Ever gone to your hairstylist with a celeb photo and begged for the cut that she’s rocking, only to be sorely disappointed that the result doesn’t flatter your face in the same way? You may be fighting your face shape. Haircuts aren’t one size fits all, and you could be hankering after a style that doesn’t work well with your bone structure. One of the best ways to scope out cuts that’ll complement your unique features is to figure out your face shape and find styles suited to it. Here, we’ll tackle one of the most striking face shapes – the heart – and break down the elements of hairstyles that best flatter it.
Faces come in all shapes, and it can be hard to distinguish which categories yours falls into. First, you’ll need to gauge the width of three points: your forehead, cheekbones, and jaw, so pull your hair off your face and check the mirror. You can even measure to confirm your visual inspection. If you have a relatively wide forehead with cheekbones that are roughly the same width, then you may fall into the heart category.
Now take a step back and analyze your chin. Is it rounded or pointed? If it’s the latter, you’re one data point closer to settling on the heart-shaped designation. And actually, we could stop right there, because some aestheticians call faces like this “inverted triangles.” (It’s a less cute name, for sure, so you may want to stick with heart-shaped.)
Having said that, there’s one final facial characteristic that’ll land you firmly in the heart-shaped category, and that’s a widow’s peak (we know: another not-so-charming expression). Look at your hairline right at the center of your forehead – does it dip down to form a point? If so, count yourself in good company: Kourtney Kardashian, and Marilyn Monroe, for example – classic beauties with heart-shaped faces made more pronounced by strong widow’s peaks.
The combination of a pointed chin and widow’s peak should make for a pretty obvious (with an emphasis on pretty) heart figure if you imagine an outline around your face. Heck, if you’re not sure, grab a tube of lipstick or an eyeliner pencil and literally trace your face in the mirror.
Okay, widow’s peak or not, you’ve established that you’ve got a heart-shaped or inverted triangle face. Now what to do with that information? Certain haircuts, lengths, and bang styles work best with this bone structure, so you can narrow your search for styles that’ll bring out your best features and offset the ones you’d like to downplay.
The long and short of it
For starters, let’s check out the length. Lucky for you, just about any length hair can suit a heart-shaped face, as long as it’s cut, styled, and parted the proper way. It’s all about balancing the relative broadness of your forehead with the pointiness of your chin.
The longest hair (past your shoulders and beyond) should have layers come in at about chin-level. This will add width where it does the most good, especially if you wear your hair in soft waves. A middle part can add needed length to your face, but if you have a strong cowlick due to a widow’s peak, this can be more trouble than it’s worth (more widow’s peak tips later).
If your widow’s peak fights a center part, opt for a deep side part instead; it breaks up your forehead to make it appear more in balance with your jawline and chin. Eva Longoria often rocks long hair in styles that make the most of her heart-shaped features; she usually goes for a deep side part and softly layered waves. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have long been fans of center-parted long hair, which skims the sides of their heart-shaped faces and offsets the difference between wide foreheads and narrow chins.
For shoulder-length styles, heart-shaped faces can’t go wrong with a lob – a long bob. This is a super-versatile hairstyle. It’s long enough to put up in a pony or chignon and is universally flattering.
The longer version of this style should come in at or below your collarbones and can include long layers. Part it on the side and blowdry with a round brush to bring the layers in for a flattering look, or put soft waves in with a curling iron; here, a center part will help the sides skim your face and narrow your forehead. For a more dramatic look, try a boldly diagonal deep side part.
If you’re not interested in layers and want your one-length lob to curl inward, keep it a little longer than your collarbones. A blunt cut too close to your chin can accentuate sharpness.
For lob ideas, look to Jennifer Aniston. She cycles through hairstyles but always seems to go back to that softly layered shoulder length look that suits her heart-shaped face best. She typically wears her hair down and brushed or blown slightly forward, so it creates a framework for her prominent jawline and pointy chin while utilizing side-swept bangs or a center part to minimize her forehead.
