A Guide to the Most Flattering Hair Cuts For Every Face Shape

A Guide to the Most Flattering Hair Cuts For Every Face Shape featured image
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This article first appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe
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A PSA from all of us who have learned the hard way: Haircuts are not one-size-fits-all. Pinpointing your individual face shape isn’t only helpful when it comes to mastering makeup techniques or finding the perfect pair of sunglasses; it’s also a major factor in the quest for the most flattering haircut.

“Your face is your most important feature,” says Laura Polko, celebrity hairstylist and T3 ambassador. “Your hair is there to add to the beauty, not to do its own thing.” Like makeup, hair is a great tool to help play up your best features, “or minimize the ones we want to downplay,” adds celebrity hairstylist Adir Abergel.

When planning your next chop, keep these expert-approved tips in mind for your most successful trip yet.

Featured Experts

  • Carolyn Aronson is a licensed hairstylist, CEO and founder of It’s A 10 Haircare
  • Laura Polko is a celebrity hairstylist and T3 ambassador
  • Adir Abergel is a celebrity hairstlist
  • Johnny Lavoy is a celebrity hairstylist
  • Paul Labrecque is creative director, master stylist and colorist with Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa 
  • Dayonna Worrell is a UNice brand educator and hairstylist
  • Dimitris Giannetos is a Garnier Stylist

What are the different face shapes?

Before we can understand what the best haircuts are for each face shape, it’s important to understand what the different shapes are and what determines a flattering cut for each. The main face shape categories are round, diamond, square, heart and oval, and as Garnier stylist Dimitris Giannetos explains, “Each shape has different characteristics that can be amplified through different haircuts. For example, for round faces, the goal is to add length and reduce width to elongate and enhance your features. Heart-shaped faces look great with haircuts that balance a wider forehead and a narrower chin which is why chin-length cuts, side-swept bangs, and waves are the most flattering on heart-shaped faces.”

Carolyn Aronson, licensed hairstylist, CEO and founder of It’s A 10 Haircare, says determining your face shape is as easy as looking in the mirror. “First, decide which part of your face is the widest, then compare it with the width of your jaw. Next, compare the length and width of your face to determine your face shape.”

What differentiates the different face shapes? As celebrity hairstylist Johnny Lavoy explains, “square faces are characterized by a strong jawline and cheekbones with a wider forehead, creating a boxy appearance. Heart faces have high cheekbones, slimmer, longer and pointier chins with a widows peak creating a heart. Round faces usually feature rounder, fuller cheeks. Diamond is the least common in face shape and is characterized by both the chin and forehead being on the narrow side with bold high cheekbones. Oval faces are considered the ideal face shape because of their symmetry—they pretty much suit every hair style.”

The best hair cuts for every face shape

When it comes to picking haircuts that flatter your face shape, it all boils down to your stylist curating where the weight of your strands fall. As Labrecque explains, “A good hairstylist always cuts so that the layers will thin out the area(s) of width on the client’s face.” Ahead, a breakdown of which cuts are best for each face shape and why.

Round faces: Elongating lobs and angular bangs

When it comes to round faces, our stylists agree that elongated bobs—or “lobs” as they’re called nowadays—with feathered side bangs are a great option for flattering rounder faces. “Usually those with a round face shape like to wear styles that slim and elongate the face,” says UNice brand educator and stylist, Dayonna Worrell, which is why lobs suit rounder faces well, as they elongate the neck and slim the face. Labrecque cautions, though, that round-faced clients should make sure any bob-like style has lots of texture and layers in order to prevent emphasizing areas many would rather reduce.

“I love a long, layered cut with side bangs that can help to elongate the face,” says Giannetos. “Selena Gomez looks stunning with this style.” Lavoy agrees that angular side bangs and layers are great for a round face, as square and rectangular shapes in the cut help to slim and elongate rounder faces.

Diamond faces: Wavy, side-parted strands

Diamond face shapes are similar to the optimal oval shape, but a bit “leaner and longer,” Worrell explains, which makes shorter hairstyles are a great option. Longer styles tend to make diamond faces look even longer, so shorter, shoulder-length strands are key. “For diamond face shapes, like Megan Fox, I love a wavy side part because it really enhances the shape of the face,” says Giannetos.

Square faces: Piecey shags

Square faces tend to have magnificent cheek bones and striking, angular bone structure, so piecey shag styles are a great way to emphasize these natural features. “Curtain bangs and lots of shaggy layers look amazing on square faces,” Labrecque says. Worrell agrees that layered, textured looks are great for square faces as it helps soften their look, too. “Set with stronger features along the forehead and jawline, women with square faces usually opt for a style that sweeps and softens these features,” she says.

Heart faces: Chin-length bobs and pixies

Heart shaped faces are well suited to shorter styles, too, our stylists affirm. Zendaya is a great example of a celebrity with a heart-shaped face, and as Lavoy explains, “pixie cuts are great on this shape, as well as side parts and layers.” Giannetos adds, “heart-shaped faces look great with haircuts that balance a wider forehead and a narrower chin which is why chin-length cuts, side-swept bangs, and waves are the most flattering on heart-shaped faces.”

