27 November, 2010

Face shapes

Human beings differ in what seems to be an endless well of ways. Just as coloring and body shape are different, so are our faces. And by faces, I don't only mean the features of our face, such as the size of our nose, the shape of our eyes, the fullness of our lips, and so forth. I'm talking about the shape of the face.

Some people have a broad jaw, other people have a strong chin, other people have a small forhead, other people have high cheekbones, and so the list goes on. Our face shape is the geometrical contour of our face. Take a good look at your self in the mirror. If your hair is long, pull it back. Same goes for bangs. Now, use a lipstick, eyeliner or whatever you have that can be scrubbed away. Whilst looking straight into the mirror, try to follow the contours of your face by drawing at the mirror. Don't look at your ears, or hair or nose or anything else; just the facial contour. You might find it easier to focus on the contour if shutting one eye, or squinting. Now, take a step back. What does the shape look like? Which geometrical shape would you compare it to?

I will get in more detail about each shape, but first, let's do a quick summary of each face shape, shall we?
  • Long: Visibly longer than wide, with a soft jaw line
  • Rectangle: Visibly longer than wide, with a square jaw line
  • Round: About as wide as it is long. The cheeks are the widest point
  • Square: Almost as wide as it is long. You can draw a vertical line from the forehead, cheek bones to jaw line. Strong, square jaw line
  • Inverted triangle: Wide forehead, high cheek bones and a narrow chin
  • Heart: Wide forehead, high cheek bones and a narrow chin. Differs from the inverted triangle with its widow's peak
  • Diamond: Wide cheekbones, about equally narrow chin and forehead. Basically a mix between a dramatic oval and a heart (yet with a narrower forehead)
  • Pear: Very narrow forehead. The shape is gradually widening towards a full, rounded jaw
  • Triangle: Narrow forehead, almost vertical line from cheek bones to the strong, square jaw. The jaw might be slightly wider than the cheek bones
  • Oval: Shaped like an egg. Slopes softly from the cheek bones to the jaw. The forehead is wider than the jaw. Considered ideal due to its neutral features
I will now share some tips to looking your best, no matter what face shape you've got. I personally find all shapes just as beautiful, but the aim with these tips is to work with the shape, rather than against it. When wearing the "wrong" kind of hair style or accessories, your shape might appear jarringly exaggerated. The goal is to make it more oval, or neutral, yet still retaining the shape you've got.


Long and rectangle

  • Avoid flat, long clunks of hair running down the sides of your face. This will only make your face look longer. For a rectangular face, this will also make your jaw look more angular
  • Choose styles with width around the temples and ears. This will make your face appear wider, thus shorter
  • Often, people with long or rectangular faces have a big forehead. For those with a long face, heavy, long bangs will be flattering. The rectangular faces should opt for softer, more diagonally cut bangs. Diagonal bangs will soften a strong jaw line
  • The most flattering length, would be medium to medium long. If lusting long, lucious locks, add volume to the hair in the area around your neck and nape. Very short hair will display the length of your face full on
  • Avoid hair styles which are high on the crown. High hair will only make your face appear longer
  • If you have a rectangular face, you should avoid very angular hair styles. Angular hair styles with sharp edges bring forth each angular line in your face. As the rectangular shaped face often wants to make the jaw line appear softer, angular hair styles will work against this goal
  • The rectangle should avoid center parting, whereas the long face looks great with it 
  • Contour your hair line and blend down towards your forehead, as well as on and under your chin. Use a highlighter on the top of your cheeks and at the temples
  •  Rectangular faces could also contour on their jaw line and blend upwards to soften the angular jaw. If one with a long face would want to broaden their jaw, the jaw contouring would be placed under, and following, the jaw line, up towards the back side of the ear
  • Apply blush on the apple of the cheek, and pull the blusher slightly and very softly up diagonally on top of the cheek bones
  • Long face shapes suit flat, straight brows, whereas the rectangular face needs more of a defined arch 
  • Tall, broad glasses with an accentuated top rim or decorative temples are a flattering choice. The rectangular face could benefit from a more oval shape of the glasses
  • Hats should be big and wide rather than small and narrow
  • Avoid long earrings. The rectangular face shaped person should avoid all rectangular shaped earrings, and instead opt for more rounded shapes
  • The rectangular shaped should avoid square necklines, and instead go for more rounded ones
Sarah Jessica Parker has a long face shape, whereas Angelina Jolie's face is more rectangular



