It would be great if we could all pull off the latest 'do—be it a blunt bob or a shoulder-length shag—but the truth is, certain styles flatter certain face shapes better than others. For those with an oblong-shaped face, the most flattering styles are those with interest—think bangs, layers, or lots of volume. "Texture is a huge one with oblong face shapes," says hairstylist McKenzie Lehmann. "By adding texture to the hair, it will add width to make the face shape more symmetric."
Below, we rounded up 25 hairstyles, all of which work particularly well for those of us with an elongated, oval-shaped face—and got styling advice from experts on how to execute them.
Meet the Expert
- McKenzie Lehmann is a Kansas City-based hairstylist who works on behalf of Salon Inspire and CHI Haircare.
- Christopher Didier is the founder of Purple Haze Studio in Huntington Station, New York.
Keep reading to see which hairstyles work best for oblong face shapes.
Ciara's sleek updo serves to complement her face shape. Lehmann explains, "Expose those ears and let them give your face more width." Regarding your part, "Place it at about center or the lower part of the head. If you have an oblong face, you do not want it too high because this will add more height to the face's appearance."
Here Olga Kurylenko demonstrates how bangs can help to balance your facial symmetry and even flatter a bigger forehead. "I can’t get enough of curtain bangs on oblong face shapes," says Lehmann. "They are not only are in style, but they shorten the appearance of the forehead to make the face appear more oval."
Ashlee Simpson's pageboy-style cut is very dramatic, with plenty of shine. The side-swept bangs complete the look, and it's a perfect style for anyone who has thicker hair that can produce this much volume. A pomade (we like OUAI's Matte Pomade, $24) will help add texture.
Kerry Washington's half-up, half-down 'do is flattering in so many ways. For one, natural curls lend volume and width. Barely-there curly bangs serve to shorten the face. The shoulder length is just the icing on the cake.
Long Layers With Short Angles
When it comes to complementing a longer and/or narrower face shape, it's all about the volume. "The best haircuts for someone with an oblong face shape would be anything that is going to round out your face," says Didier. "For example, long layers with shorter angles starting near your cheekbones or lips." Didier recommends styling a cut like Kim Kardashians with big waves or a voluminous blowout.
Bob With Bangs
From its length to its bangs, Taylor Swift's graduated bob frames her face to a T. Chin-length bobs and shags are ideal for an oblong face because they create the illusion of width. Swift's cut is a modern style that can work for any age.
Blake Lively's long but textured look is positive proof that the right hairstyle can alter your face's shape. To get her look, Lehman recommends sectioning hair into six vertical sections, then curling with CHI's Lava Curl Shot ($130) iron. Finish by applying a dime-size amount of BioSilk Silk Therapy With Organic Coconut Oil ($28) through strands to separate curls. "This will also add shine," she notes.
The classic bob—as seen on model Bella Hadid—is a great choice for long faces. It's a sophisticated look that works with straight and wavy hair, no matter if it's fine or thick. This bob looks beautiful sans bangs, but there's no denying that blunt or side-swept bangs would also look stunning.
By keeping the length close to the chin and a little shorter in the back, you can draw attention to a well-defined bone structure.
"Middle parts will help the hair fall symmetrical and add needed width," says Lehmann, who recommends using a rotating curling iron (try the Bondi Boost Wave Wand, $58, for natural-looking, boho beach waves) in alternating directions. "Once done, run fingers through and break up the curls and finish with a shine spray," she adds. Add a headband like Lea Michele if you're so inclined.
With the right haircut, no one would even guess your face is oblong. That's certainly the case with Maggie Q's shoulder-length layers. It's a great option if you have straighter or finer hair. The simplicity also lets you play with color. Highlights, anyone?
As Jessica Alba can attest, a shoulder-length cut can frame and flatter like no other. Throw in some sweet, soft curls, and you've got the extra volume that gives an angular and oblong face a more oval appearance.
Lob With Bangs
As actress Gabrielle Union demonstrates, a tousled 'do—particularly one with bangs—can do wonders to shorten a longer face. To achieve her tyle, "Blow-dry hair 60 percent dry and spritz hair with CHI Aloe Vera Curl Reactivating Spray ($15)," instructs Lehmann. Then use Dyson's Corale Straightener ($500) to flat-iron your fringe.
