face shape

The Ultimate Guide to Determining His Face Shape

The shape of your face can affect what hairstyle, glasses, or makeup effect looks best on you. Start familiarizing yourself with the basic shape categories to determine your face shape. Identify your face shape with a few measurements, and use your newfound knowledge to choose your hairstyles, makeup styles, and accessories that flatter your face.

Measure your face

Grab a flexible measuring tape.

To measure your face, you’ll need the kind of soft measuring tape that tailors use. You can easily get these at most department stores. It doesn’t matter if the division is in inches or centimeters. What matters is how the measurements are about each other, not the exact numbers.

Get your hair out of the way.

If your hair is long, pin it up or tie it back. Slick shorter hairstyles back, or clip them up.

Tip: Don’t try to measure your face with a stiff, retractable tape measure. Not only does this become much more difficult, but you could also injure yourself if the band accidentally snaps back during a measurement.

Get a pencil and paper.

To determine your face shape using measurements, you’ll need to write down all of the measurements so you can compare them all when you’re done. Get something to write down your measurements with.

Stand in front of a mirror.

It’s easiest to measure your face when you can see what you’re doing. Stand or sit in front of a large mirror in a well-lit room. Look straight ahead in the mirror and keep your chin level.

Measure the widest part of your forehead.

This is usually halfway between your eyebrows and your upper hairline. Measure straight across the distance from the hairline on one side of your forehead to the other. Write down the result.

Measure between your cheekbones.

This measurement can be a little tricky. With your fingertips, feel for the most prominent part of your cheekbones. This is usually just below the two outer corners of the eye. Measure straight from one cheekbone to the other once you’ve found the right spot.

Tip: Keep in mind that the bridge of your nose can push the measuring tape outward and make this width appear larger than it really is. Hold the tape measure straight across your face and eyes at cheekbone level to get an accurate measurement. If you do, hold the tape measure away from your face for your other measurements.

Measure from one end of your lower jaw to the top of your chin.

Place one end of the tape measure under your ear at the corner of your lower jaw and bring the other end to the top of your chin. Do the same on the other side and add the results together, or just multiply the first measurement by 2. This gives your overall jaw length.

Measure the length of your face.

Take your tape measure from the midpoint of your upper hairline to the tip of your chin. If you have a receding hairline or a shaved head, estimate where your hairline would be.

Note: If you have a protruding nose, this can make your length measurement different. Instead of following the contours of your face, hold the tape measure straight in front of your face at the level of your hairline and chin.

Compare all measurements to determine your face shape.

Determine which measurements are the largest and which are the smallest once you have taken all the measurements and written them down. Compare the proportions of your face to those of common face shapes. For example, if your face is about as long as it is wide, it’s probably round or square. A square face has a wider, more angular lower jaw than a round face. If your face is longer than wide, it may be oblong, oval, or rectangular. Look at your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline measurements to determine which. If your measurements gradually narrow from forehead to jawline, your face is heart-shaped or oval. If they’re similar, your face may be oblong, square, or rectangular. If your face widens from the forehead to the jawline, it’s triangular.

Flatter your face shape

The length of your hair can affect how long and wide your face looks. Go for a length that balances the dimensions of your face. Long, straight hair is an excellent choice for round and square faces because it adds length and minimizes width. Extremely short cuts that add volume to the top of the head (such as a pixie cut) can also lengthen short faces and draw attention to the eyes and cheekbones. Mid-length to short cuts, such as a chin-length or shoulder-length bob, can make long faces look shorter and add fullness to the face.

Style your bangs to suit your face.

The shape of your face is a big factor in determining which type of bangs suit you best (or if you should have any). Consider the following when deciding on bangs: Long, feathery bangs that frame the forehead in an A-shape can help soften the look of a square face. Side bangs flatter on various face shapes, including round, heart, and oval or oblong. Blunt, long, straight bangs can broaden a narrow forehead and minimize the length of long faces.

If you wear glasses, choose a frame that balances your face shape. Glasses can change the look of your face quite a bit. If you wear glasses, choose a frame that complements rather than accentuates the shape of your face. For example: Balance an oval face with a frame that matches the width of your face. If you have a heart-shaped face, minimize the width of your upper face with light-colored frames or rimless lenses. You can also choose a frame that is wider at the bottom. For long faces, such as oblong or square, choose wide frames with low bridges and decorative elements at the temples to add width. For faces that are narrower at the top, such as triangle faces, look for frames that are wider at the top, such as cat eyes. Choose narrow frames for short, wide face shapes, such as square or oval. Curved frames balance square faces, while square frames work best on round faces. Soften the look of an angular plaid face shape by choosing oval frames.

Flatter your face shape with complementary makeup.

If you wear makeup, apply it in a way that balances your face’s proportions and brings out your best features. For example: add width to an oblong face by applying blush to the apple cheeks and fading it towards the temples. Reduce length by adding bronzer to the hairline and jawline. Use bronzer to minimize the width of the forehead on a heart-shaped face. Give structure to a round face by applying bronzer all over the face and under the cheekbones. Emphasize the central part of the face (middle of the forehead, bridge of the nose, highest part of the cheeks, and chin). Soften square faces by contouring the forehead, temples, and jawline and adding a highlighter to the cheeks. For faces with narrower foreheads (such as plaids and triangles), widening the space between your brows can create the illusion of more width in the upper face.

Identify the basic face shapes

Recognize oval faces by their slight taper.

If your face is oblong but tapers slightly from the forehead to the jawline, you may have an oval-shaped face. Oval faces are about 1.5 times as long as they are wide.

Look for width at the cheekbones to identify a round face.

Round faces are widest at the cheekbones and have a rounded forehead and jawline. Another good rule of thumb is that the round face is usually about as long (measured from hairline to chin) as it is wide (from cheekbone to cheekbone).

Look for a broad forehead and narrow jawline to spot a heart-shaped face.

Heart-shaped faces are widest at the forehead and gradually narrow down towards the chin. The forehead should be wider than the cheekbones and the lower jaw narrower than the cheekbones and forehead.

Note: This face shape is often associated with a pointed chin.

Look for a narrow forehead and jawline to identify a plaid face.

You have a plaid face if your face is long, widest at the cheekbones, and narrow at the forehead and chin.

Discover an elongated face by looking for a rounded jawline and forehead.

Oblong faces are long but also rounded at the top and bottom.

Recognize a square face by looking for a wide jawline and forehead.

Square faces tend to have a jawline about as wide as the cheekbones or even wider. Square faces also typically have a broad forehead. The slope from the angles of the lower jaw to the chin is gentle, and the chin is usually fairly broad rather than pointed or rounded.

Observe if the square jawline accompanies a long face.

Like round faces, square faces are usually about as wide as long. If you have a square jaw and a longer face, your face shape is more rectangular than square.

Notice that your face is triangular by looking around for a wider jawline.

A square jawline can also be a trait of a triangular face. If your forehead and cheekbones are significantly narrower than your jawline, your face is triangular.


About the Author

Karren Brandenburg

Karren Brandenburg is a travel and shopping expert. She has been quoted in Street Insider, Yahoo Finance, Reuters, ABC News, and MarketWatch. Karren has a total of 18 credit cards, using reward points to see the world on a budget.