I have been getting a ton (and I mean a ton) of requests about how to find your face shape. And rightly so, because knowing your face shape can be extremely helpful when it comes to understanding where you need to place your blush, bronzer, highlighter, and contouring powder —or even in choosing a hairstyle.
When you know what is going to work for you, you inevitably will feel better about your makeup choices because whatever it is (highlighting, contouring) will be complimentary. But if you don't know what face shape you have how will you know what will work for you? You won't!
Which brings us to the issue: There is sooooooo much conflicting information out there about face shapes.
Sometimes you see info graphics with 6 face shapes and then other times you see them with 9, 12, or even 14!
Not to mention you may see one celebrity labeled as having a square face and then the next website shows that exact same celebrity labeled having a round face.
I don't know about you, but I've had enough with the INSANITY.
If you're a regular around here then you already know I love to give detailed guides — so sit back, get comfy because this guide is really going to dive deep to help you understand how to better identify what face shape you actually have.
I also have an amazing how-to download which includes a guided face shape discovery quiz. Be sure to grab that, but also make sure that you read through this entire post so that you have a better understanding of face shapes.
The Face Shape Scale
First, things first. You remember how I talked about degrees in my post, "The 5 Golden Metrics for Your True Eye Shape"? Well there's something similar going on with your face shape.
I call it, "The Face Shape Scale". What that essentially is, is: a base shape, that when lengthened, becomes a longer version of that shape until it crosses the threshold into the next shape. So you get a scale that starts off wide & short and increasingly becomes slimmer & longer with varying degrees between.
Let's use a circle as an example for the base shape. If you had a circle, but started to vertically stretch it what would you get? An oval, right? But if you stretched it a bit more, then what would you get? An oblong circle (aka a longer oval).
If you kept stretching that circle vertically, you'd eventually end up with a line.
Now let's use a square as an example. If you take a square and stretch it, what do you get? A rectangle. If you take the rectangle and stretch it, then you end up with an oblong square (aka a longer rectangle).
Quick side note: I know that technically an oval and a rectangle are considered oblong, but in order to try and keep some congruency with the "well-known face shapes" we're going to call the longest shape oblong. Got it?
So, we see this shape-stretching-scale taking place with face shapes, but there is a stopping point because no-one has a line for a face LOL. In other words, there is a base shape, that when "stretched", transforms into the next shape.
Which gives us a scale of three points: the widest, the average, & the longest.
So what are the base shapes?
And yes, maybe technically a "stretched" triangle & diamond becomes another shape, but I'm not a Geometrist! lol Plus, that would just create too many unnecessary shapes. So as far as face shapes are concerned, just understand that there will be variations within each shape but they still get the same face shape label. Just like there were degrees with the eye shapes.
In other words, a person may have a square face and another person have a slightly wider square face, BUT they are both considered to be square until a person's face is definitively longer than it is wide. At that point, it becomes a rectangle.
Ok, let's put all of this into a visual reference. We need to first establish the 3 points on the scale. We'll use a circle as the base shape for this example.
When we use the scale we can see that the round face shape is both wider and shorter than the oval & oblong round face shapes. Oval is not as wide or as long, and the oblong round is the least wide but is the longest. So what we get are the three points on the scale (moving from wide & short to long & slim): round, then oval, then oblong round.
So putting a face to the label we see:
Now, let's fill in the scale with some other celebrities.
So hopefully you can see that the base shape for all of these celebrities is a circle. As that circle stretches we see the variations/degrees in the scale, and where the new shape forms.
Are you understanding how this scale works?
You could technically keep adding people into the scale and I'm sure that you will find faces which have a circle as the base shape that are wider & shorter as well as slimmer & longer than Ginnifer's (but are still considered round) and longer & slimmer as well as wider & shorter than Iman's (but still considered oblong round).
Bottom line: no two faces are exactly alike. You will have variations within each shape.
Why People Get Confused About Face Shapes
All of our faces are 3 dimensional, which creates shadows that may make shapes harder to see and identify. To complicate matters further, it's rare that someone's face will perfectly match a shape's technical dimensions.
This is where people start to get confused: when someone's face has elements of multiple face shapes or when they have a feature that is creating an illusion/doesn't quite fit into the face shape category.
For example, a person might have the feature of a square chin but not have a square face shape. Jennifer Anniston is a good example of this. She has a square chin but her face shape is triangle/pear.
Another example is Megan Fox, her chin is sort of square, and she also has a decently defined jawline. But she's got an oval face shape.
