Face Shapes and Hair Styles . . . The Tutorial

Face Shapes and Hair Styles

A guide to determining your face shape & best hair styles

It’s hard to be objective about your own face shape and hairstyles, but we have a sure-fire way to be certain you are not letting bias influence your analysis. We’ll help you learn how to measure your face shape for accuracy, and even more importantly, how to choose the right hair styles that flatter your face.

Your face shape is the first and most important detail stylists take into account when weighing-in on which hair styles will enhance your look. Your hair type is a quick second and your facial features (i. e. wide set eyes, big or small nose) a third. Your hair type is easy enough to assess with the possibilities being straight, wavy, curly or kinky, with a texture of fine, medium or thick. But determining a face shape is not so cut and dry.

In general, faces are not perfect ovals, hearts, squares, etc., and underlying bone structure plays a role in how the face appears three dimensionally. However, normally one (or two) of these geometric shapes is dominant in any given face shape.

There are countless suggestions on how to decipher which geometric shape your face most closely resembles. These include everything from outlining your face on a mirror with lipstick, to draping your face with a towel and asking others to help identify what face shape best fits you. But, there is actually a scientific way to decode your face shape with surprisingly great accuracy.

How to Determine Your Face Shape

Measure your face using a tape measure or ruler.

  1. Measure your face across the top of your cheekbones from end to end. Write down the measurement.
  2. Measure your jaw line from the widest point to the widest point. Write down the measurement.
  3. Measure across your forehead at the widest point. Generally the widest point will be somewhere between your eyebrows and your hairline. Write down the measurement.
  4. Measure from the tip of your hairline to the bottom of your chin. Write down the measurement.

Your face shape is Oval if-
The length of your face is equal to approximately one and a half times the width of your face.

Your face shape is Round if-
Your face is roughly as long as it is wide and your jaw line is more rounded than square.

Your face shape is Oblong if-
Your face is nearly twice as long as it is wide and your jaw line softly tapers.

Your face shape is Rectangular if-
Your face is nearly twice as long as it is wide and your jaw line is square.

Your face shape is Heart if-
Your face is widest at the cheekbones and/or forehead and narrows at the jaw line.

Your face shape is Square if-
Your face is about as wide as it is long and your jaw line is more squared than rounded.

Your face shape is Triangular if-
Your face is widest at the jaw line and narrows at the temples.

Your face shape is a Diamond if-
Your face is widest at the cheekbones and narrows about evenly at the forehead and jaw line.

Face Shapes and Hair Styles

The Oval Face Shape

An oval face shape is only slightly narrower at the jaw line than at the temples, with a gently rounded hairline.

Your face shape is well-balanced and evenly proportioned so you have a large variety of hair styles that agree with you. Choose from short pixie cuts, to mid-length bobs, to shoulder skimming cuts and long layered styles with or without bangs. Have fun and experiment! Your hair type, lifestyle issues and which facial features you want to play up (or down), will also be determining factors of which hair styles suit you best.

Try

  • Your best looks are hair styles that sweep off your face and expose your ideal features. Most ovals look fabulous with slicked-backed looks too.

Avoid

  • Avoid hair styles that crowd or cover up your face. Heavy bangs and too much hair on your face can give the illusion of added weight, and one length hair worn on the face can make it appear long and narrow. (I have written an article about the importance of keeping the hair away from your face. Check it out)

Celebrities with oval face shapes: Kate Middleton, Jessica Alba, Mila Kunis, Rihanna

Face Shapes and Hair Styles

The Oblong/Rectangular Face Shape

Oblong and rectangular shaped faces are roughly about twice as long as wide and they are about the same width at the forehead as they are at the jawbone. These face shapes differ mostly in the chin line. Oblong faces have a slightly narrow, tapered jaw line, whereas a rectangular face has a more squared jaw line. The hairline on either of these face shapes may be squared or rounded.

You can wear more than a few styles! Your most flattering hair styles are generally short to medium layered cuts. Lengths from just under the ears to the chin line are ideal for creating fullness at the sides of long faces and shortening the appearance of length, especially when paired with bangs. Shoulder length hair or above with added layers will allow for maximum movement and fullness.

