How To Have A Fringe Even If You've Got Thick, Wavy Hair
The Debrief: Because you can, you can!
Something big happened a few weeks ago: I got a fringe. I’ve had one before: 2009, 19 years old, a classic block fringe which was OK for a couple of months until I went to university and it started to be a burden on my fancy-dress nights out. The block fringe became a side fringe became no fringe.
But a few weeks ago I fancied a change – this wouldn’t be a 2009 fringe, this would be a modern, cool 25 year old's fringe. So I went for it, despite one member of The Debrief team explicitly telling me not to (she ate her words).
I was worried, mainly because I’m really lazy and my hair is thick and wavy: the holy-trinity of reasons not to get one you’d think, but not so. Ross Cosgrove, senior stylist at Not Another Salon (pretty much the coolest salon around, seriously) talked me through it, taking my routine and hair type on board, and now I’m the owner of a kind of Alexa Chung-esque fringey thing. No blockyness around here.
So here’s Ross’ advice on how to have a fringe if you’re not sure your hair can handle it, because it probably can.
Take photos in
‘It’s always good to come in with photos of things that you like so the hairdresser can get on the same page as you. A lot of times clients say words but they don’t actually know what they mean like “feathering” when they actually mean “layering”. They say these words that they’ve heard before but to us in a technical way it means something completely different. A lot of people get embarrassed when they have a photo but we love it, it makes our life so much easier.’
Let the stylist advise you
‘Depending on how soft it is, how long it is, what kind of shape, if it’s rounded or square, the stylist can advise you on what to do depending on your face shape. So if someone’s got an angular face shape, you either want to work with it or work against it and keep it softer. That really totally comes down to the stylist’s experience. Then they can take the lead and be like “this will work, this won’t work”. They need to know your regime as well – what you do in the mornings, when you’re washing it, what products you use; all that kind of stuff.’
You can have a fringe if you have curly hair
‘When I was teaching the other day, the model had super curly hair and she was like “Yeah I’m up for having a fringe, I don’t mind straightening it” and I was like “Straighten it? What?!” So she was going to have this really cool, super curly hair cut and then straighten the fringe and I was like “No, it will look ridiculous! Wear it curly!” She said that no one’s ever told her to wear it curly before but we did it and it looked amazing. It comes down to confidence - people get a little bit scared.
‘In the 2000s everyone was GHD’ing the shit out of everything and everything was poker straight. Now everyone’s getting their wands out and they’re playing with their dusts and their powders and their dry shampoo and being a bit skankier and washing their hair a lot less. It’s quite nice, I like it – it’s working because it gives it such a softer, more romantic sort of feel.’
Don’t cut it yourself
‘Most hairdressers will offer a free fringe trim service in between. I had a client once who had cut it herself at home. She’d sellotaped her fringe to her head and then cut a straight line but obviously your hair is not a straight line so when she took it off, it was all over the place! Don’t get drunk and ask your friend to cut it either.’
Don’t go too heavy
‘If you’re going for quite a real thick heavy fringe and you’ve got really soft waves, it’s too much of a contrast and a weird shape. It doesn’t look very modern, it looks quite dated I think. Keep it soft, it carries on with that softness throughout the hair and I think it gives it more of a fluid shape. If you’re tying it up and putting into it braids and stuff, and you’ve got this big thick chunk at the front, it doesn't look very good.’
Wrap dry it
‘It’s basically using a flat brush and you’re going from one side, to the other side, and then do it straight down. It just keeps the hair really flat, you don’t get that old-lady bouncy curl flick underneath which is what happens when you use a round brush. It will just sit really nice and flat.’
Don’t worry about the rain
‘If it rains, I probably wouldn’t worry about it too much. If it’s quite a soft fringe I’d probably just use a little bit of tissue to take the moisture out of the root, and use your fingers to pull the moisture out and let it dry itself. Normally if you’ve got a slight wave to it, it’ll sit quite nicely. Also, If you’ve already got product in there, with a lot of products now that reactivates it.’
Use hair products
‘A lot of people use dry shampoo and I quite like hair powders as well. Hair powders are a mixture between a wax and a hairspray and a dry shampoo. It totally depends on length and what texture you want to get. I use a lot of wax in fringes as well to get separation. It depends on how long, how thick. Hairspray is always the winner as well – I love a little bit of Elnett.
‘If you want it to be a little bit more piecy and broken up, use a tiny bit of salt spray on your fingers and then use your fingers to create a little bit of friction and separate out a bit. Maybe even put a bit of hairspray on my fingers and kind of separate it out and twist it around a bit just to break it up so it doesn’t look too neat. You want it to look a little bit grungy, a little bit lived in. You know that second day when you haven’t washed it and your hair always looks a lot better?’
If it won’t sit right, do this
‘Use a tiny bit of shampoo under a sink and just wash it, flatten it down and then use a tiny bit of conditioner through the mid lengths and ends to give it that extra bit of weight to hold it down.
‘A lot of people don’t ever condition their fringes because you don’t need to but sometimes because the fringe isn’t a lot of hair it can get a little bit of flyaway so using a little bit in the mid-lengths and ends will give it a little bit of extra weight to keep it in place.
‘If you’ve got a cows-lick lift the fringe up, backcomb the root very slightly and put a tiny bit of hairspray on the underneath and push the fringe back down. It’s kind of a little bit of a foundation so it keeps it in place so you don’t get that separate cows-lick look.’
Don’t feel like you have to do it
‘Make sure you really want it and that you’re confident in your stylist and what they’re saying. If you show a picture to your stylist and straight away they’re like “yeah let’s do it”, I don’t know if it’s always going to be the right answer. Make sure they do talk about the face shape, what you do for work, what you exercise regime is... They need to know all that before they chop it all off.’
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