What is the best haircut for your face shape? Should you rock a chic short bob? Or would face-framing long layers highlight your cheekbones? There’s a delicate art to matching face shapes and hairstyles. Your stylist can recommend variations you might love, but it’s still a good idea to have a vision of what you’d like before you visit the salon. Discover more about how to flatter your unique visage with this guide!
In this article:
- What’s My Face Shape?
- Best Haircuts for Oval Faces
- Best Haircuts for Round Faces
- Best Haircuts for Oblong Faces
- Best Haircuts for Heart-Shaped Faces
- Best Haircuts for Square Faces
- Best Haircuts for Diamond-Shaped Faces
- Best Haircuts for In-Between Face Shapes: Rectangle or Triangle
- Other Tips for Getting Flattering Hairstyles for Different Face Shapes
What’s My Face Shape?
It’s not always easy to figure out your face shape. It isn’t something people normally consider until they’re just about to get their hair cut. Whether you think about it or not, the shape of your face still determines which hairstyles will look best on you.
You can choose from multiple methods to figure out your face shape without going to a professional and paying them for their help. Begin by tying your hair back away from your face and neck. You should be able to see your cheekbones, jawline, and chin clearly.
Next, arm yourself with a mirror and a phone or camera for taking photographs. If you don’t want to use your phone, you can buy a grease pencil and prepare some soap and water for after you figure out your face shape.
Method 1: Take a Picture
Once you’ve prepared yourself, take a picture of your reflection and then trace around the outline of your face. Use your phone and a photo editor app to do this. A larger tablet could also help since it has a bigger screen.
After you’re done, take a mental step back from the tracing. What shape does it most closely resemble? Does it look like a rectangle? An upside-down triangle?
- If your outline most resembles something boxy, chances are you have a rectangular or square-shaped face. You’ll want to soften the appearance of your jaw without creating any harsher lines. You can do this by gently layering your hair toward your chin.
- If your face is naturally more oval, you can wear nearly any style. However, you will want to avoid long, straight hairstyles that can elongate your visage and make you look horsey.
- Rounder facial shapes need more volume on top to balance out the width of the cheekbones.
Method 2: Measure the Length and the Width
It might not be enough to take a picture and use it to judge your face shape. Sometimes it’s helpful to measure your face to get a more accurate idea of what it might be.
Take a ruler and find the fullest part of your face.
- If it’s your forehead, you could have an oval or a heart-shaped face.
- If it’s your cheeks, chances are you have a round or a diamond-shaped visage.
- If your jaw is most prominent, you have a square or rectangular shape.
Like those with cherubic, round visages, those with diamond-shaped faces have to account for wide cheekbones. If you prefer a shorter look, try spiky hairstyles à la actor Halle Berry. If you like long locks, sweeping your bangs across your forehead helps balance out a wider appearance. You can also rock a dramatic ponytail with a knot atop the highest part of your skull.
Method 3: Trace an Outline on a Mirror
Those without a phone or tablet can use an old-fashioned grease pencil to trace their face outline. First, you’ll need to clean your mirror off to remove any debris. Let it dry completely before using a pencil.
Uncap your grease pencil and trace the outline of your face from any distance you like – you can use eyeliner or lip liner, too. Anything that holds up on the mirror’s surface without drying away or blending in with the background is perfect for the job.
- If the length of your face is longer than the width, you have an oval or oblong face.
- If your hairline is the fullest area and the lines taper to your chin, you have a heart face shape.
- If the width and height are roughly equal, congratulations, baby face. You have a round face, and you’ll probably continue getting carded longer than your friends do.
Method 4: Inspect Your Jaw
Finally, you can look to the shape of your jaw to figure out your face shape. Sometimes people forget about this part because they’re more concerned about the shape and width of their cheeks or forehead. The jaw plays a huge role in determining your face shape since it completes the bottom half of your face.
- A round jaw is consistent with the same-shaped visage, which is an easy shape to style.
- Square jaws indicate a similar form, that is a square face shape.
- A pointy chin means you have a heart-shaped face.
If your face is pointy, you want to add more volume to your chin area. Think about getting a flattering bob with soft curls to give your lower face a more rounded appearance. You can also add layers that flip back – think ‘70s icon Farrah Fawcett – for a feminine cut.
Choosing the Best Haircut for Your Face Shape
Now that you have identified the shape of your face, it’s time to select your signature haircut. Scroll through inspiration online to view different hairstyles and haircuts. Pull them up alongside a picture of yourself to get a general idea of what they could look like on you.
You need to consider your lifestyle, as well. Do you have the time to do a full blowout each morning? Or do you tend to towel-dry your hair and nothing else before heading out the door? Different lifestyles will have different effects on how your hair typically lays.
Once you determine your morning beauty routine and what shape your face has, you can look more closely at which hairstyle would best serve your face.