So features like forehead, chin, cheekbones, hairline, jaw line could all be features with a characteristic that distracts from the truth about the person's face shape.
Additionally, things like fillers/botox can also alter those features. So if someone has an oval face shape but then gets fillers to have a square jaw, it can get harder to see what the shape actually is.
This is probably a big reason as to why celebrities in some pictures seem to have a square face and then in other pictures they have a round face. And just to be fair, celebrities do have makeup artists who can square up or round out features, so it might not necessarily be cosmetic procedures.
Mila Kunis is an example of a celebrity who sometimes gets labeled as having a square face and other times get's labeled as round. I personally believe that in a majority of her pictures she tends to have a round face, but sometimes her jaw line looks stronger than what you would anticipate from a round face shape.
But like always, the purpose of identification is to get as close as possible to the correct face shape so that your makeup will compliment you.
If, for example, your face shape qualifies as some variation of round, this identification serves as a guide for you. Why? Since we know that round faces tend to be wide-looking, when we contour we need to create the illusion of length, while minimizing width.
Again, what I want you to remember is that the whole point of figuring out your face shape is to see what sort of makeup placement it is calling for.
The 11 Face Shapes
There are essentially four base shapes that are transformed by the scale or transformed by some alteration to the shape to give us our grand total of 11 face shapes.
We could technically make more shapes, but it becomes unnecessary because the guidelines for the makeup application wouldn't really change. So 11 shapes do a great job at covering the different face shapes. Just remember within each category there are going to be variations.
Here they are:
I want to emphasize that there is not a "best" face shape. It's true that some are more balanced than others, but it doesn't make them better or prettier than the others. The key is figuring out how to create more balance in your own face shape, so that you can enhance that natural beauty that you've already got vs. makeup placement that doesn't really flatter you. It just takes a little understanding, patience, and practice.
When Face Shapes Fall on the Transition Line
I think that it's also important to point out that some people's face shape fall on a transition line.
These are shapes that are almost the same shape, except one shape may have softer/harder edges. Or there may be a defining feature (such as the hairline/jaw) that usually serves as a qualifying factor for a different face shape.
Such as the case with round and square. And the reason for this is: both square and round face shapes are a short & wide face shape. They share that similarity, so the only thing that is going to be different is the angle of the jawline & hairline (round face shape will curve & square face shape will be more straight on the sides of the face). A good example is Sophie Turner. Her face is just about as long as it is wide, but she has a rounder hairline that tapers in and a squarer jaw. So what is her face shape? Well, it's on the transition line.
Some people may say her face is round, while other's see her face as square (I'm in the square camp because that's the shape I would use when contouring her face).
The thing about being on the transition line is it may be pretty difficult to tell which shape you actually have. Which means.... is you could probably go either way! (yay) You may get a slightly different effect if you contour for each specific face shape. Try them both and see which one you like better.
For example, if you were right on the boarder of round and square you may choose to make your face look a little softer by not emphasizing your jawline. On the other hand you might contour to give yourself a stronger jawline. Like I said it could go either way and it probably wouldn't take you much effort either because you could qualify as having either face shape.
Identifying Face Shapes: The Basics
Alright, now that you understand that there are going to be variations to shapes we can go into identification. There's essentially 3 things that you look at:
Alright, now let's take these basics through the 11 face shapes. Remember, there is a face shape scale so you can have slight variations of the shape when it comes to real human beings. If you fall right on the transition line, then you might have to borrow the makeup guidelines for both face shapes. And pay attention to what it is you're trying to achieve (eg. less width to the face & more length; de-emphasized jawline; etc.).
The Round Face Shape
A round face has soft-rounded edges (hairline & jawline) and is just about as long as it is wide, if not equal. The jaw & the forehead will taper in, and typically there will not be very prominent cheek bones.
The round face shape really benefits from using makeup to minimize width and create more length.
Do you have a round face shape?
Celebrities with a round face shape to varying degrees include: Emma Stone, Gigi Hadid, Gemma Chan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Isla Fisher, Kate Upton, Kristen Dunst, Lana Condor, Mila Kunis, Mindy Kaling, Miranda Kerr, Priyanka Chopra, and Selena Gomez.
The Oval Face Shape
The oval face is an elongated version of the round face shape, thus, it is definitely longer than it is wide. The hairline curves in as well as the jaw line at almost the same angle.
This face shape is decently balanced and contouring can be used to minimize features like a larger forehead, or enhance cheek bones. You can also accidentally create the illusion of being oblong round, or closer to the round face shape if you don't watch your makeup placement.
Do you have an oval face shape?
