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How to Choose the Best Haircut for Your Face Shape

A hairstylist holding a female client's hair at bob-length so she can see what the cut would look like.
BearFotos/Shutterstock.com

Have you ever looked in the mirror after getting a haircut, only to realize the style doesn’t suit you as well as you’d hoped? There are several reasons this happens, but often, the problem is the cut just doesn’t work with your face shape. We’ll help you figure out which basic shape your face is, and which hairstyles would best accentuate it.

Top-level stylists can usually recommend the perfect haircut to suit your face, but if you’d rather choose your own look, it’s important to know what shape your face is, and which styles will best suit it. We’ll show you how to figure out your face shape, as well as some basic cuts that work best with it.

What’s Your Face Shape?

Four digital drawings of the oval, square, heart, and round face shapes.
Irina Matsiash/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to choosing haircuts, accessories, or even makeup, you’ve probably encountered a lot of discussion about “face shapes.” But, how do you figure out which shape yours is?

Most faces fall (more or less) into one of the following categories:

  • Oval: This face shape is longer than it is wide but only by a bit. Your features likely fall somewhere between soft and sharp.
  • Square: People with square faces have an angled jaw that’s about as wide as their forehead. They might also have other sharp features, like prominent cheekbones.
  • Heart: This face shape is characterized by a wide forehead, which tapers down to a narrow jawline and an often pointed chin.
  • Round: This type of face is wider at the cheeks, with soft, rather than angled features.
A digital drawing of a diamond and long face shape.
juliawhite/Shutterstock.com
  • Diamond: As you might expect, this face shape is wider at the cheekbones, with a narrow jawline and forehead. The cheekbones also most likely stand out, giving the face a dramatic, angular look.
  • Long: A face that’s considerably longer than it is wide, with narrow cheeks. If your face is this shape, you might also have a high forehead or a long, narrow chin.

Your face might not match any of these shapes precisely. If it’s not immediately obvious to you which shape your face is, it’s likely that it falls somewhere in-between two. If that’s the case, just try to distinguish which two shapes best match your face.

No one shape is any better than another, and there are hairstyles that look fabulous on each of them.

Choosing the Best Haircut for Your Face

After you determine which face shape you have, it’s time to choose a hairstyle! If your face fits two or more categories, check out styles that work for any or all of those.

Also, there’s nothing wrong with trying a hairstyle that’s recommended for another face shape if you’re crazy about it. Just keep in mind the results might not highlight your favorite features as well as you’d like.

Generally, though, these are the best haircuts and styles for each face shape:

Round: Dynamic, layered cuts that create movement work well with round faces. You can opt for a long, layered cut, a choppy bob, or a short messy pixie. Dramatic asymmetrical cuts, such as long bangs cut diagonally, also work well.

A brunette woman with a round face and a pixie haircut
People with round faces can go for a pixie cut. Anna Kraynova/Shutterstock.com

Square: A cut that shows off the stunning, angled jawline of this face shape will look spectacular. Anything that hits either above or below the jawline will make it can stand out. Opt for super-long, sleek cuts, a messy long bob (lob), or a short cut with lots of volume on top. Square faces also look nice with layers.

A brunette woman with a square face and a long, sleek haircut.
Square-shaped faces look particularly dramatic with a long, sleek cut. Olga Brik/Shutterstock.com

Oval: Some people consider oval to be the neutral face shape, so it’s up to you which features you’d like to play up the most. A center part can highlight your facial symmetry, while bangs of all sorts will accentuate your eyes. If you want a more daring look, try a short, pixie cut. For something softer, a long, wavy style will do the trick.

A woman with an oval face shape, and long, wavy blonde hair with a center part.
Those who have an oval-shaped face can accentuate their features with a center part. Irina Bg/Shutterstock.com

Long: To make a statement, try the blunt, straight-across bangs many others find hard to pull off. To keep it softer, opt for side-swept bangs. Longer faces also look good with medium-length, cuts like voluminous bobs, which, unlike bangs, are super-easy to style. If you have a long, elegant neck, you might want to play that up with a longer cut that features neck-length layers.

Liv Tyler on the red carpet, sporting blunt-cut bangs.
No one can pull off blunt-cut bangs better than those with longer faces. Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

Heart: Show off your delicate chin and jawline by contrasting it with plenty of volume in that area. For example, a bob that hits just below your chin, or long layers will beautifully frame your face. Bangs also work well with the wider forehead of a heart-shaped face, so try blunt, side-swept, or any style that speaks to you.

A woman with a heart-shaped face and long layers.
A lot of volume and long layers suit a heart-shaped face. Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

Diamond: Let the angles of your face take center stage by trying a cut that hits below them, like at the chin or shoulders. Layers will look nice, but keeping your hair all one length will make your cheekbones stand out even more. You can add more drama by tucking some hair behind your ear. Super-short cuts, like pixies, also highlight this face shape particularly well.

Keira Knightley on a panel at a BUILD series event.
Keeping your hair all one length works well for diamond-shaped faces because it accentuates the cheekbones. SD Mack/Shutterstock.com

Again, these are just guidelines. If you love a cut that was recommended for a different face shape, don’t be afraid to venture outside the box.

Still unsure how a certain cut would look on you? Luckily, there are now lots of apps that allow you to upload a photo and see how you look with different hairstyles. These are awesome because they allow you to try out new cuts and styles with confidence, no matter your face shape.


If you were at a loss about which cut to ask your stylist for, hopefully, this guide sparked some inspiration. Knowing your face shape and the cuts that will best show it off will help you always look your best. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you know how to explain exactly what you want to your stylist.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »

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