The secret to a great haircut is what sits right below it. Just like your body shape dictates what clothes will look great on you, you should think about the dimensions of your face whenever you go in for a trim. Facial hair styles for oval faces.
To help you work out which cut will be most flattering, we spoke to the experts at multi-award-winning barbers Ruffians, who know more than most about mastering the relationship between head and hair.
As a general rule, your hair should add something that your face doesn’t already have. For round-faced guys who lack definition, your barber can create some. “The best hairstyles are well-structured and angular, which offsets rounder features,” says Ruffians creative director Denis Robinson, who works in the brand's store in Liberty. He advises squaring off your head’s natural curve from the sides up to the crown. “Boxiness can help define the face’s features and draw attention to the centre of the face.”
What to tell your barber : “Ask for a tapered graduation cut, increasing the weight on top for volume.”
What to avoid : “Soft, round shapes and longer hairstyles. They tend to be floppy and lead to a flat shape.”
Congratulations, you’ve won the hairstyle lottery. Oval faces take any shape well, so you can experiment. “You can add volume through a pompadour, take it tight in a crew cut, style to the side, or take on a blunt fringe with texture,” says Denis.
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What to tell your barber : “It’s up to you how experimental you want to be with your style, but if your barber’s passionate about their craft, they should be as excited as you are about creating something unique.”
You’ve got Action Man’s jaw definition. But you shouldn’t copy his haircut. “The most flattering style is something softer, with the edges blurred and rounded out,” says Denis. “This adds a curve, rather than pointy, Lego man-style corners.” Swept back looks work well, as do side parts.
What to tell your barber : “A softly tailored, rounder shape, swept sideways and away from the face.”
Avoid : “A blunt fringe or square cuts. They make your face look boxy.”
This is close to oval, but with a square rather than rounded jaw. “It’s almost as versatile,” says Denis, “because of the balance between the jaw and hairlines.” The length of your face means you shouldn’t add more with your hair – tall quiffs are a no-no. “A long hairstyle can work well, although be sure to ask your barber to cut the angle and texture so your hair can move around your face. If it’s too heavy around your ears, it shadows your face.”
What to tell your barber : “Ask for tailored shapes and hair on the forehead. This helps to break up the length.”
Avoid : “High hair and big sweeps. It’s also wise to avoid pointy beards or a goatee, as they accentuate your chin.”
As seen on Ryan Gosling, triangular faces taper from a wide forehead into a narrow chin. “Textured hairstyles work best,” says Denis. “If you’ve got straight hair, sweep it back and across. You can elevate the top, which lengthens your face, and add roundness to balance your pointed chin.” You also need some thickness on the sides, so avoid cuts with clippers. “Straight texture is better than tapering or a fade. The looseness will blur the sides around your ears which makes your face rounder and more balanced.”
What to tell your barber : “Ask for textured crops with a natural hairline.”
Another versatile shape (although not quite as goes-with-anything as oval or oblong) the diamond is all about balance. “If you want lots of hair on top, it’s best to also have a fair amount around the back and sides,” says Denis. “If you want the sides short, then keep the top short and neat.”
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What to tell your barber : “Ask for a uniform, layered scissor cut, with plenty of texture on top and natural lines around the sides and nape. Or take it tight with the clippers, with a short crop on top.”
Avoid : “Tight sides and longer crops, or any equally imbalanced shapes. They detract from the facial features.”
Ruffians are leaders in the UK’s barber shop industry, with stores throughout London and in Edinburgh. The Ruffians team have been at the vanguard of men’s hairdressing over the last five years, blending modern hairdressing with the craft of the old-world barber shop. You can find out more and make appointments through their website: ruffians.co.uk.