The secret to great haircuts is two-fold: first, you must consider your face shape and secondly, you need to choose a cut that works with your hair's texture.
Just as there are flattering styles for all face shapes, there are also unflattering styles.
Choose a Cut That Works With Your Hair Texture
Each one of us can classify our hair into one or more hair texture types: dry, coarse, curly, wavy, straight, fine, stringy, limp, and oily. If you have thin, stringy hair that tends to fall flat, your hair will look fuller the shorter it is.
Coarse, curly girls might want to weigh hair down with length: The shorter you go, the higher the frizz and fluff factor. Same thing with bangs. If you have curly, coarse hair, bangs are an invitation to frizziness. Straight hair can fall flat, but cutting in layers adds body. And no matter your hair type, damaged hair never looks good. Cut it off.
The Most-Flattering Haircut on Everyone
I was struck a couple years ago by a passage in my favorite beauty bible, "Confessions of a Beauty Editor." The writer, Linda Wells, stated that almost everyone at Allure Magazine where she works has shoulder-length hair. Turns out shoulder-length hairstyles are universally the most flattering on nearly everyone.
Long hair can make a long face appear longer. Short hair can make a round face appear rounder. Short hair is especially dangerous on super curly hair. But shoulder-length hair looks good on all women no matter their size, face shape or age.
Who Can, and Can't, Go Long?
Long hair generally means below the shoulders. Women who typically shouldn't go long are super-short people (you'll forever look age 12) and women with long, narrow faces.
Women who look fabulous in long cuts have oval or square faces. That said, anyone with hair below their breasts is taking a risk of looking outdated.
There is One Long Cut That's Universally Flattering
The 'v-cut' is long in the back and shorter along the sides. This cut works because the length is in the back and not around the face. Lip and chin-grazing layers on the side add to the sexy allure.
The Basic Dos and Don'ts of Short Hair
Short hair comes in a variety of lengths. In order to figure out which length works for you, consider your best and worst assets and your height. Super short hair on very tall women can look very powerful (depending on how you see it).
Short hair on women with round faces can make the round face appear fuller, however, rules are meant to be broken. Typically, you'll want to grow your hair longer than your chin if you have a round face.
If you have a pointy chin, avoid hair that falls right at the chin. If you have great eyes, consider short hair with side-swept bangs (like these) that hit right at the eye.
Why You Should Consider Upkeep
If you're like me and you hate going to the salon or if you tend to put it off for months on end, ask your stylist for a cut that will grow out nicely. Eva Scrivo of Eva Scrivo Salon in NYC told me a great haircut should last three months.
Uh-Oh, What About That Forehead?
Small forehead? Consider bangs that start farther back on the head and that are as long as possible
Big forehead? Side-sweeping bangs are the most flattering look for you. According to 'Confessions,' bangs are flattering when they are longer at the temples than in the middle.