If you haven’t heard, bangs are big and they’re back. (Just ask Kate Middleton and Sandra Bullock—they’ll tell you.) But walking into a salon and simply requesting bangs is akin to asking your colorist to make you blonde: What kind of blonde? Platinum? Honey? Solid? Dimensional? Cool? Warm?

Same with bangs. According to Joico’s very own celebrity hair guru, Paul Norton, these instant “transformers” run the gamut from long and full to blunt, side-swept, retro…and everything in between. Here, everything you need to know before you take the big snip…

(Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Start with face shape: Picking the most flattering fringe actually starts with a stylist consultation to determine what works best for you. Got a long forehead? Long, side-swept bangs are the perfect balance, while blunt baby-bangs might be a no-go.

Virgins…tread carefully: If you’ve never had bangs before, it’s hard to know how your hair will react to a significant snip. (Some strands might go wavy and shrink up; or hair might part peculiarly.) Be sure to ask your stylist to keep bangs on the long side initially, just in case they need time to “settle in.”

It’s all about the length: General rule of thumb…long bangs = sexy…short bangs = edgy…middle-of-the-road bangs = safe.

Careful how you cut it: The bigger the bang section (how far into the hairline you cut), the thicker and fuller the bangs will be. Which also means a longer grow-out period. Sometimes it’s better to start small and work your way out.

The DIY route: When trimming bangs yourself, always use the wide-tooth side of the comb (easier and more efficient) and be sure to keep tension even throughout the entire bang.

(Photo by Alo Ceballos/GC Images)

Take the edge off: To soften harsh, overly blunt bangs, gently and evenly “point cut” directly up into the hair (holding scissors in the direction of the hair growth and snipping vertically); or use texturizing shears on ends for a wispier look.

Start in the middle: A surefire way to create nicely arched, face-framing bangs is to make your first cut in the center—cut a small piece to start—then make a long cut towards the outer edges. Next, simply “connect the dots” by cutting from the shortest point to the longest, using a comb to keep things even.

Get retro: For a vintage, pin-up girl style, keep the center of the bangs longer than the ends, then use Joico JoiWhip Firm Hold Design Foam and a round brush to blow them out for volume and bend.

Round up the cowlicks: If you like bangs but have pesky cowlicks at your hairline, use a smidgen of Joico Heat Set Blow Dry Perfecting Crème and a flat, boar-bristle brush to “flat wrap” the hair. (The technique simply involves holding hair straight with your brush, then directing airflow from behind the brush initially, until hair is partially dry. Switch to the front of the brush, then blow dry downwards, in the direction of the strands, and gently bevel under to finish.)

 (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Sweep them away: Side-swept bangs work best if you start the shortest part lands between your eyebrow and eye, and the longest part falls at the cheekbone. To keep them from falling into your face, use Joico Heat Set Blow Dry Perfecting Crème and a round brush to blow them out and under (giving them more curve); finish and hold them in place with a spritz of Joico Flip Turn Volumizing Finishing Spray.

Cutting-edge bangs: For an edgier, looser look, twist small sections of hair in your fingers, pulling strands down to a point, and cutting them with scissors held in a downward motion. You’ll bypass a harsh line AND any worries about precision cutting.">