round-faced straight-haired girl seeks haircut for long-term relationship!
December 27, 2010 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Round-face haircut suggestions, help, and probably emotional counseling needed. How can I articulate what I want my hair to look like? Any ideas for straight hair + round face haircuts?

This got too long, I'm so sorry...

I desperately need help in the realm of haircuts. I have an intense anxiety about the entire process, probably the same way some people feel about the dentist, but the worst part is when I attempt to explain what I want.

I have a round face with chubby cheeks, and my hair is pretty fine and straight-ish when left alone. I used to keep it short (a little past ear-length) at my mom's suggestion, in various experimental flippy and choppy 'dos til about mid-college. I finally decided to start growing the ends out and kept the bangs (to look more feminine, as my face isn't doing a lot of that for me).

Due to my hair salon avoidance I stopped cutting my straight-across bangs and let them kind of turn into "swoop" bangs (I would cut them myself, which led to problems). My last haircut was a catastrophe where I thought having no layers would be a good idea (and easier to explain), but I ended up looking like a little kid. So I panicked and rushed to supercuts. now that's growing out, my "bangs" are all over the place, and my hair is kind of layered, kind of not, and always poofs out at the wrong places, making my face look fatter.

I'm ready to try again. I really need help on what to tell the stylist - how to articulate what I want, I guess. I also really need some ideas! I know I should bring in a picture, but I have never ever been able to find one (and oh man I sure have tried). Whenever i google for "round face hairstyles" I get a lot of crap that I don't like or that doesn't apply to my hair type and of course none of it would look like that on me because of course they're all models/gorgeous.

Can you help me find pictures/adjectives/ideas to tell the hairstylist? I guess I'm looking for something really feminine if that's possible, not too short, easy to deal with but attractive on a round face. My hair right now is a little past shoulder length. I really liked having bangs of some kind in the past (to cover up acne!) - but I'm seeing a lot about how bangs are no good for round faces! no!
Also any help on how to articulate ideas/problems would be so so helpful. Thanks a million in advance!!
posted by ghostbikes to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Look at these pics of Ginnifer Goodwin- do you see a style that piques your interest?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:32 AM on December 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Do any of your friends have kick ass hair/haircuts? Not necessarily the style you want, but great hair? Ask them who styles their hair, and go. A good stylist is key! They should know how to deal with your hair best. Also, salons should have magazines in their waiting area. Go and flip through the magazines until you find styles you like. Don't let the stylist start cutting until you feel comfortable they understand your vision.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for another stylist or walk out if they aren't getting what you are trying to explain. It's not rude. I've done it before. I'm guessing you are female? You don't specify in your post.

Doing a search for Hairstyles for round faces on google images brings these results up.
posted by TheBones at 10:35 AM on December 27, 2010

i'm female, forgot to mention that!

Whenever I do an image search/flip through magazines, so many of the image search results I get are so short - I had my hair short for so long and i think it just makes my face look rounder.
posted by ghostbikes at 10:39 AM on December 27, 2010

YMMV but you could try a website like Virtual Hairstyler to get an idea of how a certain cut would look good with your face. You upload a photo and then "try on" different styles.
posted by halseyaa at 10:43 AM on December 27, 2010

a choppy bob is great for round-ish faces - something between chin and shoulder length will help give your face good definition. i think swoopy bangs (on a side part) are great for roundish faces--who cares that so-called experts say that bangs for round faces are major no-no's? do what you like for you and your own features. style rules aren't written in nature, and they certainly don't apply to everyone.

here's a google image-search for 'choppy bob bangs' - thousands and thousands of images. flip through them, save the ones you like, and bring them in.

a few layers, swoopy bangs. be completely honest with your hairstylist about length. if you want shoulder length, tell them so, and tell them that you really sincerely mean shoulder length. or a little longer, or a little shorter. I've had bad experiences where hairstylists do not understand this, and it drives me a little crazy - stressed me out when going to new hairstylists. show them where you would like the longest pieces to hit on your face/shoulder/etc.
posted by raztaj at 10:45 AM on December 27, 2010

update: i just found the above site through a quick google search for "virtual hairstyle" but it looks like that site charges you for a membership. There are other free options I have played with in the past. I think one of them was sponsored by a magazine but I can't remember which one. Hope that at least points you in the right direction!
posted by halseyaa at 10:46 AM on December 27, 2010

I'm seeing a lot about how bangs are no good for round faces!

