Bang-less hair was my holy grail as a kid. While I was stuck with a blunt fringe from my very first trim, all the coolest girls in my class seemed to have all-one-length cuts that were so easy to style. Whereas they could effortlessly pull off slicked-back ponytails straight from the shower, French braids from the widow’s peak down and sparkly comb headbands that pull stray wisps away from the face I had, like, this forehead thing to consider.
Now, it’s not like I didn’t try growing them out on several occasions. But my thick hair and vanity always got the best of me, and I’d head to the salon (which is to say: ask my mom for a ride to MasterCuts) when I started to resemble Cousin It. Finally, in 7th grade, I mustered enough self control to get the job done. It took me about a year (and countless extra-strength barrettes) but I was fringe-free at last! The first day I pulled my hair into a messy bun without any front pieces falling loose, I triumphantly looked in the mirror and told myself I’d never—EVER—lock myself into bangs again. Of course, here I am anyways, writing this with awkward half grown-out Jane Birkin-inspired hair that refuses to behave. Fortunately, this time around, I have one big advantage I didn’t before: help from hair gurus Allen Ruiz, Aveda‘s global style director, John Barrett, owner of the John Barrett salon and Woodley & Bunny co-owner and artistic director, Erin Anderson. Click through the slideshow above for their 12 foolproof tips for growing out bangs.