Knowing the contours of your face and what complements it is the key to choosing a haircut that‚s not only in style but also looks right on you.

Lyndon Barsten, an educator at Aveda Institute, wrote a chapter on face shapes for a textbook that‚s used to train students. In the text, he identifies seven face shapes and advises which styles best suit each one.

A good way to determine your face shape is to pull all your hair back away from your face, look in the mirror and trace your face with a soap bar or lipstick.


Considered the most versatile face shape. Hair dos: Looks great with almost any cut  short or long, one length or layered. Jada Pinkett Smith‚s curly do is just one of many styles that suit her oval face. Hair don‚ts: Don‚t spike hair too much, as it makes the face look longer.


Marked by a very strong/wide jawline and a square hairline. Hair dos: Flattering styles include longer lengths and hair that comes forward onto the face at the sides, as Salma Hayek often wears. Curls soften angular edges. If you want to go shorter, stick to the classic bob. Hair don‚ts: No geometric styles or wedge cuts.


Sometimes called the slender face shape. People such as Sarah Jessica Parker, with oblong faces may also have a slender neck. Hair dos: Best hairstyles for this shape often have width through the jaw line. Add fringe or bangs. Hair don‚ts: Too-long hair or very short cuts can accentuate the oblong shape, so can wearing hair pulled back as Parker sometimes does.


The heart shape is wide at the hairline and cheekbone and comes to a slender or pointed chin. People with this face shape often have a widow‚s peak. Hair dos: Best styles for the heart-shaped face are ones that bring the hair forward onto the forehead. Side parts, such as the one Jennifer Aniston often wears, and wispy bangs are flattering. Hair don‚ts: Blunt-cut bangs, center parts.


Wide through the center and a rounded chin. Hair dos: Create some height at the top and length in the back. Feather for a sleek look. For curly hair, keep it all one length and longer if possible. High ponytails with loose strands around the face suit this face shape. Hair don‚ts: Avoid chin-length bobs like Christina Ricci has worn, as they draw attention to full cheeks.