Real Simple April 22, 2024

Real Simple


Waterfall Bangs Are Easy to Style—Here's How to Get the Look


These bangs are effortless and vintage-inspired, setting them apart from other trendy cuts.

From the shag to long, loosely textured waves with '90s bangs, there are so many effortless, edgy hairstyles that feel undeniably of the moment. As for the latest revival style, we’re all about waterfall bangs, a shaggy, ‘70s-inspired take on curtain bangs.

And we’re not alone—everyone from Gigi Hadid and Rihanna to Anne Hathaway and Yara Shahidi have taken the easy fringe for a test drive. Ready to try it yourself? Read on for everything you need to know about waterfall bangs, including how to style them and what to ask for at the salon.

Meet the Expert

Jenna Spino is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.


What Are Waterfall Bangs?

“Waterfall bangs are in between a curtain bang and a straight across bang,” explains Jenna Spino, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon. “The bang has various lengths, the longest hitting around the cheekbone, blending right into the sides of your hair.”

They fall shorter in the middle, allowing you to style it as a straight across shaggy bang, and longer throughout the sides to blend in with the rest of the hair. And, it’s important to note, waterfall bangs are not blunt—rather, they have more of a wispy, textured look that’s reminiscent of the ‘70s.

The main appeal of waterfall bangs is how universal they are—the style is suitable for virtually all hair types and face shapes. According to Spino, because waterfall bangs are so layered and textured, they’re easily customizable. Plus, the inward-falling pieces and wispy fringe subtly frame the face for an ultra-flattering look.

How to Customize the Cut With Your Stylist

Waterfall bangs don’t require much maintenance and look as good on natural curly hair as they do after a blowout. “On finer hair, they can make look fuller because the layers can create more volume in front,” Spino explains. “On thicker hair, they can break up some of that weight the front may carry. Straight, wavy, curly—they all work, you’ll just end up with slightly different looks.” 

Spino suggests doing your research before going for the big chop. Be sure to look for pictures of waterfall bangs on people with hair texture and style similar to yours. Different hair types can be customized when cut.

Because waterfall bangs can vary so much in length, it’s important to be specific. Remember: The more inspo pictures you can bring, the better. Beyond that, simply ask your stylist for shaggy, textured bangs that round in the center and face-framing layers that blend into the hair on the side.

How to Style Waterfall Bangs for Every Hair Type

For styling waterfall bangs, Spino recommends using a round brush or rollers to add volume. For those on the go or low on styling tools, simply blow out the bangs in a downward direction (and away from the face) to give them that extra zhuzh and flow. With that said, here's how you may want to style waterfall bangs depending on your hair texture.

Thin Hair

For thin hair, style with the intent of adding volume. "Style with a round brush or Velcro rollers," Spino says. "This will add volume. You can also finish or re-fluff with a texture spray; this will give some hold and show off the wispiness."

Thick Hair

For thick hair, style waterfall bangs in a way that lightens the look of the hair at the front of the face. "I would blow dry [the bangs] with a round brush or flat brush either straight down or away from the face. This will smooth them down just enough to showcase the texture in the bangs."

Curly Hair

Unlike some other bang styles that require more maintenance, you don't necessarily need to blow out or straighten waterfall bangs to work well. Let them fall naturally, framing the front of the face.

"For curly hair, we have options," says Spino. "You can just treat it like the rest of your hair and wear them curly, applying curl cream and either air-drying or diffusing. The other option would be to blow them out for a smoother style."

Wavy Hair

Just as with curly hair, you don't need to style your waterfall bangs every day. Instead, let them fall naturally, in whatever form the waves take. However, for frizzy hair, apply some product. "I love waterfall bangs wavy," Spino says. "I would use an anti-frizz product to enhance the wave and simply air dry. You can blow them out, but they look so great wavy, so why bother?"