When Margot Robbie graced the cover of British Vogue in August 2021, sporting a new 70’s inspired, layered haircut, the image quickly made it to Pinterest boards of hair and fashion-conscious readers worldwide.
What was it that so many people were attracted to? We have seen various bangs before; what was it about this particular style that was so interesting? A few others followed, notably Lily Collins and Dakota Johnson, and it became clear that it was the particular silhouette of the face framing layers that made this look special. That’s when I came up with a unique term to name the new trendy take on the bangs type – a bottleneck bangs, that has exploded in popularity this year.
Firstly, there is much debate around the terminology of ‘bangs’ vs ‘fringe’. Some believe it’s down to how soft or solid the face framing section of hair is cut, others suggest it is down to the cutting lines or angles, I believe it is simply down to where in the world you live, I personally use the terms interchangeably.
‘Bottleneck bangs’ (or BB’s) are by definition narrow in the middle at the top, and wider on each side. They are a type of fringe that sits at two separate lengths or layers. Their shortest point sits somewhere between the eyebrows and the longest between the cheekbones and jawline.
What makes this hairstyle so versatile is the ability for almost endless personalization, by adjusting the lengths of the two layers and controlling the angles between them. What’s more, they can be suitable for a variety of hair types and textures, due the visual element to their crafting.
I’ve selected some of my favorite “BB’s” to show just how versatile they are.
Where it all began? The frame around the face in the silhouette of a bottleneck can clearly be seen in this image of Margot Robbie. The shortest parts sit softly at the center part of her eyebrow, while the longest parts curve right under her jaw. The smoothly curved angle between two points frames her features beautifully while the soft, feathered edges give a relaxed and romantic finish.
Shown here on Lily Collins, this shows just how well BB’s work on fine and thin hair textures. These see-through, side swept bottleneck bangs work wonderfully well on this up-style which makes is very easy for the wearer to make their hair look well put-together with minimal effort. Don’t have time to wash your hair, blast your BB’s with some dry shampoo and put the rest of your hair up – instant ‘designed’ looking up-style!
Another great thing about BB’s is their ability to evolve and grow out without the need for regular maintenance. Since the area already quite choppy by design and have a steep angle from shortest to longest, the layers grow out and gradually fade into the rest of the haircut very easily. Here the shortest areas are curving around the brow bone while the longest part cuts in under cheekbone, giving the face structure and highlights the youthful apples of the cheeks.
For a sexier, sultrier look (if you don’t mind a little more maintenance and commitment), this heavier BB looks fantastic on thicker or darker hair. There is still a definite ‘bottleneck’ frame but the shorter length is bolder and wider while the fade framing element softly melts into this heavily layered shag haircut. This specific length will need to be trimmed every 3 or 4 weeks to keep it sitting just between brow and eyelid.
Another great way of personalizing your BB’s is to change your parting position. Generally, bangs and fringes sit well in a central parting but here, the bangs are asymmetrical and are cut to a side parting. This can be particularly good if you feel you have a ‘good side’ that you rather show off and can give an interest and a new twist on the classic BB.
If you’re hesitant about fully committing to bangs, this longer, swept version is an excellent choice. Still definitely two different lengths, and therefore confidently a BB, this style is the perfect length to give the desired effect, but can easily be pushed out of one’s eyes when needed. A great choice for those who work out a lot, don’t have time to style their bangs, or who don’t like the feeling of too much hair on their face.
Highly textured and very ‘piecey,’ this variation of bottleneck bangs is ideal for those with a shorter forehead or who don’t want to close their face in too much. Thanks to all the gaps between the highly texturized bangs, this gives the effect of BB’s without covering up your face. This is a great choice if you have naturally thick hair, as this can be achieved by cutting ‘into’ the bang a lot to remove weight, but can also work if your hair naturally is thinner and your bangs are prone to ‘splitting’ – simply embrace it!
The influence here sits between the 60’s and 70’s and, paired with winged eyeliner as in this image, these BB’s become a real statement look! Ideal on copper or auburn hair this style oozes attitude and confidence. Chunky layers blend the shortest and longest parts of the bang and the ends are kept a little more blunt – this is for a wearer who is not scared to stand out!
Use color to enhance the movement and texture of BB’s! This is a great option when working with very dark hair, if the high contrast between hair and skin tone is making the BB’s look too heavy. Gently weaving finely placed highlights of balayage around the frame of the face gives the illusion of texture and softness.
Want to really enhance your BB’s with a pop of color? This is almost as bold as it gets – the lighter tones clearly highlight the variation of length of the bottleneck bangs, while the darker, highly contrasting color frames the cutting shape perfectly. This high contrast cool blonde and dark brunette looks fantastic if you want to make a statement. But you could choose colors slightly closer in depth for a softer look, or even use a vivid or pastel shade to show off even more personality.
Bottleneck bangs are truly a revelation when it comes to framing one’s face in a unique and bespoke way. Use photo references to show to your hairstylist to help explain what you like, but let your hairstylist recommend which lengths, angles and color placements will frame your face in the most flattering, suitable way.
And if you want a preview on what cutting bottleneck bangs looks like, find Tom Smith on Instagram and Tiktok (@tomsmithhd). My mission is to help you get the best hair of your life no matter where you live, what your hair type, or who your hairstylist is!