How to Blow Dry Bangs (& Avoid the Dreaded "Bubble Bangs")

Avoid a Dated Look By Learning How to Style Your Bangs

Maria Sharapova with bubble bangs on the left and correctly dried bangs on the right
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images & Julian Finney/Getty Images

So many women do not know how to handle their bangs. They use a big, round brush to dry them, and end up with very round, big bangs. Sometimes called "mall bangs" or "bubble bangs," the look is very dated and unflattering. Bangs look best when they are flatter at the base and blown straight.

Put Down That Round Brush

Instead, you want to dry your bangs with a flat or paddle brush. The modern way to wear bangs is two-fold:

  1. Dry bangs with a flat brush or a paddle brush. Use your round brush on the rest of your hair if you're dying to create body, but use a flat or paddle brush to create the straight, smooth look that's so popular today.
  2. Ensure your blunt or side-swept bangs are not cut too short. Blunt bangs and side-swept bangs should sweep the top of your eyebrows. Anything shorter will date ​you, unless you can pull off a pixie. The sides of blunt bangs should be slightly longer than the middle. They take a lot of maintenance, but blunt bangs can modernize your whole look.

How to Properly Blow Dry Your Bangs

When your hair is wet, dry your bangs first, then work on the rest of your hair. Always hold the blow dryer nozzle above the hair, blasting the air downward. If you use product like a volumizing spray or styling spray, don't use too much. It will weigh hair down. Spray on hair first, then comb through.

Use a paddle brush or flat brush, ideally one with boar bristles to smooth the hair.

With air blowing on your bangs, sweep them with the brush over to one side first then over the other. Keep doing this until bangs are dried. This keeps them straight and works on both blunt and side-swept bangs.

If You Only Own a Round Brush

If you only have a round brush, that's fine.  Simply use the round brush on your bangs as one would a flat brush and do not wrap the bangs around the barrel.

Hairstylist Nick Arroyo explains in his book Great Hair: Secrets to Looking Fabulous and Feeling Beautiful Every Day how to properly use a round brush to dry bangs:

"Instead of wrapping the hair around the brush, place the brush in at the roots and brush from underneath up, from roots to ends, with the heat of the dryer following the same path," he writes. 

This will give your bangs volume, while keeping them straight.

Help! I Have Wavy Bangs!

You can have bangs even if you have curly or wavy hair, but your bangs are going to be high-maintenance if you hope to wear them straight.

If you do want straight bangs, blow-dry as mentioned above, but follow-up with a small flat-iron run through your bangs. Pull the iron downward from roots to your nose.

How to Keep Bangs From Getting Gross & Oily

If you have an oily scalp, your bangs can look slicked and sticky within minutes. To prevent this, after drying, apply dry shampoo at the base.

The best remedy for Oily Bangs Syndrome is to apply dry shampoo on your bangs after you dry them,

You can also wash just your bangs and dry them if you want to go a day or two between washings. Separate your bangs from the rest of your hair by pulling all hair but the bangs in a ponytail.

Wet your bangs and massage in a small amount of shampoo. Rinse very, very well. Blow dry using my rules above.