Almost all beauty advice out there relies on face shape. You’ve probably seen articles telling you to choose your haircut, eyeglass frame and even blush techniques based on your face shape. If you don’t know what your face shape is, it can seem like all aspects of beauty are off-limits.
But have no fear! Your ultimate face shape guide is here to give you the tricks you need to finally determine the shape that will guide you to some of the most flattering hair and makeup trends.
Understanding facial geometry
With all the banter about faces that are heart shaped, square or circular, you might feel like you’re back in geometry class. No human face is shaped like that! While it’s true that no two human faces look exactly alike (or fit into a perfect geometric outline) most can be categorized into general shape categories that you might recognize, like diamonds, triangles and circles. There are about eight categories overall, but four are most common and identifiable – oval, circle, square and heart. Understanding what each shape refers to when it comes to actual human facial features can help you determine which one you have.
Oval faces. The oval is the most common facial shape and is extreme in no way. It has balanced proportions – the forehead and jawline are about the same, narrow width, and the cheekbones are high and are the widest part of the face. The width of the face is much more narrow than the length. Charlize Theron offers a good example of an oval face – and a gorgeous one at that.
Square faces. Unlike the oval, square faces are proportional in length and width. They have a strong, angular and prominent jaw line, square chin and a broad forehead. Demi Moore’s square face is defined by her strong jawline.
Circle faces. A circular face is also proportional in length and width like the square, but has full, rounded cheeks and few angles along the jaw or chin. In general, it is characterized by soft curves. Look to Kirsten Dunst or Ginnifer Goodwin as examples.
Heart faces. The heart-shaped face is widest at the forehead and narrowest at the chin, which is often pointed. This face shape has high cheekbones and and a narrow jaw line. A famous heart face you might know is Reese Witherspoon or Tiffani Thiessen.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall: which face shape do I have?
One easy trick to determine your face shape is to draw the outline on the mirror. In full lighting with your hair pulled back, look directly into the mirror. Take a dry-erase marker and outline the perimeter of your face on the mirror. Step back and try to determine which shape it most resembles. Tip: Look for angles at the chin and jaw – these can help you narrow down your choices.
Size it up
If you’re better with numbers than you are with shapes, you might find it easier to get out the measuring tape to get some hard numbers about your facial proportions. Make sure to write down all your numbers so you can compare at the end.
Start by measuring from cheekbone to cheekbone, then your forehead width-wise and your entire face length-wise. Measure your jaw (from the end of the jaw near your ear to your chin) then multiply this number by two. The smaller numbers indicate a more narrow section of your face, and vice versa. Seeing the measurements written down will help you determine which features fit into which shape category.
Now that you know your face shape, you might just find you can choose a more flattering haircut, makeup technique – even eyebrow shape!