How to Identify Your Face Shape and Why It Matters

I really want to write a post all about bangs, or fringe, as we in the hair biz call them.  But before that conversation can happen, it’s important that everyone knows how to identify their face shape and understand how it can affect your hair style. When you Google face shapes, tons of information comes up. For the most part, it’s pretty accurate. What isn’t accurate are the images assigned to each definition. For example, Reese Witherspoon is listed as heart-shaped, inverted triangle, diamond and round. Which one is it? Depending on how a person wears her hair, she can instantly alter or enhance her face shape. That’s the cool thing about hair. It is able to enhance or define what we want to show.

Knowing how to identify your face shape can help create balance in your hair style. It can help you determine where you want to place volume, reduce volume, accentuate or de-accentuate features. It can also inform what type of fringe or face framing pieces work for you. For this post, I want to focus on how to identify face shape and the best ways to enhance it with your hair style. In next week’s post, I will take it one step further and share what type of fringe or bangs work with each type of shape.

Identifying Your Face Shape

1. Remove all of your make-up and pull all of your hair away from your face. All of it. No fly-aways and no bangs. Hair and make-up can easily distract from the true shape of your face.

2. Now, go take a look in the mirror. Notice where your face is widest. Temples, cheekbones, or jaw. Maybe it seems like they are all the same width or maybe one of the three stands out more than the others.

3. Notice if your features seem hard and angular or soft.

4. Finally, don’t smile. Smiling distorts your face shape. Jennifer Lawrence looks like she has a heart-shaped face when she smiles, but when she isn’t smiling, she has a very strong jaw line and almost fits into a triangle shape.

There are 7 defined face shapes:

  • Oval
  • Round
  • Square
  • Heart (inverted triangle)
  • Triangle
  • Diamond
  • Oblong

Here is a description of each one and images to help better understand their differences:

Oval Face Shape:

Oval is considered the most balanced of all face shapes. An oval face is widest at the cheek bones with balanced width and length. This shape allows the owner to wear just about any style they want. Lucky girl! In addition to Megan Fox, Jessica Alba, and Naomi Campbell are all oval girls.

Round Face Shape:

Round faces are widest at the cheek bones, but shorter in length with a soft jaw line. Gennifer Goodwin and Kirsten Dunst both have round face shapes. If you Google images of Kirsten, it’s deceiving because she does all the right things with her hair to lengthen her face. This includes a side part and or sweeping side part bangs.

To accentuate this face shape, build volume at the sides and low volume on top.

To lengthen this shape, build volume on top and less volume on the sides.

Square Face Shape:

The biggest difference between round and square face shapes are hard and soft lines in the jaw and near the temples. In a square face shape, these two features are almost equal at the widest part of the face and are more angular and exaggerated. Like round, square face shapes are usually shorter than oval.

To accentuate this shape, build volume on the sides and top corners.

To soften this shape, build volume on top, add soft face framing pieces and a side part to offset corners.

Heart Shape Face:

Girls with this face shape are widest at the temples and narrow through the cheek bones and chin. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Love Hewitt both fit into this category.

To accentuate this shape, build volume through the top and sides

To soften this shape, use a side or center part to offset the width through the temples. Low volume in the top and sides, with more volume or length around the chin and neck area.

Triangle Face Shape:

It was hard to find a celebrity image that demonstrates a triangle face shape. This is mostly because it’s pretty easy to offset with hair. I chose this picture of Minnie Driver because her hair is pulled back which allows you to really see the silhouette. Triangle faces are widest at the jaw, which is usually very strong, and narrows as it moves up to the temple.

To accentuate this shape, low volume on top and add volume through sides and jaw line area.

To soften this shape, add volume through top. A side or center part will give the illusion of more width through the temple area.

Diamond Face Shape:

Diamond Face shape is more angular than oval. Narrow at the top, wide at the cheekbones and narrow at the chin.

To accentuate this shape, deep side part, volume on the sides and top.

To soften this shape, center or side part right at the corner of the head. Build volume through the top corners.

Oblong Face Shape:

Oblong face shapes are longer and more narrow than oval. The width between the temples, cheeks, and jaw line are almost even.

To accentuate this shape, build volume through the top and reduce volume on the sides. A center part will exaggerate the vertical lines of the shape.

To soften this shape, side part or a fringe will detract from the length. Reducing volume in the top and increasing it through the side will give the illusion of width.

Now that you know your face shape and have some direction on how to balance it with your hair style, you’re empowered with what you do with your hair at home or in your consultation with your stylist. Once you find some celebrities with your similar face shape, keep an eye on what they do with their style. It can be a great resource when you’re ready for a change. Next week we will take this one step further and go over what type of fringe works best with each shape. Even if you thought your weren’t a candidate for fringe, it will help you understand what type goes best with your face shape and hair line.

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