In this guide, we’re going to talk about how to choose the best hair style for your face shape.
We’ve all suffered from bad haircuts. Just look at the 80’s. Most men will look at a celebrity they admire and ask the stylist or barber to recreate the cut on their head. Unfortunately, it’s not always this simple. Just because you liked Tom Cruise’s hair in Top Gun, doesn’t mean it will look good on you.
The way a haircut looks depends on a few factors:
- Your hair type
- The way your hair grows
- The shape of your face
Today, we’re going to focus on the shape of your face and how it impacts your hair.
Your Face Shape
There are six types of face shapes:
To figure out what shape you are, you’ll need more than just a mirror. You’re going to need a tape measure, a pencil, paper and someone to help you.
How to Determine Your Face Shape
- Beginning at your forehead, measure across it at the widest point. Write that number down.
- Then, measure the widest length across your cheekbones. Again, write it down.
- Moving lower to the jaw, measure your jawline at its widest point. You guessed it: write it down.
- Next, measure the length of your face by placing the measuring tape at the top of your forehead at the hairline and measuring it down to the bottom of your chin. Write it down.
- Regardless of your numbers, your face is going to fit into one of the following six categories of face shapes. To determine which shape your face is, use the measurements and check the following shapes.
Oblong faces are longer than they are wide. For the most part, the measurements of the jawline, cheeks and forehead will be very similar. If your measurements fit this, chances are you have an oblong shaped face.
You can get away with a lot of options if you have an oblong face. The biggest things you want to keep in mind are not to take the sides too short or it will make your face look longer. Classic cuts work the best and it’s often a good idea to ask the stylist to try and add some width. If you have straight hair, consider growing it evenly on the top and sides but asking your stylist to add texture so it looks defined. With wavy hair, you can go even longer and let it fall however you want. For tight curls, a shorter afro works the best.
Heart shaped faces are inverted triangles which mean you have a fairly pointed chin with a significantly wider forehead and cheek measurements. Your face will also be slightly longer than it is wide at the cheeks by about an inch or so.
A medium length cut that’s swept over is the best bet for a heart shaped face as it softens the forehead. Whether you have straight or wavy hair, sweeping it to the side is a good bet. For tight curly hair, consider adding dimension with some facial hair to bulk up the face a bit.
Square shaped faces are pretty equal when it comes to length and width. The cheek and length measurements will be similar with just an inch or two difference. As well, the other measurements will all be similar, and the edges of your face will be almost straight up and down. You’ll notice concise, sharp corners rather than rounded edges at the jaw.
For men with square faces, clean and close cut hair styles work best. Keeping it short on the back and the sides is ideal with a bit of texture on top to add dimension and draw focus to the strong and masculine jaw. For straight hair, consider keeping it shorter to prevent it from sticking straight up and to give you more control. If you have wavy hair, consider leaving a few inches on top to let you style it. If you have very tight curls, you’ll want a close fade on the top and sides with it nice and tight on top.
Oval faces are similar to an egg. They are longer than they are wide with a slightly wider forehead and shorter jawline. Usually, the chin is slightly rounded.
Almost all hair styles work well on oval faces, so you’re in luck. The biggest tip is to lift the hair away from the forehead so it doesn’t make your face look rounder or chubby. For both straight and wavy hair you can keep it short or grow it out and push it back. If you have tight curls you’ll be slightly more restricted and will probably want to keep it very short and tightly cropped with a skin fade and sharp lines on the back and sides.
As wide as they are long, the difference between the rounded face and square is that a round face has a smaller forehead with a small rounded jawline. The forehead will be smaller than the cheek measurement, and there won’t be any sharp lines of the jaw but rather a gentle curvature.
For a round face, stick with square cuts that have lots of definition to balance it out. Short, clean cut styles work well for straight hair and wavy hair benefits from even shorter cuts or heavier styling to keep it squared off. Tight curls benefit from skin fades.
If your face is widest at the cheekbones with a skinny pointed chin and thinner forehead, chances are you have a diamond shaped face.
Consider more volume to balance the shape of your face. Longer hair styles will look good on you, or shorter cuts with hair coming down the forehead. If you do take it long, ask the stylist to keep it softer if it’s going against your cheekbones. With straight hair you can get at least 5-6” on top with added volume. If you have wavy hair, avoid volume and grow it out to get dimension from larger curls. If you have tight curls you can also grow it out. The biggest trick is to avoid square cuts and keep the hair softened.
JA Shapira talking hair styles with his stylist Kailey Gousseau
Two Popular Styles That Work for Most Face Shapes
You’ll need a little more on top, but this classic cut is coming back with a bang. Often associated with James Dean and Elvis, this updated version can be done with more than just naturally wavy hair. Obviously, if you are looking to replicate the exact James Dean look, you need some curl to your locks, but the Pompadour can be done with straight hair as well. You’re going to want a bit of hair on the sides, but it can be done with less. The goal is more on top since this particular style makes use of combing the hair back and to the side, so you’ll need to grow out short hair to get this look.
Most barbers should be familiar with this look. It’s something that’s been around since the mid-1900s, and young or old, this cut should be a pre-requisite for barbers working in a salon or barbershop. If your barber doesn’t know this cut like the back of their hand – run. When you get this cut, bring in a picture of the particular look you’re going for, and then ask your barber if it will work with your type of hair. They may suggest a few changes to better suit your hair type.
The Side Part
It’s short, boardroom appropriate and very clean cut. You’ll need a little more hair on the top, tapered appropriately at the sides and back. One tip is to ask your barber to shave the part with his or her straight razor which gives it more definition and is easier to align when you’re in a rush. This cut works well if you have straight hair and can be used on thick or thin hair types. The goal is similar to the pompadour except you’re combing it back and to the side. Depending on how well your hair is behaving, you may get away with just using a little pomade, whereas other days you’ll probably want to use a gel followed by a pomade and possibly some finishing spray. If you don’t want a really slicked-back look, consider replacing the pomade with a texturizing paste which can provide an exceptional hold as well.
Finding the perfect haircut that suits your style and face shape can take some time and experimentation. Here are our final tips to help you achieve the perfect look:
- Try variations on a style. A “pompadour” doesn’t have one exact definition, so if shaved sides and a long, puffy top are too much for you, don’t feel you have to abandon the style altogether. Try shortening the top and adding some length to the sides until it suits your taste.
- Furthermore, styles are often mixed, such as a pompadour with a side part.
- Don’t be afraid of the hair dryer. Many men look at them as being a woman’s style tool but rest assured, it’s perfectly acceptable to use one – in fact, for some styles, it’s a requirement. A little bit of heat can help smooth curly hair, add or tame volume, or set wet hair products.
- If you like to change things up often, get a haircut you can style more than one way. The “side part” cut can be sleek and smooth for the workweek and then loosely combed to one side in a mini-pompadour for the weekend.
- If you’re making a big change, check in with your barber first. They will be able to help you with a transitional hairstyle and then show you how to style your new look.
- Experiment with different styling products to get different looks with the same haircut. Gel tends to have a glossy finish, pomade and wax have a matte, textured finish and grooming creams often have a subtle finish, all of which can be mixed and matched for different textures and looks. If you want to try before you buy, ask your barber or stylist to use a different product than you normally would to see how it looks and wears throughout the day.
Regardless of your face shape, a good barber or stylist will be able to lead you in the right direction. Remember, that the shape of your face is only one factor in considering the best style for your head. It really comes down to the type of hair you have and how it grows. What face shape and hairstyle do you have?