Bang Up Job

Mobama’s Bangs Appear at the Grammys

Mobama was ahead of the curve. But at the Grammys, says Allison Samuels, many caught the “bangs bug.”

Michelle Obama’s bangs will be very much on display at the State of the Union tonight, as the camera watches the first lady watching the president. But her new do already made an appearance—on nearly everybody else at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards.

There were few musical surprises at the awards ceremony, and even fewer fashion highlights, even with J-Lo’s fabulous thigh-high slit. Instead it was the perfectly coiffed bang that reigned supreme as the most sought after beauty trend of the season.

It was just last month that the first lady kicked the year off with a new hairdo that featured her relaxed tresses cut in a structured bob and highlighted by eye-skimming bangs. Hollywood and the music industry clearly took note, and the biggest night in music showcased a vast variety of fringe framing styles on the industry’s biggest female stars.

Taylor Swift caught the "bangs bug" as she opened the Grammy Awards with a magic-themed performance complete with a circus act and bluntly cut honey-blonde bangs. Carrie Underwood appeared on the red carpet in a Robert Cavalli black lace dress and side swept long bangs cut at an angle. Rounding out the night was Beyoncé’s Super Bowl partner in crime and former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland who rocked thick jet-black bangs as she presented an award onstage with rap star Nas. (Taking full advantage of the trend, Scandal and Django Unchained star Kerry Washington has sported long, layered bangs on the red carpet for most of the award season, from Los Angeles to France.)

“Bangs are the trend for 2013 hands down,’’ says Damone Roberts of The Damone Roberts Salon in Beverly Hills and New York. Roberts counts Madonna, Beyoncé, and Rowland as his longtime clients. “I’m looking at Emma Stone right now on the cover of W magazine and she is wearing bangs. It’s the look of the year and it shows how fashion-forward our first lady is.’’

Bangs have the unique distinction of working well for every length and texture of hair as well as every face shape, which might account for the style’s continuing popularity through the decades. “They frame the face and accentuate the brows,’’ adds Roberts. Bangs, Roberts says, also offer women a sleek, polished, and sophisticated look that complements any age, body shape or outfit.

But while beauty and fashion icons have all worn bangs for the sake of style and beauty—Audrey Hepburn wore a short pixie cut with varying lengths of bangs for the majority of her career —others use the now-popular-again style to hide some unfortunate beauty flaws.

Last year photos of the The Face star, super model Naomi Campbell set the Internet and nearly all the African-American gossip blogs on fire with the news that extensions and braided weaves during 20 years of modeling apparently had damaged her hair follicles, resulting in her loss of the majority of the hair near her forehead. Campbell now wears bangs almost exclusively to hide that fact.

“That’s a common problem with African American women and older women whose hair has thinned out in that area from too much stress being put on from styling,’’ said Myra Jenkins, an Atlanta hairstylist who works regularly on music and modeling shoots. “Bangs can hide baldness and a lot of other things too.’’

Singer Mary J. Blige says her bangs helped conceal a scar she received as child that sits right above right her eye. “I didn’t want anyone to ask about it. And they didn’t because the bangs hid it,’’ says Blige. “I’ve worn them in some form pretty much all my career and my life. You know as a kid I’d go to sleep with that one big pink roller in the front so I could have one thick bang that would last all day at school. That was me, bang girl.’’

Still, for 21-year-old college student Jennifer Billings, the decision to get her shoulder length, finely textured hair cut into bangs last week was based purely on seeing the first lady and other popular celebs like Brandy step out with a new, more confident look in recent weeks.

“I’m that girl who reads all the fashion magazines and sees all the fashion blogs and then attempts to do what I see in them,’’ says Billings, of Burbank, California. “I usually only do makeup and creams but I loved the first lady’s hair so much. It took a lot of courage to do that and everyone was talking about it. If you can do something like that and get people talking, why not? So I did it too. I love them. Bangs rock.’’