Hair Tips: Do You Have the Wrong Hair Style for Your Face?

From long and lovely to cropped and cute, hair styles pack a lot of punch — plus their own personality, too. They virtually act as the frame for your face, and just as a traditional frame can change the look of the art within it, the same goes for your locks and your look. Make sure you’re framing your face in the best possible manner and not choosing the wrong hair style by following these ’dos and don’ts for your strands.

What is your face shape?

woman styling hair with curling iron

Your hair and face shape must complement each other. |

Most faces are usually one of six basic shapes. A good look in the mirror, with your hair swept back, and you will likely be able to determine which characteristics are most like your face. An oval face is slightly elongated; the curvilinear shape means that the length of the face is about one-and-a-half times the width. The forehead and jaw are almost equal in width, as well. If your face is more circular in shape, and is nearly as wide as it is long, then you likely have a round face. A heart-shaped face is defined by a wide brow and a narrow jaw while a square face most often features a strong and broad forehead with an angular jaw. Other face shapes include diamond (narrow forehead and jawline with wide, high cheekbones) and long (face is longer than it is wide).

It’s important to remember that you may not be an exact match to any of these four face shapes, but rather a composite of a few of them. However, one of the shapes will likely have dominance over the others, and that’s the one you should focus on.

An oval face is by and far the most versatile shape when it comes to hairstyles, with nearly anything and everything working well. So, for all the ovals, the salon world is your oyster, so to say. But, that doesn’t mean that the other shapes don’t have plenty of styles from which to choose. The key to a flattering ‘do is one that creates the illusion that you have a perfectly oval face. At the end of the day, it’s all about a little bit of mane magic with cuts and styles that make a round face appear longer; a long face appear wider; a square jaw appear softer; and large foreheads and double chins appear to fade away.

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Oval face

Jessica Alba has an oval face shape

Jessica Alba has an oval face. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

If you have an oval face, you basically can do no wrong when it comes to your hair. From short and long, to layers, bangs, and bobs, you can get away with it all. The main thing to remember is to not choose any ’dos that cover up your face shape! The oval is your friend, so if there is too much hair hanging in your face or over your eyes, you’re covering up and unnecessarily re-shaping your best asset.

2. Round face

Actress Emma Stone

Emma Stone sports a round face. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The one thing to keep in mind if you have a round face is that you’ll want to seek out hair styles that add length and avoid width. So, it’s important to avoid cuts that add volume at the sides such as chin-length bobs, especially ones that kick out at the sides. Bangs are generally a no-go, too, when it comes to round faces as the blunt, heavy fringe can make the face shorter and create an even rounder effect. Longer bangs, when swept across the face to one side, can work. The main objective is to give the illusion of a narrower face, so styles that add height and fullness at the crown are a good option. Longer styles also have an elongating effect while middle parts can help in creating a narrower shape, too.

3. Square face

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie’s face has a square shape. | Michael Buckner/Getty Images

With a square face shape, it’s all about finding a hair style that softens the stronger jawline. A blunt, boxy bob that sits at chin length, especially when cut with heavy bangs, should be avoided as it will maximize squareness. Wispier styles with face-framing layers will have a softening effect thereby lessening the visibility of a strong jawline. Heavy bangs aren’t recommended, as their density will only make the face more angular. But, a light fringe of bangs swept over to one side can help counterbalance a square shape.

4. Heart-shaped face

Reese Witherspoon has a heart shaped face

Reese Witherspoon knows how to show off her heart-shaped face. | Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The main goal with a hairstyle for a heart-shaped face is to add length while creating width around the narrower chin area. For that reason, short, full hair styles are usually the wrong answer as they emphasize the upper face without creating balance for the lower face and chin. Heavy, blunt bangs are also not the best, as they work to create an upside-down triangle shape — and you really don’t want that kind of geometry for your face. Instead, try a textured, shoulder-length style with wispy layers that will help to balance and fill out the lower half of the face. Chin-length cuts will also serve you quite well.

5. Diamond face

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez knows what hair works with her diamond-shaped face. | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Diamonds need to balance a narrower chin and wider cheekbones. So, super-short styles that leave no hair below the chin and neck don’t often work to your advantage. Middle parts are also to be avoided, as they will only lengthen the face even more without creating the balance you need. Try a chin-length bob or a shoulder-length cut, which both add width to the chin area. Styles with bangs and ones that tuck behind the ears are great in showing off those strong cheekbones.

6. Long face

Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady

Gisele Bundchen plays up her long face shape. | Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Long faces need to add width in order to minimize the vertical length, so this is no time to wear a style that adds height at the crown or top of the head, as it will only make the face appear even longer. You may also be doing your face a disservice if you don’t have bangs or textured layers at the very least. Straight-across bangs can have a shortening effect, cutting down the length of the face, while those layers add body and soften the straight, elongated lines of this face shape.

At the end of the day, it’s most important to pick a hair style that not only is good for your face shape but that also reflects your personality and suits your lifestyle. From classic to quirky, let your hair do the talking!

Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachellw and Instagram @rachellwatkins