Not all haircuts are universally flattering, so before you head to your salon, it’s always important to know what styles best fit your face.
There are four basic face shapes: oval, round, square and heart. Variations exist, such as the oblong and the triangular face shapes. Many people have faces that don’t perfectly fit a category, but with a general sense of what shape your face is, it’s easier to find a cut you’ll be happy with.
How to determine your face shape:
One way to find your face shape is to look in the mirror after you’ve washed your hair. Smooth your hair into a ponytail, exposing your ears. Then, trace the outline of your face on the surface of the mirror with an eyebrow pencil or washable marker.
If you want to be more precise, you could measure the width of your face across your forehead, the top of your cheekbones and your jawline, then compare these measurements to the length of your face, from your hairline to your chin.
The round-shaped face is about as long as it is wide, with full cheekbones and a comparatively narrow forehead and jawline. Owners of round faces often appear young for their age.
Recommendation: To define your face and de-emphasize fullness, ask for an “asymmetrical” cut with layers that closely frame the face. Longer hair visually lengthens the face, so try a style that falls to the chin or below. If you prefer short hair, have it cut with choppy, razored ends to create angles. Avoid straight bangs, as they make the face appear wider—you can ask for side-swept fringes—and try a part that is slightly off-center.
Like the round face, this shape has about the same length and width, but the jawline of a square face is sharper, with bolder angles. The forehead and jawline are about the same length.
Recommendation: Offset the sharp angles of a square face with a haircut in soft, graduated layers—the ends of your hair should be soft and wispy. Side-swept bangs will also help draw attention away from the angularity of the square face. Wavy hair or loose curls work well on a square face. Avoid blunt cuts and straight, heavy bangs and try a slightly off-center part.
The heart-shaped face is characterized by a wide forehead and cheekbones and a narrow chin.
Recommendation: Try a chin-length textured hairstyle to fill out the bottom half of your face with side-swept bangs to emphasize the eyes and cheekbones. Pixie cuts look flattering on the heart-shaped face; if you want longer hair, try wispy layers with a strong side part. Avoid blunt bangs and hairstyles that look fuller around the top half of your face.
Considered the most balanced shape, the oval shape is one and a half times as long as it is wide. If you have an oval face, your forehead and jawline are about the same width.
Recommendation: Virtually any hairstyle works for this face shape. Try one that emphasizes one of your best features—for example, bangs draw attention to the eyes (and if your face is slightly longer than most oval-shaped faces, long bangs help visually shorten the distance from your hairline to your jawbone). Also, try parting your hair at the center.
A Haircut That Flatters Almost Anyone
Go for long layers. The shortest locks of hair should frame your face, hitting at about chin level, while the longest layer should be shoulder-length.
Mochi’s Favorite Salons for Asian Hair
Address: Three locations in Manhattan, NY
Price range: $40 and up
Description: I’m a huge fan of Manhattan’s Sei-Tomoko, where almost all the hairstylists are Japanese, so I trust them to know how to deal with Asian hair. This place is great for a simple trim or a more drastic haircut. Their junior hairstylists accept student discounts, so you can get a haircut starting at $40—which is completely unheard of in New York City, unless you’re in Chinatown. —Stephanie Wu
Address: 245 Eldridge St, New York, NY
Price range: $60
Description: Coquelicot is a respite from the hustle and bustle of the LES. Go to Maki; whether it’s a standard trim, perm or style overhaul, she always dedicates her full attention. Maki does the wash, cut and styling herself, so prices are very reasonable. If you don’t know what you want, there are plenty of Japanese hair and fashion magazines for inspiration. Use this number for Maki: 347-225-4187. —Tammy Ku
Le Gala Hair Group
Address: 78 Essex St (between Hersey Pl & Harrison Ave), Boston, MA
Yelp link: https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-gala-hair-group-boston
Price range: $30 for a cut and wash
Description: The stylists here know their stuff and are very conscious of how different kinds of hair behave. I love that they also factor your styling habits into their recommendations—and the amazing mini scalp massage after the wash certainly doesn’t hurt. I was very happy with my cut from Stella, but a friend is a huge fan of Judy’s as well. —Christine Wei
Milano Salon & Day Spa
Address: 105 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA
Yelp link: milanosalondayspa.com
Price range: $25-100
Description: Milano Salon is run by two men, one who specializes in cuts and one who specializes in color (although they’re fully competent in both types of processes). I’ve never been satisfied with my hair after leaving a hair salon until I went here, thanks to a friend’s suggestion. I’ve recommended this salon to some of my friends, who all go here now too. —Angela Lee
Paul Brown Salon & Day Spa
Address: Ward Center, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI
Yelp link: https://www.yelp.com/biz/paul-brown-salon-and-day-spa-honolulu
Price range: $40-70 for haircuts
Description: Although it’s on the pricier side to get your hair cut here, they really take good care of you at Paul Brown. You’ll be splurging for great service, careful attention to client needs, professional stylists (including ones that are familiar with Asian styles) and also perks like tea and coffee. They also have a guy who does great eyebrow waxing. —Jasmine Ako
Saloon for Hair
Address: 18192C Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA
Yelp link: https://www.yelp.com/biz/saloon-for-hair-rowland-heights
Price range: From $40, $100 for cut, wash and color.
Description: I got an amazing cut here that fetched me tons of compliments and two dyes that I loved. It’s a bit expensive for color that does fade a little after a couple of washes, but the tones are generally rich and bright—and I probably only noticed because I self-consciously look in the mirror every 10 seconds! —Steph Lee
Carlton Hair Salon
Address: Tyler Galleria Mall, Riverside, CA
Price range: $48-$80
Description: Even though it’s on the pricey side, Carlton’s stylists know exactly what they’re doing and meet the customers’ needs. I wanted to dye my hair with highlights for the first time, but didn’t know what colors would look good. My stylist suggested some choices and explained the entire process before she started, then cut and styled my hair precisely the way I wanted. —As told by Avni P. to Connie Ho
J Beverly Hills Salon
Address: 820 E Green St, Pasadena, CA
Yelp link: jbeverlyhillssalon.com
Price range: $45-$75
Description: This salon is really professional and the atmosphere is very friendly. For those who don’t have a lot of time to spare, the service is really quick, considering how much detail goes into to what they do. It’s a splurge, but they’re really good at what they do. —As told by Angeline K. to Connie Ho
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