Put Some Bounce In It

Freja Beha
Jessica Miller
Tasha Tilberg & Missy Rayder

Curly bangs are great for the same reason that hairless cats, kiwi fruits, and jellyfish are great, which is that they're so ugly, they're cute.* It's not that the models and actresses above look bad with curly bangs, but rather that they'd look a lot better without them. And therein lies the charm—any decision to sacrifice conventional attraction in favor of something different makes a woman stand out. It makes you speculate about her personality, her taste, and her intelligence. It makes you want to be her friend.

Look at a young, barely-recognizable Nicole Kidman, for example—don't you just want to sit next to her at dinner and drink too much? In her current marble-statuette form, Kidman is more comprehensibly beautiful, though in an anonymous, status-quo way. She doesn't look like someone with any particular worldview. That's fine—many of us don't express our worldviews in hair form—but it's not as interesting.

Another benefit of curls is their inherent fun quality. Spiral-shaped objects are structurally amusing: Slinkys, rotini pasta, pig's tails, the 'boing' sound effect, cinnamon rolls… There's just something about spirals that is pleasing to humans. A playful aspect.

Coziness is a third factor. Imagine how luxurious it must feel to have your face surrounded on all sides by at least two inches of hair! No need for a winter hat when you have natural insulation. Plus, it could make a good travel pillow in a pinch. Just bunch that shit up, lean back, and drift into dreamland on a cushion that's all yours.

—Molly Young

*What do you think—agree/disagree? (Also, are there fashion items that also work under this rule? Clogs? Overalls?)

Molly Young is a naturally curly-haired, New York-based writer. She's written for ITG about foundation and eyebrows. Follow her on Twitter.

Campaign images via Isabel Marant, Chanel, and Chloe.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • http://twitter.com/valentina_novo Valentina Novo

    I have very straight hair but I've always wanted curls! They look so fun!

  • Prenouveau

    Don't forget Jennifer Grey as Jeanie! I really love this look. And wow, Edie looks gorgeous.

  • Delta of Venus

    You should add Maria Schneider in Last Tango in Paris to this! Best curly bangs ever!

  • http://fancylauren.blogspot.com/ Lauren Ashley

    April Fools? Hmm, some of these ladies are rockin' the curly bangs though - maybe it can be cute ...

  • Kasia

    I miss that Nicole Kidman.

  • Guest

    Once again, I'm going to decline this invitation to go down the "straight hair is better" path. For as long as I can remember, the dominant culture has been telling me that my looks (curly hair, brown skin, dark eyes) are somehow "wrong." I reject that. There's nothing wrong with curly hair. (And I do wear a hat in winter.)

    • sara saljoughi

      totally agree. thanks for saying this.

    • http://www.vintageobserver.com/ Couteau

      Why are curly girls so uncomfortable with their hair? Constantly talking about it, and justifying their decisions and all to often straightening it. So touchy, when really, the rest of us are jealous.

      • Nina

        Exactly, we're jealous! At least I am. I once permed my fine, straight blah hair and even though it turned out absolutely horrible (the damage was extreme) I still DREAM of beautiful bouncy curls or at least a bit of wave.

  • ITGNick

    Just wanted to point out that Molly is riffing on the idea of curly BANGS, not curly or afro hair, in general. And picking up on Faran's comment below, she's not calling curly hair 'ugly in a cute way.' She's saying this about curly bangs, which, unlike curly HAIR, is a styling choice. Can we agree on that?

    If you re-read the post, you'll see she's only talking about cutting bangs into curly hair, which I hope we can agree is unusual (you don't see the look every day), and might be celebrated as such.

    • http://www.nylonmag.com/ Faran

      Hi Nick,
      Huge thanks for replying, and I totally get what you're saying, but I can't quite agree. What about when she riffs on having 2 inches of hair "luxuriously" poofing from your head in every direction? And "bunching our shit" up to make an in-flight pillow? To me, that definitely reads as curly hair in general, not bangs...

    • A.C

      My hair is explosively curly so I know for a fact that when you cut bangs, they do loose some curl. They do not, however, magically uncurl completely, so I think some styling must be involved to avoid it looking like a puffball. There is a styling choice here. All that information is useless ,however, if we realize that this is an opinion blog, this is America, and they can say what they want. :)

  • http://twitter.com/magicmolly Molly Young

    Not intended as backhanded at all! In my sliver of experience (as a woman with hair that is naturally very curly), curly bangs are a result of styling, not a naturally occurring phenomenon. I've never met a woman whose bangs naturally corkscrew—even among those with tight natural curls. The slideshow pictures women who have actively styled their bangs into curls. And I absolutely think that the way a person *styles* herself—the choices she makes—reflects a worldview. That's what makes beauty/fashion so interesting...

