Hair Care Tips: Choosing a Hairstyle

That trendy haircut may look good on the page, but you can’t be sure it’ll look good on you. How do you know which hairstyles will suit you? The trick is to flatter your best features and play down your flaws. This simple guide shows you how.
Hair Care Tips: Choosing a Hairstyle

Some people are born lucky—they look good in anything from a straight, sleek mane to outrageously bright hair. Most of us, however, have the kind of face and body that don’t look good in all the trendiest styles. Unless you’re sure you belong to the first group, you can’t just head over to the salon and have them copy whatever’s on the magazines. Too often, we end up choosing a hairstyle that’s all wrong for our facial structure or body type, and end up looking more frumpy than fashionable.

But finding the right hairstyle isn’t as hard as it sounds. All it takes is a few basic concepts and perhaps a bit of experimentation. As long as you know what works and what doesn’t, you can easily update your look as often as you want—and pull it off every time. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a new hairstyle.

Hair type

Your first consideration should be the kind of hair you were born with. Some hair types take well to styling, while others will break at anything harsher than shampoo. Women with straight and thick hair have it best, as they can withstand most hair treatments and will yield to extensive styling. Thin and wavy hair should be styled minimally—the occasional hot oil and perm (or curling iron) should be enough. Curly hair tends to be stubborn, so it’s best to leave it alone unless you’re willing to spend more on permanent relaxing or straightening.

Hair color should also be considered, although you can always dye your hair to match the style you want. Brown hair looks good in almost any style. Strong shades like red and jet black should be kept simple to keep the color from overpowering your features. Blond and light brown hair can be grown long and wavy, as the waves can add volume to the otherwise bland colors.

Facial structure

Matching your hairstyle to your face involves playing up the good parts and camouflaging the bad. There are four common face shapes, and each one works with a different hairstyle.

Heart-shaped – If your face tapers sharply at the chin, round out the look by adding some wave or curl to the chin area. Stay away from styles that frame your face—they’ll only emphasize the taper and make you look emaciated.

Diamond-shaped – Diamond faces taper both at the chin and forehead. Balance out this shape by filling out your hair just over the temples and at the chin. Again, avoid styles that follow or emphasize the shape of your face.

Round – Make round faces seem smaller with a hairstyle that frames the sides. Styles that extend past the chin will work best, as it draws the eye downward away from the roundness of the face. Try a side part to keep the hair off your cheek area.

Square – Square faces have strong angular features that should be softened with a contrasting hairstyle. Soft curls, wispy bangs, or an angled shape are some of the best styles. Avoid center parts; go for a side part to create the illusion of length and height.

Body type

Your hairstyle should also be in proportion with your size and height. Tall people can pull off long and short styles, but those on the petite side should avoid long or high-volume styles as these can throw your whole look off balance. Four of the most common body types are:

Straight and lean – this type of body needs to be set off with curves. Avoid short, chunky hairstyles and long, straight cuts. Instead, go for full-bodied, feminine waves to play up some contrast.

Full and curvy – you can either distract from your curves with an angled haircut, or complement them with soft curls. Avoid styles that fall to close to your face, as they’ll only emphasize the roundness.

Petite – add volume by going for a layered or angled cut. Stay away from extremes—long styles will look out of proportion, and short styles make your head look smaller.

Athletic – tall, well-built bodies look great with most hairstyles, but plain cuts tend to look boring. If you’re heavily muscled, feminine waves and curls will flatter your figure.


Another thing you should consider is how much time and money you can spare for maintenance. If you can’t spend more than five minutes in front of a mirror, a simple, straight cut may work best for you. Go for styles that you can easily tie back or comb through, and avoid high-maintenance styles like layers and angled bangs. This also works for those who spend lots of time outdoors. If you’re always on the go, a sleek, straight hairstyle can be hard to maintain, so go for a short cut that complements your natural hair texture.