Try

  • Bob hair styles of all kinds flatter, longer face shapes. Layered bobs with waves or curls add softness and fullness to the long lines of your face and inverted, stacked, or A-line bobs give a complimentary three dimensional look.
  • Try side-swept, razored, or texturized bangs.
  • A short crop cut with wispy bangs is an ideal look to offset a longer face shape. Wispy bangs shorten the visual appearance of the face and the longer layers of a crop cut add fullness.
  • Layered cuts add softness to the straight lines of your face.
  • Try side or center parts and you may like straight back styles as well.

Avoid

  • Steer clear of long, smooth one-length styles. When your hair grows past your shoulders, there is a good chance it’s doing you no favors. One-length hair makes the face appear longer and narrower. If you choose to wear it long, wear layers you can style for fullness and softness around the face.
  • Too much height on top lengthens the face.
  • Blunt bangs tend to look severe on rectangular faces as they mirror the square lines of the jaw.

Celebrities with oblong or rectangular faces: Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirstie Alley, Janet Jackson, Gabrielle Reece, Niki Taylor, Stephanie Seymour

Face Shapes and Hair Styles

The Round Face Shape

A round shaped face is approximately as tall as it is wide with the widest point being at the cheeks and ears. The cheeks have a soft fullness and the jaw line is rounded.
The round face shape is probably the most misunderstood face shapes of all. This is an angelic face shape; like cherubs! But, most women with a round shaped face believe it to be more of a curse than a blessing. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Try

  • Texturized edgings to soften the outline of any haircut.
  • Styles swept off the face.
  • Haircuts with fullness and height at the crown for an illusion of length.
  • A deep side part or an off center part; both give a flattering asymmetrical effect to round faces.
  • Mid-length layered hair styles vs. one length hair.
  • Cuts that combine height on top with sides and back relatively closer to the face.

Avoid

  • Avoid chin length bobs styled full and round.
  • Hair styles with fullness near the cheeks and ears. Since this is the widest area of your face, any added fullness here makes it appear wider.
  • Avoid a center part. It tends to emphasize roundness as it draws a line down the middle of the face, cutting it into two symmetrical half circles.
  • Hair styles with straight blunt bangs.

Celebrities with round face shapes: Kelly Clarkson, Isabella Rossellini, Adriana Lima, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kirsten Dunst

Face Shapes and Hair Styles

The Square Face Shape

A square shaped face is approximately as tall as it is wide with a strong, square jaw line and sometimes an equally square hairline. The sides of the face appear straight from temple to jaw bone.

When it comes to designing hair styles for square face shapes, a good objective is to keep the face from appearing shorter or wider than it is naturally. This can be done by where volume and length are emphasized in the haircut. Also, curls or waves create an overall softer look by breaking up the appearance of straight lines or squareness, and create a nice balance to the straight features of your face. If your hair just won’t bend, consider a body wave or perm to do the trick.

Try

  • Try short-to-medium length layered hair styles with height on top..
  • Light wispy bangs see-through bangs to soften the angles of a square face.
  • Layers and wispy looks around the face.
  • Updos with hair swept off your face

Avoid

  • Avoid pin straight hair styles that accentuate the straight lines of your face.
  • Stay away from straight bangs which shorten the length of the face and mirrors the squareness of the jaw line.
  • Avoid center parts which accentuates the symmetry of your face.
  • Stay away from straight one-length hairstyles ending at the jaw line. A layered bob hair style works, however, it looks best when it ends above or below the jaw line.

Celebrities with square face shapes: Keira Knightly, Olivia Wilde, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Katie Holmes

Face Shapes and Hair Styles

The Heart Face Shape

The heart-shaped face is wide at the temples and hairline, narrowing to a small delicate chin.

If you have a heart face shape you have great cheekbones to emphasize! Consider chin-length hair or longer. Styles that have fullness from the chin line and below work to give fullness to this part of the face.

Try

  • Side parts and hair that is swept-forward around the upper part of the face.
  • A chin length bob to accent your gorgeous cheekbones! This creates balance by giving fullness where you need it.
  • You can wear shorter hair styles, however, if you are a dramatic heart leave weight in the back nape area. This will create balance between your dramatic cheekbones and narrow chin.
  • Long layered hair with waves or curls below the chin line.