    • sashi

      ummm, of course the front of curly hair is still curly. It is not styled. Come to the beach with me this summer if you don't believe me.

    • Annie Sylvain

      Dude, my hair is naturally identical to Nicole Kidman in that first photo. I have bangs but I straighten my hair, or pin my bangs (ugh I'm becoming so American, I should say fringe, I'm British) to one side when I don't. If I didn't I would like just like these women. It is such an 80s look.

      • lauren

        Yup. My bangs do spirals as well. I have many childhood photos identical to the above.

    • Cat

      "I've never met a woman whose bangs naturally corkscrew"
      What are you talking about? Because we all blow dry them straight, that's why! What exactly makes you think that a curly person's head would grow straighter hair on the front?!

  • Francois

    It's about curly bangs in particular, not naturally curly hair.

  • Ideal Cheese

    Passive-agressive tone of this post aside, I love curly bangs—when they are really curly and cut straight. Such a cool, unique look that should totally come back in style.

  • http://www.facebook.com/humphreyssamantha Samantha Humphreys

    I have struggled with the curly bangs situation! I have naturally curly hair, but I also look better with a bit of bangs to frame my face. Curly hair with straight bangs looks like crap. its such a weird push pull situation Do I continue to straighten my hair and just surrender to the fact that i will never wear it curly? Do curly bangs look ok and fuck it? I never really answered. I like a lot of those pics above, but a lot of them also look ...kinda not that awesome....

    • Candace

      I've got curly hair and bangs that I think look okay! Mine are cut quite long, and I wear a deep part so they sort of sweep over my forehead and then frame the side of my face. Nobody seems to have mentioned that option in this post or the comments, but I think it really works for me, and I would 100% say that I look better with them than without, unlike this post says. Could be worth a try for you too!

  • Jacqueline Fonte

    Curly bangs go pretty far into mullet territory (if you examine them closely), so yeah, I'd say they're ugly. But then, some of you out there like mullets . . . And overalls and kitten heels. (And one of you guys is donning all three of these things at the same time, I'm sure.)

    I have curly hair and curly bangs, and despite all of the negativity, actually agree with Molly. She's not riffing on curly hair, so much as curly bangs, and she's allowed to have opinions about that like the rest of us. (Also, ITG has a pretty solid history of keeping it classy AND diverse for us folks of different strokes. Just sayin'.)

    Anyways, I'm constantly growing my bangs out, because they always look like a stuffed animal burst at the seams and is spewing stuffing from my forehead. (Then I get irritated, chop them, and swear that I'll style them. Never happens.)

  • daliadoll

    Yea..... I'll keep my curly bangs, thanks. I'm working what nature gave me instead of spending my precious time and money "fighting" my "ugly" fringe.

  • Lana Nasser

    NO CURLY BANGS, Please.

  • Hafsa

    I think the selection of pictures also leans towards some more unflattering picks of the 80s-90s era of curly bangs. Take a quick scroll down this board and you can see curly bangs werkin' it! http://pinterest.com/majn0una/curly-whirly-hair/

  • Kat

    I was really hoping a photo of Rachel McAdams from The Notebook when she has the curled bangs would be here.

  • http://twitter.com/modelburnbook The Model Burnbook

    That picture of Edie Campbell is fucking hawt, I would totally wear my hair like that. --Limp Straight Hair with Jealousy Issues.

  • Milla

    THIS. 'strangers are always touching your hair like a puppy'.

    And they like to try and run their fingers through it! Wrong wrong wrong!!!

    I started straightening my hair because I was so sick of my everyone telling me that my hair was always 'messy' and that I should brush it. No, it's not messy, it's curly. And no I shouldn't brush it. You don't brush curls!!!

    Now I straighten my hair, all I get is 'why do you straighten your hair? Your so lucky to have curls, they suited you better...' blah blah blah.

    Can't win.

  • Guest

    I know of the secret Bed-Stuy brownstone-- [Hairstylist X] is AMAZING!! Kerry Washington used to also get her hair cut there, too!