Quite often, you'll hear beauty advice that says women with round faces should not wear their hair short. That's simply not true. You can wear short hair no matter the shape of your face, you just want to make sure to find the right haircut.
The most flattering hairstyles for round faces are those that work with your hair texture while giving you the appearance of having a more oval-shaped, longer face. This can be done at any short length, whether it's a pixie or a bob. The key is to find elements in the style that slim and elongate your face. This can be done with the angles of side-swept bangs, by adding volume in the right places, or even just changing your part. "Creating a deep side part and waved with a curling wand, after tucking one side behind the ear will open up the face while making your hair appear fuller," notes Marcus Hoey, lead educator at Glamsquad.
Meet the Expert
We spoke to Hoey and fellow hairstylists Justine Marjan and Giovanni Vaccaro for their take on the best short cuts for round faces. Keep reading for their tips.
The box bob is precision cutting at its finest. "It’s a blunt shape and an even line from front to back with no layers," says Hoey. "Make sure to ask for texture through your ends. This cut slims the sides of the face and creates length below the chin, elongating the face shape. This cut is youthful, professional, and trendy all in one."
For clients who are nervous about losing length, try starting two inches below the chin.
The pixie works best on women with thick, naturally wavy hair (including black hair). It looks good on straight hair, too, but only so long as it's not too fine. If you do have fine hair and want a pixie, you're going to have to add body by using a styling product. The secret is to add volume on top. Doing that will make your face look longer and, by having almost no hair on the side, your face will appear more oval than round.
Part of the beauty of the pixie is that it defies age, which is why it's so popular in women over 50. But before getting one, know that you'll need to get it trimmed every four to six weeks, so it's a commitment.
Blunt, Long, and Layered Around the Face
A favorite of actress Taraji P. Henson, this haircut can be soft or dramatic depending on the way you play it. "Super-sleek, shiny strands make your hair look polished," Marjan says about this one, "And layers that start below your collarbone lengthen your head shape. I love a middle part for this cut because it allows the shorter layers in the front to frame the face."
Long Bouncy Layers
"If you’re a long-haired girl and married to your length, I’m totally understanding of it," says Vaccaro. "Make sure to have your stylist create long layers a few inches above the length to draw attention to the eyes and create more of a bouncy style. This will help take weight out of the ends and generally gives more movement and volume to the hair." Actress Laverne Cox's golden, layered 'do more than makes the case for this look.
For a round face, the long bob (seen here on actress Mila Kunis) is an excellent choice. It's neither too long nor too short, and the length gives you some hair to play with for different styles—and the ability to pull it back if you want to keep it out of your face. Try to keep your bob exactly this length, below your chin and almost to your shoulders. Keep volume in mind, too—adding it to the top of your head to define the shape.
Cropped Pixie Cut
Marjan particularly recommends this cut for people with angular jawlines. "A side-sweep in the front keeps the cut delicate while the cropped back and sides lengthen the neck."
To distinguish this cut from a standard pixie, "Tell your stylist to crop the sides and back using a 'scissor over comb' technique to keep the ends soft (as opposed to using clippers). Cut the top with a razor or shears for more fullness and keep length toward the front for softness around the face."
Gentle waves deflect the roundness of the face as well, so you may want to play up your natural waves, as actress Gabrielle Union did here. You can do this by scrunching your hair as it dries. If you want to boost it, wrap your hair around the barrel of a large curling iron.
Long, Bouncy Layers
Because texture at the bottom draws your eyes downward, a haircut with layers elongates your face, as is the case on supermodel Miranda Kerr. Marjan suggests telling your stylist to "keep the volume at the root and movement toward the ends," adding that you should "Have them texturize the ends for added movement when you blow-dry."
Layered and Casual
For those who want1 something different but love their mid-length hair, like Chrissy Teigen, this is the cut for you. "You can keep your length but adding just a few shorter pieces around the face between the lip and chin area will lighten the weight of hair in the front hairline giving you height," says Hoey. "These are low maintenance but add just enough to freshen your style. As for the layers in the back, you want just the shortest layer to sit around three inches higher than your length. This will make styling easier to create height in the crown."
