More Makeup Math: Gettin’ Down with Geometry

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To


Written by Sam

Freelance makeup artist and blogger Sam comes at us with even MORE makeup math in today’s guest post.

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.


Written by Sam

Sam is a 17-year-old, oddly tall guy whose love of all things skincare, makeup, and fashion started when he entered the modeling world at 14. Since then, he’s established himself as a freelance makeup artist in the theatre and fashion worlds, and started his own blog to preach the wonders of orange eyeshadow, Asian skincare, and designer fragrances to the masses.


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So far, 21 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Advah says:

    Gah I still can’t figure out what I am (thought it was diamond shape but not that sure). I might try that trick of drawing the outline of my face in a mirror..

    • Sam says:

      Oh my, looks like I COMPLETELY forgot to include how to tell if you’re a diamond!! EEP! I’m a terrible person…
      Well, here it is: The distance across your nose is the widest, and the distance across your temples is the same as the distance across your mouth. The distance across your forehead is just barely longer than the distance across your chin. The difference between this and oval is that instead of curving, the difference in lengths going up and down from the “nose” line is rather more intense, lending itself to a more severe jawline and a smaller forehead. Your hairline tends to cut down towards your ears. Bangs are your friends. Here, you want to contour around the ears and underneath the chin, and highlight above the temples and into the hairline.
      Hope that helped a bit!

  2. Kate & Zena says:

    I think you also mean that I need to pull up the bangs as well, right?

    I’ll get back to you if I figure out my face shape. Otherwise, I might be asking for an e-mail address so I can e-mail you a photo so you can figure it out (you do figure these things out for people for hugs or dog kisses, right? Zena gives free e-kisses and free e-tricks, especially “paw,” “down,” “roll over” and “dead.” Zena thinks she’s a model).

    • Sam says:

      Sure, shoot me an email! (Unless you’ve figured it out by now? Sorry for the long response time…)

      Just put something in the subject so it doesn’t get directed to junk mail.

      Take a picture of your face from shoulders up, hair pulled back, not smiling, and straight on. Make sure you’re not tilting your chin up or down, and don’t furrow your brows.

      • Kate & Zena says:

        No, I haven’t figured it out yet! It’s so frustrating!

        (Ha ha, furrow my brows. Only when one is emotional does one furrow one’s brows—or when using puppy eyes, aka female’s first weapon for evoking guilt)

  3. Tracy says:

    I have quite the widow’s peak-very vampiric! Bangs never work on me, they never sit right.
    Great post by the way! Now I know for sure I’m a heart!
    Tracy recently posted … The Solomon Islands Glow Courtesy of Sue Devitt

  4. Appu says:

    Great post, Sam! I think, I am somewhere in between a round and an oval…is there something like that?
    Appu recently posted … NYX Tinted Lip Spa in Vintage

    • Sam says:

      If you’re an oval, it’s kinda gotta be dead on. Most likely, you’re just an elongated circle, which means you need less contouring to achieve an oval shape, but still mostly in the same places.

      • Appu says:

        Ah, an elongated circle seems interesting! I tried applying blush using the technique you had mentioned( to the highest points of my cheekbones) and it works like a charm! My face looked so much more fresh and youthful 🙂 Thanks a ton, Sam!
        Appu recently posted … NYX Tinted Lip Spa in Vintage

  5. Nina says:

    im either an oval or a round. maybe a round w/ cheekbones? iono… LOL!

  6. Katie Coleman says:

    Love the Pythagorean theorem photo! :0)

  7. ki says:

    And you’re back with another brilliant post 🙂

    I’m definitely oval and while keeping blush within the line going down from the centre of my pupil didn’t exactly work, I found that for my face shape going with the line from the tip of my nose did! I tried applying blush to the top of the apples and on the highest points of the cheekbones and it REALLY wakes my face up – you deserve that *hug* 😀

  8. Kim says:

    Thanks for including the heart in this one, Sam. I’m not so excited about the shade, shade, shade part, though. 🙂

  9. Sondra says:

    A brilliant post!!! I’m impressed that such thoughtful and well written posts are coming from a 17 year old. You’re much older than your years.
    Hmmm, I thought I was an oval….maybe a bottom heavy one? (upside down heart?) LOL!

    Keep posting Sam!!! I love reading them!!

  10. adla says:

    There’s one thing I never get… What exactly is the correlation between overall face shape and bone structure? I keep reading that having an oval face means you’ve got a great bone structure, or that a rectangular one means great cheekbones and I just don’t see it.

    • Sam says:

      Mostly it’s because bone structure kind of determines face shape, and your skin tends to stretch differently over your bones depending on your face shape. Obviously, if you gain weight, your bone structure will start to disappear (if the weight transfers to your face), so this is not always true. Of course, some rectangular faces may have very weak cheekbones, and someone with a heart shaped face may have a very strong jaw. It’s just a general guideline and how bone structure often, though not always, is a large indicator of overall face shape.

      That was a bit confusing… Sorry! Did it help any?

  11. Krys says:

    Really good post 🙂 Do you think you can help me figure out which face shape i have, sam? 🙂

    Thank you!!

    • Sam says:

      Sure, shoot me an email!

      Just put something in the subject so it doesn’t get directed to junk mail.

      Take a picture of your face from shoulders up, hair pulled back, not smiling, and straight on. Make sure you’re not tilting your chin up or down, and don’t furrow your brows.

  12. Samtoo says:

    Excellent post Sam! I really look forward to reading your stuff now (and Karen’s still too Obviously!!!).

    Keep up the great work!

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