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How to determine your face shape and find a badass cut to match

The best haircut for oval face shapes

Beyoncé
Image: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Oval-faced ladies, you’re in luck. Your face shape may be the most forgiving of them all. “For oval face shapes, go extreme. Long locks or cute short cuts. In between usually takes away from the symmetry,” Christine Perkins, owner of Pyara Spa & Salon, says.

Sunnie Brook Jones, Head & Shoulders Celebrity Stylist, adds, “If you have this face shape, you can wear any style!”

The best haircut for round face shapes

Emma Stone
Image: George Pimentel/Getty Images

Oscar Blandi, founder and owner of Oscar Blandi Salon on Madison Avenue, says that his rule of thumb for clients with round faces is to stay away from a bob or a cut that is all one length. “Have layers that give definition — it gives you more structure visually — something that gives you more depth with layers, and this can also be done through color. You don’t want anything that has too much uniformity around your face, especially if you don’t have a strong jaw bone that frames your face,” he says.

Jones adds, “The goal is to elongate the face — wear your hair long and add soft textured bits around your face or try styling a pomp with your fringe. Ask your stylist for minimal layers and a deep side part/side sweep.”

More: 6 Ways to style your braids like a pro

The best haircut for square face shapes

Olivia Wilde
Image: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Stay away from cuts that end at the jawline so that there is a softer feel, Perkins says.

Jones agrees with the need to soften a square shape, saying, “Try to soften the corners of your face with a curtain-like fringe that is shorter in the middle and gets longer toward the corners. Keep your length to soften the corners of your jaw, and consider adding a short layer around the eye area or a long fringe. If your hair is above the shoulders, add lots of movement with texture.”

The best haircut for oblong face shapes

Liv Tyler
Image: James Devaney/Getty images

According to Perkins, “Longer, narrow faces want cuts that overall add volume and some interest at the jawline.”

And if you have a long neck, it’s always nice to frame it with layers, Blandi says. “When you’ve got the length, frame it in a way that brings layers to the right proportion. It’s all about taking your facial features, neck and collarbone line, and drawing attention to what you want to accentuate,” he explains.

The best haircut for heart face shapes

Reese Witherspoon
Image: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

To channel your inner Reese Witherspoon, Jones advises, “The goal is to decrease the width of the forehead and increase the width of the lower part of the face. A long, side-swept fringe that shows off the forehead or layers around the cheekbones will provide length to the face.” Jones also recommends keeping the length above the shoulders so that the hair is full around the jaw.

The best haircut for diamond face shapes

Keira Knightley
Image: Michael Tran/Getty Images

For the lovely ladies with a more angular, diamond face, like the Keira Knightleys among us, Blandi says, “You can play with a bob or go with a straight-across cut, but portions are important. A hair cut with layers works well, but the proportion of the length has to be right.”

Jones also endorses a chin-length bob or shoulder-length style with wispy edges for women with a diamond-shaped face. Jones says reducing width at the cheekbones and shortening the overall length will be most flattering in a cut.

More: 11 Curly hairstyles that prove it’s just as sexy as straight hair

When to break the rules

Face shapes are an important guideline for choosing a good-looking cut, as any stylist worth their salt will tell you. But Perkins reminds us that all of these guidelines are just that — generalities — and face shape isn’t the only thing people should be looking at. “Overall body type and height, as well as features, also count in the best hairstyle for an individual,” she says.

If you’re still feeling stuck and don’t think your new cut is working for you, it may be time to discuss alternatives with your stylist, including but not limited to texture, color and length. Length is the first change most people consider when revamping their look, Mike Van den Abbeel, owner of Orlando’s Mosaic Hair Studio and Blowout Bar, says texture and color should be factored in too. “Texture means adding or removing volume, either through chemical means (perms, keratin treatments, straighteners or styling). Color is more about attracting the viewer’s eyes. Human eyes like shiny things, and a few well-placed highlights can draw the eye up, down or to the sides.” Abbeel says, “A great stylist takes in a client’s limitations and balances all three areas.”

Originally published Feb. 2011. Updated Aug. 2016.

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