Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Understanding the basic bone structure that makes up your face shape can help you with a variety of fashion and style choices. Although names for the different shapes vary from source to source, the basic varieties can be used to determine haircuts, sunglass styles, and even make-up application. As anyone who has looked in a mirror can tell you, however, determining the shape of your face can be more difficult than it sounds. You can try tracing your face in a mirror, ask a friend his or her opinion, or using a measuring tape to determine the shape.
Beauty experts typically divide face shapes into several basic forms: round, square, heart-shaped, triangle, and oval. These distinctions have to do with the relative length and width of your facial features. For example, a heart-shaped face is one that is wide across the forehead and tapers gently down to a narrow or pointed chin. A square-shaped face is one that is close to equally wide at the forehead, cheeks, and jaw, while a round face will be wider at the cheekbones and similar at the forehead and jaw.
There are several methods to determining the shape of your face. A popular way, often touted in beauty magazines, is the lipstick method. Standing in front of a mirror that you can see your whole head in, use a tube of lipstick to trace the outline of your face on the mirror. This method can be somewhat subjective, however, since lipstick is often quite wide and can distort the small contours of your face. You may also subconsciously adjust the outline to make it more to your liking, defeating the purpose of the method.
Third-party help can be useful in determining your face shape. Wrap a single-color towel around your head and wear a high-necked robe of the same color, then ask a friend what shape he or she thinks best describes your face. The use of a solid color drape eliminates distraction and highlights your face, possibly allowing a better contrast for the viewer. Again, this method is somewhat subjective, as your friend may be more concerned with giving you the answer you want than the truth. If you ask several friends, you may also run into honest disagreements, as it may appear different to different people.
Some beauty experts recommend a scientific approach. Using a tape measure, record the distance between your cheekbones, between the widest points of your jaw line, across your forehead at the widest point, and from hairline to chin. These proportional measurements may give you a good idea of what shape category your face fits. According to one system, round faces will be twice as wide as they are high, square faces are almost identical in length and width, and heart-shaped faces are much narrower at the jaw than at the forehead, and feature wide cheekbones.
Understanding your face shape can be a great basis for style choices, but doesn’t need to be followed all the time. While it is true that certain styles may flatter certain shapes, keep facial shape in mind as a guideline rather than a rule. Many experts agree that the most important factor in choosing any fashion or beauty style is that you feel beautiful, regardless of trend or expert advice.
"According to one system, round faces will be twice as wide as they are high".
What? Have you -ever- seen a normal person whose face is twice as wide as it is tall? A 7 inch high face would have to be 14 inches wide.
Try this instead: a round face is the same width and height, within a 1/2 inch. The widest point is at the cheekbones/ears. The jaw line is rounded.
A square face is the same as a round face, except the jaw is straight and not gently curved.
An oval face is, on average, 1/3 taller than it is wide, with a gently rounded jaw.
A heart or inverted triangle face is, on average, 1/3 taller than it is wide, with a straight jaw. The widest part of the face is the forehead.
A diamond face is, on average, 1/3 taller than it is wide, with a straight jaw. The widest part of the face is at the cheekbones/ears.
What exactly is a "diamond" face shape? I think I might have one because my cheekbones are quite pronounced, but I'm not sure because my chin and forehead aren't too narrow.
Are there any celebrities with diamond shaped faces, or can anybody describe this to me?
A lot of people try to choose their haircut based on their face shape, but this isn't always the best way to go.
Although certain face shapes and haircuts do go together well, it shouldn't be a hard and fast rule.
For instance, although straight bobs may not be the best choice for a square face shape, you might be able to pull it off. A lot of the face shape/hairstyle relationship can be manipulated by styling.
The best thing to do is to ask your stylist to try and figure out the best hairstyle for your face shape, and then decide where to go from there.
Besides, there are some haircuts that work well on every face shape. So whether you have a long, diamond, oblong or narrow face shape, there is a hairstyle out there for you.
Another good tip to determine your face shape is to look at the face shape of celebrities. It can be very helpful to look in magazines and try to compare your face shape to that of the celebrities you see in the magazine.
However, this method isn't fool proof, since most celebrities are wearing lots of makeup in magazine pictures, which can distort their normal face shape.
Also, it can be tempting to compare yourself to a celebrity because you like the way they look, rather than because you actually share their face shape.
So try to be as objective as possible when determining your face shape, or have a friend look at the pictures with you. It can be a lot of fun!
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!