Avoid

  • Short, full styles that emphasize the upper face.
  • Too much height at the crown gives the appearance of a longer, narrower chin.
  • Severe, slicked back looks.
  • Short, full hair styles with tapered necklines. This shape puts too much emphasis at the widest part of your face  and often appears top-heavy

Celebrities with heart-shaped faces: Tyra Banks, Reese Witherspoon, Ashley Green, Scarlett Johannson, Claudia Schiffer

 

Face Shapes and Hair Styles

The Triangular Face Shape

The triangular-shaped face is the reverse of the heart-shape with a fuller, more dominant jaw line, and narrowing at the cheek bones and temples.

Wear lots of layers through the upper part of your face to create fullness there. Wearing hair styles which are full at the temples and taper at the jaw line create a balance that can be striking in accenting features otherwise understated.

Try

  • Short hair with fullness from the cheekbones and above. This works to balance a full jaw line.
  • Long styles worn swept off the face.
  • Try tucking your hair behind your ears, as this will draw attention to your eyes and give the illusion of more width in this area.

Avoid

  • Avoid long, full hair styles that stop near the jaw line.
  • Center parts—off-center are much more flattering to triangular-shaped faces.
  • Stay away from hair styles with too much height at the crown.
  • Avoid putting most of the weight of a hair cut from the jaw line to the shoulders. This gives the appearance of more width in that area.

Celebrities with triangular shaped faces: Kelly Osborne, Renee Zellweger, Minnie Driver

Hairstyle Face Shape
 

The Diamond Face Shape

The diamond-shaped face is a cross between a heart and an oval face shape. This shape is widest at the cheekbones or temples, and narrows similarly at the forehead and jaw line.

A diamond face shape is balanced as an oval face is, but with more dramatic lines from cheekbones to chin. Almost everything works with your face shape so have fun and experiment with a variety of hair styles! However, if you have a dramatic diamond shape with high prominent cheekbones narrowing to a small chin, consider leaving some hair in the nape or chin area to create more fullness and balance between your cheekbones and more delicate chin line.

Try

  • Any length bob cut; layered, stacked or one length.

Avoid

  • Stay away from too much hair on your face, which will hide your dramatic features.

Celebrities with diamond-shaped faces: Halle Berry, Linda Evangelista, Katherine Hepburn, Sophia Loren

Matching face shapes and hair styles just right is one of the most important beauty secrets. Hopefully these tips will help you get it right once and for all.
  

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61 thoughts on “Face Shapes and Hair Styles . . . The Tutorial

  1. Hi there, i have long thick hair and an oval face shape but i can never keep my hair off my face. Whether i wear it in a center or off-center part, the sides would never stay away from my face. What should i do to let it stay straight at the sides without pinning or anything? I always see how some girls with center parts have their hair fall straight down the sides of their face naturally but its almost impossible for me. What can i do to keep it off my face?

    • Hi Amelia,
      The weight of your long thick hair is most likely the problem. If your styling attempts aren’t working consider having long face framing layers cut in. This will lighten up the weight so curling the sides away from the face may have the effect you’re looking for. Another possibility is that you may have a low hairline which forces hair to fall into the face. If that’s the case, consider cutting in a cute fringe. Great looking bang styles come in all lengths and shapes and can be texturized to suit your needs. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Judi:

      Plot those numbers on a piece of paper then connect the dots. When I do that with the measurements you’ve described, I see an oval, but it could also be heart shaped. Ask a girlfriend to help you with this as it is very hard to be objective about ourselves.

  2. Ugh, it’s great that my triangle face was recognized (because it NEVER is) but it still sucks having such a big jaw! I mean, I can’t win with this thing. It’s like the only hairstyles that work for women with triangle faces are extremely unflattering in my opinion because it draws too much attention (I do not embrace it and I want to hide it at all costs) or they’re old lady haircuts with way too much volume and maintenance required.

    This girl is getting her jaw shaved if it’s the last thing she does. Maybe then I can finally embrace the fact that I’ve given up and grown my hair out to my butt.

  3. Please Help. I am unable to determine my face shape. my forehead measures 5″ (1/2 way between by hairline and eyebrows), my cheeks measure 6″ (measuring from just past the corner of my eyes) My Jawline is 8″ and my length is 7″. What face shape do I have. I am considering a change in hairstyle and don’t want to get the wrong cut.

    • H: Diane:

      You have described a triangular or pear shaped face, but it is impossible to be accurate with the description you have given. Ask7 friend or better yet, a hairstylist to help.

    • Thank you Julia! I really enjoyed your infographic on hairstyles and face shapes. Would you ever consider writing a guest post for Hairstyle-Blog? You can check out all of the information here.

      Have a wonderful day!

  4. Knowing what styles work with your face shape is everything. You can easily lose confidence in yourself while trying all the wrong looks. If you start out by knowing what styles look good, you can literally cut out all the mistakes.

    • Hi Felicia,
      We’d be more than happy to help you! It appears that Candice Swanepoel has a combination of a few different face shapes. Her face shape is round, oval, and oblong. If you would like to learn more, click here to check out the article Candice Swanepoel Distinctive Face Shape. The whole article is dedicated to that exact topic!

      Have a wonderful day!

  5. Hi, I am not sure if i have a squre- or rectangular faceshape, it is a bit longer(5 cm) than it is wide, but I´ve heard that it has to be one third longer to be a rectangular. My face is about 19 cm long and 14 cm wide. PLEASE HELP ME!:)

    • Hi Linn,
      It sounds like you have a rectangular or oval shaped face. Luckily, you have many hairstyles to choose from! Come check out the article Hairstyles for Your Face to learn more fantastic DIY hair tips about face shapes. Don’t miss it today.

      Good luck!

    • Hi Trish,
      Sometimes it can be tricky to determine the shape of your face. I found an article that I think that you’ll find to be extremely helpful. It provides easy, quick tips to find your face shape. Come check it out here.

      Good luck!

  6. I have always being told i have got a round face but i am not certain to be honest.

    My face: http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f385/tsukinoyoukai/Photos%20online/10052012803.png

    Also, my hairdresser had cut my hair recently… and i don’t like how it looks o.O (I think i look VERY VERY round… i am overweight, i understand it’s just natural but that hair style was supposed to help not the contrary D:!!

    this is the hairstyle I have right now :s but i wanna try something different!!

    http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f385/tsukinoyoukai/Photos%20online/hair.png

    Hope you can gimme some ideas, please D: it’s seriously difficult since i don’t even know what face shape i have, and since my forehead is extremely small :’( well…

    Thanks in advance for the help ;_;

    • Thank you for your interesting idea Imad.

      Check out WHAT’S YOUR EYEGLASSES FACE SHAPE?. It is s cool online program from Lens Crafters that helps you discover your face shape and the best glasses to help you look your best.

      Good luck! I hope that you have a blast trying on virtual glasses.

  7. I tried drawing my face shape but it doesn’t seem to look like me actual face
    Forehead-6.5
    Cheekbones-(if I go to my ears 9.5) if I go to where my cheekbones stop the 6.8
    Jaw-9.5
    Hairline to chin-7.5
    I have had
    One hair with no bangs at all pretty much my whole life… My hair is 19 inches long . I am looking to do something a bit different but i don’t want to go too short if it won’t suit me.
    Thanks

  8. can someone help me?i’m not sure what my face shape is my friends say it is an oval but i am not sure but my measurements are: 6 ins [cheekbones] 7 ins [forehead] 8 ins [jaw] 7 ins[length] can someone please help me?? and thank you

  9. I can’t determine if I am round or diamond. I have pointy chin and a big nose, normal sized forehead. Can I do bangs, too? I probably won’t though since I have fine really curly hair. Want a short do for summer. Is it possible?
    My measurements are
    forehead :6 1/4 in
    cheekbones: 8 1/2 in
    jaw: 8 in
    length of face: 8 in
    Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Melissa!

      It sounds like you have a round face shape. Women with this shaped face can look good with bangs, but I would recommend staying away from a blunt bang. Blunt bangs will shorten the appearance of your face, and they can be difficult to style with curly hair. Instead, opt for side bangs or parted bangs to soften your the appearance of your hairstyle.

      Check out this article for more great hair styling ideas!

      Good luck!

