What Hairstyle Suits You: The Best Hairdo for the Round, Oval, or Square Face Shape

The ideal haircut is as elusive as your mood. But when you're struggling to figure out which types of hairstyles flatter you the most, a good place to start is by classifying your face shape as square, oval, round, or heart-shaped. Once you know the shape of your face, you can recognize other people with a similar face shape and compare styles to see what flatters and what fails.

Pictorial Examples From Old Hollywood

To show you how different hairstyles can make people with the same face shape look different, I've yanked some pictures of classic Hollywood stars from the public domain. "Old celebs?" you say. Sure, why not? Hair doesn't have to be modern and trendy to look fabulous. Some vintage hairstyles look great even today.

Among these 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s celebrity photos, you'll see examples of hairdos that look great, those that look less great, and those that are clearly hair-don'ts. Even if you can't bring yourself to ask the stylist for finger curls, you'll be inspired to get your hair cut and styled with a look that is attractive and flattering for you.

But remember, guys and girls, that whatever the hairstyling rules say, each face is different. Finding the right look is a trial-and-error process.

Poll: What Shape is Your Face?

What best describes the shape of your face?

  • I have an oval or oblong face shape.
  • I have a round face shape.
  • I have a heart-shaped face.
  • I have a square face shape.
  • My face is shaped like a rectangle.
  • My face is shaped like a pear.
  • I have a triangle face shape.
  • I have a diamond face shape.
  • I have another face shape. (Please specify in the Comments section.)
See results without voting

Is This Advice Gender-Specific?

Nah. These hairstyling tips apply equally to male, female, and transgender individuals.

Gender-sense can, if desired, be tweaked with face shape theory. For example, emphasizing a square face shape might move it in a more masculine direction. Softening a square face shape might move it in a feminine direction.

Examples of the Square Face Shape

The square face of Jean Hagen is feminized by asymmetrical curls and a dashing wave on her forehead.
The square face of Jean Hagen is feminized by asymmetrical curls and a dashing wave on her forehead. | Source
Not the best look for Katharine Hepburn. This 1937 hairstyle is too symmetrical, emphasizing the almost masculine geometry of her face.  The bangs add to the flat top look and shorten her forehead.
Not the best look for Katharine Hepburn. This 1937 hairstyle is too symmetrical, emphasizing the almost masculine geometry of her face. The bangs add to the flat top look and shorten her forehead. | Source
Katharine Hepburn's face still looks square in The Philadelphia Story, but without the bangs, it appears much less squashed.  Her curls round out and soften the top of her head and the angles of her face, ending prettily below the neck.
Katharine Hepburn's face still looks square in The Philadelphia Story, but without the bangs, it appears much less squashed. Her curls round out and soften the top of her head and the angles of her face, ending prettily below the neck. | Source
John Wayne's square-shaped face is perfectly acceptable in a guy--in fact, his boxy hairstyle made the most of it.
John Wayne's square-shaped face is perfectly acceptable in a guy--in fact, his boxy hairstyle made the most of it. | Source
Audrey Hepburn had a gamine look.  Her face shape is a combo of square and heart-shaped.  The top heavy style she wore de-emphasized her chin, made her jaw look delicate, and made her face look more heart-shaped.
Audrey Hepburn had a gamine look. Her face shape is a combo of square and heart-shaped. The top heavy style she wore de-emphasized her chin, made her jaw look delicate, and made her face look more heart-shaped. | Source
Another rounding off-center part.  Carole Lombard's square jaw was minimized as the stylized waves drew focus to her eyes and below the jawline.
Another rounding off-center part. Carole Lombard's square jaw was minimized as the stylized waves drew focus to her eyes and below the jawline. | Source
Carole Lombard, made up to look ragged but still pretty, with  dampened hair that exaggerates the squareness of her face.  But note how the length down to her shoulders elongates her face to attractive effect.
Carole Lombard, made up to look ragged but still pretty, with dampened hair that exaggerates the squareness of her face. But note how the length down to her shoulders elongates her face to attractive effect. | Source
Joanne Woodward's square-shaped face is almost geometric here, with the full-bodied short waves adding roundness and some dashing asymmetry.
Joanne Woodward's square-shaped face is almost geometric here, with the full-bodied short waves adding roundness and some dashing asymmetry. | Source
Errol Flynn's squarish face is made to look more even more square by the wavy, geometrical hairstyle that ends in both vertical and horizontal line with his chin.
Errol Flynn's squarish face is made to look more even more square by the wavy, geometrical hairstyle that ends in both vertical and horizontal line with his chin. | Source
Here's Virginia Lee with hair that ends at her jaw, which would normally be a hair-don't for women with squarish jaws.  But two things save her: the sleek, soft look of the waves and the delicacy of her well-defined features.
Here's Virginia Lee with hair that ends at her jaw, which would normally be a hair-don't for women with squarish jaws. But two things save her: the sleek, soft look of the waves and the delicacy of her well-defined features. | Source

Hair Rules for a Square Face Shape

Square shaped faces tend toward a classic look.

