Fixing a Bad Haircut: Six Ideas for Salvaging Too-Short Bangs

So You Got an Awful Haircut...

We've all been there. In spite of your clearest instructions, your stylist got a little scissors-happy and whacked off half your beautiful mane. Maybe she just couldn't resist trying something "edgier" than usual or she was behind on her schedule and decided to take it out on your innocent head.

Or maybe it was your own dumb fault, like it was in my case: I hated the supposedly trendy, right-in-my-eyes, weirdly uneven bangs my stylist had given me, so I decided to do a little trimming of my own. But of course I couldn't get it precisely even, so I had to trim one side a little, and then the other, and then the other again, until... well, until I had the most ghastly short, blunt bangs I have ever seen on a grown woman.

Too-short bangs are embarrassing. They're front-and-center, making them very high profile and hard to hide. They can even change the appearance of your whole face shape, not to mention making you feel a bit like a naughty four-year-old who got ahold of her mother's scissors.

Will everyone suspect you butchered your own bangs? Not necessarily, especially if you follow the tips below.

Take Action!

To clarify, I do not mean the hacking-and-slashing kind of action: Back away from the scissors, please, they're what got you into this mess in the first place. Instead, spend some time in front of the mirror to get creative with your wacky fringe, and before you know it, you might find a look you love, or at least you'll be able to fake a normal cut until your hair grows out.

Gather bobby pins, headbands, hairspray, and any other supplies you feel like experimenting with, and see how many styles and strategies you can come up with for camouflaging your new cut. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

#1 Curling or Straightening

Sometimes, your bangs can look a lot better with a little more body or a slightly different shape. See if you can use your straightener to pull off a side-swept look, or if your bangs look a bit better when curled. Betty Page and Katy Perry are just a couple examples of a celebrities who have rocked curly hair with short, blunt bangs. It's fashionably retro. A bit of texture and variation in the rest of your hair might take off a bit of the edge of a harsh, blunt-banged look.

These two ladies are living proof that short bangs can be part of a beautiful, very sexy haircut!
These two ladies are living proof that short bangs can be part of a beautiful, very sexy haircut!

#2 Pompadour

Did you know that bobby pins are meant to be inserted with the wavy side closest to your scalp? It might be a bit more difficult putting them in, but they grip better this way.
Did you know that bobby pins are meant to be inserted with the wavy side closest to your scalp? It might be a bit more difficult putting them in, but they grip better this way.

If you've tried to like your bangs, but you simply must cover them up, a pompadour is one of the most popular options. Just twist your bangs back and clip into place on top of your head with a couple of bobby pins. You can leave the rest of your hair down, like Jessica Alba, or wear it with a bun or other updo. If you're not too scared of big hair, a pompadour can add a touch of volume on top.

Fun trivia fact: The pompadour is named after Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, aka Madame de Pompadour, a favorite mistress of King Louis XV of France 300 years ago.

#3 Side Twists or Braids

Not into the voluminous look? Or would you rather part your hair in the center or on the side? Try twisting your bangs to the side instead. Simply part your bangs wherever you'd like and grab a small piece of the bangs nearest to the part. Twist to the side and gather more hair as you progress. Once you get all the way over to the side, incorporate some of your longer hair into the twist and use bobby pins to hold it all in place. If you're up for something a little more ornate, you can even try French braiding your bangs along the hairline like Jennifer Aniston.

AnnaLynne McCord and Jennifer Aniston aren't letting their bangs get them down. Here are some great illustrations of a side twist and braid used to hold bangs back.
AnnaLynne McCord and Jennifer Aniston aren't letting their bangs get them down. Here are some great illustrations of a side twist and braid used to hold bangs back.

#4 Deep Side Part

A third way to hide your bangs is with a deep side part. Take a comb and part your hair far, far, far to one side. Then just pin your bangs there and pull your longer hair over to hide them. If you can get your bangs to stay back with a part in the center, you can also try taking a cue from Sandra Bullock with a similar style parted in the middle, as seen here.

