Finding a flattering hairstyle means more than just taking your hair’s natural texture into account — you also need to consider the shape of your face. “A lot of people go with what’s in fashion, rather than what suits them,” says Louise O’Connor, a hairstylist and the owner of OC61 Salon and Spa in New York. That’s a mistake, because the wrong cut can emphasize the very angles or curves you may want to avoid calling attention to, while the right cut (and color) can create an overall look that’s balanced and beautiful.
So how do you get the best, most flattering hairstyle for your face shape? Read on…
If your face shape is:
- Oval Congratulations — like Jessica Alba, you’ve got the face shape that’s considered the beauty ideal. “The oval is the desired shape,” says Jon Patrick, a hairstylist and color expert who works with Salon Cristophe in Beverly Hills and Newport Beach and the Patrick Melville Salon & Spa in New York. “Anybody with an oval face can wear any style whatsoever and it works; they’re not limited.” According to O’Connor, that includes dramatic looks like blunt bangs that may be hard for women with other face shapes to pull off.
- Round The most flattering cut for a round face, like Drew Barrymore’s, is one in which the perimeter line falls below the chin, or if you’re going short, at cheek level or higher, says Patrick. O’Connor’s advice: Avoid cuts that are all one length — especially chin length, and stay away from center parts.
- Square When your face shape is square, like Demi Moore’s, stick with softer cuts and avoid anything that emphasizes your face’s angles, like blunt bangs or a cut that hits right at the jawline.
- Long Face shapes that are long or oblong, like Sarah Jessica Parker’s, need styles that deemphasize length and add width. Blunt or side-swept bangs, soft layers, curls and waves, and face-framing highlights can all create that optical illusion. And avoid longer-than-shoulder-length hair, advises O’Connor, because superlong locks can emphasize the length of the face.
- Heart Heart-shaped faces, like Reese Witherspoon’s, look best with soft bangs, soft layers, and some length, says O’Connor. Creating fullness at the chin can deemphasize the lower-half narrowness that characterizes the heart-shaped face.
Keep in mind that there are also some hairstyles that are almost universally flattering — as well as unflattering. According to O’Connor, a shoulder-length cut with soft layers and side-swept bangs suits almost everyone, regardless of face shape or hair texture. “There’s movement, and it’s not too harsh,” she explains.
But unless your face shape is oval, Patrick advises against pulling your hair back completely from your face. Such a look will simply call attention to your face shape. If you want to wear your hair pulled back, do it in a way that gives you some looseness, fullness, or curvy lines.
Like fashion, hairstyle trends come and go, but before you get your heart set on a particular style, take a look in the mirror and talk to your stylist to make sure the look you love will flatter your face shape.