Best Haircuts for Oval Faces
Oval faces have a slightly narrower jawline as compared to the forehead, with high cheekbones and a slightly longer look. If you have an oval-shaped face, count your blessings! Nearly any hairstyle will flatter this face shape.
From blunt bob or lob to shag haircuts to stylish pixies and even Rapunzel-style long locks, those with oval face shapes have a variety of haircuts to choose from. You can just follow your own style and hair texture to pick the perfect look for you.
The best length depends on how closely your appearance tends toward oblong. If yours is on the lengthier side, a shoulder-length or longer haircut with subtle layers will flatter you. If you have a rounder shape, consider ear-length bobs.
When it comes to the best bangs for oval faces, consider long, straight blunt bangs swept to the side. For effortless, romantic longer or shoulder-length hairstyles without bangs, go for a center part combined with soft waves framing the face.
The only thing you want to avoid is a long, straight hairdo that’s all one length. These hairstyles draw your eye downward, which can make you look a tad horsey, especially if your face is long.
If you do opt for a single-length cut, part your hair on the side and sweep the fuller side back with a barrette to give an asymmetric look. This breaks up the visual field and rounds out your face slightly.
Also try to avoid haircuts with thick straight bangs that could make your face visually appear shorter.
Best Haircuts for Round Faces
Do you have a rounder baby face? If your cheeks are as full as your head is long, you will look adorable rocking a pixie cut with spiky lift at the top. Shorter asymmetrical styles, like an angled bob, are nice, bolder haircut options for round face shapes, too.
Do you prefer longer hairstyles? Try a sweeping side part, a high ponytail or a bun. If you want a center part, have your stylist frame your jaw with layers.
Aim for softer short haircuts or lengthier styles with long layers starting around the jawline to create a longer facial appearance. If you want to wear bangs, consider a shorter, side-swept fringe that would slightly elongate your face.
There are some things to avoid. Remember how Little Orphan Annie’s ear-length cut made her cheeks look extra chubby? Unless you want to show off how you can get carded at the club, pass on haircuts that make your face appear even wider.
Also, avoid single-length haircuts that fall around your ears – these can balloon around your face, creating a childish look. Face-framing short layers and voluminous curly hairstyles aren’t recommended for those with round faces, either.
Best Haircuts for Oblong Faces
If your face is long, which means your forehead, chin, and cheekbones are almost of the same width, you can highlight your sweeping forehead – or you can cover it up. Ask your stylist for long bangs that brush your eyebrows if you want to make your visage appear shorter.
In general, longer hairstyles will make long face shapes appear longer, so you’d better stick with shorter cuts or ones with layers and lots of volume at the cheekbones. Shoulder-length haircuts and styles with side-swept bangs are other great hairstyles for long face shapes.
Alternately, if you are into long styles, part your hair in the center and frame your face with long, layered waves. This hairstyle highlights your forehead without making it look overly broad.
Heading to the gym? Tie your hair back in a ponytail and wrap a strand around the band. You’ll look intent on pumping iron. Instead of placing the knot atop your head the way you would if you had a diamond-shaped face, pull it back directly from your ears. This makes the top lie flat, making your face look wider overall. Add some barrettes or even a stylish sweatband to widen the visual field further.
You should also think about how you style your hair day-to-day. Loose hair flatters oblong faces, so consider a style that you’re comfortable wearing down every day.
Make sure to avoid one-length haircuts, as well as overly long cuts that are past mid-length. Super-straight, sleek styling isn’t recommended for this face shape, either.
Best Haircuts for Heart-Shaped Faces
Do you have a heart-shaped face with a narrower chin, prominent cheekbones, and a wider forehead? If so, add some volume to the top to balance your broad forehead.
If you have longer hair, cut layers toward your clavicle to give the illusion of a shorter jawline. Layers are crucial for heart-shaped faces because they soften your face shape and make it appear lengthier. They smooth out anyone’s appearance, so talk with your stylist about gradually getting used to layers with future cuts.
If you prefer short and sweet, a pixie cut with a root booster serum looks terrific. Above all, you want to avoid making your chin appear even pointier.
If you opt for layers, select those that sweep back from your face instead of inward. If you go with a bob or lob, curl the ends to give them more volume. This widens the visual field along your jawline, making it appear broader and less severe.
When it comes to the perfect way of parting your hair, a side-swept look is the best bet, whether you have long hair, a pixie or a bob. Bangs can be a cute addition to your haircut to disguise your wide forehead.
If you want to accentuate your facial features, you can style your hair into a high or low ponytail or a top knot. Other than that, mid-length haircuts with a side part are the best for this face shape.
As for the worst hairstyles for heart-shaped faces, stay away from short bangs and a center part, both of which will draw attention to your wide forehead.
Best Haircuts for Square Faces
When your cheekbones, forehead, and jawline have the same length, and your jaw is particularly angled and prominent, you have a square face shape.
You can make a square face look rounder by using side-swept bangs that are longer on the ends and shorter in the middle. This style lengthens your face while still providing the look of bangs, minus the straight cut across that looks bulky on square faces.
