How to Choose the Right Hairstyle for Your Texture and Face Shape
As a teenager, I set routine to follow every time I decided to get a new hair cut. First, I would buy the newest hairstyle magazines and pour over them. Next, I would surf the web for hours reading every article on hairstyles I could possibly find. Finally, I would copy pictures that I liked and fold down all the pages of the magazine with the hairstyles I wanted. Then the elimination process began.
Finding the right style for you can be extremely time-consuming. I will say that all the research paid off when my stylist told me, "You know, a lot of girls and women come in with pictures of what they want that will never look good with their hair, but you are really good at picking the right style for you."
It's a gift—a natural talent. Either that or I spent way too much time reading fashion and hair magazines. Either way, I learned some great tips and found a good method for choosing the right style. I've condensed what I've learned into four steps, each of which is detailed below.
Step 1: Find Out What Your Hair Type Is
Hair type is a combination of three things: the natural shape of your hair (straight, wavy, or curly), the texture of your hair, and the amount of hair you have. The shape or flow of your hair is the easiest to determine. What does your hair do naturally? I've found that the best thing for me to do is go with my natural hair flow. It's straight with a small wave, if dried naturally. I've learned that either using a straight iron or trying for some nice waves is personally the best for me. Trying to make pretty little spiral curls in my hair will just make me angry. Just go with the flow y'all!
Hair texture describes each strand of hair. Most people's hair falls into one of three general categories:
- Fine: People with fine hair have very soft and thin individual strands. Fine hair tends to be fly-away and hard to curl. It can take well to chemicals, but gets damaged easily, especially if overly processed.
- Medium: Medium textured hair is also described as normal texture. If your hair is normal textured, it generally takes perms and curls well. It is the most manageable and the most common texture in hair type.
- Coarse: Coarse hair strands are very thick and somewhat wiry feeling. The best part about this hair texture is that it's very strong. This means it doesn't damage easily. The not-so-great thing about this hair is that it requires a longer time to process and doesn't take well to chemical treatments.
Amount of Hair
The amount of hair you have can be determined in many ways. The simplest is the pony tail test. Take a regular sized elastic band and sweep your hair up into a pony tail. Now count the number of times the band wraps around the hair.
- 3+ times = Fine hair
- 2-3 times = Medium hair
- 1 time = Thick hair
How can I control my life when I can't control my hair?— Unknown
Step 2: Find Out What Your Face Shape Is
Now that you've figured out your hair type, the next thing you'll need to figure out is your face shape. There are also a lot of different ways people use to figure this out. One way is to tie your hair back from your face completely (pin up those bangs if you have 'em), and look into the mirror. Now, take a bar of soap and outline your face to determine what shape it is.
The method I prefer is a little more scientific. Another way to find out the shape of your face is to take some measurements with a tape measure or ruler. Take and write down the following measurements:
- Measure your face across the top of your cheekbones.
- Measure across your jaw line from the widest point to the widest point.
- Measure across your forehead at the widest point. Generally the widest point will be somewhere about halfway between your eyebrows and your hairline.
- Measure from the tip of your hairline to the bottom of your chin.
- Oval: The length of the face is one and a half times the width. Your forehead measurement is wider than your chin. Usually oval faces have prominent cheek bones. Oval faces can theoretically wear any hairstyle.
- Round: Round faces are about or just as wide as they are long. This face shape is the widest at the cheeks.
- Oblong: Oblong faces are longer than they are wide. Their forehead, cheek bones, and jaw line are about the same width. Oblong faces tend to have a prominent chin.
- Heart: Heart shaped faces are similar to an oval. They have wide cheek bones and forehead, and a narrow chin. The chin tapers to a smaller point than in an oval though.
- Square: Like a round face, your face is about as wide as it is long. Cheek bones, forehead, and jawline measurements are about the same. The biggest factor in a square face shape is the jawline is very angular and squared.
- Diamond: The cheekbone measurements are the widest. Forehead and jawline will be smaller and about equal widths.
- Triangle: Triangle faces are the reverse of the heart-shaped face. The jawline is the widest, with narrower cheekbones and forehead measurements.
Step 3: Find a Match
Now, with the info I've gathered from the first two tips, I like to find someone (preferably an actress) with similar attributes. For example, I'm either an oval or a heart. I've heard both, so the first thing I'll do is search online for actresses with heart-shaped faces. We'll go with that because they are less common. One of the names that came up was Michelle Pheiffer. Now, I'm going to search for Michelle Pheiffer's hair type. I'm in luck because Michelle Pfeiffer is reported to have fine textured hair like mine. Now I can search different hair styles of Michelle Pfeiffer and find a ton of new hairstyles to try.
You can find several actresses with your face shape and hair type until you find one with a style you like and want to try. Another thing to look at when looking at a style match is facial features. I love Meg Ryan's short shag from back in the day, but my facial features aren't as cute as hers (i.e., my nose), so I try to stick with longer styles to soften that particular feature.
Layering is a good way to make you best features stand out. If people say you have a nice smile, get face-framing layers starting at mouth level. If you get compliments on your eyes, try some bangs to add emphasis there. After you find some styles you like, you can look for variations of those styles in different hairstyle finders online for even more choices.
Step 4: Determine Whether Your Hairstyle Fits Your Lifestyle
Look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Is she high maintenance?" When you are narrowing down hairstyles, ask your stylist how high maintenance each style is. If you have a busy life and not much time or money to keep up with a style or color, don't do it. It will just end up driving you crazy. Choose a style that fits who you are. If you're sporty and always on the go, pick something cute and easy over something trendy. If you think that funky new do is cute, but you are shy and reserved, you may end up later regretting doing something "totally different". Ask your good friends, your mom, your husband, and/or boyfriend for their cheap two cents. Hopefully, these tips and tools will help you figure out some great hairstyles to try that will look gorgeous on you. Good luck!