You did the work. You found a hairstyle you love and want to take it to your hairstylist the next chance you get. But, before you run to the phone to schedule that appointment, first you need to know if it is the best style for your face. Without taking into consideration your face shape, you’re likely to select a style that emphasizes the wrong features. With this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of what you should look for in a hairstyle to draw attention to all the right places.
The first step is to determine your face shape. Go find a mirror, pull all the hair away from your face and take a good hard look. You're going to focus on 3 areas on your face: your jaw, cheekbones and hairline. What do you see?
- square jaw line and round hairline with face longer than it is wide and cheekbones same width as forehead
- square jaw line and square hairline with face longer than it is wide and cheekbones same width as forehead
- round jaw line and round hairline with face the same width and length
- square jaw line and square hairline with face the same width and length
- pointed jaw line with a round hairline and widest at the cheekbones
- Oval- round jaw line and round hairline with face longer than it is wide
Now that you know your face shape, learn how to soften those harsher features and bring light to the beautiful ones.
Oblong- Your goal is to create the illusion of overall width. If you have an oblong face, avoid too much length and opt for something short-medium; 2”-3” past your shoulders is as long as you’d want to go. Layers starting at your chin will help add some width and outward volume to your hair. Bangs may be your best friend since they’ll help shorten the appearance of your long face. If you'd prefer not to have bangs, an off-center or side part will also shorten your face.
Rectangle- Your goal is to create the illusion of overall width. Just as with the oblong shape, you’ll want to be careful not to let your hair get too long, and you'll want to add some layers. Keep everything softer when it comes to your haircut to avoid bringing added attention your already angular face. Bangs will suit you very well, but keep them textured and soft. For a style without bangs, an off-center or side part will shorten your face.
Round- Your goal is to create the illusion of length. Stay away from lengths that fall at your chin, it’ll just create even more roundness. For long styles, it is best to start a few inches below your chin and lengthen from there. Long layers will be best falling just above the shoulders. Layers any shorter than this will add width and emphasize your round shape. A slightly off-center or middle part can give the illusion of length to your face. Avoid bangs with this shape; it will make your face look short and wide.
Square- Your goal is to create the illusion of length. Same basic principles apply to a square shape as a round shape. Keep the length of your hair longer, starting no shorter than a few inches below your chin. Adding some wave or soft curls will help to detract from the stronger angles of your face. A middle or off-center part can create length in your face. Avoid bangs with this shape; it will make your face look short and wide. Another great option for this shape would be a Pixie haircut with nice, short bangs. Make sure to keep it close on the sides with some volume at the top.
Heart- Your goal is to create the illusion of width at the jaw line. To help balance out a wider forehead and cheekbone area with a narrow and pointed chin, look for a style with more volume at the bottom of the hair rather than at the top. Avoid too much volume at the top of the hair as it will emphasize your already “top-heavy” face. Soft, full bangs or side bangs would be a good option to camouflage a larger forehead.
Oval- Lucky you! With an oval shape, you can get away with pretty much any style. There isn’t anything you’re trying to de-emphasize, so the sky is the limit.
Now that you know what to look for in a hairstyle to get you looking your best, you're ready to make that appointment! And if after this guide, you're still unsure about which face shape you have, ask your stylist during your consultation and they would be able to help you.
Guide to your Hair Consultation.
Photo Credits: Hair style examples from CeceLynn Design; Blonde Long hair girl by Extra Medium (CC); Strawberry Blonde hair girl by Cloe Aigner (CC); Brown wavy hair girl by Timothy Marsee (CC); Red hair girl by Mark Taylor Cunningham (CC); Dark Brown hair girl by Dfeii Li (CC); Black hair girl by Andrea Parrish-Geyer (CC); B&W girl adapted from Stu Willis (CC)