When was the last time you changed your hairstyle?

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When was the last time you changed your hairstyle?


By Paul Chosey




Photo: Heather Shapiro


As a stylist I try to make a subtle change about every three months or so to keep my look fresh.  With so many options today, it’s sometimes hard to know what will work and what won’t. Many of my clients realize this just before they ask for help. Some just want small variations on their existing look while others desire a complete transformation. Some offer vague, cryptic descriptions of what they’re looking for while others cut out pictures of celebrities from magazines as examples of what they want. Sometimes the desired look is spot-on for my clients but most of the time, I have to help them understand what will work best.




Photo: Jakob Renpening


To look like that picture from the magazine, you’ll first need to understand what that hairstyle will be sitting on. Faces come in all shapes and sizes. Just walk through any casino on the Vegas Strip. It’s like walking through a busy international airport. There are so many different face and head shapes, it boggles the mind.


However, I’m going to simplify this with one shape and one small word: Oval.


Why oval?


Many scientific studies have been made on human attraction.  NOVA did a multipart series years ago that went in-depth on how humans decide what is found to be attractive.  The documentary discussed us from all angles – literally – from head to toe but what I found most interesting was that across all races, in every continent, the preferred face shape was oval.  It was even broken down to a mathematical algorithm.  Regardless of background, the human eye is most attracted to the shape of an oval face.  So with different face shapes like diamond (wide cheek bones narrow forehead and chin), oblong (high forehead), round, square (strong jawline), inverted triangle (wider forehead narrow chin) and so on… you always want to seek hairstyles that frame your face and bring it closer to oval.




Photo: GregMP


Head shape plays just as important a part in picking a style as face shape does.  Depending on genetics, your head may be more square or round.  The back of your head may be flatter or may protrude out.  A hairstyle that looks balanced from the front, back and profile view while rounding out the flatness or softening the square is desired.


Every person’s skull has four places where the bones intersect and give cues to your head shape.  We call these the four corners.  There are two just inside the hairline at the front of the head on either side and two on the back of the crown of the skull.  You can locate these by feeling where the bones on the top round of your head curve the sharpest.  Hairstyles you choose must allow for where your four corners are and how the hair falls around them.  A good stylist will understand the importance of these things and will help you pick styles that work with all of your variables.



Photo: Robin Danehav


Always start with a good haircut as your base. You want one that works with your face shape, head shape and lifestyle. (If you only spend 5 minutes on your hair in the morning don’t get a style that requires 2 hours of preparation). Even a subtle change can have a huge effect.  For example, simply adding or changing a part in the hair can give it a fresh look.  For those with a good base haircut that allows for different  styling options, just a little coaching may be all it takes to change it up in the right way.  Accessories are also fun as long as they’re not over done.  Finally, try different styling products and tools.  Most salons can send you home with samples so don’t be afraid to try them.  You just might find something new and fresh to add to your look and if you don’t like it, there’s no commitment.  Wash it out and try something else.  Most importantly, know yourself and the hairstyles that fit you.  Figure out your face and head shape… and style yourself with knowledge.


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