I'd like to start by saying that having a big forehead does not equal being less beautiful. I mean, obviously. But it is true that we all have features we'd rather minimize, and others we'd like to accentuate. I've had an arguably large forehead my entire life and chosen to completely disregard all the rules—I've never had bangs, I wear my hair parted down the middle, and I slick it back into a bun on most weekend mornings. I am, however, intrigued by the idea that your haircut can change the balance of your face. I reached out to stylists Wes Sharpton and Gina Rivera to get their thoughts on the subject.
"I rarely ever talk about haircuts in terms of what I don't like about someone. I think it's important to address what makes us unique as opposed to trying to hide imperfections. I also think it's important to be open to the idea that what you don't think looks good about you could be what people find attractive," says Sharpton. Never rule out a short cut just because you're self-conscious, but rather, go for it, because your defining features are your best assets. Or have your long hair styled in such a way to keep all your proportions in check. He and Rivera explain some of their favorite cuts that do just that.
Below, 20 of the most flattering hairstyles for large foreheads.
Meet the Expert
- Wes Sharpton is the lead hairstylist at Hairstory Studio in NYC. His work and expertise have been featured in publications such as Allure, Coveteur, Elle, and Man Repeller.
- Gina Rivera is the founder of Phenix Salon Suites. She is also the creator of Colours by Gina and the By Gina hair product line.
The first look to make our list finds inspiration a few decades back in the mod era. It's a classic long hairstyle with the addition of "a longer bang that covers the eyebrow for a more sexy '60s look," explains Sharpton. "As the bang gets away from her eyes, it rounds out to accentuate her cheekbone. Great references to show your stylist are Jane Birkin or Lou Doillon," he adds.
Natural Curly Crop
Kerry Washington's full head of natural curls—bangs included—add fullness and softness to complement her heart-shaped face. Her forehead acts as the backdrop against which her curls play a starring role.
Curly-haired girls need not steer clear of bangs, in fact, curly bangs are totally doable. "This cut is great because it's a curlier bang but not a full-on fringe. It's not dense, so you still see the forehead but it breaks up the shape a little bit. With curlier hair, the hairdresser should cut a smaller section, because once dry, curly hair will expand," explains Sharpton.
Often women assume a short cut won't look good on them, but that's pretty much never the case. It's all about understanding your angles. "If you want a deep bang, ask that your stylist cut it all really softly with a razor and graduate it slightly in the back, suggests Sharpton.
Despite select strands of hair left hanging, Zazie Beetz fashions her curly mane in a casual-cool updo. She seems to be living out Sharpton's hair mantra: "Don’t hide [your forehead]! Show it off by building more volume at the top." This style is preferred over, say, "slicked-back low tight ponytails," which Rivera says, "tend to make the forehead appear more prominent and draw away from other facial features."
Bobs are here to stay, and this textured take breaks with tradition to offer a modern makeover. "It's a little longer in the back, and even though you're covering up the forehead, it's really loose and fluid. It's about creating a little transparency through the bang so we still see the forehead, but it's softened," says Sharpton.
From a cut perspective, Sharpton recommends starting with a traditional bob and adding more framing around the face. Cutting the layers in a more forward direction will achieve some separation and break up the shape so it's not too perfect, but rather, undone and contemporary.
A cool-girl side flip is a quick and easy way to add volume to hair. This is a great trick for those with fine strands, but also for those with larger foreheads since attention is drawn away from your brow and to your hair. Or, go truly big if you've got curls like Zendaya.
Rihanna's hair is a damn masterpiece, and this throwback look is one of our favorite Riri cuts. Not to mention, "Pixies that are longer at the crown with heavy side-swept bangs are another terrific way to complement a high forehead," comments Rivera. Here, "Break the shape with a long, sexy bang," adds Sharpton.
Enhance your crop with texture. "Go short but add soft separation," notes Sharpton. Try styling with Oribe Matte Waves Texture Lotion ($42) for the perfect piecey finish.
Nicole Richie has got the layered look down as subtle side bangs softly cover and frame her forehead. "Ultimately, if you're self-conscious about your forehead, it's probably going to come down to a conversation on bangs: bangs with long hair, short hair, a mod look, or something of the like," says Sharpton.
Searches for curtain bangs are up 600% on Pinterest. They serve to frame the face, starting with the forehead, as they drape against either side. Sharpton encourages going with "a long soft bang with a middle part" if you have a larger forehead. Paired with a textured crop, it is very Winona Ryder.
Have you ever been told that your forehead was "too big"? Tyra Banks has "and most people would describe her as beautiful," says Sharpton. She also seems to have some tricks up her sleeve: "Hair that is worn full and high at the crown is also a great way to bring balance to the entire face. Tyra Banks is a perfect example of doing this extremely well," notes Rivera.
The shag can be seen all over Hollywood. This curly take creates added movement and texture. It's effortlessly cool and edgy; in other words: rockstar-esque.
Long, Wispy Bangs
Rachel McAdams's lash-grazing fringe brings all the attention to her eyes and cheekbones, which according to Rivera, makes them ideal for high foreheads, "as they tend to draw focus away from the forehead and lend attention to other features."
Bowl or Mushroom Cut
The popular '90s bowl haircut is back, and better than ever thanks to its modern texture. It's also worth noting that "A heavier bang with soft ends is also a nice option" when it comes to flattering large foreheads, says Sharpton.
Are there any hairstyles you might want to take a pass on if you're self-conscious about your forehead? Rivera identifies, "Straight, long hair, as it can make the face look longer if the forehead is high." Opt for Zoe Saldana's glossy romantic waves instead, and don't forget the shine spray.
While it may seem like a large forehead means covering it up, Sharpton disagrees: "Don’t hide that gorgeous forehead of yours! The great thing about a larger forehead is that we get to see more of the face. Create strong, short square bangs helps to break up the shape of the forehead without hiding it." And while blue hair color is only optional, it's also highly encouraged.
While we often see Jourdan Dunn sporting straight strands, we have to admit that her full head of curls—fringe included—has stolen our hearts. We're also digging the sultry shade of brown hair.
Curly Bob With Fringe
Christina Ricci's platinum bob frames her face gorgeously while her side-swept bangs flatter her forehead. Everything from the cut to the color of this style is flattering. It's important to take your features into account when choosing a look. "If something bothers you, you can acknowledge it, but I don't think that's the most important thing to focus on. Instead, I like asking people what they like about themselves, eyes, eyebrows, cheekbones, etc. I think picking a haircut should show off something great about you," says Sharpton.