#5 Headband

If your bangs are simply too short to pin back, a wide headband or one with comb-like teeth to hold your hair in place can help sweep back even the shortest bangs. To make the growing-out period more bearable, try buying a few headbands that you really love so you look forward to wearing them. For longer wear, cloth headbands are usually more comfortable than plastic or metal ones, since they won't dig into your head.

Mischa Barton looks great in a gold headband, while Reese Witherspoon tucks her bangs back under a thin band in simple, classic black.
Mischa Barton looks great in a gold headband, while Reese Witherspoon tucks her bangs back under a thin band in simple, classic black.

#6 Hats and Scarves

If you don't have time for styling, hats and scarves are another great option for hiding bangs. Just toss on a hat or tie on a silk scarf and you have a unique and easy solution. As a bonus, a hat can help keep you warm or protect your face from the sun, while a scarf will give you a head-turning bohemian look.

And if Worse Comes to Worst...

You can always go back to the salon. Maybe it's the blunt cut of your bangs that's bothering you, and a stylist could help by softening it up. Or maybe you'll like the look better with face-framing layers. However, if you go back to your stylist, make sure you're clear in explaining your dilemma. Try bringing a picture or two to make sure they know what you want. Communication is key. After all, the last thing you want to do is to pay her to make things worse.

No matter what you do, try not to fixate on the problem. It can be hard when your bangs are so front-and-center, but keep your chin up, put on your favorite outfit, and smile. Odds are, no one will even notice or suspect it isn't exactly the cut you wanted. Have a great day, and happy styling!

What are your thoughts on bangs?

  • I have them and love them!
  • I don't have them, but I'd love to try it.
  • I've had them before and might try them again.
  • I tried them once, but didn't like them.
  • They're great on other people, but not for me.
  • I'm not a fan.
See results without voting

Comments 31 comments

prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

Hey! Perfect timing! Went today and got a haircut and it is a, it is totally... too short! I used hair gel and pulled it out all spikey so it would be as long as possible!! My hair grows crazy fast, so not too bad, but too short bangs would be scary!! Good hub...lots of good suggestions! Voted up, useful and interesting!

jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

Great hub and so well written. I have had a few disasters in the past myself. Thanks for sharing and including some practical tips. I'm due to have my haircut tomorrow, so I may have to re-visit your hub then!! Voted up and useful.

frugalfamily profile image

frugalfamily 5 years ago from Houston, TX

I don't think there is a style on this hub that I haven't tried! Up, interesting and useful:)

applecsmith profile image

applecsmith 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

These are some great ideas, I never thought about side braiding or twisting, and using a headband is a good idea too. Getting your hair cut too short can be traumatic, but you offered some excellent alternatives. Turning lemons into lemonade!

Thank you - voted up and awesome!

pbsandwichofdoom profile image

pbsandwichofdoom 5 years ago Author

Thanks, everybody! I spent quite awhile experimenting in front of the mirror before writing this article. Glad to see that time might come in useful for others too!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

To get too short bang could really be a disaster for the image and the self-esteem But your tips here are so good and useful so if it happen again I now know what to do! Great to see that short bangs can look great by curling and straightening! Up, useful!


gummiskye profile image

gummiskye 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

I love your article. It has some really really good advice.

pbsandwichofdoom profile image

pbsandwichofdoom 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Tina and gummiskye! I'm glad I could put my bad haircut to good use writing this article.

kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Smart tricks! I often just use headbands but I think braids and twists would also be cute.

Nannina 4 years ago

It's a relief to read this, though I'm still wallowing. In fact, I would gladly trade my problem for bangs that are too short - see, mine are cut from farther back than I wanted, and with hair as baby-fine as mine it's actually "the rest of my hair" that could use those tresses far more than my bangs, which looked and behaved better back when it was wispy. (I had originally taken the bangs from in front of an imaginary "headband-line", not the oft-recommended triangle, and I loved it in part for the mod vibe with the long hair framing my rounded fringe so closely. Now it's going to take a hell of a lot more time to get the hair on the top of my head to catch up to my past-the-shoulders hair than it would for even the shortest bangs to grow back to a respectable length. I am livid with myself for not having watched my hairdresser more closely, and more mad still for having gone to one in the first place. See, for years I had been cutting my own hair, and it turns out now that I was also doing it splendidly. Ugh. Grrr.

