Ask a Hairstylist: How to Find the Perfect Parting for Your Face Shape

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Getty Images / Design by Bailey Mariner

Achieving the perfect part with your hair can make all the difference, especially when you’ve been steadily rocking the same look for years. Trust us—the compliments pour in when you switch it up just a bit. The truth is, most of us have had our fair share of fails involving this subtle hair move.

Finding the Best Part for Your Face Shape
 Sunny Eckerle/Byrdie

These mishaps usually come down to the shape of your face. So, if you have a good idea of what your face shape is but aren’t quite sure what hairstyles suit you, grab a pen and take notes from our panel of experts who we turned to for advice.

Meet the Expert

  • Mika Fowler is a celebrity hairstylist at Kim Vo Salon in Beverly Hills, CA. Her work is catered to each clientele's face structure and she counts Olivia Munn, Anne Winters, and Camilla Luddington as clients.
  • Holly Dear is a hairstylist at House of Dear Hair Salon in Dallas Texas and owner of House of Dear Clean Beauty Line.
  • Nicolette Rauchut is a hairstylist at Lrn Beauty in New York City.


It turns out, a simple update to your part can elongate your features, bring out your cheekbones and soften those sharp angles you're looking to downplay. "Parts frame the face and help to offset unwanted angles," says Dear. "They are usually determined by hair growth patterns and hairlines. It's a good idea to change the part periodically because we establish natural hair growths after we have worn a part for a certain amount of time. Changing your part will help with body and balance." We’re reaching for our combs as we type.

If you're on the fence or just a tad bit resistant to change, a small switch up in your hair part can increase your overall hair health. "Switching things up can help stimulate the scalp, preventing it from becoming stagnant or lying in reticular areas," says Rauchut.

"Having a 'lazy scalp' can result in some concerns with thinning, balding, and volume issues," she adds. "When our scalp lacks stimulation, the blood circulation slows down which causes slower hair growth and health. From over brushing, you can cause stress to the follicles, and they can become weakened possibly. Overuse of products can often weaken the strand as well."

To get the most flattering look and step out looking your best every time, read on for our expert tips on how to part your hair according to your face shape.

Round Faces

Makeup Looks for Brown Eyes Warm Tones Selena Gomez

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You get the best of both worlds if you have a round-shaped face. “The ideal part line is down the middle or a deep side part,” Fowler says. “Both of these parts will give the illusion of length and create symmetry around your face.” Here, Selena Gomez plays up the volume to accentuate her middle part. To achieve the look, start from the root using a large to medium-sized brush similar to Dry Bar's Full Pint edition, $40, to dry strands straight with a slight bump at the end.

Chrissy Tiegen

Jason LaVeris / Getty Images

When deciding what cut to go for, Fowler warns against adding too many layers to your hairstyle. “Add just enough if you wish to elongate the face.” Noted. Chrissy Teigen takes the edge off by creating softer silhouettes that highlight her features.

How to Find the Best Part for Your Face Shape 2014: Emma Stone with updo and red lips
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If you’ve been dying to go for the chop or experiment with updos, you’re in luck: “Short hairstyles are great for this face shape,” Fowler advises. Don't be afraid to let loose with a couple of strands to create the effortless but glammed-up look like Emma Stone does here.

Square Faces

How to Find the Best Part for Your Face Shape 2014: Olivia Wilde with fringe and blue shirt
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

There’s just something about side partings that adds instant glamour—even if you haven’t washed your hair for a while. Fowler recommends going for a soft, side-swept part with a fringe that will add softness to square-faced folks. Nothing is bolder than a blunt cut with a strong part like Olivia Wilde achieves easily here.

Kiera Knightly

David M. Benett / Getty Images

But don’t go too far, he says. “You don’t want to make the part too deep—this will accentuate the angles of a square face,” Fowler notes. Don't be afraid to practice your angles to see which one best suits the look you're going for. Keira Knightley has never shied from the tousled look. Dressed up, or paired down for a more casual affair, she accentuates her strongest feature with little effort.

Lucy Hale

Jason Merritt/TERM / Getty Images

Don't be too afraid to create delicate shapes with your coif around the jaw and cheek area. While Fowler notes not to draw too much attention, never fear what a good blunt cut can do for your overall look. Take a cue from Lucy Hale who works in subtle waves with a side part that's flattering without feeling overdone.

Keep everything balanced by showing just enough skin on your forehead and allow your fringe to offset an angled jawline.

Oval Faces

Makeup Looks for Brown Eyes Orange Lipstick Jessica Alba

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When any parting suits you, it would be rude not to switch up your style regularly. Fowler says the ideal face shape for any part is the oval-shaped face, as pictured by Jessica Alba, here.

How To Find The Best Part For Your Face Shape 2014: Jourdan Dunn with curly hair and black dress
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

If you’ve got curly hair and this face shape, you can use a parting to play around with volume and height. To better enhance curly texture while still banishing the frizz, get this look by reaching for OUAI's Matte Pomade ($24). A dime-sized will do when applying in small sections of hair to achieve the look you love.

White Blonde Hair Jennifer Lawrence

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We never know how Jennifer Lawrence will have her hair parted. If you have an oval-shaped face, follow her lead and play around with your part. It’s a great way to get out of a hair rut.

Heart-Shaped Faces

Reese Witherspoon

 

Toni Anne Barson / Getty Images

A top tip from Fowler: A deep side part will break up the chin line, which can be pointy if you have a heart-shaped face. “You want to soften your cheekbones as well and a deep side part will brush softly against your face to give this illusion.” Don't forget to tame flyaways and stay on top of frayed edges. The trick is to highlight this blunt choice like Reese does here while making it all seem effortless.

Olivia Culpo wavy lob with side part and blunt ends

Paul Archuleta / Getty Images 

If your hair naturally parts down the middle, create a side part by parting your hair while it’s wet; then applying a gel to hold the new part in place. Use a fine-toothed comb to direct your hair in the new direction as you blow-dry.

Diamond-Shaped Faces

Frieda Pinto

 

John Shearer / Getty Images 

Don't be afraid to work your angles. “A side part complements this shape’s strong cheekbones and bone structure,” Fowler says. Here you can easily create a slight lift on one side for more volume while pining strands on the other side to accentuate the look. Don't forget to smooth down any flyaways to achieve the elegant look Freida Pinto pulls off here.

Shorter hairstyles work best for this look since diamond-shaped faces have smaller foreheads—anything too long and dramatic will overshadow you.

Halle Berry

Jason LaVeris / Contributor / Getty Images

Blow-dry your hair to the side with a round brush, lifting and curling as your go for major volume at the roots.  Apply a lightweight smoothing serum from root to ends to achieve the look you want. Halle cuts out the frizz for a sleek finish that's playful and easy. We love this pick from Olaplex to get the job done.

Oblong Faces

How To Find The Best Part For Your Face Shape 2014: Alexa Chung with middle parting and blouse
Jun Sato/WireImage/Getty Images

There’s something so effortless about a middle parting. If you have an oblong face, Fowler suggests a middle parting to add the illusion of roundness.

How To Find The Best Part For Your Face Shape 2014: Joan Smalls with fringe and cut out dress
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImages/Getty Images

“A fringe will also work very well for this look because they help shorten the long face shape,” Fowler adds. Careful here to make the right choice between blunt or fringe.

Tracee Ellis Ross curly lob

J. Merritt / Getty Images

Headed to the salon? Fowler recommends asking for a haircut with layers to bring out your cheekbones and strong jawline. Curly hair aficionado Tracee Ellis Ross knows the trick is to play with texture and not shy away from it. Here she creates layers that frame her features with a shortened curly bang.

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