Micro fringes have emerged as the hairstyle of the season, thanks to a slew of celebrities who have sported the statement cut of late. Emma Watson showcased a rough-chopped inch-long fringe at the Oscars, Gigi Hadid wore a powder pink wig with said fringe at Jeremy Scott's AW18 show, and Michelle Williams was seen on the streets of Paris Fashion Week with a side-swept mini fringe. Model and actress Rila Fukushima, who has been known to cut in and grow out a micro fringe season after season, also recently transformed her blonde side-parted hair into a brunette bob with a fringe that sits above her brows.
Of course, this isn't the first time the micro fringe has been in the spotlight. In fact, it's been seen throughout pop culture for decades, and has been styled by some of the coolest women both IRL and on screen. There tend to be two camps with this cut: those worn by the elfin, wide-eyed and ethereal, and those worn by badass attitude-hurling women.
Case in point: Audrey Hepburn's soft-focus, layered fringe made way for her scene-stealing square brows, and allowed her doe eyes and cut-glass cheekbones to shine on screen. Audrey Tautou's Amélie also wore her micro fringe soft, her jawline-grazing bob only adding to the whimsicality of her story.
For another film character with a remarkably similar style, Natalie Portman's micro fringe in Leon accentuated the rock'n'roll aesthetic of her on-the-run outlaw. Gwen Stefani, too, used the micro fringe in the '90s to add to her alt look (although we highly recommend avoiding her bindi-wearing cultural appropriation of the same era), while musician Grimes wears her statement fringe framed with long bubblegum pink tresses.
We have inspiration aplenty for this hairstyle, but when historically it's been touted by such distinctive-looking women, is there any hope for us mere mortals of wearing it? "If, like Audrey Hepburn, Emma Watson or Grimes, you are blessed with a heart-shaped face and great cheekbones (a hairdresser's dream), and you are toying with the idea of a micro fringe, I say go for it," says stylist Rob Scott at Larry King's London salon. "You lucky ladies can pull off just about any hairstyle and fringe, long or short. You can wear your micro fringe straight and blunt and with plenty of attitude."
Whichever face shape you have, you can find the perfect fringe for you by taking care that you balance the face and create harmony
And if our faces err on the side of the moon emoji? "If you don’t have the ever-desirable heart-shaped face but are still drawn to the idea of a micro fringe, then approach with a bit more caution. Maybe go for a slightly less blunt, softer textured fringe," he advises. "Have your stylist razor cut or chip into the ends to get the look." Chie Sato, head of education at Taylor Taylor London, says the cut is for everyone. "Whichever face shape and hair texture you have, you can find the perfect one for you by taking care that you balance the face and create harmony. It doesn’t even have to be poker straight. Working in a micro fringe to naturally wavy or even curly hair can make a great statement," she explains. "With a round face you can go for a curve, so it's shorter on the sides and longer in the middle on the nose. It will frame the face because you can see the sides of the forehead and more of the face."
Maintenance-wise, Hare & Bone founder Sam Burnett says it's all dependant on your personal style, but there are products to make it as low-effort as possible. "For a more controlled finish, blow-dry with the nozzle directing the air flow down, so it smooths and seals the cuticle. Always prep with a good heat protectant – my go-to is the KMS ThermaShape Quick Blow Dry Spray. For natural styling (my current favourite) simply let it dry naturally, apply an oil to protect and smooth – Kerasilk Control Rich Protective Oil is great – then finish with the KMS HairPlay Sea Salt Spray.”
Scott notes that, whether soft or blunt, micro fringes are "always a statement regardless. They should be worn with confidence. You need to work it and own it, and this might mean slightly changing your makeup – go stronger with your eye makeup or turn up the volume on your lipstick." Most salons offer free fringe trims, too, meaning once you've taken the plunge, it's plain sailing from there on out.
Unless of course you get instant regret. If you're worried it's less Amélie and more Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, fear not. “First thing to note, there’s always an out," Sam offers. "If you feel it’s not really you, have a chat to your stylist and they will be able to help you manage the growing out process so that you’re happy with your end result that works with your lifestyle. The easiest style to recreate from baby bangs would be the iconic Brigitte Bardot fringe, because as it starts to get longer, you can start to part it and have your stylist tailor and adapt it to your face shape and features." Sato recommends playing around with accessories like grips, scarves and berets until it grows out; either way, you have plenty of options if you decide it's a statement too far. Us? We'll be trimming one in come summer, when a few inches off our hair is the perfect antidote to city heat.