Oval faces: Loose and long

All of our stylists agree that oval faces are pretty much the jackpot when it comes to flattering hairstyles, as their symmetrical structure makes them extremely versatile. “For oval face shapes, almost any style works, but I love a sleek bob or long waves,” says Giannetos. “I recently did amazing long waves on Camila Cabello and it was one of my favorite looks on her! Charlize Theron often rocks both looks effortlessly.” Worrell adds, “Beyonce is the perfect example of an oval face shape. This allows her the versatility to pull off any style she chooses to wear.”

Haircuts by face shape, as seen on celebs

Now that you understand what works on each face shape and why, here are some examples of celebrities with each face shape to help you envision what each of these flattering styles would look like put into practice.

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As seen on: Chrissy Teigen and Miranda Kerr

Generally symmetrical, round faces usually have the same width and length with a rounded jawline and chin. As such, the most flattering hairstyles for round faces are those that deliver an elongated appearance to the face, creating a more oval look. “It’s best to keep hair longer, ideally past your collarbone, if you can,” says Polko, recommending opting for long layers, if any. “Round faces should typically stick to one- length hair and avoid round cuts and too many layers,” adds celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble. “Curly hair has a tendency to be rounded, so those with curly hair and a round face should stay away from rounded cuts, as it will warp their face shape.”

“A center part isn’t for every face shape, but it works beautifully on a round face,” Abergel notes. “Center-parting and adding longer layers will highlight features that you want to accentuate on a round face.”

Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty Images
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As seen on: Rachel McAdams and Elle Macpherson

If you have an oval-shaped face—it’s equally as wide as it is long—you’ve won the hairstyle jackpot. The most versatile of the face shapes, Polko says that oval faces “can pull off anything,” and pinpoints bobs, shags and long layers as some of her personal favorites.

While this face shape has endless flattering options due to its coveted symmetry—Kimble loves a chin-length bob—keep this in mind: “A very long face should avoid a super short crop, as it may elongate the face more,” suggests Abergel.

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As seen on: Selena Gomez and Kerry Washington

Heart-shaped faces are visually similar to round faces, but typically have a larger forehead or a slightly more narrow chin. “Because of this wider forehead, a heart-shaped face is the perfect face for bangs,” says Aronson, noting that they help minimize the appearance of a broad upper-face.

If you’re not ready for some fringe, a long bob (aka lob) is also a popular choice for this face shape; however, be sure strands fall below the jawline, as a chin-length cut will create a wider appearance around the chin. Another option, according to Abergel: “Pixie cuts that are shorter in the back and on the sides can elongate the face and add lift to the top of the head.”

JB Lacroix/Contributor/Getty Images
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As seen on: Sarah Jessica Parker and Tori Spelling

Comparable to square-shaped faces, rectangular or oblong faces still have angular features, but are longer in length. As such, styles that are fuller around the cheekbones, such as side-swept bangs, help to distract from the length and add symmetry.

“For a rectangular face, I like a soft, layered cut because it can enhance the cheekbones while disguising the corners of the face,” says Abergel. “A tousled bob also works well on this face shape, and you can play with some volume.” Adding texture to the hair, either via layers, waves or styling products, will help to add width to the face and make it appear more symmetrical.

James Devaney / Contributor/Getty Images
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As seen on: Sandra Bullock and Olivia Wilde

Like a round face shape, those with square shapes generally share a proportionate forehead, jaw and cheekbone, but often have a more angular jawline. To counteract the sharp angles of the face, focus on soft, layered styles.

Long layers will help lengthen the face, explains Kimble, as Aronson says that a layered, tousled style—she prefers a bob or lob, though virtually any hairstyle would be flattering—will help soften the face. Interestingly, Polko says nose size will also help to determine the most favorable style for a square-shaped face.

“For a smaller nose, I would recommend a middle part,” she notes, also suggesting a shorter cut. For those with a larger nose, a longer style can help shift the emphasis away from the center of the face.

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As seen on: Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez

If you have a small, pointed chin and wider cheekbones, it’s likely you have a diamond face shape. “For this shape, I recommend keeping the face as open as possible and accentuating the cheekbones,” Abergel says. “Styles for diamond face shapes should keep the balance in your overall look, not outweigh it.” His suggestion: A long bob with a side part and side-swept bangs.

Another fan of fringe on this face shape, Polko says diamond-shaped faces can “pull off curtain bangs well because there is generally more space on the forehead and they complement the shape of the chin.” According to Kimble, those with this face shape should not be afraid of playing with long layers, either, for a polished finish.

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Styling your hair based on your face shape

Along with an unflattering haircut, Polko says some of the biggest aging indicators are poor hair health and dated color. “Using too much box dye to cover grays can add years to a look and also really dry out the hair,” she explains. As we get older, Abergel notes that the key to hair color becomes all about dimension. “Lowlights and highlights will create more movement so nothing feels flat.” As such, defying gravity shouldn’t just be the ultimate goal for our skin, but also our hair, he adds.

The solution: lightweight products and strand-saving devices to keep hair voluminous and healthy. When it comes to helping clients style their new cuts, Giannetos explains, “I always talk to them about their lifestyle and hair texture to ensure the cut is both flattering and manageable. I also always recommend an amazing shine oil for moisture like Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum ($8) to help style all textures.”

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