Each week our no-holds-barred contributor Grace Gold picks apart a hot beauty topic. It’s our version of an op-ed—with hair, eyeliner and lipstick.

The cannons have fired, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” has been sung and the slew of black-tie balls are over. Yet arguably the most popular moment of President Barack Obama’s inauguration festivities belonged to First Lady Michelle Obama.

“To address the most significant event of the weekend, I love her bangs,” the President told USA Today. “She looks good. She always looks good.”

We certainly agree. Yet from the explosion of headlines about the new hairstyle, you’d think the topic at hand were more along the lines of international nuclear disarmament. “Breaking: Michelle Obama Has Bangs!” wrote The Daily Beast. “She Bangs!” exclaimed a journalist (and, we imagine, Ricky Martin fan) at The Hill. And virtually all the major morning news shows led with the photo seen ‘round the world that the First Lady tweeted, which originally “broke” the story.

Most amazingly, it was a media phenomenon the world had already seen. When the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out recently in her own rendition of bangs, the look garnered as much attention and critical analysis as her highness’s baby bump. Kerry Washington’s new choppy fringe that she showed off at the Golden Globes had the Twitterverse abuzz for hours.

What is it about bangs that whips everyone into a frenzy?

It may have to do with the complex relationship that women have with bangs. Most of us experiment with them at some point. Many fight to style and tame them. Just when they perfect them, it isn’t unusual to then decide it’s time to begin the slow torture of growing them out.

Many women turn to bangs as a way to appear and feel more hip. Mrs. Obama’s bangs are of this youthful variety, which are soft, wispy, vary ever so slightly in length across the forehead and hit just below the brow. The clever style can adeptly hide grievances like wrinkles, fine lines and uneven pigmentation. It also turns the focus to every woman’s most beautiful asset: her sparkling eyes.

Unlike the expensive skin treatments and procedures that many celebrities rely on for reinvention, Mrs. Obama’s switch to bangs on her 49th birthday is a fun beauty experiment that we can all actually try. If you want to enjoy all the anti-aging bang benefits without the commitment of taking scissors to your strands, it looks like Lancôme video makeup artist Michelle Phan is already working on the case.

In much the same way that Mrs. Obama’s penchant for Target and J.Crew fashions are all the more exciting because they’re attainable, her decision to get bangs feels like something a girlfriend may do that inspires you to reimagine your style in a refreshing new way.

Photo: Getty Images