  10. I can’t figure out which face shape I have..I think it’s somewhere between oval, rectangular or diamond..could anyone help me? The widest point is where my cheekbones are (12cm) and the second widest part is my jaw 11 cm, and then my forhead 11,5 cm, and the length is 1,4*the widest point, so it’s 15.5 cm..I have a short forhead but also widows peak, although it’s not that clear, and I don’y have round chin, so I dont think it can be round..? Help??

    • Hi Yasmin,

      It sounds like you have a rectangular face shape because the length of your face is larger than its wide. Oval face shapes also have this characteristic, but the length of oval face shapes are one and a half times their width.

      Check out this website for great bang ideas for different face shapes!

  11. I seem to be somewhere between oval and rectangular; my face is just b a r e l y longer than an oval face (by a cm or so) and my cheekbone area is only a litle wider than the rest.

  12. Age 50, beginnings of sagging jowls makes my face very rectangular. I like choppy cuts but always have bangs to cover my long forehead. Best cuts?

    • The best haircuts for you are the ones that will help soften your features. A couple of choppy haircuts that will compliment your face shape include the modern shag and the short, angled bob with lots of layers. Because these haircuts both have layers, they are wonderful options for you. Check out this article for more fabulous ideas for layered hairstyles, http://www.visual-makeover.com/wp/layered-hairstyles/. You can always add a wispy bang to any haircut to complete your style.
      Thank you for your comment. Do you have any other questions about your hair or potential hairstyles? We are always pleased to help answer our readers questions.

  13. my parents tell me i have a heart-shaped face.. but i’m not sure? I have tried drawing my face shape out on a mirror and I can’t figure out what face shape i am at all. here are my measurements
    Cheekbones-9in (23cm)
    Jawline-8in (20cm)
    Forehead-7 1/2in (19cm)
    Length-7 1/2in (19cm)

    Please help, Thank you:D

    • You may have a heart shaped face. Look in the mirror. Do you have a wide forehead and/or cheekbones and a narrow chin. If so, you have a heart shaped face. Tyra Banks is an example of a celebrity with this face shape.

      Here is an article that provides wonderful haircut ideas for women with heart shaped faces, http://www.visual-makeover.com/wp/haircuts-for-heart-shaped-faces/

      Thank you for your comment. Do you have any other questions regarding your hair or face shape? We are always pleased to help answer our readers questions.

    • It is not the size that matters it is the shape. Go to wwww.visual-makeover.com/wp/face.htm and then once you have determined your face shape. Then we will have something to talk about.

  14. The length of my face: 21
    Forehead: 15
    Cheekbones: 13
    Jaw line to chin: 9
    My chin is kind of slightly pointy
    What is my face shape?

    • Get out a piece of paper a pencil and a ruler.
      • Step one using the ruler put a dot on the paper at zero of the first dimension and put a dot on the paper at the point of the first dimension.
      • Step Two: Repeat step one for each measurement that you have taken.
      • Step Three: Connect the dots
      • Step Four: Hold up the piece of paper . . . which shape most closely resembles what you see.
      o Oval
      o Rectangle
      o Round
      o Square
      o Heart
      o Triangle
      o Diamond
      o Pear

  15. My parents say I have a oval face,but if
    you look carefully,my chin is a little pointed
    But not as pointed as a heart shaped face
    What is my face shape?

    • Probably an Oval. Always trust what others are saying and not what you see in the mirror. There is no way I can be objective about my own looks.

  16. what is my face shape? coz i’m not sure if its round or rectangle.. thanks
    8.5 in. -cheekbones
    8.5 in. -jawline
    6 in. -forehead
    8 in.- hairline to chin
    i’m not even sure about the measurements.. haha still thanks :) )

  17. hmm… I’m confused.
    I’ve been told (by my parents) that I have a round-ish face. However, looking at this, and looking at the mirror of course, I’ve noticed my chin is rather pointed. So, now, I don’t now if I’m a round face shape or a diamond face shape. :/

    • Hi Claire:

      Try drawing the outline of your face in the mirror with lipstick. Then step away and look at the outline. What face shape is it?

  18. Everyone can have beautiful hair. But the hairstyle should be suitable for the face shape. There are various short hair styles for women over 40 and you can simply choose a look that can make you 10 years younger.

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