No matter your face shape -- round, oval, square, heart or long -- there will be haircuts that look best on you, and a few that aren't flattering (unless you're an oval, in which case you look good in practically everything).
To find out your face shape, see What is My Face Shape? How to Tell What Face Shape You Have, then check out photos of your best and worst hairstyles:
Play Down the Bad, Highlight the GoodI have a long face. If you scroll on down to the bottom of this page you can see it for yourself. My face is long and narrow topped off with an IMAX forehead ("Large foreheads are a sign of intellect," my friend Laura tells me. I don't believe her). Because I have a long face, I really should not wear my hair long.
Long hair tends to drag a long face down. This is the basic rule of finding a great haircut for your face shape: You don't want to highlight your problems. This means if you have a round face, you don't want short curly hair that makes your round face appear rounder, but unlike me, you can get away with long hair. Learn more in this gallery of the best and worst cuts for round faces.
If you have a square face, you'll want to play down your strong, angular jaw. Texture, in the form of curls or choppy ends, does this brilliantly. See this photo gallery of best and worst haircuts for square face shapes for other great styles for you.
Oval faces tend to look good in everything, but their faces can appear long, so be careful not to add height on top of the head. Also, if your hair is thick or curly, avoid a blunt cut. You'll look like a pyramid. See what works and doesn't on you in this photo gallery of best and worst cuts for oval faces.
Heart-shaped faces tend to come with pointy chins (think Reese Witherspoon). Draw attention to your eyes and cheekbones instead with examples in this photo gallery of best and worst cuts for heart-shaped faces.
For us long face girls, while we should avoid long hair, we can get away with it if we cut in long layers that hit at the cheekbones and the chin. Long, wavy hair also looks good on us because the waves add width to the sides of a long face (get inspired with these photos). Unfortunately, my hair is stick-straight and I'm simply to lazy to curl my hair every day of my life. But if you want long hair and you have a long face, here's how to give yourself beachy waves. Good luck.
The Haircut That is Flattering on EveryoneSo back to that photo of me hovering at the bottom of this page. It's about 4 years old and I no longer have that haircut. I can hear your audible sigh of relief.
Right now I am sporting perhaps the Most Flattering Hairstyle Ever Worn by Julyne. It is a version of what I have cleverly dubbed "The Perfect Haircut," because it's a style that looks great on pretty much everyone. You can see it here. This perfect cut falls between my chin and my shoulders and it looks good wavy or straight. When I wear it down, friends say, "I like your hair this length." Note to self: Quit putting your $200 hairstyle up in a ponytail, even a cute ponytail.
You, too, can have this perfect haircut because it looks good on all face shapes. To inspire you, I present these versions:
- "The Chop," which I love, love, love for reasons you can read all about.
- The Long Bob, which still remains popular.
- Alexa Chung's Shag (here I am outing myself as having a huge girl crush on Chung).
Who Can Wear Short Hair -- And Who Shouldn'tI cut my hair off after a particularly bad breakup and I loved it. Short hair suited my long face and straight hair perfectly, made me feel sophisticated and somewhat edgy, and allowed me to stand out among a sea of long-haired Manhattan women. But then I decided to start dating again and while I know there are men out there who are madly attracted to women with short hair, I have never met them, so I decided to grow out my hair a few years ago. I ended up with a wonderful, laid-back guy who doesn't seem concerned with my hair length and told me last week he likes me best in a ponytail. Hello lucky!
Short hair tends to suit all face shapes, although each face shape has issues to consider when going short. Round faces, for example, can look rounder with a bad short cut. And avoid short cuts if you have super curly hair.
I created the absolute perfect photo gallery for you short-hair-lovin' girls. Find out which short haircuts look best on your face shape.
My Love Affair With BangsSometimes I convince my stylist Kazuo Suzuki of Eva Scrivo Salon to give me sideswept bangs, which are great for hiding my large forehead and suit long faces perfectly. But Kaz, who is a man of few words and works on my hair with the intensity and perseverance of a master hedge-trimmer, rolls his eyes and shakes his head when I bring up my forehead. He prefers me without bangs. I worry it's because he doesn't want to bother with me for the every-4-weeks bang trims, but it can't be that because I'm so lazy I hardly ever come in for them. I think it's because Kaz also has a large forehead and he's just OK with his.
So the bangs have grown out, which is OK because in all four seasons they tend to stick limply and greasily to my forehead.
