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Hairstyles for Your Face Shape: What Works, What Doesn’t

Haircuts are important.

They say a lot about who you are as a person. But just as important is ensuring that your hair works with what you’ve got. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation: different styles work with different face shapes. Like you want your suit to work with your body, you want your hair to work with your face. You can use angles, lengths, and textures to accentuate features you love and minimize features you’re not such a fan of.

There are six standard types of face shapes: heart, square, rectangle, oval, round, and diamond. There are a few other shapes that are more rare, but they are more subdivisions of these basic face shapes and the same principles apply.

What’s Your Shape?

In order to determine what kind of face you have, take a look at yourself in the mirror for a little bit. Pull back your hair if it’s hanging over your forehead. The shapes and angles you want to take into consideration are the width of your forehead, cheekbones, jaw, and chin. In addition, you also want to look at the length of your face from top to bottom, and take a look at the ratio between length to width.
  • Round has similar width at the forehead and chin, with rounded edges, and the cheekbones are the widest part of the face.
  • Oval is similar to round, in that it has rounded edges at the forehead and chin, but the length of the face is a bit longer, making it longer than it is wide. Like a round shape, the widest part of the face is the cheekbones.
  • Diamond also has the widest part of the face being the cheekbones, but the forehead and the chin come to points, with a more drastic angle inward than that of an oval face. 
  • Square faces are just that: squares. They typically have similar widths the whole way down – the forehead, cheekbones, and jaw are all about the same distance apart, with a relatively flat chin. The length of the face is close to the width going across, giving it a uniform shape.
  • Heart face shapes have broad foreheads and pointy chins, and follow an inward trajectory the whole way down from top to bottom, so that the widest part is at the forehead and the narrowest part is the tip of the chin. 
  • Rectangles, like square, have similar widths going from top to bottom, but the overall length is a bit longer than the width.

Fear Not: You Have Options

If you have a round face, your best bet is to keep the sides short; however, it’s crucial that you don’t round out the haircut where the top meets the sides. You want to have a sharper angle in that transition, to create the illusion of more angles in your face. It’s best to keep the top a bit fuller: buzzing it just accentuates the curve at the top of your head, which widens the cheekbones – already the widest part of your face. Keep a bit of length up there: you have a number of options, but as long as the top is longer than the sides and the intersection of the two has an angle, you’re good to go. You can keep the top spiky and textured, or you can comb it over and slick it back, or you can wear it longer and down over one side of your head. It all depends on if you’re going for a more classic look, or something more on-trend and modern.

With oval faces, your goal is to balance out the proportions. While it may seem counterproductive to do something longer on the top and shorter on the sides, you have to look at the hair and the face in this case as two separate entities. When you have that contrast between the top and the sides, it will act as its own shape to complement the oval, rather than diminish it or accentuate it.

Diamond faces require some finessing. You want your hair to have a softer look – fewer angles in the hair will balance out the sharp angles of the face. You want the top to be a bit longer than the sides, but don’t make this contrast too drastic: avoid close fades on the sides. Having a bit more length on the sides will broaden the otherwise narrow forehead. Another thing to avoid is having a fringe that hangs over your forehead. This will make the forehead look narrower than it already is. Keep the sides a bit longer, and the top a bit longer still, but avoid too much contrast and definitely don’t go too short with the sides.

Square faces are typically the easiest shape to work with. You have lots of options. The goal is to accentuate your face shape, rather than diminish certain aspects of it. Rejoice! You’ve been blessed. One way to accentuate your face shape is to keep the sides pretty tight: it will highlight the equal proportions you have all the way down your face. You can pretty much do whatever you want with the top: some things that work especially well are undercuts, where the top is disconnected from the sides, with no blending between the two. The undercut is a really fun, edgy haircut that doesn’t work for a lot of shapes, so if you’re interested in rocking it, go ahead! You can get away with it.

Heart face shapes have relatively mismatched top and bottom proportions, so your goal is to balance the two out. You want there to be considerable length on the sides to increase the appearance of width in the cheekbones. You can either grow a fringe that sweeps across your forehead, to diminish the width you have there, or you can wear it up but keep it proportional to the sides. The goal is to keep the sides and the top at similar lengths: too short on the sides and it emphasizes the width in the top half, too long on top makes the upper half appear too heavy. Balancing the lengths on the top and the sides can even out your overall face shape.

When you have a rectangle face shape, your goal is to avoid elongating your face any more than it already is. In this case, your best best is to keep the top and the sides pretty close in proportion. If you have a look that is more top-heavy, it will draw out the length of your face. To avoid that, keep the top and the sides at pretty similar lengths. In addition, you don’t have to worry about having too round a transition between the top and the sides, as that will help to balance out the angles of your face.

There’s a Hairstyle for Every Man and Every Shape

As you can see, as much as you want to choose a style that suits who you are as a person, it is also crucial that you choose something that works with what you already have. Even for the most difficult face shapes, there are lots of options – the number one thing to remember is your proportions. You can do lots of different things with each of these face shapes, as long as the proportions and length ratios work with your face, rather than against it. Use these tips to go forth and get yourself a cut that puts your best foot – and face – forward.
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ABOUT

Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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