Have you ever wondered why some hairstyles work on one person and not another? It's all about balance, symmetry and proportions. Don't worry if math isn't your thing, we've decoded the hair equations for you so the all important question of how you will wear your hair becomes that little bit easier to answer.
There are five basic face shapes that hair stylists refer to when styling or cutting hair. To find out which one you are, pull your hair back away from your face and sit in front of the mirror. Look at your face shape: pay particular attention to your hairline, forehead, cheekbones, temples, jaw and chin to see which of your features is most prominent and what the shape of your face is. Then match your features to the images below and voila... expert styling tips on cuts and dos that are perfect for your unique face shape.
A round face is wider than it is long and can be distinguished by a curved, wide hairline and rounded chin. It is a fuller face shape, which is widest at the cheeks and ears.
Try to avoid short curly styles, as they will make your face look wider and rounder. Generally, round face shapes need to create height to compensate for the width. A fringe with soft layers is a great way to minimise the fullness of your face. If you are keen on a short style, avoid any cuts that end between ear and chin length, as they'll make your face look wider. A lob - or long bob - that ends just above the shoulders is a great style for you as it will help to elongate your face. Longer styles and those that part on the side are fantastic options.
A square face has a strong, angular jawline, a broad forehead and a square hairline.
Texture such as curls, or a cut with choppy ends will soften your strong face shape beautifully. Always consider rounder styling, with texture on or close to your face, as this will soften the corners of a heavy jaw and hairline. Longer hairstyles work well to slim and elongate your face, while curls, waves, wispy layers or an asymmetric fringe will soften your features. Any look that frames your face is favourable.
An oval face is perfectly balanced and in proportion. It is narrow and curves gently at the jaw and hairline. It's slightly narrower at the jaw than at the temples or cheekbones.
Most cuts and styles suit an oval face. Any type of fringe, whether heavy, light or swept across the face will enhance the beauty of a perfectly balanced face. For hairdressers, oval face shapes present the fewest problems, as nothing needs to be "balanced out". Remember, an oval face can sometimes appear too long if wearing a hairstyle with shorter layers, or when there's height at the top of the head. So steer clear of choppy, layered cuts and beehives.
Also known as heart shaped, this face shape begins with a delicate, pointy chin and widens towards the cheekbones, temples and hairline.
Aim to always draw attention away from the chin, by playing up your eyes and cheekbones. Avoid short styles, strong angles and styles that have too much height at the crown as they will make the top of your face look fuller and your chin look smaller and pointier. Try a longer length, with fullness and texture to balance out your face shape. A soft whispy fringe, layers or a side part will help to draw the focus to your eyes and slim down your forehead.
An oblong shaped face is long and narrow. The forehead is often a similar width to the cheekbones. Oblong faces feature a narrow chin and a high forehead.
A longer cut that sits flat to your head will drag your face down, making it look even longer. If you're set on a long style, try curls or layers that hit the jawline instead of all one length, as it will help to give width around the cheeks and detract from the long shape of your face. Shorter styles are great for those with oblong faces, as they add width and fullness at the cheeks. Remember: add width, not height.
Image credits top to bottom: 1. Left: HAIR Dario Cotroneo COLOUR Dario Salon www.dario.com.au Right: PHOTOGRAPHY The Shoot Shoppe HAIR AND MAKEUP Hair and Makeup by Steph 2. Left: HAIR Paula Hibbard The Art of Hair MAKEUP Julie Elton Makeup Artist Right: HAIR AND MAKEUP Hair and Makeup by Steph 3. Left: HAIR Sharon Blaine Right: HAIR Dario Cotroneo COLOUR Dario Salon www.dario.com.au 4. Left: HAIR AND MAKEUP Hair and Makeup by Steph Right: HAIR Craig Smith MAKEUP Kylie O'Toole 5. Left: HAIR Carl Keeley Chumba Concept Salon COLOUR Belinda Keeley MAKEUP Kylie O'Toole PHOTOGRAPHY Andrew O'Toole FASHION STYLIST Vass Arvanitis Right: HAIR The Art of Hair PHOTOGRAPHY Ian Golding