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

Bangs can be a killer look . . . if they're the right length. If your latest do features too-short bangs, here are six easy (and scissor-free!) fixes.

Bangs can be a killer look . . . if they're the right length. If your latest do features too-short bangs, here are six easy (and scissor-free!) fixes.

Latest Haircut Leave You With Bad Bangs?

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.

6 Easy Ways to Hide Short Bangs

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. Curl or Straighten Them

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.

Bettie Page and Katy Perry are just a couple examples of 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.

2. Rock a Pompadour

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 them 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.

Note: Contrary to popular belief, 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.

3. Try Side Twists or Braids

Not into the voluminous look? Or would 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 hairs 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.

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 hairs 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 above.

5. Wear a 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.

Note: For longer wear, cloth headbands are usually more comfortable than plastic or metal ones, since they won't dig into your head.

6. Break Out the Hats and Scarves

If you don't have time for styling, hats and scarves are other great options 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 boho 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 them 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!

© 2011 Kathryn Lamoreux


angela on July 17, 2020:

i cut my own bangs a few months ago and i loved them so so much. best decision i’d ever made tbh, but yesterday i asked my aunt to trim my bangs for me cus they were getting a little long and i couldn’t see and she took like a whole inch of and i cried all night. luckily my hair grows fast so hopefully it’ll be back to normal in a few weeks :(

Kimberly K. on May 08, 2020:

I think side twists are a great way to style side bangs and it works with my really short bangs and it also just looks really cute and fresh. Great Idea! I am loving it. :)

Grace on May 06, 2020:

I think that this article is great and there are many ways to play around with your hair. I recently got side bangs which were shorter than expected. I tried so many things but then my brother told me that sometimes your hair just doesn't want to be tied up and covered. So I took his advice and just let then fall on my face. I really learned to embrace this new look and realized it is not so bad.

Madi on April 24, 2020:

My bangs don't look too bad. But I do know I look like freaking Dora. XD

Ray on April 16, 2020:

I cut my bangs while half asleep after I got back from work and I am currently experiencing deep regret....I think I can rock the blunt bangs/soft curls look, though.

CC on April 15, 2020:

I rocked bangs years ago. I cut my own hair-bangs during this quarentine. SO STUPID! The ideas above of what to do while they grow are great. NOT ONLY MICRO bangs they are super wide and go way way to far back. I might as well went to my ears. I HATE THEM!

PS JK on March 29, 2020:

I am a junior high school girl and i tried first time fringe with my sister and now i think it was the most worstest decision that i ever made in my life, i have cut toooo short fringe which cannot reach to forehead also, like a short boycut infront of long straight hair and i am regreting for it now and hoping it to grow long faster as my school days are so nearer. Thanks for your great tips but my current fringe hair, oo na it does'nt seems like fringe, anyway it cannot even hold a bobypin .

Kim Cha’Ya on February 15, 2020:

So I’m korean and I live in South Korea as you might know K-Pop is a huge thing here in Korea and I’m a huge fan of it specifically BTS and I also listen to a lot of k pop girl groups and I’ve grown to love some of the hairstyles so my stupid self decided to take some scissors and try cutting my bangs I ended up cutting them much to short and I really want to find a way to hide them without straightening, or curling them I also don’t like wearing headbands Wich I heard is a good way to hide them, I seriously don’t know what to do I’ve tried hair clips but they constantly fall out.

Isabella on December 25, 2019:

So, I got bangs and at first they looked good! Then...they started growing. Soon, my classmates began criticizing it, so I decided to trim it myself because I wasn’t going to pay $20 to cut off a few centimeters. I accidentally cut off one patch too much, so I had to do the same with others, now I look terrible and I wish I was my normal self, without bangs!

Charlie on December 05, 2019:

so im an Asia kid and as a little girl my parents gave me this Dora cut and good gravy it was horrendous.

Hal on July 15, 2019:

i asked my mom to take me to the salon to get a hair cut she couldnt take me so i cut my hair on my own and cut my bangs extremly short

Aria on February 27, 2019:

My sister gave me really short bangs, shorter than I asked her to cut it. She said it would get longer in the next three days, like in my eyes-longer. Her hair grows faster than mine -_-

Marriam on January 20, 2019:

I do have bangs for like a year. And tomorrow school is starting stylist cutted my bangs and it’s too short !

Royal on January 20, 2019:

My hair is way to short for any of these hair styles

Ann810 from Sunny Cali on October 29, 2018:

Hi, great ideas for restyling bangs after they've been cut too short. Thanks

Ams on September 30, 2018:

I want bangs but I'm worried I will look bad with them

clarafox on July 23, 2018:

My friend and retired stylist just dyed my hair too dark and cut my bangs waaaay too short. I just ordered some barrettes to go over my bangs. I can wear them

for our next session. She will think twice when she goes to cut my bangs.

lilprincesstotherescue on July 05, 2018:

recently i tried 2 cut my own bangs and they didnt turn out well so is anyone else has a similar issue they could use bobby pins and pin them to the sides, use a headband or try some hats like i did.

sissy on April 23, 2018:

I learn a lot thanks!