Celebrities with an oval face shape to varying degrees include: Beyoncé, Charlize Theron, Kate Beckinsale, Katherine Hiegal, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, Lauren Conrad, Leona Lewis, Megan Fox, Megan Good
The Oblong Round Face Shape
This is the longest version of the round face shape, and it's quite a bit longer than it is wide. The jaw & the forehead will taper in, in a rounder-softer way. And typically, there will not be very prominent cheek bones.
The oblong face shape typically benefits from makeup placement that enhances the width of the face, and shortens the face. You may also look to emphasize your jawline.
Do you have an oblong round face shape?
Celebrities with an oblong round face shape to varying degrees include: Anne Hathaway, Bella Hadid, Chloe Sevigny, Iman, Joan Smalls, Kate Walsh (elongated pear), Kelly Rowland (elongated heart), Sandra Oh.
The Square Face Shape
Much like the round face shape the square face is just about as long as it is wide, if not equal. The square face shape will have a nice strong jawline that is squared & typically a straighter hairline. There usually will not be very prominent cheek bones.
The square face shape really benefits from using makeup to minimize width and create more length. And enhancing cheek bones can bring softness to the square face shape for a more balanced look.
Do you have a square face shape?
Celebrities with a square face shape to varying degrees include: Cameron Diaz, Catherine Zeta Jones, Demi Lovato, Emily Ratajkowski, Jaime Pressly, Jessica Simpson, Katie Holmes, Margot Robbie, Nicole Richie, Salma Hayek, Sophie Turner, Parris Hilton, Gwyneth Paltrow.
The Rectangle Face Shape
The rectangle face is an elongated version of the square face shape, thus, it is definitely longer than it is wide. The hairline width is about the same (if not equal) to the width of the jaw.
This face shape is decently balanced, and it's up to you to decide if you like the strong-square jaw. Contouring can be used to minimize features like a larger forehead, de-emphasize the jaw, or enhance cheeks for a softer look.
Do you have a rectangle face shape?
Celebrities with a rectangle face shape to varying degrees include: Angelina Jolie, Bella Heathcote, Brie Larson, Emily Erin Deschanel, Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Keira Knightly, Lily James, Malin Akerman, Mandy Moore, Olivia Wilde, Tessa Thompson, and Jessica Alba.
The Oblong Square Face Shape
This is the longest version of the square face shape, and it's quite a bit longer than it is wide. The jaw & the forehead will be about the same as the square & rectangle face shape. The characteristic that stands out most is that your face appears to be longer & slimmer.
The oblong face shape typically benefits from makeup placement that enhances the width of the face, and shortens the face.
Do you have an oblong square face shape?
Celebrities with an oblong square face shape to varying degrees include: Alexa Chung, Alice Dellal, Gisele Bündchen, Hilary Swank, Jennifer Garner, Lauren Santo Domingo, Maggie Q, Molly Sims, Nicky Hilton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Teri Hatcher.
The Diamond Face Shape
The diamond face shape is longer than it is wide, but both the jawline and the hairline taper in at a "dramatic" angle. The qualifying characteristics is that the widest part of the face is at the cheek bones and your hairline & jaw line taper to a point.
The diamond face shape also tends to be a pretty balanced face shape. It is also considered a structured face shape (yea, you've got good bone structure). You just need to be careful about makeup placement so that you don't elongate the shape too much or widen the cheekbone area.
The diamond is sort of a combo shape in a way. If it weren't for those angles at the top and bottom the face would be an oval, or maybe even a rectangle. And if you lost the angle at the hairline then it might be a heart or inverted triangle face shape.
Do you have a diamond face shape?
Celebrities with a diamond face shape to varying degrees include: Anna Kendrick, Ashley Graham, Ashley Greene, Cobie Smulders, Eiza González, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Serena Williams, Rhianna, Zoe Kravitz.
The Heart Face Shape
The heart shape face is practically the same shape as the inverted triangle. The only two differences are the hairline (which typically has a widow's peak), but most importantly, the heart shape is the "rounder"/softer version of the two. So yes, depending on who the judge is, you may see faces labeled sometimes as heart and other times as inverted triangle.
The heart face shape is typically a little longer than it is wide, but the widest point on the face is at or above the eyebrows in the forehead area. The jawline is defined, but it tapers in to the chin to make a well-defined rounded chin. The heart shape will have slightly fuller cheeks than the inverted triangle.
This face shape benefits from makeup that minimizes the width in the forehead area.
Do you have a heart face shape?
