How to Find Your Face Shape in Simple Steps

face shape ( photo: )

If you're curious about your face shape and what it might mean for your style choices, you've come to the right place. Knowing your face shape can be valuable for a variety of reasons, such as choosing a hairstyle, selecting sunglasses, grooming your eyebrows, or applying makeup. David Shafer, MD, FACS, a New York City-based plastic surgeon and founder of Shafer Plastic Surgery, explains that understanding your face shape allows you to play with dimensions and highlight or downplay specific parts of your face.

In addition to helping with style decisions, your face shape can even give insight into how your face may change as you age. Having this knowledge can provide another tool for decision-making and better self-awareness.

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Measuring Your Face to Determine Its Shape


Before exploring the various face shapes, take out a measuring tape and write down these measurements first.

- Face Length: Measure from the top of your hairline to the bottom of your chin. 

- Forehead Width: Measure the distance across the center of your forehead from one hairline to the other. Keep the measuring tape flat, do not curve it.

- Cheekbone Width: Locate the highest point of your cheekbone and measure from one cheek to the other across your face. Keep the measuring tape flat, do not curve it against your skin. 

- Jawline Width: Place the measuring tape just below your ear, extend it down to the center of your chin, and double the measurement. You can curve the tape to fit against your skin in this case.

It could be helpful to have someone else measure for you, or you can use the built-in measuring tape app on an iPhone if you don't have a physical measuring tape. If you don't have any measuring tools, there are also noticeable visual characteristics that can assist in determining your face shape.

Most Common Face Shapes

There are seven prevalent face shapes: diamond, heart, oval, rectangle, round, and square. By determining your face shape, you can gain insights on the appropriate way to apply makeup, select haircuts that complement your features, and choose sunglasses that suit you best.

- Triangle Face Shape

According to Robert Sigal, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon and partner at Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery, a triangular face is characterized by high cheekbones and a narrow jawline. In terms of measurements, the forehead and cheekbone will be wider while the chin is narrow and pointed (either rounded or sharp).

- Diamond Face Shape

The diamond face shape is a variation of the heart shape and is characterized by a pointed chin, prominent cheekbones, and a narrow forehead. 

The diamond face shape is a more angular variation of an oval face shape. It typically has high and prominent cheekbones, with the distance between them slightly wider than the forehead length. The chin is narrow and pointed, and the hairline tends to have a more angular shape.

- Heart Face Shape

The heart face shape, as its name suggests, is defined by a pointed chin resembling the shape of a heart, a narrow hairline, and the widest part of the face being the cheekbones.

Dr. Shafer notes that a prominent widow's peak hairline is one of the most distinguishable features of a heart-shaped face. A heart-shaped face also has a wider forehead than jawline, wider cheekbones than forehead, and a narrow chin with a sharp point.

- Oval Face Shape

Oval faces are well balanced vertically and have a length that is greater than their width. They often have a rounded jawline and chin, with the forehead being the widest part of the face.

An oval face shape is a blend of both square and round features. Typically, the forehead width is narrower than the cheekbone width, and the face is longer than it is wide. According to Dr. Shafer, the jawline and chin are more rounded compared to the sharp and defined lines of a square face.

- Rectangle Face Shape

The rectangle face shape, which is a variation of the square face shape, is characterized by a length that is greater than its width, with the forehead, cheeks, and jawline being of roughly equal width.

A rectangular face shape has a face length that is longer than the face width. The forehead, cheekbones, and jaw appear to be equally spaced. Dr. Sigal states that the rectangular shape is commonly seen in older individuals when skin from their cheeks and jowls droops into the lower half of the face. He adds that on rare occasions, some younger people have prominent buccal fat pads, which are the natural deposits of fat in the cheek.

- Round Face Shape

Round faces have soft features, a wide hairline, and cheekbones that are the widest part of the face. The forehead and jawline are approximately the same width.

Dr. Shafer says that the distinguishing features of a round face shape are a rounded hairline and jawline. Additionally, a round face shape has equal measurements for face width and length.

- Square Face Shape

Square faces have a wide hairline and a strong, angular jawline. The width of the forehead, cheekbones, and jawline is similar, and the face is as long as it is wide.

According to Dr. Shafer, you have a square face shape if your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline have the same width. A square face also has a wider and more prominent forehead and jawline. The measurements are similar to those of a round face, but the overall structure of the face is more angular with fewer curves.

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Why Is Understanding Your Face Shape Important?


Identifying your face shape opens up opportunities for you to experiment with adding dimension to your features.

- By recognizing your face shape, you can enhance your facial features through contouring and sculpting. According to makeup artist Sir John, excessive lines in sculpting may not consider cultural differences. He suggests that focusing on the perimeter and adding dimension towards the center of the face can work for all face shapes and is a versatile approach to sculpting various face shapes.

- Knowing your face shape enables you to highlight specific parts of your face for a more pronounced look. For example, if you have a round face, applying blush slightly above your cheekbones can emphasize your bone structure.

- Identifying your face shape can also reveal which parts of your face may benefit from de-emphasizing. For instance, if you have a square jaw, contouring makeup can be used to round out the edges and soften the appearance.

- Knowing your face shape can assist in selecting the most complementary haircut. Your hairstyle can significantly impact the way your face is emphasized. If you're having difficulty finding a hairstyle that flatters your features, consider determining your face shape. This knowledge can guide you to the best hairstyles that suit your face. A simple online search or a visit to a hairstylist can provide you with the right haircut.

How to Determine Your Face Shape


Identifying your face shape is a straightforward process. To begin, make sure your hair is pulled back and not obstructing your face.

- Determine the widest part of your face. By looking in the mirror, identify the part of your face that is the widest, you can use your eyes or a flexible tape measure to do this. If your forehead is the widest, your face shape is oval. If your cheekbones are the widest, your face is either round or heart-shaped (to differentiate, follow the next step). If your face appears evenly proportioned in width, your face shape is most likely square.

- Evaluate the shape of your jawline. To identify your face shape, examine the shape of your jawline. If it's rounded and short, your face is round. If it's pointy and narrow, it suggests a heart-shaped face. If it's strong and angular, it's a sign of a square face.

- To determine your face shape, measure the length and width of your face. Start by measuring from the center of your hairline to the tip of your chin and then from the left side of your face to the right side. If your face is longer than it is wide, you likely have an oval face shape. If your face is wider than it is long, you may have a round or heart-shaped face. If your face is as long as it is wide, you may have a square or diamond face shape. If the length of your face is twice as long as its width, you may have a rectangle face shape.

Some Final Words on Face Shapes

"If you feel that you don't completely fit into any of the face shape categories, don't worry," says Dr. Shafer. "It's normal for many people to have a mixture of face shapes. In fact, it's quite common. For instance, Jennifer Lopez has prominent features, and her face shape can be characterized as both oval and diamond shaped."

"It's important to keep in mind that face shapes can also evolve as we age," says Dr. Shafer. "For example, as we mature, our face shapes tend to become more rectangular due to changes in fat, muscle, and skin. On the other hand, younger people are often more likely to have a triangular shape.

It's not a strict rule on how to apply cosmetics or wear accessories, but you may discover that certain items enhance your appearance more based on your face shape. Don't worry too much about it, have fun, and always remember to embrace your beauty."

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