Within the ever-colliding stratospheres of fashion and beauty, “rules” have become a bit passé, if not obsolete altogether. Gone are the days when we’d refuse to wear white after Labor Day or dismiss navy and black as an ill-conceived colour pairing. Currently, we feel inspired to dye our hair a demurely shocking shade of lavender. A hot-pink eyelid is cooler than yesteryear’s smoked-out cat eye, and we’re even experimenting with crystal-studded manicures and cute-but-clashing polish shades. Our point? It’s an exciting time to be in fashion and beauty, and more so than ever before, our hair, makeup and fashion aesthetic reflect that.
Hair, especially, has been the comeback kid of 2021. Previously old-fashioned styles like the mullet have been artistically resurrected, and we currently own more scrunchies, hair claws and butterfly clips than we did circa 1999. Impressive. That said, one rule that hasn’t changed over the years is the importance (and confidence-boosting power) of having a truly amazing, ultra-flattering haircut. With the right cut, the rest of the hair gamut—colour, styling and accessories—is kind of your oyster. Sure, we 100% condone sporting any kind of haircut that makes you feel like the sh*t, but we also know certain haircuts look especially flattering with certain face shapes, going together like PB&J, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Dolce & Gabbana—you get the idea.
To help steer us in the right direction, we asked a handful of Hollywood’s most talented stylists (you know, the ones who cater to all of our favourite hair-blessed celebrities) which haircuts look best for which face shapes. Oval, diamond, square, heart, round, long and unique variations between—the shape of our heads can dramatically influence the way certain cuts will flatter and fall. Thankfully, we have the best experts in the biz by our side to help point us in the right direction. Keep scrolling for 20 haircuts strategically suited to every kind of face shape.
Celebrity examples: Kate Middleton, Jessica Alba, Bella Hadid, Charlize Theron, Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, Jessica Chastain, Rachel McAdams, Beyoncé
Don’t shoot the messenger, but if you have an oval-shaped face, you can stop reading, head to the salon and ask for any haircut that tickles your fancy. Kidding—except not really. Every stylist I consulted during my research said those with oval face shapes are the lucky ones who can pretty much sport any type of cut with super-flattering results. That said, since you have quite a bit of freedom, celebrity hairstylist Cash Lawless recommends shifting your strategic focus to favourite facial features rather than your facial shape.
“Oval face shapes are often seen as the most balanced face shape with the most symmetry. Therefore, you can get creative,” Lawless iterates. “However, here is the caveat. You’ll want to find a cut that focuses on features over face shape. I recommend talking to your stylist about your favourite features so you can work together to create a cut that will accentuate those, while simultaneously minimising anything you don’t want to draw attention to.”
According to Lawless, a chic fringe can look great with wide-set eyes, a bold pixie cut can bring out high cheekbones and strong bone structure, and a sleek lob or bob will help draw focus to the centre of the face and features like the nose and lips.
Celebrity examples: Chrissy Teigen, Kirsten Dunst, Miranda Kerr, Selena Gomez, Ginnifer Goodwin, Queen Latifah, Emma Stone, Mindy Kaling
Like oval, round face shapes have a lot more versatility haircut-wise than many tend to think. Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan loves textured pixie cuts, layered bobs and side-swept bangs for her round-faced clients, and Maldonado and Lawless add that face-elongating length can also be a strategic route if you’re looking to create the illusion of a longer, slimmer-looking face shape.
“I love long, sleek haircuts on this face shape with sweeping side parts and volume up at the crown. You don’t want your volume to hit at the cheeks or chin,” warns Lawless. “Also, be careful of going too short with a round face shape, as it can make the head look wider and out of balance with the neck, especially if you have a thicker hair texture. Queen Latifah and Chrissy Teigen are great examples of a sweeping side part coupled with longer layers. This style cuts across the face and creates the illusion of reducing width.”
Celebrity examples: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lawrence, Katharine McPhee, Felicity Jones, Scarlett Johansson, Kat Graham, Kourtney Kardashian, Rashida Jones
When it comes to the best haircuts for heart-shaped faces, stylists say it’s all about softening the strong jawline associated with the face shape. “Think layers that hit around the jawbone, wispy fringe, long wispy lobs, etc.,” shares Marjan. Maintenance-wise, she says a fringe should be trimmed every two to four weeks, and long lengths or lobs should be cut every six to eight weeks.“
"For this type of face I love a chin-length bob with texture on the ends—not blunt—for a little movement,” adds Maldonado. “I also like a long-layered haircut right about the chest with bangs brushing right on the eyebrow which creates flattering, face-framing fringe.”
Celebrity examples: Jourdan Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Kristen Wiig, Kelly Rowland, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Campbell, Halle Berry, Liv Tyler
“With long face shapes, clients usually have the goal of minimising length while giving the features more balance and focus,” Lawless shares. “I personally love every kind of fringe for long face shapes—side-swept like Liv Tyler or straight and low like Naomi Campbell. That said, I think the ultimate cut for the long face shape is a curly shag with a fringe, which adds width on the side to balance.”
Lawless says you can also go the route of a lob or longer-length cut that adds volume on the sides—a look A-listers like Sarah Jessica Parker and Carrie Underwood have pretty much made their signature.
Celebrity examples: Jenna Dewan, Ashley Greene, Jennifer Lopez, Eva González, Viola Davis, Serena Williams, Tyra Banks, Vanessa Hudgens
“With the combination of a strong jawline and high cheekbones, the goal for diamond-shaped faces is keeping the hair in motion and adding softness,” explains celebrity hairstylist Robert Vetica. “This can be done with straight layers or by adding volume with extra wave and curl.”
Additionally, Marjan adds that diamond-shaped faces look best with cuts that sit around the chin to widen that area of the face, such as A-line or blunt bobs or shoulder-length cuts featuring layers for added fullness. “Diamond-shaped faces also look great with straight-across bangs or side bangs,” she adds.
The jury is in, and according to stylists, the most flattering haircuts for those with square-shaped faces will all cater to adding length (which a square craves) in order to elongate. Both Marjan and Maldonado agree strands falling past the shoulders and beyond, fringe hanging extra low (think right atop the cheekbones), and extended swaying layers are all great cuts for those with shorter, wider faces. Marjan is also partial to big curls, side parts and romantic swept-over bangs.