The new black

Fringing has been around on clothes for a couple of seasons (not to mention on gloves, bags and boots, too), so it was only a matter of time before fringes themselves made a comeback. As you may already know, I suffer from a bad case of fringe envy. So determined was I to have a fringe in my early teens that I put so much gel in my hair it had no choice but to follow gravity. For at least a year, I thought peeking out from a mass of wet-look curls was the epitome of style. Then again, given the length of my skirts at the time, I doubt anyone really noticed.

As most black women I know have their hair straightened, it'd be churlish to keep the good news to myself. So, out go short, elfin fringes and in come long, wispy numbers, skimming just below the eyebrows. Fringes should be worn loose, soft and slightly layered. But long fringes won't suit everyone.

"Those with very round or square face shapes should avoid fringes, because it might give the illusion of closing in the features, making them look a bit squashed," warns Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, creative director at Toni&Guy, and daughter of Toni Mascolo, one half of the original duo.

Fringes can look incredibly sexy, but get them just slightly wrong and they take on a life of their own. "On average, a fringe will need trimming every two weeks," says Mascolo-Tarbuck. "Once it starts getting past the eyes, it can look a bit disconnected from the main cut, so it needs to be maintained carefully."

It's important to get the texture right: too structured, and you'll look like you've got far too much time on your hands; too messy, and it'll look, well, messy. Mascolo-Tarbuck suggests a good wax: "Simply rub a little between the fingers and pull through on the ends of the hair to create definition. Alternatively, a bit of serum is brilliant for keeping fuzz at bay and generally ensuring the hair looks smooth and sleek."

My own bit of advice? Invest in a good facial cleanser and be diligent. Fringes may be back, but spotty foreheads are most definitely not.

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