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

Updated on March 7, 2016

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?

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    • profile image

      Kim 8 days ago

      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

    • profile image

      dusty 2 months ago

      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!!

    • profile image

      Morgan Smith 2 months ago

      How do you fix bangs that were cut too short?

    • profile image

      Ki 3 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Gaby Guillen 4 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Gill 7 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      williewonderful3007@mail.com 10 months ago

      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?????

    • profile image

      Maddie 12 months 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.

    • profile image

      Rachel 13 months ago

      Omg, thank you. This helped soooo much.

    • profile image

      brooke 14 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.

    • profile image

      random person 16 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.

    • profile image

      Kelsey 16 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!

    • profile image

      Carrie 19 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.

    • profile image

      hailey 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      ccy 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      unbeautiful 3 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

    • thepoen profile image

      Irfan Fahrudin 3 years ago

      This is great hub!, interesting and useful :)

    • Cherylann Mollan profile image

      Cherylann Mollan 3 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. :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 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.

    • bluebird profile image

      bluebird 3 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!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 3 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 :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 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!

    • profile image

      madiosn messier 4 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.

    • profile image

      Iwantcoffee 4 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!

    • profile image

      Liz Walmoth 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Aiko 5 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.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 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!

    • profile image

      Nannina 5 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.

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

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

    • pbsandwichofdoom profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Lamoreux 6 years ago

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

    • gummiskye profile image

      gummiskye 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

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

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 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!

      Tina

    • pbsandwichofdoom profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Lamoreux 6 years ago

      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!

    • applecsmith profile image

      Carrie Smith 6 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!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 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:)

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 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.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 6 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Hey! Perfect timing! Went today and got a haircut and it is a bit...no, 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!