The Fat Girl’s Guide to Flattering Hair Cuts for Round Faces
Stylists share their best hair cut and color tips for overweight women
Instead of chasing trends, find a hairstyle that compliments you
We’ve all had bad hair days, and bad hair cuts – like the time I chopped off my hair while pregnant, immediately transforming me into a human bowling pin. No matter our size, there’s a handful of great and not-so-great looks for us (a poodle perm on my straw-straight hair, for instance?). Even though I’ll never have the Andie MacDowell hair of my dreams, through the years I’ve learned to embrace the hair I was born with, just as I’ve learned to appreciate the body I have now.
But great hair takes more than just accepting your natural hair type. It takes a stylist who understands your hair’s characteristics, and what styles go best with your face shape, body type and even lifestyle (I will only wield a blow dryer if attending a wedding, for instance). In order to find out some of the best hairstyles for round faces, I consulted two style experts for their suggestions.
Basic hair cut tips for full faces
“Don’t wait until you lose weight to find a great hairstyle,” says Carol Tuttle, author of Dressing Your Truth, a book and accompanying website with a singular mission: helping women become their own style experts. In Tuttle’s experience, many overweight women treat their hair as they do their bodies: putting off regular trips to the salon until that magical day when everything in their lives is perfect instead of making themselves look marvelous right now.
“The number one rule to keep in mind is to never have the widest part of your hairstyle fall at the widest point of your face,” says Tracy Olson, a stylist at Studio 10 Salon & Color Spa in Woodstock, Illinois – and the person responsible for my lovely highlights. If you have a square jaw, for example, having hair fall at the jawline will make your head look like a triangle. “Naturally curly hair against broad cheekbones will need some layering at the top or you’ll look like Roseanne Rosannadanna,” says Olson.
Olson’s second tip is more surprising, in that it has nothing to do with face shape or hair texture, but rather your neck length and shape. “If your neck is short, a cut that falls about an inch above the shoulder – allowing space between the hair and the shoulder – will create a flattering lengthening effect,” she says. “Also, a haircut that falls past the shoulders without too much thickness from the chin down can also create a longer neckline.” Olson recommends asking your stylist about good cuts for your face shape, size, and neck length. Check out Visual Makeover for examples of different face shapes and styles that pair well with each.
Two great fat friendly hair cuts
The long bob – “This is the look Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing now,” says Olson. The long bob falls at least two inches below the jawline and a bit shorter in the back and is heavily textured – which adds a bit of layering from the jawline down while still keeping the sleekness of a bob.
The long layered cut – “Layers are key here, because round shapes should never have one length of hair,” says Olson. Layers should start from the chin down, creating a lengthening effect. “This gives a straighter look with some texture without being too bulky.” Olson says loose curls are coming back into style again, and whether you’re doing a perm or have naturally curly hair, it’s important to remove bulk between the chin and neck using a technique called “point cutting” to create a more balanced look.
Hair color tricks that flatter a round face
Highlights are an easy way to add a little shine to your hair, but they can also create a balanced look for fuller faces. If you picture yourself standing in the sun, your hair is lighter on the top more than on the bottom, so highlighting this way creates a more natural look. “If you leave the bottom portion of your hair dark, it looks more streamlined, eliminating width at the bottom,” says Olson, who compares this to wearing darker pants to create a slimming effect. “By doing this, someone can go for a style that’s not exactly right for them, but color tailored to her face shape can add just enough magic to pull it off.” Highlights should be on the top of the head and lightly frame the face. “If you have very dark brown to black hair, I don’t think highlights work,” says Tuttle. She suggests a contrasting color such as darker amber red or a violet instead of highlights. Blondes who have gone darker or even dishwater should imagine their hair color at about age 5. “That’s your best highlight color,” she says.
Hair cuts and styles to avoid if you’re overweight
Obviously there are exceptions to every style rule and tip out there, but keep these tips from our experts in mind when looking for a new hairstyle and decide whether or not breaking the rules is the best move for you.
- “Avoid going too short,” says Olson. “Super-short hairstyles on round faces make your head look smaller than the rest of your body. If you simply must have to have that pixie cut, make it textured and wispy, with some height on top and in the bangs.”
- A perfectly centered part. “Nobody looks good with a centered part unless they’re Demi Moore or getting their features Photoshopped,” says Tuttle.
- “Avoid blunt cuts if your face is very round,” says Olson. Layers add texture and definition.
- Skip trendy cuts and styles. Tuttle’s rule of thumb: avoid a trend unless it supports your type of beauty. “Women conclude it’s them when a trendy style doesn’t work, when in reality it’s the trend that doesn’t suit them,” she says.
We realize that even style rules were meant to be broken, so if you’re positively rocking a look that defies these rules, let us know – or share a photo in our FGG Girls Flickr group, and link to it in comments!