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Oh dear I am having a flashback to my mom cutting my bangs as a girl! Good suggestions here when we need them!

Aiko 4 years ago

My stylist was trying a new trip and she messed up big time! I ain't mad but I am starting to panic! I don't have any head scarves, but as a seamstress, I have fabric, so I guess I'm in luck.

Liz Walmoth 4 years ago

I think we've all this problem! Great ideas!

Iwantcoffee 3 years ago

If your hair cut isn't too too short,and you have a few dollars to invest, go buy some clip in extensions! Sally's carries them, and they come in various lengths, textures, and colors- something for everyone female anyhow. I went from bad mullet-y cut to being told that I had gorgeous hair all in one day!

madiosn messier 3 years ago

oh my bangs are really short my mom wants me to have them and i really don't like them and i don't want to hurt her fellings.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

I made the mistake of getting my hair cut at the mall, and the girl must have been completely inexperienced. It was shockingly short. People at work who usually could cover up surprise and make nice had bug eyes when they looked at me. I ended up kind of gelling it back and just waiting for it to grow. It was hideous. You present some very nice options for those who don't have it as short as I did!

FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 2 years ago from United States

These are very good suggestions! I will keep this for reference if ever I my hair doesn't go right. Thank you :)

bluebird profile image

bluebird 2 years ago

Great subject for a hub seeings how all of us women have walked away from the salon wishing we'd never walked in! There are some good ideas you share with us and I like how you used the stars' pictures and their hairdos for reference AND I thought your opening picture said it all. It made me want to read your hub. So good job!

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

This is great, my bangs are at that length I could scream and you have a lot of ideas! Thanks.

Cherylann Mollan profile image

Cherylann Mollan 2 years ago from India

Really nice ideas. Maybe now I can go ahead and get a fringe. I've always shied away from getting one because i'm terrified of having to deal with a fringe gone wrong! Thanks for posting this. :)

thepoen profile image

thepoen 2 years ago

This is great hub!, interesting and useful :)

unbeautiful 2 years ago

i cut mine too short like pixiecut short and i hate the way i looked before now i don't want my husband to even see me cuz i look so horrible

ccy 21 months ago

tooo short to do any of these.... T^T

hailey 16 months ago

My mom cut my bangs n it is too short. I do not like it at all.

Carrie 7 months ago

Great tips. Unfortunately the amateur that butchered my hair left nothing for me to work with. Resulting with less than an inch of hair in all directions, not to mention a short buzz in the back, that leaves me with no solution other than to do the same throughout.

Kelsey 4 months ago

I had just cut my hair 5 min ago. It looks terrible. But others like it. My opinion i guess. So thank you for writing this, I will be using most of these!

random person 4 months ago

I found some scissors and was trying to get the right style with my bangs (home-cutting by myself) MY BANGS ARE TOO SHORT! I'm afraid everyone is going to notice and that my dad will notice or my sister.. how would I explain that!? please help.. I might try a head-band.

brooke 2 months ago

I've had bangs for years. I love them. I've had a few bad experiences, including today, my usual stylist wasn't in, but my band really needed a trim, so someone else did them. The stylist completely changed my long, side choppy bands into, short blunt ones. They so longer sweep and in these cases hairspray is your best friend.

gabi 2 months ago

i just went to get a hai r cut today Cos i had a super long side fringe that went down past my chin but it Suted me.Then my hairdresser decided to cut my fringe into a front fringe and went up above my eyebrows! i have to go to school tomorrow and im new hairstyle is to short for these wat do i do????

Rachel 2 months ago

Omg, thank you. This helped soooo much.

Maddie 2 weeks ago

I just cut my bangs after everyone told me not too . I feel like a complete idiot. It's cut right in the middle of my forehead and I can't straighten it to look right , looks like a mullet. My moms going to have a huge "I told you so" I pray these tips will work.

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