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Which haircut suits you best?

Knowing the contours of your face and what compliments it, is the key to choosing the perefect haircut.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 14:06 IST
Allie Shah
Allie Shah

Thinking of getting a sleek new Sienna Miller haircut this summer? If your face is oblong like Sarah Jessica Parker’s, you might want to reconsider. What is appealing on a heart-shaped mug may not flatter a woman with an oblong or square-shaped face.

Knowing the contours of your face and what complements it is the key to choosing a haircut that looks right on you. “It’s one of the first things we look at,” said Shane, a hairstylist and owner of Mask Hair Designs and Day Spa in Minnesota.

So important is face shape in determining how to cut hair that many cosmetology schools devote two days to the study of face shapes.

Lyndon Barsten, an educator at Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, wrote a chapter on face shapes for a textbook that’s used to train students.

In the book, called Introduction to Styling Hair, he identifies seven face shapes and advises which styles best suit each one.

A good way to determine your face shape is to pull all your hair back away from your face, look in the mirror and trace your face with a soap bar or lipstick. Many consider the oval face shape ideal because almost any hair style and length is flattering.

Heart shapes are marked by wider foreheads and a pointed chin. Their most flattering styles include medium to short lengths.

People with square face shapes have a square hairline and strong jaw line. Curls soften the edges of the face. Sarah Jessica Parker is a perfect example of an oblong face shape.

Bangs swept over the forehead help make the face look more oval, and people with this face shape should avoid too-short or too-long styles.

Round faces are wide across the cheekbone area and round at the chin. Hair that falls to the shoulders is ideal as it helps to create a longer, less round look. With the ultra-long, flat-ironed Friends hair finally giving way to shorter styles, demand for chin-length bobs and bangs or ‘fringe,’ as Shane calls them, is picking up.

Signature hair — shorter and with distinctive details — was hot on the runway this spring.

Occasionally, a famous person’s signature hairstyle reaches that iconic level and the masses rush out to copy it. Who could forget Farrah Fawcett’s ‘feathered’ layered hairdo that became the rage in the 1970s? Or more recently, the Rachel cut — Jennifer Aniston’s signature shag in the late 1990s? Those styles worked well for these icons because they suited their face shapes.

So what happens when everyone wants the cut of the moment regardless of their particular face shape? Shane said she gives them what they want, albeit with some tweaking.

So you can always bend it a little so you get what you want, but tailored a little bit so it brings out the best of you.

OVAL Considered the most versatile face shape. Many other face shapes seek hairstyles to make them more oval.

Hair dos: Looks great with almost any cut — short or long, one length or layered. Jada Pinkett Smith’s curly do is one of many styles that suit her oval face.

Hair don’ts: Don’t spike hair too much, as it makes the face look longer.

SQUARE Marked by a very strong, wide jawline and a square hairline.

Hair dos: Flattering styles include longer lengths and hair that comes forward onto the face at the sides, as Salma Hayek often wears. Curls soften angular edges. If you want to go shorter, stick to the classic bob.

Hair don’ts: No geometric styles or wedge cuts.

OBLONG Sometimes called the slender face shape. People, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, with oblong faces may also have a slender neck.

Hair dos: Best hairstyles for this shape often have width through the jaw line. Add fringe or bangs.

Hair don’ts: Too-long hair or very short cuts can accentuate the oblong shape. So can wearing hair pulled back as Sarah Jessica Parker sometimes does.

HEART The heart shape is wide at the hairline and cheekbone and comes to a slender or pointed chin. People with this face shape often have a widow’s peak.

Hair do's: Best styles for the heart-shaped face are ones that bring the hair forward onto the forehead. Side parts, such as the one Jennifer Aniston often wears, and wispy bangs are flattering.

Hair don’ts: Blunt-cut bangs, centre parts.

ROUND Wide through the centre and a rounded chin.

Hair do's: Create some height at the top and length in the back. High ponytails with loose strands around the face suit this face shape.

Hair don’ts: Avoid chin-length bobs as they draw attention to full cheeks.

First Published: Oct 26, 2006 21:13 IST