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What Kind of Shape Are You In?

What if we told you it doesnít matter how much weight you lose or gain, you can be in the best shape ever by simply standing in a shower-steamed bathroom in front of a good quality mirror for 30 seconds.

Of course, we donít mean fitness. We mean getting to see the real shape of your face so youíll know which hair style will give you your most flattering look.

Getting A Fix On Your Face

Itís simple. Next time you step out of the shower donít wipe that steam off the mirror. Let it settle a bit until you can see the vague outline of your face. Then trace the shape of your face in the steam that remains. What youíll end up with is an oval, round, square, oblong, heart, or diamond shape. And thatís the key to choosing how to shape your hair so you look your best ever.

For those who insist on scientific precision, a ruler or measuring tape will ensure youíre getting the true picture of your facial structure and not the ripples in a mirror.
Start by measuring across the top of your cheekbones. Write down the number.

Next, measure across the widest point of your jaw to the other side. Write it down.
Measure your forehead at its widest. Thatís usually about halfway between your eyebrows and your hairline. Write it down.

Finally measure the length of your face by starting at the tip of your hairline to the bottom of your chin. An oval face is 1.5 times wider than long. A round face is almost equal in width and length. A square face is as wide as it is long, but itís angular at the top and bottom compared to a round face. A heart shaped face is narrow at the jaw and wide at the cheekbones or forehead, while a diamond shaped face is wide at the cheekbones and narrow at both the forehead and jaw.

Model Good Looks

Are you wider at the temples than the jaw? Youíre a heart shape, like Katie Holmes, Reese Witherspoon, Gong Li and Jennifer Lopez. Imagine Katieís wedge shaped, angular bob on your face. Jennifer Lopezí tight to the head sleek do, or with a few tendrils trailing down to your jaw line. Stay away from extremely short blunt cuts with straight bangs. Long hair? Go with long layers that point the way to your jaw.

Do you have a strong angular jaw and a similar width from forehead to chin? Your face might be square, like Angelina Jolie or Sandra Bullock. Go with texture. A choppy, spiky finish. Or long and sleek with layers that start at the jaw and continue lower.

If that same face is a little longer making it more rectangular than square, you share the face shape of Gwyneth Paltrow, and Janet Jackson. Aim for side-swept bangs. Curls and waves add width. Long layers are especially fitting.

Most women have an oval face shape, and thatís lucky because itís the easiest for hairstyling. Think Julia Roberts, Jennifer Anniston, Cameron Diaz, and Tyra Banks. Layered hair accentuates cheeks, lips and chin. Short layers on top are nice but donít trim the top if your hair is curly.

Round is a touch trickier. But there is beauty in a full face, properly framed. Just take a look at Oprah Winfrey, Fergie, Kirstin Dunst, and Kate Winslett. Think cuts with soft layering and wisps or tapered ends. If your hair is curly, go longer.

Of course, there are hybrids of all these shapes. Halle Berryís beautiful face is oval with some triangular features. Lindsay Lohan is a blend of oblong and square.

To make the many shaped faces of these women their most beautiful, hairdressers cut and style with a few loosely held observations:

1) Height at the top elongates the face.
2) Angular cuts at chin length slim a face.
3) Bobs, and blunt cuts draw the eye to the bottom of the cut.
4) Hair pulled away from the face makes the eyes appear larger.
5) Layering can soften hard lines in a face shape.

The Long and the Short of It

An oval face is the most adaptable to any hair cut style and length. This springís crops, blunt cuts, and bobs are a sure thing. But almost everything works. Long bangs will minimize any length so if your face is drawn, perk it up by drawing the eye to the forehead area.

The shape of a round face calls for more length. This is best done with height in the hair at the top, and keeping it flat at the sides and around the ears. Angular cuts below the chin or longer work well. Chin length hair or fullness at the sides just makes the face look wider.

A rectangular face needs to be made to appear wider. Bangs might make it seem shorter, a side part will keep it from looking too square. Layering adds volume and width.

A square face often seems too short, so the best hairstyles add length. Layering softens hard lines and waves or tendrils around the face minimize the hard angles. Curly waves and soft ringlets also balance a square face. Straight across bangs and center parts can make your face look boxy. Wispy bangs and height up top help.

The jaw line must be emphasized in heart-shaped faces. This is done by drawing the eye downward either through curl or hair length and bluntness of cut. Chin length or longer styles suit best. Avoid short styles with fullness at the top. Tapered necklines can make you look top heavy.

With trends on the runways turning to sheer shirts and dresses, and loosely tailored wide legged pants (very flattering for the long limbed) the veil of the 20s to 40s hangs over the most fashion conscious among us.

Whether you lean toward the cocky cocktail flapper look of a Katie Holmes bob, or the winsomeness of a romantic siren with a 40s side parted wave, remember to complement the shape of your face with the right style and youíll be at your best.


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