The Different Face Shapes

Girl who is hiding her face behind her turtleneck
Photo: Shutterstock
We all know the basic face shapes: Oval, Oblong, Square, Round, Diamond, and the Inverted Triangle. However, many times people find it difficult to recognize these shapes when they see them. Some are obvious, of course, but others can be harder to classify. Our aim here is to show you some well-known faces and explain what makes them the shape they are.
The Oval face shape is considered the ideal in the world of beauty and cosmetics. The reason for this is that the proportions of the oval face mean that virtually any hairstyle will be flattering.
The oval face is roughly 60% longer from chin to hairline than from cheek to cheek. This figure is cited based on the ratio of what is called the “Perfect Proportion” (1:1.618) and is widely-held as the most esthetically pleasing balance of proportion.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler wearing a black turtleneck
Photo: lev radin/Shutterstock
Alfre Woodard
Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock
In the photos shown, Jamie-Lynn Sigler of “The Sopranos”, and Alfre Woodard of “Desperate Housewives” are classic “Oval Faces”. Their faces are indeed longer than they are wide by about 60%, and they have gentle, rounded tapering at the forehead and chin areas. As with all oval faces, they can wear most any hairstyle and it is clear from the dramatic difference between Ms. Seigler’s and Ms. Woodard’s styles that this is true.
Rectangle or Oblong Face:
The Oblong face shape is another common shape, and is one characterized simply by being more than 60% longer than it is wide. In practice, the oblong face is one of the most readily identifiable, and can be angular (rectangle) or rounded (oblong).
The key to dealing with the oblong face is to introduce a style with added width and an emphasis on horizontal lines. For the angular version smooth curves should be included to create contours.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock
Elizabeth Perkins
Photo: Joe Seer/Shutterstock
Our celebrity examples, Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex in the City” and Elizabeth Perkins of “Weeds” both have oblong faces, though Ms. Parker’s face is more oblong than Ms. Perkins. These selections were made to illustrate the variance that is possible. It is notable that both women are sporting hairstyles that offer low volume on top of the head and fullness on the sides. This helps to balance the proportion of their heads and create the illusion that their faces are more oval.
The square face shape is characterized by having strong angles at the jaw and forehead. The proportions in height and width of the face may be close to the ideal, but the angles at the lower and upper sections of the face are the key. In more pronounced cases, the face shape can be easily recognized, but is often mistaken for other face types unless the shape is obvious.
Dealing with the square face shape requires implementing a style that features curves at the forehead and jaw line with some volume on top and the sides to soften the angles of the face.
Amy Poehler
Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock
Debra Messing
Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock
Celebrities Amy Poehler of “Saturday Night Live” and Debra Messing of “Will and Grace” are both square faces. Interestingly enough, the photos available of these two stars feature hairstyles that aren’t necessarily what I would recommend for them. Ms. Messing’s hairstyle does perform some rebalancing by using curved, asymmetrically-parted bangs to camouflage the corners of her forehead. Ms. Poehler’s hairstyle however, only emphasizes the boxiness of her face. Both women would have been better served by wearing their hair down and styled in loose waves to frame their faces.
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