You can also increase the volume of a lob with big rollers. Roll them up to just below your jawline for big, luscious curls that sit right where you need the volume. A half-up, half-down ‘do is another good option for a heart-shaped face with a lob; pulling it back at the top and cheekbones leaves the width where you need it.
A shoulder-skimming bob can work well with heart-shaped features, as well. This shorter version can be worn with or without bangs (we’ll get into bangs in a little bit), but, unlike longer hairstyles, you’ll probably want to avoid a center part; opt for a soft side part instead. With this style of bob, beachy waves can do wonders for adding a little width to your jawline.
Just be careful of putting too much volume around your cheekbones, as that can round out the upper portions of your face and make your chin seem pointier. Reese Witherspoon, another celeb with strong heart-shaped features, often sports a shorter lob that flatters her face whether she wears it straight, rounded, or wavy.
If you’re willing to go shorter, there are a ton of hairstyles that perfectly suit a heart-shaped face. In fact, a pixie cut is custom-made for you… if you dare. Not willing to go quite that short yet? Get into the mood with shortish styles that will make the most of your features. A choppy-layered chin-length bob will add width to the bottom of your face and is a great choice if you don’t have a super-strong jawline.
Even if your hair is thin and fine, a few layers won’t take away fullness at this length, and you can add a deep side part to minimize your forehead. We love this look for summertime; it’s low maintenance and retains enough length to look romantic! Gabrielle Union’s choppy bob is the gold standard as far as we’re concerned. Check out her photos to see if this hairstyle’s as appealing to you as it is to us.
And then there’s the pixie. If you’re feeling bold, take heart (see what we did there?) – this is a haircut that will accentuate your heart-shaped face in the best way. This ultra-short cut works best when you pair it with bangs that come down on your forehead, whether they’re long and side-parted, or short and wispy. We do recommend that you steer clear of very short bangs if you have a wide forehead; it’s hard to pull this look off.
A pixie cut combined with a heart-shaped face will give you an upbeat, flirty look that can easily go glamorous. For inspiration, check out pics of Halle Berry, who’s made the pixie her signature look. Just bear in mind that although a pixie may be low-maintenance daily, you’re going to have to hit the salon every month to six weeks or so to keep it looking its best.
No matter what length hairstyle you choose, you need to consider bangs, because they’re one of the best ways to balance out a broad forehead and sharp chin. If you do have a prominent widow’s peak with a stubborn cowlick pattern, consult your hairstylist for an idea of how to make bangs work with it. Most will recommend that you go with moderately thick bangs, somewhere in between wispy and heavy.
The former isn’t strong enough to fight a cowlick, and the latter is too much for heart-shaped faces, which tend to be petite. The Bardot fringe is longish in the center (think tangled in your eyelashes) and gently round out a little longer at the edges of your forehead to softly enclose the wider space. And if your widow’s peak wants to pull the fringe aside, the part will look natural. You can pull off a Bardot fringe best with collarbone-length hair or longer.
Curtain bangs are a longer version of Bardot bangs. They’ll cooperate with a widow’s peak cowlick and frame the sides of your face, landing at about the jawline. They look great with an updo, or with hair that’s past shoulder length.
With a weaker cowlick, you could try side-swept bangs, which cooperates wonderfully with any length, including pixie. And if your widow’s peak doesn’t give you any trouble at all, you have even more bang options, but hairstylists recommend you keep them narrow and textured to minimize a wide forehead. Choppy bangs are a more dramatic version of this theme, and with both, you’ll want to keep the length just below your eyebrows. Blunt-cut bangs will accentuate the broadest part of your forehead, so avoid them at any length.
The bottom bang line is long, side-swept bangs work well to cut the width of your forehead, and because they look good with everything from a lob to a pixie, we’d recommend them for heart-shaped faces with mild widow’s peaks. If your hair’s thick, the weight may overcome a moderate cowlick, but you may have to reinforce with judicious blowdrying.
The most important thing to remember? These are all suggestions, not rules. If you have heart-shaped features and are longing for a blunt-cut, chin-length bob, go for it! Your best look is the one you’re the happiest wearing, no matter what your face shape.