The Fat Girl’s Guide to Flattering Hair Cuts for Round Faces

20 May 10 - Health + Beauty, Plus-Size Fashion - Toni - 56 Comments

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!

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Erin says:

I find it so disappointing that a site called “The Fat Girls Guide To Living” would say that fat women shouldn’t have short hair. As if somehow having longer hair will magically trick people into thinking that you’re not fat or chubby.

Have the hair style you want, and find a non-prejudiced stylist who will work with you to make your short hair look fab on you! Plenty of fat girls have short hair and they look and feel great. Don’t buy into the bs. Grrr. Arrrggghh.

Noelle says:

Any advice for me? I’ve never had my hair styled. I have a center part, very long hair that is thin and dark (little volume unless I sleep on it wet and don’t brush it the next morning), a narrow chin but chubby face and a bit of a double chin. My forehead is also a five-head.

fat apple says:

“Bowling pin”

LOL! Spot on.

I have gone from 125 to 210 in 2+ years (don’t ask). I graduated from a defined heart shaped face to no detectable bone structure. My old hair style doesn’t work for the new me. Everytime I go to the salon, I’ve been so anxious about ending up with the “bowling pin” look, I have clung to my same old hair style.

Thanks for this helpful post and to everyone who has commented. I’m feeling emboldened and ready to take the next step in loving the new, full faced me.

Ira says:

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Cathy says:

Also relating to the talk about long bobs, I consider it a long bob when the front comes down past the chin somewhat. Regular bobs are usually at chin and above (which I don’t recommend).

Cathy says:

A reverse long bob has always been one of my favorite hair cuts to get. Side swept bangs are also great for larger women. Blunt bangs aren’t too bad as well. Anyways good tips to know!

Lees says:

Hi i need suggestions on a Short Hair Cut, I have a Round Face with chubby cheeks, curly dry, a lil damaged hair .

Maggie says:

Kacey! Thanks for the advice! I am totally going with her as a model for my new haircut!

kacey says:

If you have long hair and want something really flattering to do with it, check out Eve Myles from “Torchwood”. I have long dark brown hair, and I got her cut from the show, and I’m stunned every time I look in the mirror at how long it makes my neck look, and how it thins my face. Not to mention, my hair is really thin, not thick, and the layers and the wispy bangs make it look like I have twice as much hair. If you image google her name lots of pics come up, most with her hairstyle from the show.

Crystal says:

I am 32 and about 225lbs. I am about 5’10″ tall and I have long sandy brownish blonde hair. I have 4 kids and super busy and really want to cut my hair short or shorter…I need something that is casual but cute and doesn’t take very long to fix. I do have a wide face because of mostly Indian and Caucasian gentics…is there anyone to reccommend a style that would look great on me???

Alex says:

I have super long hair id guess from the top of my head to the tips is something like 30inches. It is also naturally curly nice spirals. I also am a bit over weight.. oh being honest i could stand to drop 20lbs. Short hair makes me look like a big Fatty. I hate it. and the styles suggested here dont look right with my hair. the super long works great for me and I tried cuts that “shape” my face and what not. They never looked quite right. I do know that these styles would work for some. God thankfully cave me this whole mess of hair…. I love it.

Jamie says:

@ Arden… as the article say’s, there are exception’s to every rule and what may not have worked for most may work for you.

terri says:

Thanks to comments by Arden I took the plunge and cut my hair very short and I love it. I would agree the right stylist and the right haircut can free you from the myth that big beautiful women need to remain a prisoner to their longer locks. I feel free and sassy with my new do. People tell me I look younger without all the hair pulling downward. Love all my earrings dangling where they can be seen and I feel 10 degrees cooler all day without all that hair….so be brave and just do it!

neon RIO says:

I don’t know what to do with my hair, especially since a got this really bad haircut a few months ago. I have wavyish/curlyish hair that is shoulder length. I want to do something different that involves awesome, different colours, any ideas??

zona says:

I have a fat round face and wondered what will suit my face & let it look slimmer. Currently my hair is shaven up at the back – chinese bob type of way and longer next to the cheeck bones, but not past my jaw-line. I desperately need help!

Frances Patrick Gama says:

Can anything really work, if it’s done right, an adjusted to everyone different face shape?. Somehow I think she looks a bit too casual

Frances Patrick gmaIl says:

Awesome! I recently cut my hair, it was waist length. I love it! No more hours of haste in the morning. I just can’t get my face shape. I’m medium size, slightly square faced, but a normal forehead, an I’m 55ish ;-. I got the new bob, the one with the slanted sides, longer in the front. I’m going to have evened out, same as front an bottom. At my age it looks all raggedy. ;-) good luck everyone!

