One of the first steps to finding a hairstyle that suits you is to determine what your face shape is.
There are basically 7 main shapes that you may fall into, although you’ll likely find that you don’t fit into any one shape perfectly. You’re looking to get a general sense here rather than ultra precise measurements. Each shape is defined by its proportions which take into account your forehead, cheekbones, jaw, and overall length from forehead to chin.
We recommend using a measuring tape and a mirror for the most accurate results. Push back any hair that covers your face so you can see everything clearly. Take down the measurements on a piece of paper as you’re going along. Judging your shape using a picture can be misleading because lens distortion messes up your proportions. Anyways, just follow the steps below and if you’re still not sure use the illustrations to see which shape you most resemble.
Finding Your Face Shape
- First, measure your cheekbones. The bone will be found just outside the outer part of the eyes. Once located lay the tape straight across, over your nose to the other side in the same location. You should be measuring the widest part of your cheekbones.
- Next measure the width of your forehead. Once again, you’re taking down the measurement of the widest part which should be somewhere halfway between your hairline and eyebrows. Make sure the measuring tape is even and touches the same points of your hairline on each side.
- Measure the length of your face. Place one end of the measuring tape at the bottom of your chin and the other at the middle point of your hairline (your widow’s peak if you have one). The tape should go over the center of your lips, nose and in between your eyes to your hairline.
- Finally measure your jaw line. Starting at the back of your jaw just under the ear you’ll feel a bone which is where your jaw begins. Measure from this point to the center of your chin. Take this number and multiply it by two (or you can measure both sides separately and add the two numbers together).
One more thing to remember: face shapes aren’t the end all be all of hairstyles. While it’s something to consider, there are also other factors like hair type, texture, and lifestyle that will influence what works and looks best on you.
The descriptions below are just suggestions — there are no hard rules and as you’ll see in the face shape galleries, it’s possible to get away with breaking them.
Round- You have this shape if….
- Your face is about as wide as it is long
- Your forehead measurement is smaller than your cheekbone measurement
- Your jawline lacks angularity, is rounded
Men with round faces should avoid hairstyles that add “curves” because they exaggerate the roundness of your head. This means you should avoid side parts, bowl cuts, and crew cuts. You should also avoid long sideburns and anything that creates unnecessary width to your face. Longer hairstyles that maximize volume at the top of the head work great with round faces because they create angularity and length. A center part that divides the face in half also works for the same reason — it creates the illusion of length.
Role Models: Emile Hirsch, Elijah Wood, Freddy Rodriguez, Kevin Prince Boeteng
Long hair falling a couple inches or more below the chin can look great on round shapes. Long hair lengthens the face and provides a great contrast. Any hairstyle that add volume and width to the face, or makes the face appear rounder should be avoided. Longer bangs, side-swept and partly covering the forehead can be used to create angularity. You can also opt for a center part that goes down to your shoulders with shorter layers that reach your jaw.
Short hair on round shapes often helps creates a “girly” appearance especially combined with glasses. The phrase to remember is “more length, less width”
Role Models: Kirsten Dunst, Mila Kunis, Selena Gomez, Emma Stone, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Oval– You have this shape if…
- Your face is about 1.5x longer than it is wide
- Your forehead measurement is slightly longer than your jawline measurement
- Your face resembles an egg-shape
- Your face tapers down to a slightly rounded chin
Oval faces have the most versatility in terms of choosing a hairstyle. If this is you then thank your lucky stars because you’ll be able to pull off almost anything! It really comes down to a matter of preference now because unlike the other shapes, you aren’t obligated to create or reduce length or width to your face. Classic mens cuts will look especially good on men with oval faces. Think the Hollwood stars of the 50s and 60s with their signature slicked hairstyles.
Role Models: James Franco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jude Law, Ryan Taylor (model), Garrett Neff (model)
Oval faces are the most versatile so you can go in many directions here. Every hairstyle has its own pros and cons which you should take advantage of to highlight whatever your best facial feature is and de-emphasize your worst. For example, if your cheekbones are your best feature, a bob with tousled hair will show them off nicely, but if you have a strong chin it would be best to steer clear. If you want to bring attention to the eyes, bangs which are just about touching your eyebrows are the way to go.
Role Models: Megan Fox, Taylor Swift, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, Jada Pinkett Smith
Oblong– You have this shape if…
- Your face is much longer than it is wide
- Your forehead and jawline are of equal length
- You have long facial features (most likely your nose and/or chin)
With the oblong face shape, you’ll want your hairstyle to add width to your face. People with this shape are free to let the hair on their sides grow freely. Long, thick sideburns can help create the appearance of a broader face.
Another thing to keep in mind is your hairline. Some people with this shape tend to have high foreheads so sporting a fringe to shorten the distance between the eyes and the hairline might be a good idea. Stay away from styles with a center part which will make the face look longer. Low side parts will work for oblong faces. Then again, if you have the right features, some oblong faces can pull off longer hair at the top so try experimenting.
Role Models: Adam Levine, Enrique Iglesias, Russell Brand, Neymar, Francisco Lachowski
If the motto for round faces is “add length, avoid width”, for oblong it would be the opposite, “add width, avoid length”. For the most part you’ll want to stay away from straight hair and hair that goes past shoulder length because they’ll both lengthen your face out even more.
You can use waves to sport longer hair and create the illusion of width. Bangs can also be used to shorten the forehead, thus shortening the overall length of the face which is useful if you really want longer hair. Shorter hairstyles can work really well with this shape.
Role Models: Liv Tyler, Alessandra Ambrosio, Ashlee Simpson, Kelly Rowland, Kate Beckinsale
Square– You have this shape if…
- Your face is as long as it is wide
- Your forehead and jawline measurement are about the same
- You have an angular face with a block shaped jaw
Men with this shape can choose to either highlight the angularity of their face or subdue it. If you choose to minimize the appearance of an angular jaw you should grow out the sides and keep the hair on top full. Center parts can work if you have a small or normal sized nose. Otherwise, those with larger noses should have their hair parted off-center.
The key to making longer styles work with squares face shapes is to have the hair create the illusion of an oval shape. If you choose to highlight the angles of your face, keep your hair short with a Caesar or buzzcut for a super masculine look.
Role Models: Orlando Bloom, Nick Lachey, Brad Pitt, Henry Cavill, Zac Efron
Women with square faces are also amongst the most versatile in hairstyles. One thing to look out for is straight hair, which can accentuate the angles and heaviness of the jaw. To opt for a more feminine look, waves and curls do a great job of breaking up any straight lines and creating a softer appearance to the face.
Shoulder length hair looks particularly flattering on this shape especially if you have a good underlying bone structure which will be highlighted by your hair. Any style that pulls the hair back (ponytails for example) should be avoided for the most part.
Role Models: Angelina Jolie, Olivia Wilde, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Kate Moss
Diamond– You have this shape if…
- Your cheekbones are the widest part of your face
- Have a narrow hairline
- Your face is slightly longer than it is wide
- Your jawline tapers to a point
Being one of the longer face shapes, diamond faces like oblong, can do well by adding width to the head by using a variety of longer styles. At the same time, diamond face shapes should make sure their hair doesn’t grow too far down or too thick around the cheekbones.
Tapering your sideburns as they go down your head is a good idea. You can also opt for styles that have fringes which go down the face. You’ll want to keep the top of your head relatively short and flat and avoid any styles that add too much length at the crown. Low side parts as well as the messy rock-star look with fringes works really well with this shape.
Role Models: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Robert Pattinson, Jon Kortajarena
The biggest thing you need to look out for with this shape is making sure your hair isn’t narrowing the appearance of your face. Being one of the longer face types, the wrong hairstyle can give your head an oblong look which does a disservice to the usually well defined cheekbones the diamond shape has.
For the most part, you’ll want to avoid any styles with bangs that come straight down (there are exceptions) but a slightly off-centered part can look great on diamond shapes. Styles that pull the hair back also look attractive on this shape. As always experiment, and if you need help don’t be afraid to leave a comment asking for help!
Role Models: Halle Berry, Freida Pinto, Sophia Loren, Ashley Greene
Triangle– You have this shape if…
- Your forehead is the widest part, followed by your cheekbones and then your jaw
- You have a pointed chin
You’ll want to keep your hair relatively short and close to your head. Longer hairstyles with layers can sometimes work but you must be careful to avoid creating an overly top-heavy look. A hairstyle with volume especially at the sides can create the illusion of width and balance your cheekbones in relation to your forehead. A side part off centered would also be a good hairstyle for this shape.
Role Models: Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Justin Timberlake
Women with triangle face shapes, like heart shapes, often want to reduce the appearance of a larger forehead (relative to the rest of the face) so they look pretty good in styles that include bangs. This shape tends to be one of the longer types so avoiding any style that lengthens the face would do you well.
A wavy bob style can help widen the face at the cheekbones and create a more appealing look. Of course everything needs to be done at a case by case basis. Try experimenting with different half up hairstyles which can both reduce the forehead and widen the rest of the face when done right. It’s all a matter of getting the proportions of the cut right.
Role Models: Victoria Beckham, Reese Witherspoon, Tyra Banks, Jennifer Love-Hewitt
Heart– You have this shape if….
- Your forehead and cheekbones are both wider than your jaw
- Your face tapers down to a pointed or slightly rounded chin
- Your face is slightly longer than it is wide
Heart faces, like oval, are amongst the most versatile of the face shapes. Styles that leave the top longer with slightly shorter sides look good on this shape. If you prefer shorter hairstyles you can also pull off a high and tight military inspired cut. This shape sometimes struggles with an excessively large forehead so if you believe this applies to you, a center part that divides the face in half would look great and reduce the appearance of the forehead.
Role Models: Leonardo DiCaprio, Gerard Butler, Bradley Cooper, Chase Crawford
Women with a heart shaped face look great with side-swept bangs. They work to minimize the appearance of a large forehead which can be a problem area for this type. Since heart shapes are among the wider shapes along with round and square, they also look great with longer hair. A style that combines long hair and bangs is a winning combination.
Another thing to look out for is an overly pointed chin. Styles that add width to the bottom half of your face or that draw attention away from it will also do you good. In general, avoid any style that is too top-heavy which will only emphasize the size of the forehead and create an off balance look.
Role Models: Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Ricci, Alyssa Milano