  • Go for height at the crown to make the face appear longer
  • Don't conceal the forehead completely. If sporting bangs, enable at least some part of the hairline to shine through
  • The most flattering bangs for your face shape, are long, diagonal ones. Heavy, long or short bangs, are less so
  • Keep your hair close to your head in the area around your ears
  • A short pixie crops and short bobs will only emphasize the roundness of your face. Medium long to long hair flatters your shape the most
  • Curls at the sides of your head will only make your hair look wider. If wanting, or having, curly hair, curls below the chin would be more flattering
  • Contour along the sides of your face and under your cheekbones. Highlight on the top of your cheekbones, down your nose and on the middle of your forehead and chin
  • Apply blush under the apple of your chin, and sweet it diagonally upwards towards your temples - basically, follow your cheekbones
  • Very high arched brows flatter a round face
  • Avoid wide, tall and round glasses. Opt for angular ones instead. Upswept, angular styles are also very flattering
  • Avoid round necklines. A narrow v-shaped neckline is by far a lot more flattering
  • Go for long earrings. Short, wide and circular earrings will only emphasize the width of your face 
Charlotte Church and Kirsten Dunst both have round faces


  • Avoid too much width at the sides of the faces. Instead, add volume below the jaw
  • Instead of straight, angular styles, opt for more organic shapes such as waves and use layers to frame the face. However, if you have short hair, keep the hair closer to your head and use layers to add life
  • Choose a side parting rather than a center parting. Asymmetry is key when being the owner of a square face
  • Where blunt bangs only will make your jaw look more angular, side swept, diagonal bangs will flatter
  • Medium to medium long hair suits a square face very much. A shoulder length, wavy bob with side swept bangs is one of the most flattering hair styles for this face shape
  • Showing everything, or nothing, of the forehead, will only emphasize the square jaw. Use bangs or layers to conceal some of the forehead
  • Contour your face at the sides of the forehead and the top of the jaw. When blending the contour from the jaw, make sure you blend upwards, and avoid contouring under the jaw line, or behind the ear. Highlight the cheekbones and down the middle of your face
  • Use blush at the apple of your cheek. Sweep the excess of your brush gently up along the cheekbone
  • Soft, gentle brows will disappear on an angular face. Instead, define your brows with color and shape. Curved or angular arched brows looks very nice on this face shape
  • If wearing a hat, choose one that is asymmetric and has a prominent, high crown
  • Avoid angular glasses, especially those with low-set temples or color accents at the lower rim. More oval or round shapes will look a lot better, as it will soften the strong jaw. Butterfly shaped glasses are also a flattering choice. Choose glasses that have more width than depth
  • Choose earrings that are longer than they are wide. However, make sure they end above or under the jaw, never right at it. By choosing organic, more oval shapes, the jaw line is softened
  • V-shaped and deep, rounded necklines are far more flattering than those which echo the shape of your face, such as square necklines. Also, do keep in mind that very wide necklines might appear to widen your face
  • Short angular necklaces, chokers and generally anything that wraps around your neck, will give an illusion of a wider and a more square face, especially if you have a short neck (which many square faced persons appear to have)
Rosario Dawson and Demi Moore both have square shaped faces


Inverted triangle and heart

  • Bangs or center parting look great. Side parting without bangs or a bare forehead; not so much 
  • Avoid too much width above the ears - keep the width and volume around the jaw and chin area instead. This hair style, sported by Julia Roberts, is a perfect example
  • Keep the top layers of the hair soft and long. Avoid spiky, short hair around the crown
  • Long layers that frame the face are an excellent choice. Jennifer Aniston's famous 90's hair is a perfect example of a flattering layered style for heart/inverted triangle shaped faces
  • A chin-length (or longer) bob with tapered ends are very flattering as they balance the forehead
  • Contour along your hairline and the sides of your forehead and temples. Highlight your chin (unless it protrudes very much - then you're better off contouring softly underneath it) and you jaw
  • Apply blush on the apples of the cheeks and softly blend it diagonally towards the middle of the ear
  • Rounded, curved brows suit the inverted triangle/heart very well. If your face is short, go for a high arched round brow
  • Slender, rounded or square styles are nice picks. Go for bottom heavy frames or rimless glasses, as well as those with low-set temples. Avoid decorative temples, top heavy styles and very wide glasses
  • Medium long and wide earrings are your best choices. Avoid those which echo the shape of your face, that is a heart or an inverted triangle. You could instead opt for a more bottom heavy look to your earrings
  • Avoid long, narrow necklaces and v-necks, as that only with emphasize the narrowness of your chin and the width of your forehead. A more rounded or square neckline would be a better choice
Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Love Hewitt



  • Styles with width around the temples and ears as well as the chin area are flattering. Most bangs are your best friend - both heavy, blunt ones, and breezier side-swept ones. Avoid short bangs and height at the crown, as well as short hair which follows the shape of the head, as the latter only will over-exaggerate the face shape.
  • The perfect length is chin-length or longer. If short hair, the most flattering style would be bangs with soft wispy sides. Where the Aniston haircut of the 90's would be perfect for the heart/inverted triangle shaped face, it wouldn't suit a diamond shape. A flattering variation would be to add bangs
  • Hair that is longer than the jaw, should be somewhat organic, either in the form of curls, waves or soft layers. A bob or long hair with waves and heavy bangs would be perfect for this face shape
  • Contour the sides of your cheekbones, and highlight your temples, the sides of your forehead and along your jaw
  • Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks
  • Curved, arched brows look great on a diamond face shape. Rounded shapes are also good
  • Upswept/cateye, oval and rimless glasses are very flattering. Frames with details at the top are a good choice. Avoid narrow styles and glasses which are wider than your cheekbones
  • Earrings should be wider on the bottom, such as tear drop, pear or triangle shaped styles. Oval shapes are also flattering
  • A narrow v-neck will only emphasize the narrowness of the jaw and chin. Aim for wider or more rounded necklines instead
  • Wide-brimmed hats are flattering as they widen your forehead
Elizabeth Hurley and Sophia Loren are two well-known diamond face shape owners


