Letters From Your Hairdresser

Lies You've Believed: Face Shapes

One of the hardest things about going to a new hairdresser is explaining what you like. Or if you aren’t sure what you like, finding a hairdresser who can look at your style, face shape and hair type and help you determine what works best for you and therefore, typically what you end up not just liking, but falling in love with. That kind of hairdresser is priceless. That kind of dedication and service is priceless. I believe that what is truly rendered during a visit to your stylist is not just a chic haircut or a beautiful highlight; it is time and knowledge. Oh, it goes way beyond the movement of my scissors. It is the benefit of years of training and education and tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. It is my sacrifice to hear critics mock my “shallow” and “superficial” profession. All because I want you to have the tools to feel gorgeous every morning when you wake up. All so that you can hold your head high with confidence knowing that you are beautiful.

We as hairdressers take all of that knowledge, all that we’ve learned about how to make you look your absolute best, and ask you to sit in our chairs and spend an hour. We’ll tell you all of our secrets. We can help you rock a bang that works with your face shape and even explain to you why you can try out that pixie cut you’ve always wanted to try. This is the goldmine in your salon. Ladies, I’ll be your hairdresser. Take a seat because now that we’ve gotten through the myths about shampoo and conditioner, we’re taking a look at how to deal with face shapes. And next week, we’ll break some more common myths about hair type.

The very first thing I look at when determining what will work for a client is her face shape. There are seven standard face shapes and a lot of people are a combination of two. A lot of bad hairstyle decisions can be prevented by understanding face shapes and how to balance each one. Sadly, most of us didn’t get past junior high before learning that lesson. Even still, we usually recognize what looks better on us and what looks worse, but we still don’t usually understand why. And understanding why is key to being able to decipher what works and what doesn’t when your hairdresser isn’t around.


This is the “most ideal” face shape. It’s been said that women who have this face shape can really do anything with their hair. They can go short, rock a blunt bang, or just stick with a long, curled look. I personally believe that there are so many factors that need to be considered beyond just the face shape (the side profile, for example) before just doing anything, but these ladies do tend to be lucky in that they already start out perfectly balanced from a front view. The oval face shape is your Jessica Alba and Megan Fox. The width of their face is in absolute proportion to the height. There is not one feature on their face that, as my Dad says, “adds character”. But seriously, they are just balanced and in proportion.


This face shape is so interesting to me. It feels like every single woman that I meet who has a round face shape (no matter what her dress size is) feels like she’s too big. I have met women that weighed 100 lbs with a round face shape. Ladies, it has nothing to do with the amount of fat on your body! Now, the round face shape is one in which the width of the face is completely equal to the height. Much to my clients’ disbelief, a round face shape can truly do most things with their hair. They can *gasp* wear a pixie cut or bob and not look too wide. The trick is to balance out proportions, so for a pixie you’d want to keep it fuller on top and keep the sides more sleek. This will pull the eye up instead of out, making your face look longer and more in proportion to the width. I also like to suggest a heavy bang to my client’s who have a round face. They are usually terrified at the thought, but a hard line on a round face is actually perfection. The key is to not allow the bangs to look too wide. So from the arch of your eyebrow to the arch of your other eyebrow, you want your blunt bang. And from the arch of your brows out, you want to have longer pieces framing your face. Think of Cici’s (Hannah Simone) fringe from New Girl. That kind of bang on a round face gives a beautiful frame to the face and again, pulls the eye up giving the illusion of added length to the face. This is your Ginnifer Goodwin and Kelly Clarkson.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706937011 Nicky Watson

    I’m not sure if I have an oval or oblong facial shape. Maybe someone could look at my facebook profile pic from here and tell me? lol

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563849198 Michelle Duncan

      I’d say your face shape’s oval Nicky. x

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706937011 Nicky Watson

        Thank you! :)

  • http://www.thestyleverdict.wordpress.com The Style Verdict

    Great post, Kate! Knowing your face shape is so important for so many things – hair cuts, hair styles, sunglasses, carrying on a conversation about faces. . . I loved your descriptions, really on point, descriptive and helpful!

  • http://www.laughfrodisiac.com Randi Milgram

    I want to come to Denver so you can cut my hair!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1108763885 Ez Eggs

    I don’t know what shape my face is! Its long, but I have really chubby cheeks that inadvertently hang up on people while on my mobile. :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=125301538 Cattie-Bree Skye Price

    It’s always impossible for me to tell my own face shape! And when I ask others, it’s a different answer every time. Mind if I ask your expert opinion? :) https://scontent-a-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/338_507248823384_5651_n.jpg

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511499073 Roxanne Schreiber

    As a hairstylist I love your posts! You say the exact things I am thinking!!! xoRox

  • Rafaela Ferreira

    I don’t know which one is my shape… But a friend of mine said that my face looked like Kirsten Dunst’s. Are we diamond faces?

  • Rafaela Ferreira

    I don’t know which one is my shape… But a friend of mine said that my face looked like Kirsten Dunst’s. Are we diamond faces?

  • Rafaela Ferreira

    I don’t know which one is my shape… But a friend of mine said that my face looked like Kirsten Dunst’s. Are we diamond faces?

  • KM

    I’ve never read an article about face shapes that doesn’t mention the square shape. I’ve always heard that oval is tricky and square can do with nearly any hairstyle.

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