ; )

  68. omg, i was JUST thinking that i wanted to do this and was going to google it today when i saw your post. thanks!!

  69. I’ve had bangs for years and always trim them at home, but not sure if I would be brave enough to cut them like this. She looks great, though!

  70. This is perfectly timed! I’m in need of a bangs trim and now I just might feel bold enough to tackle it myself.

  71. Ambika looks amazing! This is totally inspiring me to get bangs.

  72. What a gorgeous result! I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to try it just yet but when I am I’ll be returning to this post for instructions :) /Niki

  73. I wish I was brave enough to try this myself!

  74. This is a little strange, but could you do a post on thinning hair – I’m sure not many people have this problem but it’s really hard to find any styling advice for thinning hair. Mine is a combination of post-pregnancy (2 years after), and it never growing back as thick, and probably some hereditary as well.

  75. She looks gorgeous! Great face for bangs!