Most people have natural parts—where the hair naturally falls on either side of their head. And while finding the natural part in your hair is surprisingly simple, finding the place where your part would look best isn't always as easy.
Depending on your face shape, the style you want to achieve, and your hair's texture, you might want to consider changing up your part. Ahead, learn from hairstylists Senada Ceka, Michelle Cleveland, and Devin Toth on how to find and create a flattering part.
Meet the Expert
How to Find Your Natural Part
Start with towel-dried hair or dry hair. "[Then], comb your hair back away from your face with a wide-toothed comb and then gently push/nudge the hair on top of your head forward, towards your face using just your hand. The hair should split and voila, there’s your part," explains Toth.
How to Create a Middle Part
Middle parts and deep side parts are super trendy but don't always look natural for your hair. "To create a perfect center part, or any part for that matter, comb all of your hair back away from your face with a wide-tooth comb. In doing so, each of the comb’s teeth actually makes a different hair part for you to choose from. [Simply] pick which part you want, align your comb exactly on top of that part, and comb the hair on each side of it downward," Toth says.
Achieve a more natural look with your middle part, try going slightly off-center—about half-an-inch on the left or the right of center.
How to Create a Side Part
If you know how to make a middle part, then you'll definitely catch on to creating a side part. "Creating a side part is very similar to creating a center part. You're still going to comb your hair straight back away from your face, using a wide-toothed comb. "If you're having trouble finding a side part, try tilting your head to one side while you're combing your hair back so that the area of where you want the part to be formed then becomes the highest point of your head," says Toth.
How to Create a Deep Side Part
The Best Part for Your Face Shape
Here are some tips on finding a part that best flatters and enhances your face shape.
Long or Oval
If you have a long or oval face shape like Olivia Munn, try a super flattering side part. Trendy, middle parts can further elongate the face. Try parting your hair in line with the arch of your eyebrow. Don't feel that you're restricted to only these parts, though, because Cleveland and Ceka both say long or oval face shapes look good with any part!
If you have a heart-shaped face, like Reese Witherspoon's, then you can pull off a middle part which elongates the face. Ceka suggests adding some short facial-framing layers as well, which can "give the illusion of an oval face." Additionally, Cleveland says that heart-shaped faces can rock a side part. To complete this look, she suggests adding bangs since they "can soften the overall look" of this face shape.
To spice up a side part, Toth says heart-shaped faces can try adding "a side sweeping fringe or layer."
People with round face shapes, such as Drew Barrymore, have a couple of options that work well for different reasons. Cleveland recommends the middle part since it helps sharpen the roundness of a round face. Meanwhile, Toth advises round-shape types to go with a side part. "It add[s] balance to your face by creating vertical angles over the sides," he adds.
For those with a square face shape like Jennifer Aniston, Toth, Ceka, and Cleveland agree that a side part is the most ideal. Similar to heart-shaped types, those with square-shaped faces could add some bangs as well.
The Best Part for Your Hair Texture
Some parts work better than others with different hair textures.
According to Ceka and Cleveland, naturally curly hair looks best when it goes where it naturally wants to. So it's not mandatory to try and create a part with curly hair. If you're looking for some direction, though, you have options. "First, there’s a clean deep side part that’s locked into place with a barrette, crossed-hatched bobby pins, or other hair accessories pinned to the side of the head that has less hair. [Then there's] a messy almost nonexistent side part where the hair just sort of flows from one side to the other," says Toth.
When looking for your part, he recommends using only one type of comb: the rat-tail. "The important thing with curly hair is to use a rat-tail (aka pintail) comb to find your part instead of the teeth of a regular comb because you can’t really comb through dry curly hair without frizzing it out. Just press the tail of the comb on your head where you want your part to be and then from your forehead to your ground draw either a straight line or zigzag line to create your part. While you're removing the comb at the end, simultaneously pull the strands of hair outward and away from your part in order to separate them," he says.
For parting curly hair, use a rattail comb. The teeth of other combs tend to create unwanted frizz for dry, curly hair.
Ceka says hair with a lot of volume looks great with a center part, but remember to avoid centering it precisely in the middle of your head. You want your part off just a tiny bit to allow the thick hair to fall like sheets on both sides of the face.
If your hair tends to be on the thin side, try switching up the sides of your part to add body and oomph to the crown. "The best parts for fine hair are very finely zig-zagged so you don’t see a lot of your scalp at the part, " says Toth. When you switch your hair's part to the other side of your head, the roots will lift and give you more volume. For the side of the head with the least amount of hair, he recommends tucking the hair behind the ear.
The Bottom Line
When creating a stylish do, it really does come down to a science. From face shape to hair texture, there is a lot to consider. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to create a new, rocking look in no time.
How can I train my hair to part differently from its natural part?
We all tend to have a natural part that is part of the normal growth pattern of our hair, however you can easily switch up your part by knowing a few tricks. While your hair is wet, apply a light hold heat protectant product, such as Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream ($24). Part your hair in its new spot, and then blow dry it in that direction to reinforce the part. After your hair is dry, spray some hairspray to hold it in place. It may take several days for your hair to be trained with the new part.
What are some hairstyle ideas with a middle part?
There are several hairstyles that look great with a middle part—and knowing your face shape is one way to find a new cool new look. Those with an oval face can wear a middle part with their hair sleek and straight or with layers around the face. A middle part is very flattering on those with a heart-shaped or round face and they should consider fringe bangs, long layers or a shag haircut. Those with a long or oblong face could try a layered lob haircut for a modern look.
How can I stop my hair from parting in the back?
Thanks to natural growth patterns or a cowlick, many people struggle with a stubborn spot that parts or splits down the back of their hair. Luckily, the fix is relatively easy. Pull up that section of the hair and apply heat, either using a flat brush and hair dryer or flat iron, focusing on the roots. Let the hair cool for a few seconds, then lightly tease underneath and brush it down until it looks smooth and the back part is gone. Spray some hairspray to keep your hair in place.