If you have a square face, consider yourself lucky. Some of the most famous faces of all time are those with strong, angular jawlines. Women with square faces also age very well and take some of the best photographs. But there are challenges to having a square face—namely, how to style your hair to play up your best features. As celebrity hairstylist GIovanni Vaccaro notes, the goal should be to "take attention completely away from the jawline and put it on the length of the hair."
There are literally dozens of styles that work on square face shapes, though Vaccaro is partial to one, in particular. "Soft and layered is the way to go," he says.
Meet the Expert
We asked Vaccaro and another expert—Marcus Hoey, a stylist and lead educator at Glamsquad—for their takes on the best haircuts for square faces.
Keep reading for all their tips.
Actress Rosario Dawson, a classic square-faced beauty, shows off her just-below-the-collarbone cut with waves. This look adds softness to her strong jawline. If you have any natural waves or curls, consider leaving them natural—it'll soften your angular features.
To achieve a similar amount of volume in your own hair, follow the steps outlined by Vaccaro: "I typically have my clients flip their hair upside down to dry their roots in opposite directions for max volume while using Glamsquad’s Full Effect Volumizing Mousse ($28). I then finish with 1.5-inch large barrel curling iron to create some loose, bouncy waves."
Dramatic Side Part
This cut on Zendaya—a deep side part with lots of shine and all the length swept to one side—is gorgeous. Unlike women with long faces who can't get away as easily with long hair, women with square faces look gorgeous with this length. Volume is important when it comes to a square face. "That's why I like using a curling iron to create bouncy waves versus a flat iron," says Vaccaro. "Curl in opposite directions to soften the wave pattern and use Glamsquad’s Untamed Texturizing Finishing Spray ($27) to create an effortless, day-two texture."
Gwyneth Paltrow looks her best with flat-ironed and long locks like the ones she's wearing here. The curtain effect of her hair—which she gets because she parts it in the middle, then flat-irons it—hides the sharp edges of her jaw, while playing up her amazing cheekbones.
Note how she parts her hair straight down the middle, making what could be a boring look very chic. If you go with this look, make sure to cut in just a few long layers for movement.
Long bobs are great on a square face, as long as they're soft and layered. Avoid a sharp, blunt bob that hits right at your chin; it'll only accentuate your jaw, creating a boxy effect.
The long bob is perfect for someone who has actress Keira Knightley's square face. You can see how this cut elongates her face, but maintains a nice edge.
Long, Soft Bob
To style the look á la actress Gabrielle Union, Vaccaro says to ask your stylist to cut the hair with a razor. "For straight to wavy hair, I like using the razor to soften the ends and create my layers. This keeps the lines natural and removes any weight or bluntness which draws attention to the jaw."
Shoulder-length hair is flattering on all face shapes, but as you can see here on model Kate Moss, this particular cut is great on a square face. The light waves and highlights here help soften Moss's sharp, angular jawline, and the middle part (common on many square-faced actresses and models) works very nicely with this look.
In terms of styling, Vaccaro says, "A flat iron is your best friend for this length. Make sure to use a heat protectant when your styling. I love Glamsquad’s Iconic Blowout Lotion ($28) because it smooths, adds shine, conditions and protects your hair up to 450 degrees. Apply to damp hair and smooth your hair out before flat ironing."
Here, Mandy Moore shows off a particularly flattering hairstyle, with long layers starting just below her chin, the hair ending at her shoulders. "Long hair takes attention completely away from the jaw line and puts it on the length of the hair," notes Vaccaro.
Mid-Length With Bangs
This style—seen on actress Kerry Washington—is classic, through and through. "[It's a] a soft style that has timeless appeal," says Vaccaro. "Side-swept bangs will soften the jaw and the length right above the bust will allow for so many versatile hairstyles."
Wavy With Bangs
These side-swept bangs soften Olivia Wilde's square jawline, and her long locks help pull off a totally gorgeous look. She looks perfectly balanced, and it's flawless. For this look, be sure to use a quality shine spray, as the texture is key.
Long layers will always complement a square face. They're especially great paired with side-swept bangs. This look on Maria Shriver (another classic square) is perfect: Her layers begin at the jawline and continue downward.