In thin, square faces, the fine definition of the jaw and chin should be treated as an asset for both men and women.

In plump or blocky square faces, the rules generally say to elongate the lines and break up the symmetry.

  • Use an off-center part to de-emphasize the geometric angles of a square face shape.
  • Use a side part to frame a square face without de-emphasizing it.
  • Try a short, layered boyish cut with a sweeping, messy fringe of bangs to add a feminine touch to a square-shaped face on a woman.
  • If the chin and jaw together form a solid, intimidating block, de-emphasize the line by ending the hairstyle well above or well below.
  • Square faces tend to look shorter than they are, so an emphasis point, such as curls or waves, midway down your face can help.
  • For a longer option for a square-shaped face, consider a shoulder-length smooth wave, trimmed to a bouncy curl to move the eye away from the square jaw.
  • Another longer look for a square face shape is tumbled curls such as Jessica Simpson wears. Ms. Simpson's hairdos either narrow her square face shape or soften the force of her strong chin with lots of curly waves.

Examples of the Oval Face Shape (Long and Thin)

Bette Davis wears a cropped style to stop the eye before it goes down the length of the face in one fell swoop.
Bette Davis wears a cropped style to stop the eye before it goes down the length of the face in one fell swoop. | Source
Hedy Lamarr wears a style that broadens at the base of her jaw, rounding out a long thin face shape and making it look more heart-shaped.
Hedy Lamarr wears a style that broadens at the base of her jaw, rounding out a long thin face shape and making it look more heart-shaped. | Source
Marilyn Monroe wears a full-bodied wave that gives voluptuousness to her oval face shape.
Marilyn Monroe wears a full-bodied wave that gives voluptuousness to her oval face shape. | Source
Ginger Rogers' face is a hybrid of long and square.  Her hairstyle rounds out her face.
Ginger Rogers' face is a hybrid of long and square. Her hairstyle rounds out her face. | Source
James Stewart (Jimmy Stewart) wore hairstyles that emphasized his broad forehead. The curls made the most of the top of his head, making his thin, oval face look deceptively triangular.
James Stewart (Jimmy Stewart) wore hairstyles that emphasized his broad forehead. The curls made the most of the top of his head, making his thin, oval face look deceptively triangular. | Source
Marilyn's fluffy cropped style in Some Like It Hot totally disguises the length of her face.
Marilyn's fluffy cropped style in Some Like It Hot totally disguises the length of her face. | Source
Guess who?  Marilyn Monroe again, and not the most flattering look, as the length of her hair is almost exactly the length of her face and the style is too close to her face.
Guess who? Marilyn Monroe again, and not the most flattering look, as the length of her hair is almost exactly the length of her face and the style is too close to her face. | Source
Marilyn again looking more round-faced because of the abundance of curls that stops above her jawline.
Marilyn again looking more round-faced because of the abundance of curls that stops above her jawline. | Source
Peggy Lee's long face is emphasized here, but made more attractive by broadening the top of her head and drawing the eye to her broad forehead.
Peggy Lee's long face is emphasized here, but made more attractive by broadening the top of her head and drawing the eye to her broad forehead. | Source
Judy Garland's face doesn't look very long in the Wizard of Oz.  With a close-cropped style around her head, her braids fluff out over her chest--this makes her face look round, like that of the young girl she's playing.
Judy Garland's face doesn't look very long in the Wizard of Oz. With a close-cropped style around her head, her braids fluff out over her chest--this makes her face look round, like that of the young girl she's playing. | Source
But here's Judy Garland again, with her real face-shape showing.  The well-defined curls are askew, like her slanted eyebrows and ears, giving the impression of an exotic heart shape.
But here's Judy Garland again, with her real face-shape showing. The well-defined curls are askew, like her slanted eyebrows and ears, giving the impression of an exotic heart shape. | Source

Hair Rules for a Long Oval Face Shape

Long, thin oval face shapes are beautiful, with the straight lines on the sides and rounded chins. But they can often look too long and lugubrious with the wrong hairstyle.

  • Oval face shapes benefit from hairstyles that widen the face and add a horizontal dimension. Think wave. Think body. Broaden your oval-shaped face by wearing styles that are round and fluffy.
  • The length should be cropped at your jawline (midway down your face) or falling below your shoulder in ever-more-glamorous curls.
  • If you have a very long neck, avoid buzz cuts or close-cropped styles that don't widen the face.
  • Avoid styles that end at your chin.
  • Avoid long, straight hairstyles. They make the oval face shape look mournful.
  • Long bangs down to, or past, your eyebrows shorten a too-prominent forehead in a long face shape. If you have a forehead that's too long, try 'em. You'll like 'em.

