How to Find Your Face Shape
Plus why it even matters.
If you found yourself randomly googling "how to find my face shape" or "what face shape do I have," then you've landed in the right place. Maybe you're just curious to know whether you've got a heart-shaped face or a square one, or maybe you're keen on figuring out why knowing your face shape even matters. To answer the latter question, it's not a monumental piece of information to learn about yourself, but it can help inform some of your style decisions moving forward.
"Knowing and understanding your face shape can be important for a number of reasons—[like] when choosing a hairstyle, picking sunglasses, grooming your eyebrows, or applying makeup," says David Shafer, MD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Shafer Plastic Surgery in New York City. "It also allows you to play with dimension and know which parts of your face you want to emphasize or minimize."
Also interesting: your face shape can actually help predict the way in which your face ages. Simply knowing your face shape gives you one more tool for making decisions or understanding yourself better.
Measuring Your Face to Determine Its Shape
Before diving into the different face shapes, you've got to first break out the measuring tape and jot down the following numbers:
- Face Length: Measure from the top of your hairline to lowest part of your chin.
- Forehead Width: The distance across the center of your forehead from hairline to hairline. Don't bend the measuring tape against the curve—keep it flat.
- Cheekbone Width: Feel for the highest point of your cheekbone, then measure from one cheekbone across your face to the other. Again, keep the measuring tape flat versus curving it against your skin.
- Jawline Width: Hold the measuring tape just below your ear and bring it down to the center of your chin, then multiply by two. In this case, you can bend the tape so it sits against your skin.
It might be easier to have someone else do this for you, and the iPhone has a handy measuring tape app built into it if you don't have flexible measuring tape. Also, even if you don't have a measuring tape, there are some strong visual cues to look for that'll help you find your face shape.
High cheekbones and a narrow jaw are the primary characteristics of a triangular face, says Robert Sigal, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon and president of Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery. In terms of measurements, the width of your forehead and cheekbone will be longer while your chin is narrow and comes to a point (either rounded or more rigid).
The telltale giveaways of a round face shape is having a rounded hairline and jawline, says Dr. Shafer. Round face shapes also have a face width and length that are the same measurements.
You have a square face shape if your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline are the same width. You also have a jawline and forehead that is wider and more pronounced, notes Dr. Shafer. While the measurements are similar to that of a round face, the total structure of your face feels more angular with minimal curves.
An oval forehead is a combination of square and round. Typically, the forehead width is smaller than the cheekbone width, and the face is longer than it is wide. Dr. Shafer adds that the jawline and chin is more rounded versus the distinguished, angular lines of a square face.
The diamond face shape is a more angular version of an oval face shape. Typically, cheekbones are high and strong, and the distance between them is slightly wider than the length of the forehead. The chin is also more narrow and pointed and the hairline comes to a more angular point, as well.
Rectangular faces have a face length that is longer than the width of their face. Their forehead, cheekbones, and jaw also look to be the same width apart. Dr. Sigal says that a rectangular shape is most often seen in older people in cases where skin from their cheeks and jowls tend to settle into the lower half of their face. "On occasion, younger people have really prominent buccal fat pads," he adds.
Some Final Words on Face Shapes
If you're thinking to yourself, "Well, I don't really fit into any of these face shape categories 100 percent," that's normal.
"Many people don't fit into just one face shape category. People can have a mix of different face shapes and, in fact, it's quite common," says Dr. Shafer. "For example, Jennifer Lopez has very distinguished facial features and her face shape can be described as both an oval and a diamond shape."
Face shapes also change as we get older. For instance, mature people tend to have more rectangular face shapes due to the way fat, muscle, and skin changes over time, while younger people are more likely to have a triangular shape.
Finally, there are really no hard and fast rules in terms of applying cosmetics or wearing accessories, but you may find that certain things flatter your face more than others because of the face shape you have. Have fun with it, don't stress it too much, and keep being beautiful.