There's just something about bangs. As soon as you decide you want them, it feels imperative that you get them right now – and hey, you've got scissors and a mirror. Five minutes later, regret sets in. Cutting long, side-swept bangs is hard enough, but nailing the look of cute, short pixie-style bangs is really a challenge. The key to success? Taking all the time in the world.

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Planning for Pixie Bangs

Before picking up the scissors, it's important to clarify exactly what look you're going for. Some women rock pixie hairstyles with messy bangs so long they cover the eyebrows. Others go for more of a 1960s Mia Farrow look, with baby bangs that cover only the top inch or so of the forehead. And others opt for an in-between look, with bangs that sweep across the forehead and end above the brows. If you're not sure, start by cutting long bangs and spend some time – a full day, even – playing with them and getting used to them before cutting them any shorter.

Prepping for Pixie Bangs

Always start with dry hair when cutting your own bangs. A professional hair stylist can get bangs just right when starting with wet hair, but for a DIY job, dry is best. Hair tends to look shorter when it's dry, so cutting wet hair may result in bangs that are far too short. Clip or tie back any hair that you don't want to be part of the bangs and comb bangs straight across the forehead. If you're creating bangs from long hair, use a comb to draw a straight line of separation above the forehead, dividing out the hair that will become bangs.

Trim Bangs to the Brows

If the hair is already cut in a pixie style, the bangs are already probably fairly short. But if the hair is still long, the best strategy is to cut the bangs in a few phases. Trimming them to just above the eyes gives you a good view of what you're doing. Slide the forefinger under the bangs, clamp down on the hair with the middle finger and lift the bangs away from your face. Use hair-cutting shears to cut a straight line across the bangs so they're just long enough to fall past the eyebrows.

Finish the Trim

For a DIY bang trim, using a comb and cutting shears is the way to go. Run the comb down the bangs and lift the hair up at the ends. Hold the shears vertically and make small snips across the ends of the bangs, moving back and forth to make sure the bangs are at the same length. To get straight-across bangs, use the comb to pull them out from the forehead and hold the shears horizontally to make an even cut. If you plan to wear bangs swept to one side, arrange the bangs in that style before making cuts.

After each pass with the shears, put the comb down and run fingers through the bangs to see what they'll do on a daily basis. The bangs that look too long when pulled straight by a comb may appear much shorter when they're free, and cutting the bangs too short is a mistake that isn't easily disguised with a pixie cut.