Not all haircuts are universally flattering, so before you head to your salon, it’s always important to know what styles best fit your face.
There are four basic face shapes: oval, round, square and heart. Variations exist, such as the oblong and the triangular face shapes. Many people have faces that don’t perfectly fit a category, but with a general sense of what shape your face is, it’s easier to find a cut you’ll be happy with.
How to determine your face shape:
One way to find your face shape is to look in the mirror after you’ve washed your hair. Smooth your hair into a ponytail, exposing your ears. Then, trace the outline of your face on the surface of the mirror with an eyebrow pencil or washable marker.
If you want to be more precise, you could measure the width of your face across your forehead, the top of your cheekbones and your jawline, then compare these measurements to the length of your face, from your hairline to your chin.
The round-shaped face is about as long as it is wide, with full cheekbones and a comparatively narrow forehead and jawline. Owners of round faces often appear young for their age.
Recommendation: To define your face and de-emphasize fullness, ask for an “asymmetrical” cut with layers that closely frame the face. Longer hair visually lengthens the face, so try a style that falls to the chin or below. If you prefer short hair, have it cut with choppy, razored ends to create angles. Avoid straight bangs, as they make the face appear wider—you can ask for side-swept fringes—and try a part that is slightly off-center.
Like the round face, this shape has about the same length and width, but the jawline of a square face is sharper, with bolder angles. The forehead and jawline are about the same length.
Recommendation: Offset the sharp angles of a square face with a haircut in soft, graduated layers—the ends of your hair should be soft and wispy. Side-swept bangs will also help draw attention away from the angularity of the square face. Wavy hair or loose curls work well on a square face. Avoid blunt cuts and straight, heavy bangs and try a slightly off-center part.
The heart-shaped face is characterized by a wide forehead and cheekbones and a narrow chin.
Recommendation: Try a chin-length textured hairstyle to fill out the bottom half of your face with side-swept bangs to emphasize the eyes and cheekbones. Pixie cuts look flattering on the heart-shaped face; if you want longer hair, try wispy layers with a strong side part. Avoid blunt bangs and hairstyles that look fuller around the top half of your face.
Considered the most balanced shape, the oval shape is one and a half times as long as it is wide. If you have an oval face, your forehead and jawline are about the same width.
Recommendation: Virtually any hairstyle works for this face shape. Try one that emphasizes one of your best features—for example, bangs draw attention to the eyes (and if your face is slightly longer than most oval-shaped faces, long bangs help visually shorten the distance from your hairline to your jawbone). Also, try parting your hair at the center.
A Haircut That Flatters Almost Anyone
Go for long layers. The shortest locks of hair should frame your face, hitting at about chin level, while the longest layer should be shoulder-length.
By Nicole Tai