Michelle, inspired by recent posts by Neil Gaiman (and here), wrote to ask about (AmE) bangs and (BrE) fringe, the words for hair cut shorter on the forehead. While they mostly mean the same thing, they don't seem to absolutely match. Bangs sit on your forehead, but some fringes don't--as I've heard fringe used to refer to bits of hair that are shorter than the rest but still too long to sit on the forehead, so they flip off to the side. I, myself, would not call such things bangs. I once slipped at my old South African hairdresser's (the one where they gave the most incredible head massages. Sometimes I can't believe I moved away from that), and asked for my bangs to be trimmed, which the hairdresser thought was hilarious. After that, she always asked "should I trim your bangers?" (which could mean, among other things, 'should I trim your sausages?' Maybe that's why I moved away). According to the Online Etymological Dictionary: "Bangs of hair first recorded 1878, Amer.Eng., though 1870 of horses (bang-tail), perhaps from notion of abruptness (cf. bang off "immediately, without delay")." Someone on Gaiman's site felt it was unseemly that the word bangs thus seemed to implicitly compare her face to a horse's bottom.
Michelle's query leads us on to other words for hair(-)styles. I'll save the matter of hair accessories for another post.
If hair is divided into three locks then woven together to make a 'rope', the result is called a plait in BrE and a braid in AmE--though both words are known in both countries. BrE plait is pronounced to rhyme with flat, whereas in AmE most speakers pronounce it like plate.
If the hair is tied into a bunch with an elastic band (I'll save discussion of that term for later, but if you can't wait to see how complicated it is, check out this map), then it could be in a pigtail or a ponytail, but in BrE you might also say that someone had her hair in bunches, particularly if there are two such bunches on either side of the head. (Clicking here should take you to the images available via Google.)
I'm shying away from putting pictures here, since the ones I find on the web are generally photos of real people who haven't given their permission for me to plaster their heads on my blog. So, if you want to see a lot of photos of our next haircut, go here, to a site without the same ethical qualms, it seems. (Be sure to page down--the first photo doesn't count.) And what is our next haircut, you ask? It's that emblem of British 1970s (and still!) rebellion the (BrE) Mohican, otherwise known as the (AmE) Mohawk. Why two names? It's all rather confusing actually, as Mohican is a term of questionable lineage and accuracy and the Mohawks are a completely different people; the translation blog Transubstantiation discussed this a bit in August. If you want to be really esoteric (or some would say 'p.c.'--but you know I hate that term--and others would say 'annoying'), you could call the haircut a Kanyin'kehaka, which is apparently what Mohawk people call themselves. Mohawk hairstyles were only worn by Mohawk men going to war. Or people hanging around doorways in Tottenham Court Road. As this story from the travel pages of a Hawaiian newspaper states (with subdued amazement), "Punks with spiked hair can still be seen around [London] town."
Once a rebel, always a tourist attraction?