As the woman who originally launched the little black dress, Audrey Hepburn is responsible for more trends than we can count. Who can forget the iconic column gown created for her by Hubert de Givenchy, worn in the timeless film Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Plenty of the actor and philanthropist’s looks are still going strong decades later, from LBDs to her signature bangs. While both could be considered classics, Hepburn bangs are back with a, well, bang. Ahead, everything you need to know about the trend.
If you’re at all familiar with Audrey Hepburn’s filmography (or even just photos of her), chances are you strongly associate cropped bangs with the actor. “These bangs reference Audrey Hepburn’s bangs in movies like Roman Holiday,” Adam Livermore, Oribe Global Artist. “It’s a short length around the mid-forehead, a straight but slightly textured line, gently swept to one side.”
However, this old style has a new spin, which is typically the case when an Old Hollywood trend makes a rebound. “The Hepburn bangs trend is a modern twist on Audrey Hepburn’s old Hollywood iconic look, with fringe, side bangs and a side part,” says Tatiana Ramos, Artist and Educator for Pureology. “What makes the look modernized is today stylists are adding more layers, making it more edgy and feathered out than previously.”
Ramos adds that since everything old is new again, we are seeing throwbacks to ’90s style these days, which is probably the last time the Hepburn Bangs were worn by supermodels and celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Natalie Portman. “Now, we’ve been seeing the trend all over TikTok and on everyone from Zoë Kravitz to Kylie Jenner to Florence Pugh to Bella Hadid,” she says.
Who Hepburn Bangs Work for
“Short bangs are trending because you get maximum change impact, but you’re really cutting minimally,” Livermore says. “It’s not like you’re chopping all your hair off, but you’ll definitely see a new person when you look in the mirror. You can really play with the architecture of a face with bangs like this. You can bring balance to a face that’s too small in the lower third, and you can create a widening effect on a narrow face.”
Bangs can enhance practically any face shape if you wear them the right way, according to hairstylist Gilbert Muniz. “Anyone can have a form of fringe or bangs if you chose the right style for your face shape,” he says. “For the Hepburn bang, I would say it’s best on oval or heart-shaped faces. Hair will always look styled and trendy and in some cases make you look younger and edgier.”
To make styling Hepburn bangs easier, Ramos says they’re best for fine to medium thick hair that is less textured. “This look can be made to work with any face shape—you can play around with length and level of choppiness,” she says. But there’s one thing that should make you avoid it: “The style is hardest to create if you have a cowlick. Sometimes there is not enough product to counteract that.”
Also, those with noticeably asymmetrical faces are better off skipping Hepburn bangs, Livermore cautions. “You need facial symmetry, and great eyebrows for this to have the right effect, or it can work with bleached eyebrows/no eyebrows on a face which suits that vibe,” he says.
How to Style Hepburn Bangs
You may not take your skin type into consideration, but according to Muniz, you should. Those with oily skin might want to have a discussion about managing bangs with their stylist, he advises, since that can make it harder to keep Hepburn bangs looking fresh. To combat oiliness, Livermore’s go-to for all types of bangs is Oribe Serene Scalp Oil Control Treatment Mist ($58), which should be applied before anything else. “It’s like a mattifying primer for your skin, but it’s for your scalp, which keeps bangs from getting oily,” Livermore says.
To style Hepburn bangs at home, start by prepping hair with a heat protectant. “I love the Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray ($34); it will protect, smooth frizz and moisturize your hair,” Ramos says. “When styling any style of bangs, you want to blow dry right after you shower to make creating the look effortlessly smooth. While blow-drying, brush your hair in the same direction you want them to swoop. To finish off the look you can you use a finishing spray like the Joico Humidity Blocker ($24.50) to add hold and separation.”
Recreate the sleek smoothness of Audrey Hepburn’s bangs by working wet bangs back and forth using a flat brush and a blowdryer, brushing each direction to get rid of cowlicks, then eventually direct the dryer and flat brush to the direction of the desired part side, advises Muniz. Keep it nice and flat in a track and trail motion so you don’t create too much lift. “You want to make sure you start drying the bangs while they are still wet because if you wait until they dry, the cowlicks will start to form and make it more challenging to direct the hair to the desired part you are looking for,” he says. “Use a good heat protection product, but I would say less product will help keep the bangs from getting too oily. I love SH-RD’s Protein Cream ($50). This cream can act like a styling product; they help with flyaways.”
How to Fake Hepburn Bangs
You don’t have to chop your hair to work the trend, as Florence Pugh demonstrated at the Oscars. Ramos breaks down how to copy her faux-Hepburn bangs: “Start with a ponytail at the crown of your head, then back-comb it to the front and smooth it down so the bottom of your hair is actually the ‘bangs’ of this look. You can cinch in the back of the hair to make a faux bun as well.”
Another option is getting a faux fringe. “If you aren’t quite ready to commit to getting bangs, you can always buy bang hair clip extensions that can give you the illusion of bangs,” Muniz says.