Bella says:

brookie – sounds like layers are a better bet for you and there are methods to thin your hair – however, not really knowing your hair there is a possibility this may not be whats best. If you haven’t tried this and don’t know, try the layered look with thinning of hair – as well as products for thick uncontrollable hair which will calm the frizz, curls, etc. You should talk to a good hairstylist, they should be able to really help you.

Cindy says:

Loving this post. My 10 yr old daughter has inspired me to give short hair a try. I’ve always hated my hair when I cut it short in the past, but the shortest I’ve gone is a straight across cut below my ears and all it does is puff up. I want to try it any other way than that, ..choppy, boy cut, and longest part of hair at smallest part of face. My face is thinning out a bit from losing a little weight but its still oval/round. I am kind of worried about styling it though. Never really succssfully learned how to use product so it looks good.

Erin says:

I big and tall but proportionate with a slenderish face. I really want to get my hair cut short like Pinks mohawk or halle barrys. I lOVE that cut. And i’m sick of long hair. I just don’t want to HAVE to wear earrings so that I don’t look like a boy. I have a plainish face so i’m afraid I might get mistaken for a boy if I wear a hoodie and jeans. Which is my entire wardrobe lol

Brookie says:

I’m a big and tall woman, I’m pretty sure I have a round face. I am looking for hairstyles that will go with my body type, but my problem is, I have extraordinary thick naturally wavy hair. When I say thick, I mean I can just fit my thumb and middle finger around it when it is in a ponytail. it is over an inch in diameter at the base of my head when it is in a ponytail. Right now it is long, about to the middle of my back, because it is so thick it is heavy, when I cut it shorter, it takes the weight off and it curls. When I look through hairstyling books it has all these pretty thin women with nice fine thin hair. my hair doesn’t work the same as their hair. I live in a small town where the hairstylists don’t know how to work with hair like mine. I am in desperate need of a new hairstyle!

mareeeee says:

I have a round face and have rocked the long bob WITH straight cut bangs for a few years. Really, one can do whatever they want with their hair. Just do what you like and BE CONFIDENT. (look at Kelly Osbourne pre weight loss as an example)

rachel says:

hmmmmm now im confused. havng my hair done next week. going for a pink block of colour and also under my fringe. have seen few different style but really not sure.

Emily says:

I have to disagree about the long-bob. I see it so often now, and to me it just doesn’t look good on a fuller face. The hair seems to lay limp and thin against the face because it’s been layered like that. Remember how horrible Rosanne looked when she tried the layered long, she looked like a drowned rat because the hair had no fullness because it was layered so badly. But somehow that’s a style that’s coming back? Thanks but no thanks.

Sandy says:

I am looking for pictures of hairstyles to show my hairdresser. Do you have any that at of real people not celebrities that would show what kind of styles would work? Thank you

Cheri says:

I have a round face but I have a large double chin & very fat neck so my face looks long. I also have naturally wavy hair. I’ve found that the most flattering hairstyle for me is short layers with fullness on the sides. Although they say you don’t want a style that’s wide on the side if you have a round face, this really works for me because it makes my face look shorter & better.

Diane says:

I have no chin,i look like a turtle and Im fat too so what kind of hair style works for that? My hair is in a layered bob but it touches my shoulders but it isnt blunt enough I thing it pulls my face down…any sugestions?

Ashley says:

Funny how you have only listed LONG hair styles….

Brandella says:

Victoria Beckham’s haircut is a shattered bob. It is also VERY short.
I would suggest telling your stylist you want a shattered bob, but to cut it a little longer than what Posh has.

Also, to answer the girl who wanted a cut that is shorter in the back, and longer in the front: have your stylist cut you a ‘swing’ bob. It will be stacked in the back, and will angle toward the front. I am fatgirl, and I have always had a chubby face, and I have worn that hairstyle for years. And I love it. You just have to find a stylist who knows what he/she is doing.

osha says:

well i am a big grl and have had the same look for years. long str8 hair. im cuttin all of it off wednesday. ive decided its time i made sum changes so here goes nuttin. im gettin a inverted bob. when i saw it on victoria beckhum it caught my attention and i wasn’t interested in nuttin else after that.