Kelli on March 31, 2018:

Mousse! And lots of it! Brushed mini bangs to the side.

why on February 16, 2018:

My stylist cut my bangs so short that I can't hide them with a headband :(

Kim on October 11, 2017:

My bangs are uneven! On my left side, my fringes are on top of my eyebrow but on my right side, they're a little above my brows! FREAKING OUT

dusty on August 16, 2017:

I just got the worst set of bangs I have ever gotten. I wanted them just barely in my eyes, but they were cut in the middle of my forehead! Ach!!

Morgan Smith on July 26, 2017:

How do you fix bangs that were cut too short?

Ki on July 05, 2017:

I have very thick black hair and well my new bangs are not my friend. This was very helpful! I love to experiment with diggerant hairstyles. It's summer vacation and this is the perfect time to experiment, thank you!

Gaby Guillen on June 18, 2017:

I hate what my friend did to my bangs they are all cruked AND A PIECE MISSING SHE SAID SHE WAS STUDYING COSMETOLOGY and had given haircuts I THINK SHE LIED or is she'll be kicked out of school

Gill on March 12, 2017:

I've had too many stylists cut my bangs too short so I started cutting them myself. I have a round face with a high forehead and thick curly hair, so I needed a style that could be worn both curly and straight and a style that wasn't too short. So I typically cut my bangs either right at or right below my eyebrow line and I'll either make a half moon shape when I cut or straight across depending on how edgy I feel at the time and then I leave longer face framing fringe on the sides. Look at Zooey Deschanel's bangs for a reference on how long to have them.

Also, try not to cut straight across with the scissors horizontal. You can do that if you're lopping off lots of hair and then touching up, but for the final product, kind of angle the scizzors upwards and cut little bits at a time. It makes for a way more natural "it just grew this way" look and it's not too blunt looking. NEVER cut too much! It WILL look uneven the first time you trim it. If it looks a little uneven, just give it a couple days and even a washing and restyling before trimming the edges again! I can't tell you how many times that has saved my butt!

Just keep them a little on the long side. That way, they look nice if you decide to straighten them or if you leave them to curl and you can brush them to the side if you don't want that blunt look with all of the hair hanging in front. Oh, and if you do want to use bangs with curly hair, my suggestion would be to twist and pin your bangs to the side while wet and then let them out when they're half way done drying and curl them around your finger. It's a little more natural that way. I haven't been able to have mine hang straight down without looking kind of stupid, so maybe some one else will have better luck than me.

I've had bangs for a long time now and I really like them. It's made my hair styling really easy for me especially on busy days that I HAVE to look nice. Just brush the rest of your hair out and stick it in a bun or a braid and style your bangs, that's it. Also I haven't had to wash all my hair so often to look clean, just wash the bangs. Since I have curly hair, washing everyday is NOT an option! on December 17, 2016:

I have just landed in the 7th circle of hell. There is NO way to fix what she did to my hair...and I told her over and over not to cut my bangs! I don't believe there is a hair on my head that is longer than 2 inches long anywhere ! Thanks for trying but none of these option would work. I haven't been this darn goofy looking since my mom gave me a pixie cut in 1st grade . It's hard to look sophisticated at age 62 when you have the haircut of a 6 year old. Help me,please! Anyone?????

Maddie on October 09, 2016:

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.

Rachel on August 26, 2016:

Omg, thank you. This helped soooo much.

brooke on August 08, 2016:

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.

random person on June 15, 2016:

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.

Kelsey on June 14, 2016:

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!

Carrie on March 27, 2016:

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.

hailey on June 14, 2015:

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

ccy on February 02, 2015:

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

unbeautiful on August 28, 2014:

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

Irfan Fahrudin on August 25, 2014:

This is great hub!, interesting and useful :)

Cherylann Mollan from India on February 18, 2014:

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. :)

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 14, 2014:

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

bluebird on January 08, 2014:

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!

FullOfLoveSites from United States on December 09, 2013:

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

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 29, 2013:

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!

madiosn messier on July 10, 2013:

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.

Iwantcoffee on March 16, 2013:

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!

Liz Walmoth on August 07, 2012:

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

Aiko on August 01, 2012:

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.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on July 08, 2012:

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

Nannina on June 22, 2012:

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.

kerlynb from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on August 25, 2011:

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

Kathryn Lamoreux (author) on August 12, 2011:

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

gummiskye from San Francisco, CA on August 12, 2011:

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

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on August 11, 2011:

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!


Kathryn Lamoreux (author) on August 11, 2011:

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!

Carrie Smith from Dallas, Texas on August 11, 2011:

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!

Brenda Trott, M.Ed from Houston, TX on August 11, 2011:

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

jacqui2011 from Norfolk, UK on August 11, 2011:

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.

Debbie Carey from Riverton, KS, USA on August 10, 2011:

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!