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If you know anything about haircuts, you know that a haircut that works for me, may not look so hot on you, and vice versa. Faces are like fingerprints—there are no two exactly alike. Many of us are familiar with face shape descriptions such as heart, pear, round, oblong and square, but a “one hairstyle fits this face shape” approach doesn’t really work. The key factor to take into consideration is proportion. Let’s look at the face in three zones:

Zone 1: Your forehead

Zone 2: Your brow line to the tip of your nose

Zone 3: The tip of your nose to the bottom of your chin

If these three areas seem equal in proportion, your face is well balanced and you can wear a variety of cuts and hairstyles. Most of us, however, will have areas that are different in size, so the goal will be to choose a cut and hairstyle that helps balance out your face. If your forehead (zone 1) is larger than the other two zones of your face, for example, you may want to consider adding soft bangs. If zone 3 (the area from the tip of your nose to the bottom of your chin) is smaller than zones 1 and 2, long soft layers that fall forward toward the face will be flattering. If section 2 is larger than sections 1 and 3, you may want to try a cut and hairstyle that keeps your hair away from your cheekbones — layers that fall back away from your face rather than toward it.

Aside from balancing out facial proportions, the right cut and hairstyle can create the illusion of soft, thick hair, work to make the most of your curls if you have curly hair, or make your hair look longer than it actually is. A great hairstylist can take into consideration the hair structure, density, and texture of your hair as well as your lifestyle to help you get the cut and hairstyle that’s right for you.

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