Long and Layered
Some of the best styles for those with oblong faces are cut past the shoulders. However, keep in mind that if you go too long, it can elongate your face. To create balance, opt for layers and a tousled style like Gisele.
Full and Curly
The longer your hair, the more it can weigh down a long face. Tracee Ellis Ross's curly lob hits at the shoulders, which we consider the sweet spot that perfectly balances your face with a desire to keep long hair. Bonus: Curls help add width to her face. Try a volumizer—like Rossano Ferretti Parma's Favoloso 18 Natural Hair Movement Enhancer ($46)—if you need an added boost.
Have your stylist cut in layers to add fullness and don't let them thin out your hair too much. More volume in the hair helps to balance out an oblong face.
Long, Loose Waves
Kelly Rowland's boho-inspired look doesn't require a ton of maintenance. The key is to ensure these waves never look too "done." The trick? A middle part, plenty of volume through the roots, and a wave that's loose and manageable. Revlon's cult-followed One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer ($65) can help get you there.
Thick and Wavy
Cutting your hair at or just below the shoulders, as seen on actress Jessica Lowndes, is also a great choice for thick hair. It's a length that will not weigh down curls or waves, and it's easier to care for every day. Integrate a light styling product (we like Verb's Ghost Weightless Hair Oil, $20) to smooth flyaways.
Updo With Bangs
The competing textures of Sandra Oh's style make a fabulous choice for a formal updo. Though stylists often caution against too much volume on top of your head when you have a longer face, the forward momentum of her bangs balances things out. Plus, you have to appreciate the messy intricacy of curly bangs.
Supermodel Iman's angled bob helps define her neck while bangs flatter her forehead. It's a flattering haircut for women over 50—or any age for that matter. As Didier notes, the angle of the bangs helps round out the face. "[With] shoulder-length hair or a bob, you're always going to want to have a bang or angles with this face shape," he says. "It's just more flattering. Shorter angles take away from the length of your face."
Lupita Nyong'o's short, cropped pixie cut highlights her best features. Even better, it's easy to maintain. To add some oomph, style a pixie with a beaded headband or your hair accessory du jour.
Side-Swept and Sleek
Actress Liv Tyler's side-swept 'do calls to mind a 1940s Hollywood starlet. Here, the aim is to pull hair off to one side of your face—to highlight both your jewelry and your natural features—and ensure hair stays shiny and sleek.
Center-Parted Tousled Lob
Alexa Chung's center-parted lob is the type of style that's universally flattering. To get her texture, ask your stylist for long layers. They will keep the edges of this cut lighter and create movement.
Tousled texture is the easiest way to style center-parted hair. For tight but beachy waves like Hilary Swank's, break your hair into sections and use a small, tight-barrel curling iron.
Long Retro Waves
Kate Beckinsale's center-parted locks are retro glam, and not all that difficult to replicate at home. Just use a 1-inch barrel curling iron to curl sections of hair, starting with the strands nearest to your ear.
Leona Lewis' natural curls are wide and voluminous, so they add width to her face. The key to curls like these is to keep hair properly moisturized, so invest in a deep conditioning hair mask such as Ouai Moisturizing Thick Hair Treatment ($38).
Casual Beach Waves
Chloe Bennet's center part helps further highlight her beachy waves and perfectly accentuates her face. Use a wave wand to create perfectly shaped curls as seen here. We like the Bondi Boost Wave Wand ($58) for a visually effortless style.
Is short hair or long hair better for an oblong-shaped face?
Both styles are great. Shorter hair will round out the face, while longer hair will draw attention to your natural features. When going longer, consider adding texture and/or volume so as not to elongate the face.
Should those with an oblong face opt for layers?
Any face shape can benefit from layers, which add volume and movement to your cut. Long layers are a safe choice for all hair types and textures. If going for shorter layers, its' best to have thick or medium tresses since they will remove weight and density.
What types of bangs complement an oblong face?
In short, all. Bangs partially cover the forehead, they create the illusion of a shorter face. This will flatter an oblong face. When deciding what type of bang is right for you, consider your hair type, texture, and lifestyle.