Bangs can make a boring cut edgy. They can take years off a face and they bring attention to the eyes. They are flattering on almost all face shapes. Your goal is to get bangs that make your (insert your face shape here) appear more oval. So, for example, if you have a square face, you should avoid wide, heavy blunt bangs, which only create more angles on your already angular face. You should have your blunt bangs longer on the sides to soften the look. Bangs are really more an issue of hair texture than face shape. Curly hair doesn't work well cut above the eyes, so bangs are usually a no-no. Super wavy hair requires bangs that are long and side-swept unless you like the dated-I'm-stuck-in-the-80s-look, which is OK by me.
For more on bangs, see my gallery of Best Bangs by Face Shape.
Hair Texture: As Important as Face ShapeYour hair texture is as important as your face shape when it comes to choosing the perfect haircut. There are 6 basic hair textures (fine, straight, wavy, coarse, curly and frizzy) and with each one comes a slew of rules such as "curly hair doesn't look great short" and "fine hair doesn't look great long."
I believe in breaking rules, however. And in my article on hair texture, I detail what the rules are and which ones are worth paying attention to and which ones are worth breaking. Check it out: 10 Things Every Woman Should Know About Hair Texture.
Consider Your Body TypeWhen considering a new haircut, you should think about your body type. Tall women with straight hair and boyish figures could look like pinheads with a pixie haircut. If you are cute and petite, you should avoid super long hair which can dwarf a tiny body. You risk appearing like one of those pageant kids. You know the ones? The 8-year-olds with extensions?
Find out what styles work best on tall, petite, busty and curvy women in Best Hairstyles by Body Type.
If You Are Over 55, Must You Cut Off All Your Hair?I despise beauty rules that put women in a box. Stuff like women of a certain age should cut off their hair and dye their gray hair. The rule of thumb for older women remains: find a cut that flatters your best features and plays down your not-so-great ones. If people compliment you on your eyes, consider long side-swept bangs like these. If you have thick, wavy hair, let it grow to your shoulders or just above and WEAR IT DOWN (this photo gallery is for you). If you have thin, lifeless hair, consider a shorter cut with lots of layers like this one.
Unfortunately, there's not a ton of information out there specifically for older women so I created a bunch just for you:
- Hairstyles for Women Over Age 50
- 20 More Gorgeous Hairstyles for Older Women
- Photos of Gorgeous Gray Hairstyles
- 25 Makeup Tips to Look Younger
The Tricky Round Face ShapeMy good friend and neighbor Melodie is Korean and has a very round face. Melodie has the absolute perfect haircut (it looks like an edgier this), for which she pays $20 in New York City's Chinatown. When I ask her where exactly is this salon where she gets her hair cut because maybe I would like to write about it, she says cryptically, "I drive you there."
Typically, if you have a round face, you want to make your face appear longer and leaner and less round. Melodie's haircut falls straight and choppy around her face and it looks best when it's at least a couple inches below her chin. The back is always shorter and angles out longer in the front. She has bangs. Even though Melodie complains about the imperfections of her perfect haircut, I sometimes look at her and think, "I can't believe I pay $200 for my version of your $20 haircut." And then I remember Kaz and how I could never cheat on him. (When I told Kaz about Melodie's cheap haircut he raised his eyebrows and said, "Huh!").
Why I Envy the Square Face ShapeI read somewhere that square faces photograph the best. Apparently the angles of the jaw and the cheeks mean square faces don't photograph "flat." I also read somewhere that women with square faces tend to age better than the rest of us. While long faces just get skinnier and longer and round faces tend to get plumper, square faces tend to stay strong and angular.
So that is why I envy the square face shape above all other face shapes even the perfect oval face. That, and I kinda always want to be Gwyneth Paltrow.
Uh-Oh, Can't Figure Out Your Face Shape?Every few weeks I get an email from someone who has tried my measuring method (found here) and failed to figure out her face shape. She wants me to help her figure out her face shape.
So if you're confused after all this advice, don't worry. Most women have oval faces. You probably do too. And if you don't know your face shape and others can't help you out, then it probably doesn't matter. Face shape articles are mostly written for women with strong facial shapes that they want to tone down. I'm talking about women with really long faces, or women with super strong jaws or pointy chins or chubby faces.
In fact, About.com's Women's Hairstyles expert Kendra Aarhus, doesn't know her own face shape. She argues in this wonderful article that there is way more to a good haircut than knowing your face shape, including things like playing up your best features, playing down others (hello, big nose or large ears) and finding a cut that fits the texture of your hair.
Check out Aarhus's article, Why I Don't Believe in the Best Haircuts for a Specific Face Shape, and happy hair-hunting all!