Give your hair an instant makeover. Lisa Haynes reveals the transforming powers of the fringe.
By Lisa Haynes
Before news of the royal baby broke in December, it was the Duchess of Cambridge's new hair making the headlines.
Kate Middleton's long sweeping fringe wasn't exactly a drastic change from her usual style, but, as trends go, she was being a little more 'cutting-edge' with her flowing locks. Indeed, having a fringe cut can be a simple way to make a big style statement.
Stars like Taylor Swift, Jessica Biel and Zooey Deschanel have put their hair focus on fringes. Then there's Kim Kardashian who can't decide, and applies a temporary clip-in fringe to keep us all guessing.
"Fringes are a great way of updating a style without losing length and are a key fashion statement this season," says Andrew Barton, celebrity hairdresser.
What's more, the same cut can be worn swept to the side, centre-parted or bold and blunt, so that's three styles for the price of one.
So chop, chop - the New Year is the perfect time to refresh your hair with a fringe.
Trim types The fringe comes in many guises, from blunt-cut bold bangs to long sweeping peekaboo.
"The must-have cut of the season is a big, bold and beautiful fringe," says Guy Cammarano, creative director of Regis Salons.
"But the beauty of the fringe is that it is completely versatile and can suit different hair lengths, hair colours and even thickness of hair."
If you're feeling adventurous, go all-out with a full and heavy statement fringe. Fuller fringes make foreheads look smaller and the bottom of your face appear narrower - ideal for round or heart-shaped faces.
"Perfect teamed with a strong colour, this style works best with straight tresses," Cammarano advises.
An eye-skimming fringe will instantly transform a long face, making it appear miraculously shorter.
"The peekaboo fringe is a super-sexy look as it covers or completely falls over one eye, ideally in a long voluptuous wave," suggests Cammarano.
"There's nothing sexier than an eye-tickling fringe with a beautiful pair of eyes peeping through the hair."
Flighty fringe A fringe isn't for everyone and if it feels like a scissor snip too far, there are tentative short cuts.
Wear it long, like Kate Middleton, and switch between wearing it up or down. Enter the transitional fringe...
"If the thought of going all Jessie J leaves you quivering, the side-swept fringe is an ideal alternative," says Cammarano.
"It's especially ideal for those with round faces that want some coverage on their forehead but don't want to create a full, blunt line. It also gives the versatility of not having to be worn every day."
Cammarano recommends asking for a fringe cut with lots of layers to ensure movement and fluidity. This long and layered look works especially well on those with curly or wavy hair.
If you're a fringe commitment-phobe, try a clip-in one. Hershesons' range of 'Winges' (wig fringes) are available in choppy 'Rock Chick' or 'Sharp' in nine different colourways, £30 each (www.hershesons.com).
Cut control You get bang(s) for your buck, quite literally, at the hairdressers with a perfectly behaved blow-dried fringe but it may not be quite so easy to manage at home.
Celebrity hairdresser Mark Hill has these top tips for DIY fringe maintenance: :: Use a large round brush, volumising spray and hairdryer to style your fringe. As your hair dries, rotate your brush to build in volume and movement.
:: When dry, spritz with heat protection spray and use straightening irons to 'French polish' your fringe - don't pull hard, just gently glide the plates through your hair to keep the movement soft.
:: Hold your fringe in place by using hairspray, and always finish with a spritz of shine spray to add gloss and keep frizzy hair at bay.
:: Your fringe may need reviving between washes, so use a dry shampoo to eliminate dirt and grease and boost volume at the roots.
:: If you're attempting to trim your fringe yourself, never go too short!
Cammarano's top tip: "Before you take the plunge with a fringe, always talk it through with your hairdresser to ensure you get the style and shape best suited to you."
Tried & tested Give your hair a moisture boost lathering up with argan oil. Our testers trial three shampoos and conditoners: :: Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditoner, £5.99 each (Holland & Barrett).
Having dry hair, this set promises to be 'restoring, hydrating and smoothing'. It smells lovely but I'm not wowed by how smooth or soft my hair feels. However, my husband made a beeline for the conditioner and claims his hair feels healthier.
3/5 :: Baylis & Harding Great Hair Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, £6 each (www.baylisandharding.com).
Perfect for everyday use, this set leaves hair feeling clean and nourished with a pleasant coconut aroma. The conditioner is ultra-moisturising but should be used sparingly as over-liberal application can leave hair a little on the greasy side.
3/5 :: Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, from £15.85 each (0800 310 1133).
As a curly-haired person, I find my hair especially frizzy in the winter months. This set did a great job in making it feel smooth and silky rather than the usual dry and brittle. I also have a sensitive scalp but found them kind to my skin.
4/5 Buy it now Add some bite to your look with MAC's Year of the Snake collection. The limited edition make-up range includes vibrant shades and shimmering finishes, with eyeshadows embossed with a snake design. Priced from £14, available at www.maccosmetics.co.uk from late January.
Beauty bulletin :: Secret stash Guard your make-up bag and put a lock on your lip gloss collection - one in 10 British men admit to being secret make-up wearers. Guys from Newcastle are the most likely to wear make-up, closely followed by men from Essex, according to a recent survey by designer secret sales website, www.HushHush.com. Concealer was top of the beauty list for those that admitted to using war paint with 71%; lip gloss followed with 64% and almost half (49%) were partial to eyeliner, or 'guyliner'. More than a third of the men taking part (37%) also regularly used fake tanning products.
:: Recessionista alert Stock up on beauty essentials at Asda. The health and beauty event offers big savings on the shelves across a wide range of bathroom favourites, online and in stores until February 5.