Ever wonder what people mean when they say you’ve got a round, oval, heart, or even triangular-shaped face? Well, we’re here to decode all that geometry-based mumbo jumbo with some simple “tests” (no calculator required).
The main types of face shape are: oblong, oval, round, rectangular, square, triangular, diamond, and heart.
Have you read Sam’s first post on makeup math, aka the gorgeousness of geometry?
To begin with, mentally measure these areas horizontally (put away your ruler; we only need an estimate to compare them to the other features): your forehead, your temples, across the tip of your nose, across your mouth, and across your chin. Do all of this with a neutral face (i.e. without smiling), and looking straight into a mirror.
Oblong: The length from temple to temple and across your nose are nearly exactly the same, as well as across your chin and your forehead. Your chin rounds out nicely, and is relatively pronounced. You have a rather high hairline that sweeps more backwards than towards your ears, and your forehead may seem to dominate much of your face. Your jaw is more prominent than many other face shapes. Your goal should be to round out your forehead around the edges, and make your jawline more fluid rather than sloping.
Oval: The traditionally ideal face shape. The widest part of your face should be the line across your nose, but just barely. The distance across your temples and across your mouth are relatively the same. The distance across your chin is just barely shorter than that of your forehead. Your bone structure is often pronounced, especially your cheekbones. Your hairline sweeps towards the tops of your ears. Feel free to experiment with contouring and highlighting; there’s not much to try and “correct” here. Play up your cheekbones, chisel out your jawline, slim your nose… Completely up to you, you lucky thing.
Round: Now, don’t you just wanna pinch those cheeks? No. Step away. Anywho… Think of an oval face, as described above. Now, shorten it. All the length-comparisons are about the same, but this type of face is much shorter. The forehead is rather more rounded at the edges (complemented by a hairline that curves rather than sweeps), and the chin is less pronounced. Although the distance across the nose is still the widest, it is now by more than simply a tiny bit. From here, your face curves up to your forehead and down to your chin, rather than sloping. Focus on lengthening your face by shading around the ears and the temples.
Rectangular: Every distance is relatively equal, except across your chin, which is slightly shorter than the rest. Your face is relatively long, with a pronounced forehead and a squared off jaw. Your cheekbones are often stunning. You may be described as looking statuesque. Your hairline cuts straight across your forehead and then straight down towards your ears. Focus on rounding out your forehead by shading near and above the temples.
Square: You probably look best with a short hairstyle. Your jaw is the most pronounced area of your face, and may be described as severe (this is a good thing). Otherwise, the square face is to the rectangular as the round is to the oval. It is mostly just a “shortened” version. Your forehead is a bit smaller, and your chin is blunt rather than rounded, enhancing that amazing jawline you’ve got. Focus on rounding out your forehead, but leave that jaw alone. No need to mess with what you’ve got going there.
Triangular: Very easy to identify. The distance across your forehead is the same as that across your temples, but then every distance below that incrementally decreases, so the distance across your chin is the shortest. Your hairline cuts squarely above your forehead, and may go straight down just behind your ears. Your chin is more pointed than rounded, and your bone structure may be more obscured than other faces. Focus on highlighting your cheekbones and your jawline, and contouring around your temples.
Heart: You’ll often have a widow’s peak (easiest indicator), though this is not necessary. The distance across your temples is the widest, with the distance across your forehead just slightly shorter. Otherwise, the rest of the distances are as with the triangular face. Your chin is very pronounced, and may be described as pointed. Your jawline may also be called “weak”. Shade underneath your chin to round it out a bit, and highlight just above your jawline, and contour just under it. Add a bit of contour around your ears to aim towards that idyllic oval face.
Each face type is beautiful in its own way. The reason we aim for an oval shape is because it often photographs the most proportionately and is easiest to apply makeup to. Your bone structure will often come through better, and it’s easier to do all sorts and lengths of hairstyles. Don’t try to change who you are; enhance your natural beauty.
Put away that protractor, pick up your chisel (oops, slipped into English class here… Can anyone say Metonymy??) and shade, shade, shade. You’ll soon be so oval, it won’t even be funny.