Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fifty Shapes of Face [KNOW YOURSELF]

Early morning crazy hair.

I will be getting some new glasses soon, so I thought a post on face shape as part of the [KNOW YOURSELF] series would be timely. As I mentally planned this post, I was under the delusion that it would be simple, a cut and dry, "I am this and not that." I mean, we are only trying to determine the shape of a single component object, unlike body shape which gets complicated by long torsos and short legs and thin arms, etc, etc, etc. I underestimated the power (or should I say "anti-power"?) of subjectivity.

I thought to myself, "I will just pull my hair back and look into the mirror, and then I'll know." Well, at first glance all I came up with is the fact that I have a forehead that won't stop (not a revelation), and that my face is fairly wide. So I decided to draw the outline of my face on the mirror with lipstick (it cleans easily). This method resulted in a small abstract shape that wasn't easily identifiable as any of the of the basic face shapes, which, by the way, are: oval, square, round, and heart. Some websites and books break it down even further to include oblong, rectangular, diamond and triangle. So back to my face narrative... Several websites suggest to take a pic or two at a straight, no nonsense forward angle with hair pulled back. Which I did, as you can see (don't be distracted by my two-tone eyebrows - it's just the lighting).

Do you see how the slight angle alteration and the way the hair is pulled back changes the appearance of shape? At this point, face shape still undetermined, I knew I needed to get scientific and take some measurements. There are instructions all over the internet on how to take the measurements, but some are unclear regarding where to place the tape. I finally found one site that has good visuals and straightforward instructions on how to measure. The instructions on how to interpret the measurements left something (ok, everything) to be desired, so next I searched for more specific criteria on how to interpret the measurements. I eventually found one that did and, drumroll, please...  

My face is rectangular, because it is longer (thank you, forehead of champions) than it is wide, though not drastically. Because of this latter fact, it also has some of the characteristics of a square shaped face. So, my difficulty in defining my face shape may have had something to do with the fact that I am between two shapes, so to speak. At least now I know what shapes I'm not, and I have a reference point in what styles to avoid and what to short list.

So what does my experience mean for you? Not terribly much, probably, but I can give a little advice on how to get some useful info for the next time you buy glasses or get a haircut.

Unless you are able to be highly objective about your own face, or your face is an exemplar model of one of the types, skip the visual methods and go straight for the measurement method. 

Go to this site for clear, easy to follow instructions on how to take your face measurements. 

Take your measurements.

Go to this site, and see #6-11 in order to interpret your measurements; it also contains  suggestions regarding hairstyles, and links to other related articles (e.g. best glasses frames). Still not sure? This site (click and scroll down towards the bottom) gives descriptors of the shapes. These may help to further clarify what you find with your measurements, especially if you have characteristics of two different shapes. Bonus: Click on any of the face shapes for specific hairstyle and accessory suggestions and celebrity examples of each type.

Digest your results and don't forget that each shape is beautiful!


  1. My face is widest at my JAW. A full nine inches, with a 7 1/2in length and 6 across the forehead and the cheek. No wonder I'm always complaining about the lack of volume on the top of my hair.

  2. Hi Anna! Thank you for reading! Isn't it great to know why you feel something?! My whole life I've loved center parts on others, but I always have felt like I do an instant transformation into ugly duckling when I try it. So now, its put to rest, I never have to try it again because I know its never going to look good, and I know why its never going to look good!

  3. Your face-shape isn't rectangular since your forehead looks wider than your chin. Rather say... thin-inverted-triangle-ish.

    I'm... oblong-inverted-triange-diamond-ish X'D Yours is prettier xP

    1. Chin was supposed to be jaw, sorry :/

    2. Hmm. Something to think about... : )


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