The Right Cut for Your Face
The Right Cut: By gently angling the hair along the cheekbones, from the eyes to the chin, stylist John Barrett gave a delicate frame to Jessica's face. Blunt edges and severe angles underscore a square jaw, so he kept the ends layered and a bit tousled. Bangs that fall straight across the forehead would also be severe, but long ones swept to the side de-emphasize a broad forehead.
What to Avoid: Hair that hangs down the sides of the face creates what John calls the curtain effect: The contours of the cheeks are obscured, which makes the face seem boxy.
The Right Cut: John brought Charlotte's hair up to just below her chin to help enhance her natural texture. "These light, springy curls are so flattering," he says. "I cut just enough layers to really bring them out." Some shorter, curly styles run the risk of looking matronly, but because this silhouette is a little wild, it has the opposite effect. By keeping length around the ears and in back, John also brings a new softness to Charlotte's neck and décolletage, areas that can start to look drawn with age.
What to Avoid: Trying to force coarse hair to be straight can leave it looking tortured—which may make your face appear tired. The strict edges of a straight style also tend to add years to an older face by echoing any lines around the eyes or mouth.
The Right Cut: Strong bangs that cover Yelena's forehead, falling just beneath her brows in front and down below her temples on the sides, make her cheekbones appear more chiseled. "We actually want to emphasize the width of Yelena's face on top, and then use layers to frame her jawline and bring more of a heart shape to the face," says John. Graduated layers from her chin to her collarbone elongate her neck for an overall slimmer silhouette. Sleek styling (John used a straightening iron to keep Yelena's hair smooth) also counterbalances the curves of a round face.
What to Avoid: Short layers on the top and sides will create too much volume and amplify the fullness of the face.
The Right Cut: John created softly graduated layers starting about an inch below Misella's chin. "Cutting on an angle widens her face and puts more focus on her eyes," he says. Bangs that graze Misella's brows camouflage her high forehead and play up her cheekbones. The overall length is crucial—too far below the collarbone and the hair would start to make her face appear even longer. Long layers throughout add fullness, and John put Velcro rollers in Misella's hair as he dried it to achieve extra body (a stick-straight style would look harsh).
What to Avoid: All-one-length hair that extends significantly below the shoulders accentuates a thin face and high forehead, as do bangs that hit above the brows. And both together are a particularly unforgiving combination.
The Right Cut: Slightly shorter around the face than in back, this silhouette gives Ellen's features an instant lift. By styling the layers up and away from her face with a round brush, John enhanced the gravity-defying effect. (He finds that women often want to style their hair close to their face to disguise sagging in the jowls, "but that actually draws attention to the area.") A few shorter layers at the crown create some extra height on top, which offsets any drooping in the lower face. (John cautions against teasing to achieve the same result, though; it always looks unnatural.) Ellen's light, airy bangs are youthful, and camouflage forehead lines—they also put the focus on her brilliantly blue eyes.
What to Avoid: A blunt triangle-shaped cut—especially if it falls below the shoulders—can drag down your face because it's too heavy at the bottom.