So you decided it’s time for a change. Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while, entertaining the idea but now you’re sure. You need a new hairstyle.

Do not underestimate the impact it will have on your appearance. A simple change to your hair has the opportunity to completely change your entire appearance. You’ve probably seen it happen with a friend, a family member or even a celebrity who decided they’ve had enough and needed a change.

^^^ Someone who needed a change. ^^^

So is it worth changing up your hairstyle in attempts to make it better? Even if you regret the decision later? We say yes. Especially if what you have now isn’t working for you.

Remember, you can’t change things like your height or bone structure but you can change up your hairstyle and make it into something better. Work on the things you can control so what you can’t control doesn’t have control over you (not to get all philosophical on you).

Okay so where do you start? So many questions, so many things to consider.

The purpose of this guide is to help you answer these questions and choose the perfect hairstyle for you given your unique constraints.

Wait a Minute… Unique Constraints??

Exactly. What works for one person isn’t guaranteed to also work for another. You might look at your favorite celebrities, the posters at a hair salon, or any magazine and see hairstyles that you want to copy for yourself but unfortunately it isn’t that simple. Two people can have the same hairstyle but one pulls it off better than the other (as we all know).

So how do you know what YOU can pull off?

Steps to Finding The Perfect Hairstyle For You

  1. First, consider your hair type. Curly? Thin? Wavy? More on this below.
  2. Then, you’ll need to find your face shape.
  3. Next, start putting together an effective hair care routine.
  4. When you’re ready, go to a quality hair stylist and get the look you want.
  5. Keep experimenting with your hair routine. You never know when you’ll find your new favorite product that really makes it stand out.
  6. Ask for feedback from people in your “real” life and online too.

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the things you should be considering.

The Most Important Factors: Face Shape & Hair Type

Why are these the most important? They determine what you’re working with and what you’ll be able to pull off.

We already have a guide on how to find your face shape (link above) and there you’ll also find general hair advice for each shape so you have a better idea of the types of hairstyles that’ll look great on you (and the types that won’t).

A few more things about face shape we want to add here:

Each shape usually has features you’ll either want to downplay or emphasize

  • Large foreheads (heart, round, sometimes oblong)
  • Pointed chins (triangle)
  • Strong jaws (square)
  • Strong cheekbones (diamond)

Also:

  • Large ears (can be any shape)
  • A large nose (can be any shape)

The 3 most important to consider are the forehead, nose, and chin — each representing a third of your face.

Decide which facial features are your best and worst. Want to downplay a larger nose? Soften a strong chin? Highlight your eyes or cheekbones?  Consider your features alongside your shape for the best results. Again, we have more specific advice for your shape in that guide so check it out after you finish reading this.

So now what about your hair type?

Don’t expect to grow out an afro if you have very thin or straight hair. That’s an extreme example but you get the point.

Your hair type (aka its texture) is just as important of a factor in determining what you can or can’t pull off as your face shape and features. Some styles work only on certain hair types. Different styling methods and hair products also work better on certain hair types than others.

You can probably make the argument that texture is even more important than face shape when it comes to choosing your hairstyle. An oblong shaped face with thick wavy hair will need a different cut than an oblong shape but with very fine hair even though they have the same face shape. Their hair will also need to be cut differently and treated differently within their routines.

These are the basic hair types:

  • Curly (There are even more sub-types of curly hair but we won’t get into those here)
  • Wavy
  • Straight
  • Frizzy

As for density:

  • Is it fine? (Tends to be thin)
  • Is it coarse? (Tends to be thick)

You can be a combination of any of the 6 types mentioned above.

Knowing your hair type will help you pick a hairstyle that naturally looks great on you and it’ll help narrow down your search when you consider it alongside the other factors.

As an example, straight, fine hair usually works really well with bangs. Curly hair works really well when it’s left to grow out longer and has extra weight to weigh it down. The thinner your hair, the more you’ll want to consider adding layers to help add volume and avoid a flat and dull look.

The lesson: Embrace your face shape, facial features, and texture. Working against them makes everything 100x harder.

