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Face Shapes: Key Hairstyle Factor

It's a complaint that stylists hear from women all the time: "I can't stand the way my hair looks!"

Women know the importance of a good cut, but it's just as important to know which cut is best for the shape of your face, stylist David Evangelista says on The Early Show Monday.

In fact, he stresses, getting the right cut for your face shape can really make or break your look.

If a person with a square face goes for a cut suited for a round face, for instance, they can end up with a very harsh, hard jaw line. If a round-faced person goes for a cut meant for a person with a heart-shaped face, the round-shaped person's face can look even more moon-like.

So, how do you figure out what shape face you have?

Evangelista offers this advice:


  • Pull your hair back and secure it, so it's totally off your face.
  • Stand about one foot back from a mirror and look straight into it. Or, use a picture of yourself facing straight into the camera with your hairline showing.
  • Outline your face with lipstick on the mirror, on transparent paper, or on the photo itself.
  • Now, look at your face shape in the mirror or the photo. At first, there may appear to be more than one shape. Though your face may not be an exact match of any single shape, it will more closely resemble one shape over all other.

    As for specific shapes:

    OVAL-SHAPED FACE (even proportions; length is about one-and-a-half-times width)

    Oval is considered by many to be the most versatile face shape, since nearly every hairstyle looks great on this face. Hair pulled back shows off the oval face the most. People with an oval face shape can get away with a cropped short pixie cut, so go for it if you love short hair! In long styles, a great classic look is a center or side part with hair touching shoulders. Short-layered looks with longer curls in front and a cropped back (at the nape of the neck) focus on the beauty of the oval face. No matter the length of your cut, you'll look best with layers near your cheekbones, lips or chin, basically whatever feature you want to highlight. Avoid short layers that add height on top of your head. This will make your face appear long. If your hair is thick or curly, avoid a blunt cut. You'll look like a pyramid.ROUND-SHAPED FACE (round hairline and chin line; wide face; usually round cheeks)

    If you have a round face shape, the goal with styling hair is to slim the face. Hair below the chin line should be worn with a face-lengthening center part. For hair above the chin line, wear an off-center part to "interrupt" the roundness. Also, layers from the top down remove bulk and weight from the sides. Creating volume at the top of your head and keeping your forehead bare will also slim the face. It's best to avoid short and sleeked-back hairstyles. In shorter styles, you are best seen with hair brushed away from the face, building extra volume at the top of head to narrow the roundness of your features. Though bangs shorten the face and straight-falling bangs or wisps should be avoided, you can wear curly, tousled side bangs. Wear longer styles closer to the face to give length. Decrease the volume at the sides and ear area. An ideal length for your hair is beyond the chin or just above it. Go for wispy and tapered ends. These deemphasize the roundness of your face. A side part works well. Keeping hair off the face at the cheek area is also recommended. Avoid: single-length, blunt cuts if you have short hair. These only emphasize your round face.

    SQUARE FACE (straight hairline; angular jaw; wide face)

    Your hairstyle should work to soften the sharp angle of your jaw line and minimize a squared-off brow look. Hairstyles that emphasize the cheekbones mid-line of the face are most flattering, so short layers (cut into longer hair) that swing forward onto cheekbones will look great. Face-framing layers, but short, spiky cuts look great also, as do long, sleek styles with layers that start at the jaw line and continue downward. Bangs and waves at the temple also soften the square of your face. Hair length is best about one inch below the chin, or extending to shoulder length, to reduce and soften the square nature of your jaw. Hair worn on the forehead is always perfect for you, as long as it is wispy or fringed. Never wear straight bangs. Hair turned under at the bottom also will narrow the width of the jaw. Styles in loose curls and waves add extra dimension to the square face in a good way. Styles that round out your hair can decrease the appearance of a square face shape, so adding curl, angled or wispy bangs, and a few wisps on the cheek area will all help. A cut that allows for some height is also a good idea. Wear a side part as opposed to a center part. Avoid single-length bobs (especially chin-length) and blunt-cut bangs. These will make your face look even more square.

    HEART-SHAPED FACE (an upside down triangle face; narrow jaw line; wider at eye line)

    If this is your face shape, you'll want a hairstyle that gives the illusion of a narrower forehead and fuller jaw line. Your eyes and cheekbones tend to be the focal points of your face, so you'll want to draw attention to these features by keeping your top layers soft and long if you have short hair. Side-swept bangs can have the same effect. If you have long hair, go for long, wavy layers that graze your cheekbones. This will downplay a pointed chin. Any styles you wear should be fuller at the top than at the jaw line. Upswept at the sides and off the forehead is a flirty look for you that plays up your best features. A medium length to mid-neck is your best length. Fullness at the bottom, with hair directed forward onto the cheeks gives you the appearance of a wider chin. Curls or loose waves, shaped from the ears down, also add fullness to the chin area. Decrease volume at the top of head and at the sides. Wisps on the jaw area or wavy bangs can help give a wider, rounder appearance that evens out face. Avoid styles that cling closely to your face, mirroring the heart shape, as well as blunt-cut bangs and harsh, choppy layers. If you want bangs, wear them full and curly if possible. Wear a side part with soft three-quarter bangs swept over one side to balance your forehead width.

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