Proscriptions like that are only generalities. Your round face might look best with bangs.

ThePinkSuperhero is, as always, wise--the absolute best thing to do is to find photos of hairstyles you think look cute, as modeled by people with similar face shapes and hair textures to your own. Michelle Williams and Renee Zellweger are two celebrities I can think of with round faces and straight, fine hair (and they both often look adorable in bangs). Kelly Osbourne often does super-weird things with her hair, but she has had a few great hairstyles that might work for you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:47 AM on December 27, 2010

I have a big fat face and thin hair also. Mine's not straight, it's wavy/curly/straight/annoying, but it ends up being straight b/c that's easiest. Right now my hair is sort of long and growing out and weird, but here's one cut that's worked for me at various points in my life, and is pretty low-risk if you're just trying something new. Ask for a bob, just above shoulder length, all one length across the back, but long layers in the front. (I've never had bangs but the swooping bangs could be part of the layers, if you want them.) It's feminine, it's fairly easy (or so I assume, from observing them) for hairdressers to do, and if you don't like it, you only have to wait a few inches until you're back where you are now.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:51 AM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might consider posting your location, so that someone could recommend a stylist they trust deeply. My wife and I both go through many months of bad haircuts when the folks who know our hair move on and we have to find someone new. Whether it's our own fault or not, I don't know for sure, but we say the same things about our hair every time, then the stylist/barber fails, and then we move on to the next, until eventually we find someone who gets it with seemingly little explanation. I'm very willing to believe the variation lies in the stylists' skill.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:52 AM on December 27, 2010

I have fine straight hair and a round face. Other than disasters, I have always had a bob. Options are length, bangs or no bangs, and layers or no layers. I don't want to do lots of maintenence, because the expensive hair cuts I've had look no different than the Super Cuts ones. I agree that too short adds roundness to the face, and I stick to chin length at the very shortest, usually longer.

I'm only speaking from my own exeperience, but simple is probably best. Ask your hair to do what it wants to do, and take care of it with freqent cuts if you can. If you get bored, you can play with color.

Good luck.
posted by rainbaby at 10:53 AM on December 27, 2010

One thing you haven't mentioned that is critical is how much styling you are comfortable doing yourself. I have a round face and thin, straight hair and got the cutest asymmetrical cut, but I abandoned it because of all the product and blow-drying it required to look just right.

My advice is to ask people who have cool hair who does their hair. That's how I've found amazing stylists in each city where I live. You should also budget and spend money to get your hair cut by a great stylist. The woman I go to now is not only an amazing stylist, but she is extremely creative with color. Once you have picked someone, you should be 100% honest with them. Tell them how much work you are willing to do on your hair each day, tell them what your guidelines are, show them any pictures if applicable. Make sure they touch ups and fixes for free (good salons do this--when I had bangs she would fit me in for free trims as necessary, but she talked me out of them eventually).
posted by Kimberly at 10:56 AM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you considered a perm? Not one of those 80s monstrosities, but just a bit of wave to give your hair some lift and volume. A friend of mine who has fine hair and a round face just got a wavy perm on her chin-length hair, and she looks fabulous.

It sounds, though, like what you really need is to find a hairstylist you can trust. At least the first time, I'd recommend picking a high-end (read: expensive, fancy) salon. Get recommendations from friends or acquaintances who have good cuts. Then, go in for a consultation. Find out what the stylist recommends. If you're not comfortable with it, don't get your hair cut there. Do that as many times as you need to find someone you trust. Then, have a glass of wine (a fancy salon will offer it to you), try to relax, and enjoy your haircut. Good luck!
posted by decathecting at 10:58 AM on December 27, 2010

Layered bobs generally look fantastic on round faces, I agree.

The thing is this: the conventional wisdom about haircuts is that everyone should try to "balance" their face shape to make it look more oval. I have broad cheekbones and a little pointed chin (the "heart-shaped" face) and for years I had a lot of width at the jawline to make my face look more oval, blah, blah, blah.

Then I decided to just rock my face shape and accentuate the heart shape instead of trying to hide it, so I went short and let my hair do its natural curl. On the one hand, yeah, I look like Betty Boop. On the other hand, I think it's more distinctive, and the Largely Mythological Husband thinks it's adorable and never wants me to go back to the oval-making curly pageboy.

Maybe you might think about just rocking your cute round face a la Michelle Williams with her little wispy bob, or Carey Mulligan. Rumer Willis often has super-short hair (to name another round-faced semi-celebrity) and I think it suits her better than some of the more conventional-wisdom-approved styles she has chosen.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:59 AM on December 27, 2010

I have a big old face, and I wear my hair ultra-short, like Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby short. It looks great on me - like Sidhedevil says, most hairstyles are not going to make a round face look appreciably less round, and I hate the way long hair looks on me. I feel like the longer it gets, the more it just lies flat against my head (my hair is very straight and thick) and looks like it's framing a humongous moon.

When I get my hair cut, I ask my amazing stylist (which is absolutely key) to cut it short in the back, as short as a man's cut, but leave the front longer. I have wide cheekbones and a big forehead, so it's important to have some (usually sideswept) bangs or else I look like I'm rocking a buzzcut. Then she usually goes over my hair with a razor or thinning shears and basically cuts texture into it. Stylewise, I throw a whack of d:fi d:struct molding creme between my palms and rough my hair up as much as I like.

At any length, having some height in your hair is key to making your face look less round. Don't fear the bangs, at any rate!
posted by timetoevolve at 11:34 AM on December 27, 2010

For fine hair you might ask for the layering to be razored in rather than cut in. It makes a more subtle layer and give a bit more body and bend when styling - at least it does for me with my straight hair and medium bob cut. I've had many bob cuts and this one works the best for me. I'd assume you could add sweeping bangs razored in to blend if you like. Definitely take a few pictures in to the hairdresser and tell what like and don't like about each one.
posted by LilBit at 11:56 AM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is one of those times when you need to go to stylist you trust for a consult.

You can have great ideas, but the stylist may not be able to make that work on your head. Schedule an appointment for a blow out. That lets the stylist work with your hair before they do the cutting consult. It'll also give you a feel for how they work and if you like their aesthetic sense. After the blow out the stylist can give you a few ideas. Go home, mull that over and decide. The blow out is not money wasted. It can save you the daily hassle of wrestling with a bad cut.

You probably want someone who does both cut and color. Very fine hair often benefits from some low or highlights. It creates visual depth in your hair. Also lightened hair has a slightly different texture. That can create some lift.
posted by 26.2 at 12:05 PM on December 27, 2010

Can you afford a really good hairdresser? I have a perfect oval face and for years mediocre hair dressers were giving me these AWFUL pageboys, since they told me it was the best for my face and hair type. Mind you, I didn't want a pageboy or ask for one, I just went with it. Then I went to a couple of really high-end great stylists (at Bumble & Bumble, I asked for the best and most forward thinking stylists). I told them what I kind of wanted: retro, sharp, punky, cute, and NOT dowdy. Then I let them do what they thought best. This is the best thing I ever did.

I have a lot of thin hair with some really cool cowlicks, some very awkward waves, and a forehead that would make a medieval madonna proud (very very high) . Bad stylists made this all worse, good ones made it all work well.

I was like you for the longest time, absolutely terrified of the hairstylist. Print out a lot of pictures of what you think you might like and bring them with you. You don't have to micromanage a good stylist, they should be able to figure out what will work with you.

Also, when you go dress like you would like people to perceive you as. By this I mean, if you want to be stylish and trendy, don't dress like you just came from cleaning the bathroom. If you want to be perceived as cool, dress like it. Don't go dressed as a schlub.

Also, if you are willing to put in time to iron, curl, whatever your hair, let the stylist know. For some reason stylists assumed I just wanted wash-and-wear. I never thought to tell them I was ok with putting in some time to style it. When I finally said, I will style my hair everyday, I actually started getting decent styles.

The styles ThePinkSuperhero has suggested sound perfect for you.
posted by fifilaru at 3:04 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I looked around on the internet for a place with really good reviews and told the hairdresser to do whatever she thought best within my requirements (I don't have a blowdryer and hate hair on my neck). My theory was this is what she does for a living, she should have a much better idea of what looks good on my head than I do. It worked great. I eventually switched when I moved, and went with someone a friend with great hair recommended. I've gotten fabulous haircuts I never would have dreamed would look good on me. I think the suggestion to dress how you want to be seen is very good, it helps them get a sense of your style.
posted by sepviva at 3:35 PM on December 27, 2010

I also have a round, not particularly feminine face and very thin hair. For years and years I thought "oh, if only I could have a super-short haircut! But of course I never can because my face is too round." Then I'd cry over my collection of pictures of Mia Farrow and Jean Seberg. I decided that once I lost a certain amount of weight, my face might get more angular and I could get that haircut. At my thinnest, I finally got the pixie cut, and it looked super cute. Then I gained the weight back and then some, and you know what? I still have short hair and I still like it, and most importantly, I still look like me. Like some posters above, I've realized that a haircut can only change the shape of one's face or the texture of one's hair so much. Way more important is how the haircut fits into your overall look and how you want to maintain it.

That said, here are the Long-Winded Lessons I've Learned in Years of Round Face/Thin Hair, in order of importance:

1. Communicate with the stylist in pictures. Even the best stylist may have an entirely different picture in his/her head when you say the word "feminine" or "layers." Don't trust words alone. Come with pages of pictures, and point out specifically what you like and dislike about each of them.

1a. What that means is, always be on the lookout for pictures of haircuts you like, everywhere. I have never EVER found a good haircut in a hairstyle magazine, or by googling "hairstyle." Instead, look at regular fashion or lifestyle magazines you like, or websites full of stylish people like The Sartorialist. I follow Go Fug Yourself mainly for the hilarious fashion commentary, but also because it's a good up-to-the-minute record of what celebrities are doing with their hair. Hairstyle inspiration is everywhere! (Except hairstyle magazines and websites, where it's perpetually 1995.)

1b. Find a handful of actors or models or musicians who you think have good taste and keep an eye on them, or keep looking for old pictures if they're not contemporary. Since celebrities have to change their hair often, you'll end up with lots of options, even if half of them look like idiots half the time. Mine include the aforementioned Farrow and Seberg, as well as Carey Mulligan, Zooey Deschanel, Michelle Williams, Feist, and so on.

1c. Don't trust words you read, either. The text in fashion magazines and websites is designed in large part to confuse you and get you to buy more fashion magazines and click on more websites. "Bangs are bad on round faces"? Balderdash! Sometimes they are and sometimes they're not. All my best haircuts have incorporated bangs.

2. Find a good stylist. It's worth accosting strangers on the street with cute hair, it's worth spending a little extra money if that's what it takes. I have an unfortunate Alfalfa situation going on in my sister's wedding pictures because I'm a cheapskate. Learn from my mistakes.

2a. Try to find a stylist that offers free or discounted trims, especially if you're going with short hair or bangs. That can cut down costs a lot and let you keep looking good longer. Also it's often much easier and faster to style your hair when you're keeping up the cut.

3. Be honest with yourself and with your stylist about how much styling you're willing to do. If you like spending half an hour a day on your hair, great. If not, say so.

4. Don't stress over finding the One True Haircut. Once I realized that, for better or worse, no matter what my hair looks like I still look like me, I realized that changing hairstyles can be fun. If you're looking for the One Haircut that will Make You Look Like [Ideal], of course it's going to be nervewracking because that haircut likely doesn't exist. And in the course of trying out styles you think are cute, if you find one that you end up wanting to stick with for a few years, so much the better. I totally understand the desire for a long-term relationship, but with hair as with many other things, it's fun and often healthy to play the field.

Post Script: For specific recommendations for you, check out this haircut on Kirsten Dunst (normally I'm not into the a-line look but this one is subtle and layered enough that I like it, especially if you style it with a little height at the crown.) and Scarlett Johanssen in Lost in Translation (my longest-serving haircut inspiration.)
posted by doift at 4:49 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

My opinions on what looks good on people aren't always orthodox, and I myself look like a scary hobo, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

I think you might ultimately appreciate your haircut more if you work with the shape of your face instead of trying to hide it or "emphasize" your features in a way that really means "hiding the stuff I don't like." (As a round-faced person with aggressively straight, limp hair I have walked this path myself.)

I know you're not "supposed" to wear blunt bangs or very short styles if you have a round face but that's advice I don't usually agree with. A pixie-type cut, with short straight bangs, is very feminine in my eyes and always, to me, looks polished and fresh.

Seconding doift above: "Don't stress about finding the One True Haircut."

As for how to explain what you want, I wish I had better advice. It took me a while to find a stylist who did really wonderful things to my hair and honestly I found him by doing boring things like reading reviews on Yelp. What clued me in that he would be worth the price was that he listened to my inarticulate stammerings, asked me questions about my daily activities (to know, for example, that I wasn't going to be up for a high maintenance style), and didn't try to persuade me to do anything I knew wouldn't work. I hope that's helpful.
posted by Neofelis at 11:23 PM on December 27, 2010

Thanks everyone for the advice, and thank you doift for pointing me towards specifically Zooey Deschanel - I LOVE her hair and I'm going to bring in a picture of one of her styles when I go. I guess I need to keep up with celebrities more to get inspired. I do need to do some legwork to find a good stylist... but I feel much better about actually going now! Thanks again to all who answered!
posted by ghostbikes at 7:12 AM on December 28, 2010

When you're beautician shopping, the best thing to do is go in and just get a blowout before you let them cut your hair. You get to know them, they get to know you and your personality and you'll become comfortable enough with them that you can honestly talk about what you want and they'll be honest with you about whether it's do-able or not.

I have a fat face with a double chin and I'm growing my hair out from a really awesome short cut-I've been going to Sally Beauty Supply and buying the cheap ponytail bands that have hair attached. They're cheap, very easy to throw your hair up in in a ponytail when you're tired of messing with it and they actually do look good.
posted by hollygoheavy at 1:58 PM on December 28, 2010

I have your hair and face, and it took me going to a much more expensive stylist than your typical mall salon to get a haircut that looks good on me. I also have short hair and bangs - my forehead is so high, I need to soften it somewhat. I also find that not having bangs makes my face look wider, but YMMV.

When I want a change of hair and don't want my stylist to surprise me (I've done that before, and I trust him enough to do it!), I bring in a number of pictures of what I'm finding attractive at the moment, and he looks through them and figures out what the general trend is and designs a cut that incorporates that.

I've also found that looking through websites for Asian, especially Japanese, hairstyles works for me because women there often have straight hair and round faces. Here's some sites I have bookmarked on Delicious - if you're interested, better bookmark them because Delicious may or may not be vanishing in the near future.
posted by telophase at 3:03 PM on December 29, 2010

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