Anyone who has ever tried to copy a friend’s hairstyle or fallen victim to a trendy cut like “The Rachel” has likely learned the hard way — those wispy bangs or choppy layers that look so good on someone else may not be right for you. Here are a few expert guidelines about finding the best haircut for your face shape.
If Your Face is Round
Your goal is to make your full face appear longer, says Jet Rhys, owner of the Jet Rhys Salon in San Diego. “Cuts that fall just below the chin and longer are key because they make your face appear slimmer and tend to reduce bulk and weight from the sides,” she says.
When it comes to styling your hair, think straight as curls and volume will make your face look rounder. Ponytails should be worn low as anything higher, near your ears or cheeks, will widen your face, advises Rhys.
Best Cut: A layered bob that is chin length or longer. “It’s so important to have mid- to long- layers to create movement in the hair,” Rhys says.
If Your Face is Square
Square face shapes, with broad foreheads and jaws, have strong defined lines. So you should avoid cuts that are equally linear, including short, blunt edge cuts and bangs, Rhys says. Soft, layers and side-swept bangs will soften the edges of your face. Style your hair with volume and waves for a feminine look.
Best Cut: “Long hair that is below your shoulders is best for you because it creates a softness that pairs well with your features,” Rhys says.
If Your Face is Heart Shaped
Heart-shaped faces have broad foreheads and narrow, sometimes pointy, chins. If you fall in this category, the goal is to make the top of your face appear narrower. “Eyebrow-grazing or side swept bangs are ideal, because they balance out the face shape beautifully and draw attention to your eyes,” Rhys says. Add fullness to the ends of the hair by curling or twisting with a brush when you style. “This way it will add a width to the bottom part of your face,” she says.
Best Cut: Chin-length bobs or hair that’s shoulder length or longer is best—and always with bangs.
If Your Face is Long
Bangs that skim your eyebrows are essential if your face is long, Rhys says, as they hide your forehead and visually shorten your face. “A haircut that gives you width somewhere around chin level or mid-neck will keep your face in proportion. So think layers that hit in these areas, or a cut that stops chin level. When it comes to styling, avoid creating too much volume on top, which may make your face look longer than it is.
Best Cut: Blunt bobs with bangs or shoulder length hair with layers that hit at your chin.
If Your Face is Oval
Lucky you: You can wear your hair long or short, curly or straight. “The haircuts that flatter oval faces are short cuts, all bangs and bob cuts from chin length to the bottom of the neck,” Rhys says. You can also try longer hair parted down the middle, which show off more of your well-proportioned face.
Best Cut: While most cuts will flatter your face shape, make sure you get the right one for your hair texture. Work with your stylist to find the best one for you.