Find the Perfect Cut.

About Face: The Secret to Finding Your Perfect Haircut

By Rachel Fischer Spalding, Special to LifeScript
Thursday, February 22, 2007


Measure for Measure
Grab a tape measure, a piece of paper and pen. First, measure your face horizontally, starting at the top of your cheekbones. Write that number down. Then, run the tape across your face at jaw-level. Write that number down. Measure the widest part of your forehead, just above your eyebrow line, and record that figure. Finally, run the tape measure from your hairline to the bottom tip of your chin, and write the number down.
The results?
  • Oval face: Your face length is about 1 ½ times longer than the width.
  • Round face: Length and width are about equal.
  • Square face: The widths of your forehead and jawline are about equal.
  • Heart-shaped face: The measurements across your cheekbones and/or forehead will be the widest and your jaw will measure small and narrow.
Ode to Oval
Knowing your face shape is very important, say beauty pros, because each comes with its own guidelines – and a good stylist will know these by heart. “It’s like a painter with a canvas; as a hairstylist, you just know what lines look pretty and what lines don’t [on certain shapes],” notes Stone.
If you have an oval face, rejoice. Considered the “ideal” face shape for its graceful, symmetrical proportions and lack of sharp angles, the oval mug is seen on many a model. “With this [shape], you can get away with just about anything, from super-short hair to very long,” says Stone. (Think beauties like Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and J. Lo.)
Although both short and long chops work equally well on ovals, avoid shags and styles involving lots of strands in the face; you’ll only distract from your visage. “The benefit to this face shape is flexibility, adds Stone. “Experiment with a variety of looks.”
“Round Out” Your Look
If you have a round face, you’re in good company: Notable actresses with this face shape include Kate Winslet, Jennifer Hudson and Christina Ricci. “A little bit of length and a little bit of height are good; they’ll elongate the face,” notes our hair pro.
“Updo’s are good, just be sure to leave some pieces down. I also like to cut into the hair in chunks, a layering technique that offsets the roundness,” says Stone. Ask your stylist for chunky layers that frame the face.
Another hairstyle option for a round face is a light bang. “As long as it isn’t cut too far into the temples, it will complement your face,” explains Stone.
Square and Sexy
Got a square face? You’re far from a square peg: Easy-on-the-eyes A-listers including Jessica Simpson, Minnie Driver and Jodie Foster share your beautiful shape. Try long layers, and give your hair some height with a teased updo and loose curls.
Don’ts for square face shapes are center parts with dead-straight hair, chin-length bobs, and full bangs. These all “accentuate the angular nature of your jaw,” says Stone. “It’s a strong feature so you want to soften the look and emphasize femininity. Layers and texture are the key to making you look great.”
Heart-Shaped Hotties
Those who happen to have a heart-shaped face should rejoice – you share your beautiful shape with glamour girls Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner! “Reese’s Golden Globes hairstyle was an example of what to do,” notes Stone. She wore her golden locks long with light bangs swept to the side. “Bangs soften your look overall and take attention away from a prominent chin and high forehead.”
Other tips: Keep hair long or else bobbed to shorten the length of the face. But avoid mid-length strands, which will make your chin pointier, add fullness where you don’t need it and take it away where you do. Also, keep ends blunt rather than layered to balance the proportions of your pretty face!
Geometry Isn’t Destiny…
Yes, following these rules will likely result in a fabulous cut that frames your face. But when it comes to beauty, there are no absolutes. “Everybody is different,” notes Stone. “Ninety-nine percent of us do not have a perfectly symmetrical face. Lots of people have a combination of several face shapes.
When in doubt, measure your face shape and bring it to your stylist. Stone also recommends bringing in pictures of the cut you want. The two of you can come up with a solution.

Which brings us to our last pointer: Accentuate the positive! After all, when it comes to a woman’s face, there’s always plenty of prettiness. “Most celebrities have a flaw, if you look closely – but they’ve learned to work with what they have,” says Stone. “There are so many new haircutting products, techniques and tools, it’s easier than ever to find a way to look great and accommodate your face shape.”

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