Girl-with-dark-curly-hairWe’ve all been there: You ask your stylist to copy a cut you spied in the latest issue of Elle only to find that the result leaves you looking less Gisele than George Costanza. What went wrong?

It all comes down to face shape. The length, width and angularity of your features can impact a haircut so extremely that the same style looks totally different from one person to the next. How can you avoid future bad-cut trauma? The expert stylists at Bella Vita have a few face-type tips to keep you in the clear.

Oval Faces

The Styles: You’ve got it easier than most. Oval faces tend to work with any style you throw at them, so the choices are totally dependent on your personal features and style. Blunt bangs, shoulder-length bobs and super-short cuts are the ways to go, and wider styles with soft layers can balance out any length concerns.

What to Avoid: There’s not much you can’t do, but stay away from any cut that adds a ton of oomph to the top of your head. That much volume creates too much facial length and can feel imbalanced.

Round Faces

The Styles: It’s all about soft shapes that add dimension and length to non-angular features. Asymmetrical cuts work to elongate your face, jawline-length layers add slimming texture, and wispy bobs create constant movement. A piecey pixie is another great option; it puts the emphasis right on your cheekbones.

What to Avoid: Steer clear of anything too severe. One-length cuts and blunt bangs often make faces look wider than they really are.

Square Faces

The Styles: A wider face and angular jaw calls for softer layers to create a little balance. Go for sweeping bangs, tapered bobs or tousled layers that focus near the cheekbones. Ultra-long hair works for square faces too, but you’ll want to add some texture below the jawline; it helps soften the shape.

What to Avoid: Like round faces, square shapes don’t work so well with severe cuts. If it’s sharp and angled, the result can be boxier than you’ll probably want. Movement is truly key.

Heart Faces

The Styles: Bangs are your best friend. Heart-shaped faces are wider at the top than they are at the bottom, so a fuller fringe can help create more parity between the two. You can totally rock blunt cuts with severe angles – think Victoria Beckham – but bouncy layers and side-swept bangs work just as well.

What to Avoid: Cuts that emphasize the forehead and width tend to be unflattering with heart-shaped faces. You don’t have to do a full-on bang, but avoid any style that sits too far back from your face; you want to frame the shape rather than put it on display.

Need a more personalized perspective? Let the pros at Bella Vita show you how a face-based cut can revolutionize your look.