You can soften the angles of your jaw with a tousled short bob that flatters your chin shape. To make a strong jaw appear softer, angle the layers pointing inward. Keep in mind that styling your hair with a flat iron can damage it, so always apply a heat protectant before giving your ends a flip.
If you love long hair, go dramatic. The length creates a dramatic contrast, especially when pulled back with a chic headband. Soft waves and layers tone down harsh lines.
When it comes to styling your hair into a cute ‘do, favor lower ponytails with a messy finish or a tousled side-swept chignon, leaving a few flyaways out to soften your features.
A side-parted hairstyle is the best for this face shape, while a center part will accentuate the strong features of a square face even more. Play with texture and choppy ends, which will soften the flat look of a square face.
Avoid blunt haircuts, super-slick looks, overly short haircuts, like pixie, and straight bangs across your forehead that make your face appear even more box-like. Skip the Uma Thurman in “Pulp Fiction” look.
Best Haircuts for Diamond-Shaped Faces
Like round faces, diamond-shaped faces feature wide cheekbones – but a narrower jawline and forehead. You can soften this shape with mid or long-layered haircuts worn with side parts and tousled waves.
If you want to go shorter, try a textured lob. Diamond faces look great with chin-length bobs that add volume at the bottom, and sleeked-back ponytails. You can add height to the top by using a barrette and teasing the front slightly. This helps add height to balance out prominent cheeks.
Like people with round-shaped faces, you want to avoid adding width. If you have layers, get them trimmed every six to eight weeks to keep them from feathering out around your ears. This draws attention away from your face shape and focuses it on what your hair is missing, which would be a fresh cut.
Straight-across bangs and thick, rounded bangs are also hairstyles to avoid for diamond face shapes.
Best Haircuts for In-Between Face Shapes: Rectangle or Triangle
There will also be in-between face shapes, like rectangle, which is an elongated square face, or triangle, which is a combination of the square and diamond face shapes.
If yours happens to be rectangle, again, your goal is to soften your facial features by going for soft, layered cuts, romantic waves or curls, rounded or curtain bangs, and some chic chignons for special events. Overly long hairstyles aren’t recommended for the rectangle face shape.
On the other hand, if you happen to have a triangle face shape with a wider jawline than the forehead, consider layered cuts to soften your features, making sure they end around the eyes or cheekbones. If short haircuts are your cup of tea, avoid short bobs and instead go for a choppy pixie. As for the perfect bangs for the triangle face shape, short side-swept styles are the way to go.
Other Tips for Getting Flattering Hairstyles for Different Face Shapes
If you’ve done your homework and still haven’t selected a look, that’s fine. Sometimes it takes more than a few tries to settle on a face shape and find a haircut you enjoy.
Try these additional tips for making your final selection:
- One universally flattering haircut for every face shape is the shoulder-length layered cut that can be styled straight or tousled, can be side or center-parted, flattering really everyone.
- To freshen up your haircut and take years off your face, it’s always an excellent idea to go for bangs. Make sure to pick the right bangs for your specific face shape, as your goal is to make your face appear more oval.
- How much styling time do you have? If you have an hour to spend in front of the mirror each morning, you can select a haircut that needs a lot of styling. But if you typically run late, choose a cut you can wash and go. After all, it’s hard to keep up with your appearance if you lose your job due to excess tardiness.
- What celebrity trends do you love? Find a star who has the same face shape as you and whose hairstyle you love. Ask your stylist to recreate the look. Make it original – remember when everyone tried to imitate Jennifer Aniston’s ’do in “Friends?” A good stylist will clue you into modifications that fit your face shape and coloring.
- What makes you feel good? In the end, the best hairstyle for your face shape makes you feel great. If you feel naked without long hair, don’t get a pixie cut. Find a way to use layers to frame your face. Likewise, if you can’t imagine haggling with a hair dryer on the daily, go as short as you like. If you have the courage to pull off a Sinead O’Connor, more power to you! The right haircut for your face shape will boost your confidence without making you uncomfortable. It should work in any setting in your life while matching your personality. It’s a big decision to make, so don’t stress yourself out if you can’t find a style you enjoy on your first try.
- You can also discuss haircuts with your stylist during a visit for a quick trim. They’ll most likely have magazines nearby to show you examples of what they think would look best. You may pick a style at that moment or take their advice to help you find more inspiration once you’re back home.
- The best haircut for your face shape flatters it while making you feel great. Style guides and rules are great to follow, but if you go through them a couple of times and still don’t feel like you’ve got the hang of it, trust your gut.
Find your face shape by looking at pictures of celebrities who resemble you. Cut out hairstyles you like and paste them on printed out pictures of yourself. Find a photo editing app that switches between styles and colors to have fun with different ideas.
Once you determine what you’re working with, let your creativity soar so you can create a signature look. Whatever you decide to tell your stylist, the future is bright and full of more opportunities to play around with other styles too.
Photos via Instagram