The Sideswept Lob
According to Marjan: "The side sweep draws attention away from the symmetry of a round face while the length below the chin draws the eye down to elongate." She goes on to say that if you want to get this cut, you should "Have [your stylist] use a facial feature as a guide for where the part should be—the iris or arch or edge of the eyebrow is usually a good gauge. Ask for a length that hits anywhere between an inch below your chin to your collarbone and for layers to focus toward the ends and less around the face."
Short and Curly (or Textured)
Another rule that's meant to be broken is the one that says curly hair should not be cut short. With the right cut, like actress Camren Bicondova's short bob, it can be adorable and sexy at the same time. To pull it off, you'll need lots of layers to reduce the volume. Marjan says that "lots of texture allows the hair to frame your face, with a lift at the root and waves accentuating your eyes and lips."
If you choose to cut your curls this short, be prepared to put some work into styling it. You'll want to get some tips from your stylist for taming unruly curls and be ready to get noticed for your bounce. If you're asking for it from your stylist, tell them you want your hair to stay heavy "to avoid the cut getting mushroomy or round."
A Classic Bob
For thin hair that doesn't have much volume, the classic bob is one of the best options. All of the hair is cut to one length, though this one is best just below the ear and above the chin.
This is a style that you can change up just by switching your part, as actress Malin Akerman proves. Part it off to the side and let some of it drape your forehead or part it down the middle for a slimming frame on the face. It's wonderful if you prefer the more casual mussy style, and it can be very nice with natural waves.
Short With Bangs
A short look with edge—as seen on Zendaya—requires the use of very specific hair products, as Vaccaro notes. "I love a pomade/paste to style this cut," he says. "I typically go for R+Co Control Flexible Paste ($28) because it doesn’t leave residue and you can restyle as needed. Dry your hair forward and have it completely dry before working a penny size amount in your hands, warm it up, and then apply all over in a back and forth motion. No comb or brush needed."
Any blunt cut at the chin will accentuate the roundness, so going a little longer is ideal. As seen here on Jessica Alba, a mid-length lob (even one with bangs) helps to frame the face so it looks less round.
Those with round faces typically want to avoid jaw-length bobs, especially if you have a short neck.
The graduated bob is perfect for people who want a casual, low-maintenance cut—or even something a bit more put-together, like on model Gigi Hadid. It retains that below-the-chin length but cuts the back just a little shorter. The fact that it's tapered in the back, but still contains layers, adds dimension and movement to the hair.
Bobs of this length can work for any hair texture—it looks just as pretty with straight hair as it does with natural waves.
"If you are looking for a transformation, go for a side-swept lob," advises Vaccaro. "A length that hits an inch below the chin and around your collarbone is great because it takes attention away from the chin/jawline." To style the look like actress Olivia Munn, Vaccaro says, "I like taking a flatiron to create loose soft waves to a side-swept lob while spraying Glamsquad’s Beachy wave spray to give the hair a more salty/undone finish."
Model Jourdan Dunn's oversized curls are a statement but are perfectly doable at home. "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)," says Vaccaro. "I then finish with 1.5-inch large barrel curling iron to create some loose bouncy waves."
Lob With Long Layers
"I love lobs for round faces with very little face-framing angles and only a few very long layers, based on hair texture," says Vaccaro. Kerry Washington's lob has a few fluttery layers at the bottom but is otherwise a pretty standard cut.
Layered cuts aren't just for straight hair—in fact, when cut properly, they can add lift to curls, as well.
Pixie With Volume
"Pixies are so gorgeous on many women, but It takes confidence to wear them," says Vaccaro. "Typically, there is some haircut maintenance that goes along with it." That being said, the best path to a great pixie lies in getting a stellar cut à la actress Ginnifer Goodwin. "To elongate the face, have your stylist go shorter on the back and sides while keeping the length on the top a little longer," says Vaccaro. "I use a clipper or a scissor over comb technique to create this cut."