"You can style textured layers many ways from straight to curly or beach waves," says Hoey. "For beach waves on dry hair, start with a heat protectant and hold spray. Working from the front hairline to the back, wrap hair vertically around a curling wand away from the face. Finish by using a wide-tooth comb to break up the waves and use a texturizing spray for long-lasting style."
The more hair that wraps around the curling iron, the bouncier the wave.
For a demonstration of how flattering this cut can be, look no further than the queen of the pixie herself: Zoë Kravitz. "The textured pixie is a short, choppy cut that hugs the head shape and creates a soft youthful look," says Hoey. "This haircut will soften the corners of the jaw and bring the attention to the eyes while creating height and movement. This cut is best when it's one-inch long in the nape and gradually gets longer, to about three to five inches in the crown to the bangs area."
Here's a great example of the perfect updo on a square face. Actress Minnie Driver has naturally super-curly hair, but she often straightens it. Here, the style of her hair works beautifully because it's soft, wavy, and frames her face. To enhance your natural texture, Hoey recommends using "a cream or salt spray and diffusing. Or, for a straighter style, blow-dry with a paddle brush and finish with balm for separation and texture."
Long, Textured Layers
The long textured layered cut seen on actress Priyanka Chopra brings all the joy of length without the feeling of being weighed down. "You can wear this style centered, off-centered, or even with a deep side-part," notes Hoey. "With shorter face-framing layers starting around the bottom of the jaw, you can flip this style any way you like."
Textured layers are ideal for square face shapes because they cut the jaw, slim the neck, and create height and volume in the crown.
Long, Sleek, and Straight
"No one pulls this off better than J.Lo," notes Vaccaro. If hair is naturally straight, the long and sleek look requires little in terms of styling. "There's no need to layer this cut," he adds. "Keep it looking modern and sleek by blunt-cutting the length with very little face-framing pieces."
Rihanna's hair is full of texture here, and the soft-yet-edgy curls are a great look for square faces. "To keep your natural curl or wave, I’ll take SheaMoisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($6) and mix it with Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls ($14) to help create the curl shape and definition," says Vaccaro. "You can twist your hair in sections and let air dry or you can leave it natural based on your curl pattern."
If you have super-straight hair but want waves anyway, try spritzing it with a styling spray and winding 2-inch sections around the barrel of a curling iron. Next, finger-comb out and finish with holding spray. As seen on Lucy Liu, the look is put-together without being overly structured.
If you have curly hair, try to keep the length below the jawline. Curly hair tends to frizz up when it's too short, and a longer cut weighs down the curls so they don't look poofy.
Long Waves With Side-Swept Bangs
If you have a square face, you have angular features. Your jaw is almost as wide as your cheekbones, and if you were to draw a diagram of your face, it would resemble a square. Because your goal is to soften your hard angles, the best bangs for you are long, side-swept bangs that graze the brows. They should hit just below the brow but be longer on the sides, like these bangs on actress Jennifer Garner, who has a natural square face.
The key to your perfect bangs is to ensure that the bangs are tapered longer on the sides than they are above the brow. The hair above the brow should hit at the brow or just below it. The bangs can be wispy, allowing some of your forehead to peek through.
The Modern Shag is a '70s throwback with a new spin, as seen here on singer Ciara. "This style opens the face and rounds the jaw line with short, face-framing layers, and draws attention to the cheekbones," says Hoey. He recommends adding a curtain bang to accentuate the roundness of the cut. "The bang's shortest pieces should sit right between the eyes and feather out to between the cheekbones and jaw."
The modern pageboy is a lovely cut on actress Evan Rachel Wood, notes Hoey. "This soft style has timeless appeal," he says, adding that "side swept bangs will soften the jaw," rounding out an otherwise square face.
Model Heidi Klum has a beautiful square face, and her long hair works on her face shape because the soft waves (likely her natural hair texture) soften the harshness of her angular jawline. Long hair is very flattering on a square face, but cutting in some long layers — and adding a deep side part, as seen here — adds more softness to the front.