Pear and triangle

  • Avoid width and volume around the jaw line. Instead, add width, volume and height to the temples
  • Never end a hair style at the widest point of the jaw. Short or medium length is ideal. If being a long hair lover, add wispy layers and keep the hair tight at the nape area. The Farrah-cut would be anything but flattering, so avoid wispy outwards-turning layers like the plague. Short hair should not have bangs that fall over the forehead and eyes, nor should the hair at the temples be close to the head
  • Keep the hair style organic and flowy rather than angular with sharp edges
  • Long side-swept bangs and a side-parting are great for these shapes. A center part will work well if you don't have a short forehead
  • A long bob with fullness at the temples and which tapers down towards the jaw, is a flattering cut. The same goes for a long style with large natural waves and slightly teased long bangs
  • Contour along the jaw and blend it upwards (don't contour under the jaw and behind the ear! Keep the contouring in front of the ear), and contour along the cheekbones to make it pop out. If having a strong chin, do also contour below at, and on the sides of it. Highlight the temples and sides of your forehead, as well as along your cheekbones
  • Apply blush on the apples of your cheeks and upwards in a v-shape along the cheekbones towards your temples
  • Keep the eyebrows strong to balance out the heavy jaw.  Angled or curved, arched brows are a nice choice. Keep the top of the arch defined and sharp
  • Glasses should be top heavy. Cateye/up-swept styles, semi-rimless (rimless at the bottom) and glasses with color or details on the top of the frame would be good choices. Avoid small, narrow frames and low-set temples
  • Avoid triangular-shaped jewelery, both necklaces and earrings. The earrings should be longer than they are wide, and not end at the jaw
  • Narrow necklines would be flattering, same goes for long, narrow necklaces. Avoid chokers and chunky necklaces
Ali Larter and Kathy Ireland



Due to the neutral nature of the oval face, there are no specific tips besides avoiding very short layers, as they can make your face seem long. The perfect brow shape for the oval face, is considered to be the soft angled shape, and a good way to apply blush is to sweep it up towards the temples.

Charlize Theron and Jessica Alba


  1. Thank you - I finally worked out my face shape after all this time! I'm a pear...not the best but whatever.

  2. Great post! I love that you're so thorough :)

  3. Airam and Chanelle: Thank you for your nice words! :)

  4. Solid gold! I've scoured the net and this is by far the best coverage on the topic. And, whilst I'd already figured that my one-length basin cut bob isn't the most flattering on my square face (oops), at least I know where I'm heading now (downwards, not outwards). Thank you Vain Villain!

  5. im a round pear im afraid haha but great and idd thorough post!

    1. Except your photo looks like you have a diamond she (narrower forehead and a pointy chin)

  6. I have a diamond face, oh no. I will always look evil, now I know the reason why.

  7. Sorry but the rectangle is the model shape oblong is for uglies lke sjp how can you lump the two together you are really blind!

  8. i think inverted triangle faces and heart faces are the most beautiful. Square faces are not my thing!:)

  9. i kinda think i got jessica alba face shape with a shorter chin,not so short but compare to the pic above,it looks short. And sometimes the chin looks flat not pointy like charlize theron. what face shape is it? is it round or square? help...? Can anybody guess my face shape and recommend me some names(famous person's) which you think fit it:-) thanks,peace.

  10. Thankyou so much for such a great post! I finally was able to figure out my face shape and what looks best for me. I am rectangular - I guess that's alright. :)

  11. I still cant figure out my face shape.... Either Long, Oval or Diamond. Forehead 7", Cheekbone 10", Jaw 10", and Length 8 1/2". I have a larger than average length chin area.

  12. i think i'm a diamond as my cheekbones stick out and my jaw and top of forehead are same length but i also have a very high forehead which makes my face look long so idk

  13. I have the Inverted Triangle face shape! yay!

  14. I applaud all those above who can figure out their face shape. I simply cannot because I just don't fit into a specific category.
    I have very wide cheekbones, quite wide, narrow forehead but not the same width jaw, but not pointed either. I know I don't like my hair without a bit of height on top. Can you help?

  15. I think im inverted triangle face too. Im always wearing a pixie haircut even thought it accentuates my teardrop face shape lol.


  16. I prefer round eyeglasses personally


  17. I'm not so sure about mine. I have a narrow forehead. A wider jaw line, but my cheek bone width is slightly longer than the length of my face... What is it?

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