Underrated Factor: Maintenance

A gorgeous hairstyle that brings out your best is great but if it takes you forever each morning just to get it to look right, do you really want to stick with it for everyday use? High maintenance hairstyles are more interesting to look at, and they definitely stand out but if you can’t be bothered to look after it yourself or style it properly each day then it’d be best to go for something simpler.

Really, getting your haircut is only the first step. What you do with it afterwards, by actually styling it and going through your hair care routine — that’s when the real magic happens. And if you don’t have the time to style it yourself or to get regular touchups at a salon, or don’t know how to properly maintain it in the first place — then it’s just not worth it.

The common sense advice here is to choose something more ordinary for everyday life — going to the store to pick something up, running errands, etc. You don’t need to go all out in these situations. You just need your hair to look respectable and make sure it suits your face. This is your “everyday” cut that still looks great on you but is relatively simple to maintain and get going.

Then for special occasions (prom, weddings, formal events) where everyone really tries to outdo each other — that’s when you go for the high maintenance cuts that leave an impression on everyone.

Don’t Neglect Lifestyle & Personality Either!

Maintenance is somewhat related to your lifestyle and personality — two factors that get neglected more than they should even though they play a huge role in deciding the types of hairstyles that works for you.

Our hair is one of the many ways our external appearance gives others a peek into our inner world.  Let’s be honest. We make quick judgments on others based on their physical appearance. Everyone does it. Our hair is just one of the many things people can use to make judgments on things like who we are, the subculture we’re apart of, the type of person we aspire to be, and even the way we’re feeling in the moment.

Point is, people are judging you (no matter how unfair that is) and coming to conclusions about you before you even say a word whether consciously or subconsciously.

So what’s your hair communicating to the world around you?

That’s how lifestyle and personality enter the mix.

Lifestyle is all about practicality. Do you live somewhere really hot? Do you work out and get sweaty? You probably pull your hair back into a ponytail so make sure your style is long enough if that’s your preference.

Do you work in a formal setting? An office environment? You’re safer with a more traditional hairstyle compared to the artsy design and musician types working in a studio or on set.

What about the subcultures you’re apart of? Are you goth? Punk? Is your aesthetic inspired by tumblr? Each have specific hairstyles associated with them and members of those communities that take preference to them.

Maybe you aren’t apart of any group and are just naturally more “edgy” yourself.  Maybe you feel like you’re less of a girly girl and more of an independent “free spirit”  type. Shorter hairstyles, pixie cuts, and more tomboyish looks better convey these traits. You might also want to consider coloring it.

Some people pull off short hair better than others (mostly depends on your face shape). Generally we think longer hair and natural colors look better on most people than short hair and unnatural colors but in the end it’s up to you.

The final point is: Take your lifestyle and personality into account. People will assume different things about you based on your hairstyle and this is where you can add a unique personal touch if it suits you. Don’t be afraid to experiment! But make sure you’re comfortable with whatever hairstyle you do have. The last thing you want is to be uncomfortable in your own skin.

The Importance of Good Hairstylist

None of the factors we mentioned above will matter much if the person cutting your hair isn’t skillful enough to cut your hair just the way you want it.

A good hair stylist/salon is crucial to the success of your hairstyle.

The best way to find a quality stylist is to ask for recommendations. See someone who has good hair? Ask where they get it done. Personal recommendations are much more useful than looking at reviews online because you can see the results of their expertise firsthand.

Pro Tip: Someone who already has similar hair to you or what you want is a big bonus. The hairstylist will know where you’re coming from and understand the minor details that’ll be lost on other people.

If they regularly cut your hair type that’s also a plus. So if you have curly hair, make sure the person cutting your hair also has curly hair and usually cuts other people with curly hair. Some salons are specialized (ex. They cut alternative hairstyles, only curly hair, etc.)  so look around to find one that meets your needs.

Someone who listens to you and offers helpful suggestions is someone you’ll want to return to. Communication is key and it goes both ways. Tell them what you want and if they’re any good they’ll probably offer their own advice or opinion to help you out.

Check out this handy guide on how to best work with the person cutting and styling your hair. 

Where to Go From Here

If you’ve made it this far, Congrats! You’re well on your way to getting that perfect new hairstyle now that you’re considering the right things. The next step is to find your face shape to help narrow down your search for the perfect hairstyle.