Examples of the Round Face Shape

Claudette Colbert's face looks so nice and long with this long hair.  The bangs cropped midway down her forehead give the impression of a long forehead.  But hold on...
Claudette Colbert's face looks so nice and long with this long hair. The bangs cropped midway down her forehead give the impression of a long forehead. But hold on... | Source
With this cute haircut, her face looks heart-shaped!  The full dark wave at the jawline narrows her jaw and chin.  But wait again...
With this cute haircut, her face looks heart-shaped! The full dark wave at the jawline narrows her jaw and chin. But wait again... | Source
Claudette Colbert's face shape is actually round.  The gentle curls around her skull emphasize the roundness and the softness in The Secret Heart.
Claudette Colbert's face shape is actually round. The gentle curls around her skull emphasize the roundness and the softness in The Secret Heart. | Source
Lana Turner's round face is made more elegant by having her hair swept up and back.
Lana Turner's round face is made more elegant by having her hair swept up and back. | Source
Round face shapes like that of Thelma Todd benefit from minimalistic hairstyles if worn with wide, sweeping hats, which dwarf the face width.
Round face shapes like that of Thelma Todd benefit from minimalistic hairstyles if worn with wide, sweeping hats, which dwarf the face width. | Source
Susan Hayward's roundish face looks longer and squarer because of the squared, geometric style that draws the eye down the entire length of her face.
Susan Hayward's roundish face looks longer and squarer because of the squared, geometric style that draws the eye down the entire length of her face. | Source
Dorothy Dandridge with a round or heart-shaped face--it's hard to tell--made even more heart-shaped by the fluffing out at her neck.
Dorothy Dandridge with a round or heart-shaped face--it's hard to tell--made even more heart-shaped by the fluffing out at her neck. | Source

Hair Rules for a Round Face Shape

Round faces tend to look sweet and accessible. They also tend to look pudgy, even if they're not.

Those round face shapes that are short and squishy need a lot of help, while faces tending toward the heart shape allow for more flexible styles.

  • Your hairstyle should draw the gaze away from the broadest part of your face, which is usually around the cheekbones.
  • Try a long, straight look with bangs that end midway down your forehead (see the picture of Claudette Colbert).
  • Wear your hair shoulder-length or longer, but not ending at your chin, which would emphasize the roundness.
  • Wear your hair close-cropped or swept up away from your jaw to make your "sweet round face" look more elegant.
  • Avoid short, fluffy, full-bodied styles that further round out your face. A boyish cut or a feathered look that ends midway down your face can help lengthen your face. (Ironically, for those with oval-shaped faces, the same look shortens and rounds the face.)
  • Long bangs make your already-short forehead look even squashier. Very short bangs elongate your round-shaped face.
  • Use an off-center part if you wear your hair long. The sweep down your face can disguise a round cheek. Jennifer Aniston is famous for her slightly asymmetrical styles that narrow her round face shape.

A Quick Note About the Heart-Shaped Face

Few people have a truly proportional heart face shape - broad at the top and narrowing in to a rounded, pointy chin, with neither a long nor short forehead, and neither a long nor short chin.

Meg Ryan is often touted as having a heart-shaped face, but the beautiful celebrity has quite a round face, and wears shaggy haircuts that sweep over her cheeks to disguise it.

A heart-shaped face is extremely versatile and ideal for maximizing your choice of flattering haircuts.

  • Wear a jaw-length bob, a boyish cap in layers, a sweep of voluminous hair down your back, or a long, straight haircut. Even a close-cropped hairstyle is flattering to heart-shaped faces. So are bangs.
  • A top-heavy look, with hair piled on your head or a big afro on top, can round out a heart-shaped face if the top is too flat.

How to Wear Your Hair

How to Wear Your Hair
How to Wear Your Hair

This quick reference guide can help you classify your face shape in a snap and recommends different styles.

 

About the Celebrity Photos in this Article

These public-domain images from film screenshots and trailors are thanks to Wikimedia Commons. The photographs are in the public domain in the United States. Not all photos can be used in every country.

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Comments 9 comments

:) 5 years ago

My face is oval but since I have chubby cheeks and my jaw line isn't very defined it has a tendency to look round.

It's the forehead that balances that out.


Katie 5 years ago

My face shape is a mix of oval/heart/square, my cheeks are a little chubby and I have a big forehead.


Abbey 5 years ago

I have an oval shaped head...but I can't find the best haircut for me all the girls at school have bangs that go to the side of their foreheads (meaning that they are long) and I have my hair that way to but I don't think that this is the best style for me, I have no idea what to do with my hair!

that style really is me....


Sam 5 years ago

It's odd i have a boyish jaw and a square/rectangle face but i have really chubby cheeks. Ah i knew curls helped


Sophia 5 years ago

I have a heart shaped face. My hairstylist says that layers, bangs and hilights look on hearties if they want long hair. My school has lice and I want to wear my hair up. How should i wear my ponytails to work out in if i cant part my hair or sleek it back and then do it? Any other simple updo's (ex. pigtails, side ponytail)?


Bikant Bhattacharjee 4 years ago

I have a long face cut


sudeep 3 years ago

my measurerments are forehead 16cm,cheekbones 15cm,jawline 21cm and length 21cm,so what is my face shape and what hairstyle suits me


Liz 2 years ago

I thought Marilyn had a heart shaped face especially since she had a widows peak.


Dani 23 months ago

Inverted Triangle face: Wide hairline and cheekbones, thin cheeks and pointed jaw

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