Around the start of a new year, a sudden twinge of urgency boils in the pit of our stomachs for something fresh – and the easiest way to scratch that itch is to get a new hairdo.
Earlier this week, Princess Sofia of Sweden did just that, unveiling a blunt fringe as she stepped out on Monday with her husband Prince Carl Philip in Stockholm. And she’s not the only one to join the fringe revival (although there is some debate about whether she carried off the look or not).
Stylists across the UAE have seen a surge in clients requesting a fringe this winter, but while the look can be flattering, getting the chop is a big commitment, says Jay Crump, owner and head stylist at Paintbox Hair salon.
Getting the chop
“I have a few clients who are fringe addicts, but getting your first fringe is a big decision,” says Crump. “When clients ask for a fringe, I always tell them to go away and think about it. If they come back for their next appointment and they still want to go for it, then we’ll do it.”
For Crump, whose salon is in the Diamond Business Centre in Dubai, her initial hesitance is based on personal experience.
“I had a micro fringe myself that I got cut a few years ago, and it was terrible because I have two bull’s licks where your hair flicks up,” she says, with a laugh. “My head looked like a pineapple with hair shooting off in all directions. I had to wear a headband for a year while it grew out.”
For people who are nervous about getting their first fringe, award-winning stylist Emily Tucker advises going for “curtain bangs”, which frame the face on both sides.
Tucker, who sports a long fringe herself, has seen a marked increase in clients asking for the look at Hair Signature Salon in Dubai's Al Barsha.
“Curtain bangs are a grown-out take on the fringe that is less intimidating than a blunt cut,” she explains. “A lot of people want a change in the new year, and rather than going in full throttle, curtain bangs are a nice way to introduce the style.
“If people like it, they can go for a blunter cut the next time and, if not, it’s easy to grow it out.
“Personally, I like having a fringe in the winter months when it’s not so hot,” says Tucker. “It’s a good chance to wear your hair on your face without overheating or risking frizz.”
For Bassim Yossif, a stylist at We Nails in Dubai Marina, the type of fringe depends on the thickness of the hair.
“There’s a triangle bang, a half-circle shape and a square shape that most bangs fall into,” says Yossif.
“I’d advise anyone thinking about getting bangs to go to a professional stylist who can recommend the best look for your hair texture.
“A good stylist can also teach you how to style and maintain your bangs at home, as it can take some getting used to if you’re not familiar with the style.”
As with every celebrity trend, new hairstyles can often face scrutiny and for Crump, Princess Sofia’s fringe could be styled better.
“In my opinion, there’s not enough weight in Princess Sofia’s fringe for such a blunt cut and it seems to dominate her face. I doubt it was the look she was going for,” she says.
“I know Jennifer Lawrence got a lot of stick for her fringe in Don’t Look Up, but the micro-style can look really quirky and cool if it’s styled properly.
While Lawrence's look was potentially deliberate, to go with her slightly hapless character in the movie, Crump says “that type of fringe definitely does not wake up like that, and you run the risk of looking like Lord Farquaad from Shrek with such a short blunt cut".
In a world where many of us arrive at the salon with a celebrity haircut saved to our photo favourites, Crump is more familiar with most A-lister styles.
“For me, the best fringe award goes to Sienna Miller and I always go to her for fringe inspo,” she says.
“Her fringe has a really nice boho look and it’s versatile, so she can wear it as a full fringe or at the side as well.”
Closer to home, Crump counts TV reporter and “fringe addict” Katie Overy among her clients.
“Katie also has a really versatile fringe that looks gorgeous however she wears it. It’s softened at the sides giving it a sort of elfish look and making it a lot easier to style.”
When it comes to styling a fringe, timing is key, says Tucker.
“As soon as you get out of the shower you need to think about drying your fringe or you’re going to end up with some McDonalds-style arches.
“I’d recommend using a hairdryer with a nozzle and a medium round brush to get some nice volume and bounce.
“I’d also advise using conditioner on the fringe as people can forget to give it a bit of love and often the hair can snap, especially if it’s highlighted.”
For Yossif, styling vigilance begins at the salon. “Stylists should make sure they blow-dry and straighten the fringe before cutting,” he says. “From there, you need to trim it very sparingly. You can always cut more, but once you go too far, there’s no turning back.”
For more hair inspiration, check out these on-trend bob cuts: