Listen up, ladies and gents, because this is important. Hair is a crucial element of your appearance. And I don’t mean a greasy mop vs an overpriced blowout. The wrong haircut and styling can completely change the entire look of your face!
I always used to think that if you were stuck with an unattractive face, that’s just your lot in life, and if you were good looking, fate dealt you a good hand and you’ll always be pretty, no matter what. Following on from that, I used to think of hair as just… the extra decoration. The tinsel on the tree. It might be short, it might be long, it might be up, it might be down, but ultimately, it’s all about the tree itself. Afterall, no amount of decoration could fix that travesty in Trafalgar Square this past Christmas. Right…? Wrong. Well, not about the tree, but certainly about your face!
Like any flesh and blood human, I went through my Gerard Butler phase and I made this startling discovery when watching Law Abiding Citizen. In the beginning of the film, we see a rather distressing sequence of events, but in these scenes, Gerard Butler’s character is meant to be younger, before they do a flash forward. And he looked AWFUL. I genuinely couldn’t understand it – this is Gerard Butler we’re talking about, he physically cannot look ugly! What was happening? Then when the film cut to the present day, he’s his usual irresistibly gorgeous self. So I sat there thinking. It’s the same man. It’s the same face. How does he look so bad in one scene and so good in another. Then it dawned on me. The hair. You’d think a hot man like that could pull off a brown bag on his head if needs be. But alas, no. Ever since then, I’ve never looked at haircuts on men and women the same way again and moreover, really started to notice the impact a haircut can have on a person’s overall appearance.
Choosing the right haircut is like choosing the right cut of clothes for yourself. Yes, Jennifer Lopez might look phenomenal with her latest do, but the fact of the matter is, hairstyles can’t just be copy and pasted onto everyone and look just as good. If you go to a hairdresser with a photo of a celebrity off of Instagram, say “I want that” and they just say “Ok”, that is NOT a good hairdresser and shouldn’t go anywhere near your head with a pair of scissors. Good hairdressers understand the importance of picking the right cut for your face shape and will be honest with you if what you’re asking for will look bad. Of course, they’ll still do whatever you want if you press them, but just like a doctor will tell you that you’re leaving the hospital against medical advice, so a hairdresser will tell you they’re giving you a pixie cut against all sense and reason.
You must consider your overall face shape, bone structure, neck length and in the case of choosing to dye your hair, your complexion, eyebrows and eye colour. It’s very important to be honest with yourself. Don’t suck your cheeks in to try and pretend you have cheekbones and don’t convince yourself that with the right make-up a hairstyle will look good. It won’t.
When figuring out your face shape, remember that we’re considering the face, not your whole head, which means we’re looking at the shape of your hairline, not the top of your hair. Do you have a round face? A square face? A diamond face? An oblong face? Do you have a long neck, short neck, do you, like me, have a double chin… or two? Not a problem at all, but make sure to factor all this in when picking out your next hairstyle. Have a wee google and look at examples to figure out your face shape, because that’s phase one in seeing what styles will work for you.
Next, how do you wear your parting? Hair has a tendency to naturally fall how it likes, but obviously everyone has their own preference. Lately, people seem to think that a side parting is an old fashioned look, but I’m here to tell you that’s utter nonsense. A neat centre parting doesn’t suit everyone and in some instances, can look pretty bad. You can rock any parting, but it’s all about how you do it. Different hair types and styling make a huge impact on whether or not a centre part works.
For example, I have very fine hair, and it’s also quite thin, so a centre parting really doesn’t suit me. Without professional intervention, my hair falls very flat with next to no volume …unless you count frizz. I’m also somewhat heavy of jaw and well fed of chin, so when my long hair hangs limply on either side of my face, the triangular lines it creates actually make my chins look like an avalanche and makes my short stubby neck look even stubbier. So when I go for the centre parting, I look like a sad Middle Ages peasant that just came in from ploughing the fields and has a suspicious cough. It’s not a good look. But with a side parting, it gives the top of my head some much needed volume and the asymmetry accentuates my neck on one side, making it look longer, and also helps to offset my well-fed rosy cheeks on the other.
Another thing to factor in is what you normally do with your hair. A hairdresser will work miracles while you’re in that chair. They’ll use all sorts of fancy products, curlers, straighteners and do whatever it takes to make you look like a million bucks by the time you’re done. But then what? Are you going to painstakingly style your hair every single day? Do you even know how to? I don’t know about you, but I rarely have the energy to do anything overly complex with my hair and it spends most of its time yoyo-ing between plain old down or a messy ponytail. And I don’t mean the sexy kind of messy, but the bad, skew, tangled, sad broomstick kind. Don’t fall in love with a hairstyle that’s going to be too complicated to maintain in order to look it’s best, but go for something that matches your hair’s natural state.
An excellent tip I was once given by an awesome hairdresser was exactly to do with this. I was getting a sort of gentle side fringe cut and he told me that if I don’t have a lot of time, or will, to style my hair every day, then just do the fringe! Add a wee bit of product and blow dry the fringe, or just a few of your foremost layers, and even if the rest of the hair is a mess, the neat front will make all the difference and frame your face nicely.
Once you’ve got that lovely haircut, it’s important to keep your hair healthy. That way, it’ll still look great even after your hair has grown out a bit. Invest in good shampoo and conditioner – remember, the better the shampoo, the less conditioner you’ll need – only brush your hair with a good quality brush or tangle teezers and NEVER when it’s wet, and apply heat to your hair as little as possible. If you do blow dry or curl/straighten your hair often, use some sort of heat treatment product to protect your hair. Aveda’s damage control spray is my all-time favourite – it doesn’t leave a greasy residue, it’s super light, made from fantastic ingredients and has a subtle but lovely scent. Plus it’s vegan, cruelty free and sustainably made and packaged!