JENNA says:

I’ve been rockin’ the short hair for quite some time now… and mine ALWAYS looks bad ass! And as for with short hair you have to style it everyday… if I don’t want to, I pin back my bangs, throw some mouse or spray gel in, scrunch and go. Couldn’t be easier. I recently thought about letting my hair grow out, but the though of pulling my hair back into a ponytail seems awful!! Get a FAB hairstylist and you can rock whatever YOU WANT!! <3

Marie says:

This site is awesome! I’m a medium size with chubby big cheeks. I’ve always had long hair, about mid back, & I’m finally ready to cut it, but so afraid of not looking right. I love the short in back longet in front style, like kelly clarkson once had! What do you guys think? Any advice?

emily says:

I’ve cut my hair short once, oops that was stupid! I’ll never do it again, though my hair is VERY long now, I sit on it. And it tends to be really frizzy. I’ve never found a hair style I’ve ever looked good in, so I stopped cutting it, now I want it cut and I still don’t like the long bob that’s still tooo short. Now I really don’t know what to do :(

Krystal says:

I’ve always been a big fan of having short hair. I’m one of those people who will grow their hair long and chop it all off like it’s nothing. I like short, choppy layers about chin length. I used to be skinny, but I’m now pretty heavy after having a baby.. However, I’ve always had a round, chubby face.

jamie says:

Short hair is definitely not for me…I can’t stand it. To me short hair you have to style before you leave…at least with long or medium hair you can get a pony tail holder and pull your hair back and go. i am wanting to find a style that is still long but i can just brush a go because i live in the country i am to busy to “style” my hair, plus i can’t stand standing in the mirror…maybe a tomboyish style.

Rachel says:

I’d rather go with my instincts. My pixie has been my faithful friend for years, it never let’s me down!

kirsten says:

Im getting my hair cut tomorrow and after reading this I’ve decided to get auburn/reddish highlights and a long bob :) the good thing is my mums a hairdresser so I get it for free x

missy says:

thank you very much!! your site is just what i was looking for.

Arden says:

That’s complete bullshit. I’m a curvy girl and I have a round face and I chopped my hair off a few months ago. If you get the right cut and the right stylist you can pull off any hairstyle. If anything, my short hair makes my face look much thinner and brings out my cheek bones. I love my hair and will continue to cut it short. Hair is so restricting. So live a little! You’ll never know if it looks good or if you like it If you don’t try it.

sharmela says:

im black,fat and have a very curly hair but i used them to get straighten’ twice.is long bob or long layered hairstyle suits my face?i have a round face.but also there’s a problem cause im filipina and we are known as a fair skin and a very deep black hair.and i would like to dye my hair a combination of purple and red.you know,i will gonna be in college and my hair was fuzzy.everything was perfect but my hair sucks!i school in university and thats my disastorous problem.im in hooroosh situation cause im gonna be in COLLEGE!it just really sucks because of my freakin’ goddamn hair!shit that kind!i just need a advice.hope you will answer this

Jaunnette says:

Sandy, I’ve got a chubby face and long naturally curly hair too. You can totally layer with curls, just find a stylist who knows what they’re doing. Layering curly hair (the right way) can actually cut down on the bulk, which is great if your hair is also super thick, like mine. My shortest layer sits about chin length, while the longest hits about mid-back. I’ve got a lot of options with this cut, my natural curls, waves, feathering, straight. Don’t hesitate to ask at the salon if they know how to work with curly hair! For a drastic change, a cheap salon like Super Cuts or Fantastic Sams etc probably isn’t best, that’s where a lot of newer stylists start out, you might want to shell out a few extra $$ for someone who knows her stuff. Once you have a good cut, though, getting a regular trim can usually be done by someone with less experience =) Hope this helps!

sandy says:

I have a round face and long naturally curly hair. I have heard that if you have curly hair you shouldn’t layer, but it you have a round face that layering is the best. So I am a little confused any help would be appreciated.

Richa Mishra says:

want to get hair style which suits to my face.

Chunky Chick says:

I’m a pretty fat chick, and I’ve found that you can cut your own hair. The best way to enjoy it is coat the strands in chocolate, then fry them in oil. Every thing tastes good fried right girls?

MaryB says:

Here’s the thing, though: not all plus-sized women have round faces. I’m plus-sized with an oval face and very “weak” chin.

kong says:

hi i nam kong

Sinem says:

OMG I love the long bob ^^ and now I want violet strands in my hair! XD

Moe says:

I so want that long bob now. I wouldn’t mind the color too. :)