My hairstyles were awful until I understood face shape geometry. I remember years ago having the same old conversation to absolutely no avail. I said to my hairstylist: “I hate looking like I've got a big helmet head. Can you do something about it please?” She nodded like she always did and said, “Of course, no problem.” But soon enough, as always, I ended up looking the same: like a big old helmet head. So I decided to do something about it. After a little Internet research I learned about face shapes. Since then my hairstyles have been a hundred times better (I changed hairstylists too).

Face Shape and the Kiwifruit Principle

Picture a nice and ripe oval kiwifruit. See that oval shape: experts agree it's the ideal shape for a human face. An oval shape is “the most perfect and pleasing shape to the human eye.” Why would having a kiwifruit for a face be so aesthetically pleasing? Because an oval shape is perfectly balanced and symmetrical.

What does the kiwifruit principle mean for your face shape? Before you work out your own face shape, whatever it is, you need to understand that you ideally want your hairstyle to make your face appear as oval as possible. Face shape geometry, then, is all about using your hair to balance your features and make your overall face look oval— like a kiwifruit.

Look in the Mirror: it's Right in Front of Your Face

Great hairstyles should balance your face and create the illusion of an oval shape. In order to work out which hairstyle is best to achieve the task before you, you need to first of all look in the mirror and get to know the shape of your own face.

There are a few simple things you can do that will help. When you look in the mirror it's useful to tie your hair back so it's flat against your head— or if your hair is short, wet it and slick it back. Next, grab a non-permanent marker and outline your face on the mirror, starting from your hairline and moving right around. When you step back you should see that your face shape broadly resembles one of these major face shape types: oval, round, square, heart, triangular, diamond or oblong.

Diamond face shape

Here is an example of a diamond face shape. Of course your face may not match one shape exactly but it should come close. For a little more help take a look at our simple diagrams in “The Right Hairstyle for Your Face Shape.”

Hairstyles are Shapes Too

A perfect hairstyle that suits you and looks great is easy. All you need to do is think of hairstyles not so much in terms of whether they're fashionable and have been worn by the most popular celebrities (although these things are important too), but in terms of their shape. Look at a hairstyle and ask yourself, “Does the shape of this hairstyle balance my features [the broad jaw of your square face; or if your face is round, its width through the center] and make it look more oval?”

Amy Poehler Medium Wavy Hairstyle

Amy Poehler's hairstyle is great for her square face shape because the layers through the sides minimize the straight-across appearance of her face and soften the angular lines of her jaw. Here are some more quick tips for the other face shapes:

  • Oval: oval faces pretty much suit any hairstyle, just think about which facial feature you'd like to accentuate.
  • Round: round faces need hairstyles that add length and avoid width.
  • Heart: heart faces need hairstyles that add length and create width around narrow chins.
  • Triangular: triangular faces need hairstyles that don't draw attention to the chin area.
  • Diamond: diamond faces need hairstyles that balance a narrow chin, minimize wider cheek bones and shorten the appearance of the face's overall length.
  • Oblong: oblong faces need hairstyles that add width and minimize vertical length.

If you were like me and never understood why certain hairstyles always ended up looking terrible, then this information about face shapes will definitely help. Good hairstyles that look great will complement your face shape and make it appear more oval. So you need to choose complementary hairstyles, and you need to make sure your hairstylist understands too and gives you something that suits. Face shape geometry is easy and logical; in fact it's pretty much so obvious it was staring you in the face all along. Work out your face shape and try on some hairstyles using our Virtual Hairstyler: