Wispy, messy, curly, long curtains or short micro bangs – Thomas Osborn looks at what fringes you should be creating for clients.

Many hairdressers might view cutting a fringe as a small way to adapt a hairstyle, but let’s face it, it can make a huge difference to someone’s overall look! When you get it right, a fringe can be an amazing transformation. Following celebrities and their ever-changing hairstyles is likely to cause as much confusion as it will inspiration when it comes to fringes, but as your clients’ lives return to normal, a fringe might be just what they need to refresh their already grown-out looks.

This year we have some major fringe styles to follow, such as Daphne Bridgerton’s micro fringe in Bridgerton and Beth Harmon’s changing fringes in The Queen’s Gambit. Then there are stars like Dakota Johnson, who often has a fringe blending into her overall style. And, with more and more celebrities going for the nouveau Shag, Mullet or a combination of the two (say hello the Shullet!), a blended fringe is definitely a new statement.

So, what will be the biggest hair trends for 2021? The micro fringe, the blended fringe or a 70s inspired long curtain? We asked TIGI Americas Creative Director, Thomas Osborn, to share his thoughts and advice.

FUSE: What fringe hairstyles do you think are trending and why? 

THOMAS: At a time when most of the world has half their face concealed behind a mask, having a fringe is a great way to redefine their look. It adds strength and projects power. If you think about make-up, unsurprisingly, lipstick sales are down, and sales of eye make-up are up, as our emphasis and focus are above the mask line, so bangs are a great way to update your client’s look and highlight the visible features.

Fringes are essential right now and we’re seeing everything from bold, strong, short micro bangs, that are either textured and chunky or blunt and precise, to the slightly longer and softer variations. There are so many options! Curtain fringes that break from the centre and open up to frame the eyes look great, or another option is to go for a longer and heavier fringe, with an almost grown-out feel, that sits just below the eyebrow.

FUSE: Who do these fringes suit and what kind of hair or hairstyle is most suitable?   

THOMAS: Adding a fringe to any length of hair can really change the look, highlighting and placing emphasis on what is most people’s key feature: their eyes! It’s a very simple and effective way to completely change someone’s appearance but can also make a subtle change. And it can be a beautiful juxtaposition, such as an effortless and casual mid-length or long hairstyle combined with a contrasting short fringe that provides both strength and femininity.

Fringes suit most clients and with varying lengths and textures. Each variation of fringe has subtle nuances, so you can customise and detail the hair to suit the individual. Importantly, you should be approaching each client individually too, considering all things: their face shape, hair texture and density, hairline, eyes, lifestyle etc and then deciding on the type of fringe that is most suitable, and the technique that will allow you to create the desired result.

FUSE: Any advice on cutting techniques?  

THOMAS: I think one of the most useful and versatile approaches for cutting a fringe is to layer square of the hairline. This has endless possibilities with regards to the end result and depending on length and over-direction, you can create so many different types of fringes with this one technique.

Follow these useful and effective cutting approaches to achieve your desired fringe style:

  • Cut shorter with no over-direction to achieve a micro-fringe
  • Over-direct to each previous for a rounded fringe
  • Cut straight out from each section for a squarer fringe
  • Leave slightly longer and over-direct section to the centre for a curtain fringe and point cut for softness, or cut blunt for strength

It’s a very versatile technique!

FUSE: What advice should hairdressers give to clients to maintain their hair at home?

THOMAS: Under normal circumstances, I would never encourage clients to take matters into their own hands to try and maintain their fringe at home, but as most people are sitting at home and literally watching their fringe grow before their very eyes, here are a few things to consider and to communicate with your clients.

  1. Never cut your fringe when it’s wet unless of course, you’re cutting with a razor (which is an advanced move so proceed with caution!) Isolate or section out your fringe either when your hair is dry or take a blow-dryer and gently dry at the natural fall.
  2. Never use tension when trying to cut your fringe ( i.e. holding in your fingers.) Either comb to its natural fall and cut freehand or slightly elevate away from the face with the larger teeth end of the comb and cut to the desired length.
  3. Always err on the side of caution, which means: leave it slightly longer to begin with as it’s always easier to take more off than it is to put it back on. Once it’s gone, there’s no going back!
  4. Point cutting is ALWAYS more forgiving than cutting blunt. Using the tips of the scissors and cutting up into the ends of the hair will give you a slightly softer end result that you can chip away at until you achieve the desired result.

FUSE: Do you need to use different products to style and perfect a fringe?

THOMAS: Product choice should be determined by the type of fringe and overall hairstyle. I think the golden rule when it comes to product selection for your fringe is that it should be consistent with the rest of the hair. So, if you want the fringe to have the same look and feel as the rest of the hair, it’s not a separate entity. Whatever products you are using in the hair, these should be worked through the fringe as well, so the texture is consistent throughout. If anything, maybe use a little less around the fringe area so there isn’t a heavy concentration of product right in the front.

You don’t typically need a lot of hold or control in a fringe unless you’re trying to combat a crazy cowlick in which case, maybe a fringe is not such a good idea! So, product choice should reflect this and a lighter application in the fringe area will always suffice.

Want more info?

Book on to a TIGI Virtual Education cutting class to see the Creative Team live in action on fringes.

Check out our Education step by steps to inspire your cutting techniques. Take a look at The Shag, Grunge Rock, The Clipper Undercut and Square Layers for some fringe-insight!