Saturday, April 7, 2012

Haircuts 2012: Best Haircuts for Every Face Shape

I have a long face. If you scroll on down to the bottom of this page you can see it for yourself. My face is long and narrow topped off with an IMAX forehead ("Large foreheads are a sign of intellect," my friend Laura tells me. I don't believe her). Because I have a long face, I really should not wear my hair long.

Long hair tends to drag down a long face. And this is the basic rule of finding a great haircut for your face shape: You don't want to highlight your problems. This means if you have a round face, you don't want short curly hair that makes your round face appear rounder, but unlike me, you can get away with long hair. Learn more in this gallery of the best and worst cuts for round faces.

If you have a square face, you'll want to play down your strong, angular jaw. Texture, in the form of curls or choppy ends, does this brilliantly. See photos 3 and 10 in this photo gallery of best and worst haircuts for square face shapes.

Oval faces tend to look good in everything, but their faces can appear long with short layers that add height on top of the head. Also, if your hair is thick or curly, avoid a blunt cut. You'll look like a pyramid. See what works and doesn't on you in this photo gallery of best and worst cuts for oval faces.

Heart-shaped faces tend to come with pointy chins (although I have one of those too, hmmmm). Draw attention to your eyes and cheekbones instead with examples in this photo gallery of best and worst cuts for heart-shaped faces.

For us long face girls, while we should avoid long hair, we can get away with it if we cut in long layers that hit at the cheekbones and the chin. Long, wavy hair also looks good on us because the waves add width to the sides of a long face (get inspired with these photos). Unfortunately, my hair is stick-straight and I'm simply to lazy to curl my hair every day of my life. But if you want long hair and you have a long face, here's how to give yourself beachy waves. Good luck.

The Haircut That is Flattering on Everyone
So back to that photo of me hovering at the bottom of this page. It's about 4 years old and I no longer have that haircut. I can hear your audible sigh of relief.

Right now I am sporting perhaps the Most Flattering Hairstyle Ever Worn by Julyne. It is a version of what I have cleverly dubbed "The Perfect Haircut," because it's a style that looks great on pretty much everyone. You can see it here. This perfect cut falls between my chin and my shoulders and it looks good wavy or straight. When I wear it down, friends say, "I like your hair this length." Note to self: Quit putting your $200 hairstyle up in a ponytail, even a cute ponytail.

You, too, can have this perfect haircut because it looks good on all face shapes. To inspire you, I present these versions:

    "The Chop," which I love, love, love for reasons you can read all about.
    The Long Bob, which still remains popular.
    Alexa Chung's Shag (here I am outing myself as having a huge girl crush on Chung).

Who Can Wear Short Hair -- And Who Shouldn't
I cut my hair off after a particularly bad breakup and I loved it. Short hair suited my long face perfectly, made me feel sophisticated and somewhat edgy, and allowed me to stand out among a sea of long-haired Manhattan women. But then I decided to start dating again and while I know there are men out there who are madly attracted to women with short hair, I have never met them, so I decided to grow out my hair last year.

Short hair tends to suit all face shapes, although each face shape has issues to consider when going short. Round faces, for example, can look rounder with a bad short cut. And avoid short cuts if you have super curly hair.

I created the absolute perfect photo gallery for you short-hair-lovin' girls. Find out which short haircuts look best on your face shape.
My Love Affair With Bangs
Sometimes I convince my stylist Kazuo Suzuki of Eva Scrivo Salon to give me sideswept bangs, which are great for hiding a large forehead and suit long faces perfectly. But Kaz, who is a man of few words and works on my hair with the intensity and perseverance of a master hedge-trimmer, rolls his eyes and shakes his head when I bring up my forehead. He prefers me without bangs. I worry it's because he doesn't want to bother with me for the every-4-weeks bang trims, but it can't be that because I'm so lazy I hardly ever come in for them. I think it's because Kaz also has a large forehead and he's just OK with his.

So the bangs have grown out, which is OK because in all four seasons they tend to stick limply and greasily to my IMAX forehead.

Bangs can make a boring cut edgy. They can take years off a face and they bring attention to the eyes. They are flattering on almost all face shapes. If you have a square face, you should avoid blunt bangs, which only create more angles on your already angular face. Bangs are really more an issue of hair texture than face shape. Curly hair doesn't work well cut above the eyes, so bangs are usually a no-no. Super wavy hair requires bangs that are long and side-swept unless you like the dated-I'm-stuck-in-the-80s-look, which is OK by me.

See photos of awesome bangs that I handpicked just for you.
Consider Your Body Type
When considering a new haircut, you should think about your body type. Tall women with straight hair and boyish figures could look like pinheads with a pixie haircut. If you are cute and petite, you should avoid super long hair which can dwarf a tiny body. You risk appearing like one of those pageant kids. You know the ones? The 8-year-olds with extensions?

Find out what styles work best on tall, petite, busty and curvy women in Best Hairstyles by Body Type.
If You Are Over 55, Must You Cut Off All Your Hair?
I despise beauty rules that put women in a box. Stuff like women of a certain age should cut off their hair and dye their gray hair. The rule of thumb for older women remains: find a cut that flatters your best features and plays down your not-so-great ones. If people compliment you on your eyes, consider long side-swept bangs like these. If you have thick, wavy hair, let it grow to your shoulders or just above and WEAR IT DOWN (this photo gallery is for you). If you have thin, lifeless hair, consider a shorter cut with lots of layers like this one.

Unfortunately, there's not a ton of information out there specifically for older women so I created a bunch just for you:

    Hairstyles for Women Over Age 50
    20 More Gorgeous Hairstyles for Older Women
    Photos of Gorgeous Gray Hairstyles
    25 Makeup Tips to Look Younger

The Tricky Round Face Shape
My good friend and neighbor Melodie is Korean and has a very round face. Melodie has the absolute perfect haircut (it looks like an edgier this), for which she pays $20 in New York City's Chinatown. When I ask her where exactly is this salon where she gets her hair cut because maybe I would like to write about it, she says cryptically, "I drive you there."

Typically, if you have a round face, you want to make your face appear longer and leaner and less round. Melodie's haircut falls straight and choppy around her face and it looks best when it's at least a couple inches below her chin. The back is always shorter and angles out longer in the front. She has bangs. Even though Melodie complains about the imperfections of her perfect haircut, I sometimes look at her and think, "I can't believe I pay $200 for my version of your $20 haircut." And then I remember Kaz and how I could never cheat on him. (When I told Kaz about Melodie's cheap haircut he raised his eyebrows and said, "Huh!").

See photos of the best and worst haircuts for round face shapes.
Why I Envy the Square Face Shape
I read somewhere that square faces photograph the best. Apparently the angles of the jaw and the cheeks mean square faces don't photograph "flat." I also read somewhere that women with square faces tend to age better than the rest of us. While long faces just get skinnier and longer and round faces tend to get plumper, square faces tend to stay strong and angular.

So that is why I envy the square face shape above all other face shapes even the perfect oval face. That, and I kinda always want to be Gwyneth Paltrow.
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