Ah, haircuts. Remember them? We sure don’t. About two minutes into our last DIY trim — beard trimmer blindly shearing the back of our head — all memories of the barber’s chair disappeared. Along with most of our hair. And dignity.
But, after deciding to now grow out our manes, we’ve learnt a little something. Every man’s head is different. Our home-haircutting is likely so bad because no-one knows what’s under there. Not really. What shape is your head? Any guesses? Well, we’ll tell you.
Most men’s heads and faces fall into one of four categories: round; square; oval; heart. And it pays to know yours. That way, when you sit down in the chair for that first, sweet, post-lockdown trim, you’ll know what to ask for. Trust us, we’re not barbers.
If you’ve got a round face, try to add height
What your face looks like: Rounded brow with a softer jawline.
Who has this face type: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kanye West, Jack Black
What suits you: A short back and sides, with length on top. The experts at Mayfair barbers Gentlemen’s Tonic suggest the most important factor is “to try and add height, as this will draw the attention away from the sides of the face,” ultimately balancing out your proportions.
“The height of the haircut makes your face look longer and the short sides draw attention away from the width of your face, and whether you go long and curvy on top, slicked back, or with an extreme undercut, the short back and sides always works for men with rounder faces. It elongates the face and gives the jaw line a more square appearance.”
If you’ve got a square face, soften it with sweeping lines
What your face looks like: Angular shape at the corners of both the jaw and brow.
Who has this face shape: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger
What suits you: For those with this face shape, Murdock’s Master Barber Alex Glover recommends you use your coif to soften your appearance, achieved through “some roundness or diagonal direction”.
“If you’re looking to go for a shorter style,” advises Glover, “I’d recommend a crop, which is the same length through the top and parting areas and is cut at 90 degrees to the scalp – ensuring the layering follows the curve of the head. With round layering, this will soften up any squareness.”
Alternatively, he adds, a fringe could be cut in.“This is a good way to visually break up any squareness as it creates a diagonal effect. The fringe can be worn over the forehead if the forehead is high. Otherwise, diagonally styling hair up and over to the opposite side to the parting will also flatter. Product-wise, avoid spiking hair up too square – it’s better to create a diagonally messy texture or opt for smooth rounded finishes.”
If you’ve got an oval-shaped face, square off your silhouette
What your face looks like: An elongated curve in face with a jaw line softer than the brow.
Who has this face shape: Jake Gyllenhaal, George Clooney, Jude Law
What suits you: The resident grooming experts at Ruffians’ say, “an oval head shape is probably the easiest one to suit to a haircut – most things will work for it, because of the symmetrical proportions. If you wanted to square off the silhouette by getting a tight back and sides, that would work without you looking overly military.
“Inversely, getting a buzzcut won’t make your head look egg-like and too round. You don’t need to use facial hair to equalise any proportions on your face, so going clean shaven or growing a bit of stubble to accentuate your cheekbones can work well. Just make sure you don’t allow the sides to grow out too long, or it could stick out a bit.”
If you’ve got a heart-shaped face, go very long — or very short
What your face looks like: Thinner at the jaw than at the brow.
Who has this face type: Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Ethan Hawke
What suits you: Longer hair or a tight short back and sides, according to Tony Bonaventura, senior hair stylist and founder of Arthur Razor.
For longer hair, Bonaventura tells us that it’s imperative your “layers are cut softer so it doesn’t look too hard on your face as it can be quite ageing. Also, ensure you come back to your hairdresser to maintain the shape – longer hair can look very untidy. To control the volume of hair, remove bulk, not length.”
On the other hand, for a short back and sides: “Ask your hairdresser to go for a square-shaped look, go for clean sharp sides and back to create a contrast from the top, which should give some length to play with, or super tight for a dapper look.”
Step away from the hair clippers. Instead, experiment with a moustache during self-isolation…
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