Understanding the basic bone structure that makes up your face shape can help you with a variety of fashion and style choices. Although names for the different shapes vary from source to source, the basic varieties can be used to determine haircuts, sunglass styles, and even make-up application. As anyone who has looked in a mirror can tell you, however, determining the shape of your face can be more difficult than it sounds. You can try tracing your face in a mirror, ask a friend his or her opinion, or using a measuring tape to determine the shape.
Beauty experts typically divide face shapes into several basic forms: round, square, heart-shaped, triangle, and oval. These distinctions have to do with the relative length and width of your facial features. For example, a heart-shaped face is one that is wide across the forehead and tapers gently down to a narrow or pointed chin. A square-shaped face is one that is close to equally wide at the forehead, cheeks, and jaw, while a round face will be wider at the cheekbones and similar at the forehead and jaw.
There are several methods to determining the shape of your face. A popular way, often touted in beauty magazines, is the lipstick method. Standing in front of a mirror that you can see your whole head in, use a tube of lipstick to trace the outline of your face on the mirror. This method can be somewhat subjective, however, since lipstick is often quite wide and can distort the small contours of your face. You may also subconsciously adjust the outline to make it more to your liking, defeating the purpose of the method.
Third-party help can be useful in determining your face shape. Wrap a single-color towel around your head and wear a high-necked robe of the same color, then ask a friend what shape he or she thinks best describes your face. The use of a solid color drape eliminates distraction and highlights your face, possibly allowing a better contrast for the viewer. Again, this method is somewhat subjective, as your friend may be more concerned with giving you the answer you want than the truth. If you ask several friends, you may also run into honest disagreements, as it may appear different to different people.
Some beauty experts recommend a scientific approach. Using a tape measure, record the distance between your cheekbones, between the widest points of your jaw line, across your forehead at the widest point, and from hairline to chin. These proportional measurements may give you a good idea of what shape category your face fits. According to one system, round faces will be twice as wide as they are high, square faces are almost identical in length and width, and heart-shaped faces are much narrower at the jaw than at the forehead, and feature wide cheekbones.
Understanding your face shape can be a great basis for style choices, but doesn’t need to be followed all the time. While it is true that certain styles may flatter certain shapes, keep facial shape in mind as a guideline rather than a rule. Many experts agree that the most important factor in choosing any fashion or beauty style is that you feel beautiful, regardless of trend or expert advice.