The Best Way to Part Your Hair for Your Face Shape
Forget complicated makeup contouring. Instead, make your cheekbones look higher and your jawline seem softer by parting your hair in the most flattering way.
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Why your hair part matters
One of the great equalizers in life is that we all have endured at least one hairstyle that just…didn’t work. For me, it was a center-part bob in college that was supposed to accentuate my heart-shaped face, and oh boy, did it ever. My wavy type 2 hair fell equally on both sides of my face, and according to my generous brother, it gave me the appearance of a Lego head. Luckily, as the style grew into a lob, I was able to use the length to play around with different hair parts, and it is not an exaggeration to say that it changed my entire facial appearance.
Gen Z’ers recently declared side parts to be “over.” Perhaps they have not yet had this humbling experience, because anyone who has knows what a gift from heaven a side part can be, especially when recovering from a serious hairstyle mistake. It’s also a very forgiving type of part that works with most face shapes. But women with oblong and rectangular faces, beware: A deep side part can elongate a face, depending on your hair type, so if your hair skews straight as an arrow, it’s best to spritz a salt spray in first for some extra movement.
Hair plays a major role in how we look and feel, and it begins with a solid foundation. Not sure what works best for you? Find inspiration in our guides to hairstyles that will make you look younger and hairstyles for women over 40, and of course, talk to your stylist. From there, you can tame your hair with the best shampoos and conditioners for your hair type, along with a biweekly hair mask (or weekly if you have hair type 3 or 4) like this K18 leave-in hair mask. You’ll also want to make sure you’re rocking the best hair color for your skin tone. With these foundational elements on lock, read ahead to discover the most flattering ways to part your hair, and you’ll be looking your best in no time.
Best part for a round face
Visually lengthen your face by drawing more attention to the center with curtain bangs, suggests Kérastase hairstylist Matt Fugate. These bangs are parted in the center and angle down to get longer toward your jawline. By leaving a bit of forehead exposed and tapering at your jaw, the eye focuses on the middle of your face instead of the round sides. “Instantly you change the [face] shape to more of a diamond,” says Fugate. If bangs aren’t your thing, try a deep side part, suggests stylist Mackenzie Day, owner of the Artist Haus. Creating more volume at the top of your head will make your face seem longer. Here are some of the best haircuts for your face shape.
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Best part for round with textured hair
If you’re looking to use hair as an optical illusion to make your face appear slimmer, one definite no-no is having too many layers when sporting a middle part. Those layers will add volume, rather than elongate. If your hair type is a temperamental 2, celebrity stylist Larry Sims reminds us to first “check the weather before you invest in a blowout.” For dry, sunny days, rock a middle part with straight hair, but on a rainy or humid day, “lean into your natural hair” while opting for a deep side part to create a stylized look. These expert-recommended frizzy hair products will help in any type of weather.
Best part for an oval face
A centered hair part can highlight any asymmetry in your face, but a deep or slightly off-center part will look flattering, says Day. Women with oval face shapes can also take advantage of the fact that they can pull off tricky looks, like slicking a ponytail back to hide your part or trying blunt bangs, according to Fugate. “You want to do something architectural to show off your face,” he says. After you figure out the optimal way to part your hair, make sure you have the best eyebrows for your face shape.
Best part for a heart-shaped face
A center part will draw attention to the middle of your face and make a pointy chin seem harsher. Bringing your part to the side, on the other hand, can create more balance for your features. “A slightly off-center part would help create some softness in the hair and help break up the face a little more,” says Day. Pair this style with the best earrings for your face shape.
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Best part for heart-shape with textured hair
Sometimes the best way to part hair means forgoing a part altogether. For natural or Afro-textured hair, a no-part pixie is a fail-safe option to keep curls in check; just don’t be afraid to let it “morph” as the days go on, says Sims. “Start off with clean hair, and when you wake up, add oil, run your fingers through it, and allow it to be. You’ll get many more levels of different looks if you just let it go.” By lifting hair at the root for a hidden part, eyes are drawn to the heart shape’s high cheekbones.
A center part also can also work wonders for those with heart-shaped faces and textured hair. That’s because hair in a center part can enhance the natural flow of the face, bringing attention to the balance and symmetry of the heart.
Best part for a square face
Middle parts and blunt bangs exaggerate a strong jawline, so if you have a square-shaped face, keep the hair around your face soft and wispy, suggests Fugate. A deep or slight side part will help soften the look, says Day. “It doesn’t need to be drastic,” she notes. “You can create a really nice, soft face frame.” No matter what your face shape or hairstyle, this one-step Revlon hair dryer will be your new BFF.
Best part for an oblong face
An oblong face is longer and tends to have a wider forehead than an oval face. A hair part that swoops across your forehead from the side will create the right amount of movement and volume, says Fugate. To mix it up a bit, Day recommends a diagonal or zigzag part, depending on your hair type, to create visual interest by drawing the eye across your face, rather than up and down. But remember to stay away from a middle part, which does an oblong face no favors—it can make the forehead look extra elongated, starting from part’s beginning at the crown of the head and extending all the way down to the chin. Find out what your face shape can reveal about your sexuality.
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Best part for a rectangular face
Bangs or a full fringe go beautifully with gracefully long, rectangular faces. A strong, straight middle part at the crown works as an optical illusion to center and frame the face in a seamless way before flowing into a full fringe, which evokes a playful vibe. Take Naomi Campbell’s famous fringe: Her long bangs, which start at the crown of her head and sweep down to her eyebrows, keep the focus on the lower half of her face in a super glam way. This accentuates her cheekbones, jawline, and delicate chin. How can you make bangs look picture-perfect every time? Make sure your scalp is clean, and use a scalp brush for next-level shine.
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Best part for an inverted triangle-shaped face
“I love really strong shapes that showcase texture and the person’s features,” says hairstylist and Oribe educator Stacey Ciceron, adding a reminder that the style should fit easily into your morning routine so that “you’re able to maintain your style on the go.” Tyra’s no-part part is the epitome of a wash, toss, and go hairstyle that looks expertly un-done in a totally done way, especially for an inverted triangle face shape. Warning: If you have this shape and part your hair unharmoniously, say, right down the center, it can make your chin appear sharp and pointy.
Best part for a diamond-shaped face
If you have a diamond face shape, you have a sharp chin and high cheekbones, and your hair part should depend on how much you want to play those features up. A side part will soften your face, while a center part will make them even more pronounced. “It all goes according to personality and style,” says Day. And one of the great things about a top-knotch hairstyle is the freedom to take your part either way, depending on whether you’re feeling cutting-edge with a straight-down-the-center part, or a little more conservative and demure with a very flippable side part. It’s the summer, so play it up! Here’s what else your hairstyle reveals about your personality.
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Best part for a diamond shape with curly hair
As we mentioned, a center part can look sleek and edgy on a diamond-shaped face. Think Tracee Ellis Ross’ hint of a center part amidst her full set of corkscrew curls. Bonus: “If you opt out of heat styles and do things that are proactive styles, like twists and going with natural curls, the style can last for days on end,” says Sims. “The frizzier it gets, the cooler it looks to me.” But embrace big hair on your own terms with this $8 frizzy hair product that has near-perfect reviews on Amazon.
- Matt Fugate, a hairstylist with Kérastase
- Mackenzie Day, owner of the Artist Haus
- Larry Sims, celebrity stylist
- Stacey Ciceron, hairstylist and Oribe educator