Celebrities with a heart shaped face to varying degrees include include: Brittany Snow, Cara Delevinge, Chelsea Kane, Christina Ricci, Drew Barrymore, Emma Watson, Hayden Panettierre, Kendall Jenner, Kerry Washington, Kourtney Kardashian, Lacey Chabert, Lisa Kudrow, Reese Whitherspoon
The Inverted Triangle Face Shape
As mentioned, the inverted triangle shaped face is practically the same shape as the heart shaped face. But the inverted triangle shape is the "squared"/sharper version of the two. It still depends on who's making the assessment, and you may see these shapes labeled interchangeably.
The inverted triangle face shape is typically a little longer than it is wide, but the widest point on the face is at or above the eyebrows in the forehead area. The lower area of the face tends to be a tad slimmer than the heart shaped face. The jawline is well-defined, and tapers in to the chin at a sharper angle so there isn't typically a well-defined chin per say. It's more like the jaw tapers to a point.
This face shape also benefits from makeup that minimized the width in the forehead area, and since it's a structured face shape adding "roundness" helps create balance (such as emphasizing apples of the cheeks).
Do you have an inverted triangle face shape?
Celebrities with an inverted triangle shaped face to varying degrees include: Brooklyn Decker, Emily Wickersham, Jessica Szohr, Rashida Jones, Tyra Banks, Scarlett Johansson, Victoria Beckham
The Pear Face Shape
The pear face shape is practically the same shape as the triangle. The only real differences between the two is that the pear shape is the "rounder"/softer version of the two with slightly more fullness in the lower part of the face. But you could technically call either one the other.
The pear face shape has a round strong jaw, which is the widest part of the face.
The makeup that this face shape can most benefit from would help minimize the width in the jaw area.
Do you have a pear face shape?
Celebrities with a pear shaped face to varying degrees include: Ali Larter, Ellie Kemper, Geena Davis, Kelly Osbourne, Pauley Perrette.
The Triangle Face Shape
The triangle face shape shape is the "squarer"/sharper version of the pear face shape — but none-the-less still pretty dang similar. It will have a little less fullness in the lower part of the face when compared to a pear face shape.
The triangle face shape has a square strong jaw, which is the widest part of the face.
The makeup that this face shape can most benefit from would help minimize the width in the jaw area.
Do you have a triangle face shape?
Celebrities: Billie Piper, Jennifer Anniston, Kathy Ireland, Meghan Markle, Minnie Driver, Raven-Symoné, Sasha Alexander, Sophie Ellis
The Difference Between Face Shapes
As I stated earlier, I know how hard it can be trying to figure out your face shape because of those variations that I mentioned. No two faces are exactly alike. Features or characteristics may confuse you, but one thing that I think might help you gain a better understanding is to see the same face transformed into all the different shapes.
This way you will be able to see what adjustment to the base shape was needed in order to make the transformation.
So let's use the gorgeous Selena Gomez as our transformation example.
We need to first start with identifying what Selena's true face shape is.
Which means it's time to run through the basics:
1. The length & width of the face.
2. The sides of the face.
3. The Features (hairline, jawline, chin, cheeks, cheekbones). The hairline is rounded. There are not prominent cheekbones. She almost has a defined chin, but I'd say it pretty much blends right in with her jawline. Good jawline, but not very square nor does it come to a point at the chin. She does have fullness in the cheeks & the middle of the face seems to be the widest-looking point. Her face also appears to be a little short (even though it technically is slightly longer than wide).
What face shape does she have? Selena has a round face shape.
To Sum It All Up
There are going to be variations within each face shape. No two face shapes are going to be exactly alike, even if they're in the same face shape category. You may have a wider version, a longer version, or something in between. Using the face shape scale can help you discover that version. Additionally, you may simply be a "rounder"/"squarer" version of a shape — remember, there are going to be variations!
You may also have a feature that is making your face shape "thrown off"; such is the case of a defined chin or a really small forehead.
Face shapes can change. Typically the vertical measurement will not change, but weight loss/gain and aging can affect the shape of your face.
There are essentially 4 base shapes that can be transformed into 11 face shapes. There's pretty much a square version & a round version. If you fall on a transition line, whether it be in-between similar shapes (round & square, oval & rectangle, etc.) or in-between shapes that share the same base shape (round & oval, square & rectangle, etc.) you probably could use makeup guidelines from both/either face shape category.
The way that you figure out your face shape is by paying attention to the 3 Basics:
So go on, give it a go. What's your face shape?
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I am a professional makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist. I absolutely enjoy sharing hair and makeup tips to help others enhance their natural beauty. (Trust me, you're gorgeous.)