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4 Easy Ways to Finally Figure Out Your Face Shape

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain / Staff/Getty Images

Figuring out what face shape you have is similar to learning your astrological sign or personality type. It may not have made much of a difference to you in the past, but now that you’re aware of it, so many things start to make perfect sense: which hairstyles and haircuts will look amazing on you (including your best bangs style and your most flattering messy bun), how to correctly apply blush, bronzer, and contour to emphasize your natural beauty, and so much more. In a nutshell, knowing your face shape allows you to create a beauty and makeup routine that's uniquely you.

Read on for our breakdown of all the different facial features out there, four easy methods to identify your face shape, and finally, what your face shape means for your beauty and makeup routine.

About the Expert:

Leiah Scheibel is a global makeup artist and beauty expert with 20 years in the beauty industry.

Infographic on the five different face shapes

But First, How Many Face Shapes Are There?

How many different face shapes could there possibly be, you ask? The real answer: too many to count.

In real life, everyone's face shape is beautiful and uniquely different, and there are so many little variations in shape and size. To keep things simple, however, we like to break them down to five of the most common face shapes. These five face shapes are

1. A heart face shape

2. A square face shape

3. An oval face shape

4. A rectangular face shape (aka a diamond face shape)

5. A round face shape

Your cheekbones, jawline, forehead, the length of your face, and the width of your face all determine which category you fall into. But unless you’re Reese Witherspoon (with that cute heart shape), the shape of your face isn’t always immediately obvious. Your face might even be a combination of one or two of these face shape categories.

Below, we’ll break down what each of these face shapes look like so you know what to look for when you’re figuring out your own.

How to Find Your Face Shape

So how can you tell if you fall into one face shape category or a mix of two? Keep reading to reveal the best methods to figure out your face shape.

Face Shape Method #1: Length, Width, and Jaw

The easiest way to answer the age-old "what is my face shape?" question involves you, a mirror (or your phone camera), and nothing else. Here’s what to look for:

Step 1: Jaw Shape

Observe your jawline. If it seems gently curved or on the rounder side, you likely have an oval or round face shape. If it’s sharp and angular or pointy, you likely belong to the square face shape, rectangle face shape, or heart face shape family. (More on these later!) 

Step 2: Face Length and Width

Once you’ve eyeballed your jawline, take a moment to notice the length and width of your face. If your face appears longer than it is wide, you’re likely either Team Rectangle or Team Oval. If you want to get really specific, makeup artist Leiah Scheibel recommends actually measuring the length and width of your forehead, cheekbones and jawline. Seriously. You can use a tape measure or a pencil or something that you have lying around. 

“Really taking into account the angles—or lack thereof—will help to determine face shape as well,” she says.

Face Shape Method #2: The Selfie-and-Trace

If precision is your preference, this face shape identification trick is for you. It involves taking a photo (preferably a selfie or any other clear, front-facing picture) of yourself, printing it out, and tracing your face to see which shape it most aligns with. Just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Snap a Pic

For this exercise, you can either use a photo you have of yourself on hand or snap a cute selfie with your hair pulled back for maximum face shape exposure. Be sure you’re pretty close to the camera but not too close to distort the angle. 

Step 2: Connect the Dots

Take a transparent or thin sheet of paper (wax paper works) and place it over your photo. Next, either completely trace around your face shape, or just place dots near the most obvious sides of your face (where your temples are, the top of your forehead and hairline area, cheekbones, jawline, and chin). Finally, connect the dots!

Step 3: Find Your Shape

Behold: your masterpiece. What shape does it most closely resemble? If it looks oval, you’ve got yourself an oval face shape; if a square appears on your page, square-shaped it is. You get the idea. Whichever shape appears on that page is your face shape—or, if it kind of looks like one shape but also kind of like another, you'll know you're somewhere in the middle of two face shapes.

Face Shape Method #3: Makeup Your Face

In the mood for a little makeup session? This tip calls for tracing your reflection directly on your mirror to see what face shape emerges. It’s pretty fun, actually. 

Step 1: Pick Your Product

Choose any dark makeup product you own (just not one that you care about or use everyday, as you’ll use up a fair amount of it). Dark pencil eyeliner, red or dark lipstick, or even a foundation or contour stick will do just fine. We love INMO Frozen Lipstick in Runway Red, but you might not want to ruin it.

Step 2: Check Yourself Out

Once you’ve picked your product, stand in front of a mirror with your hair pulled back. Make sure you’re at least an arm’s length away from the mirror (but no more) for easy, accurate drawing. Keep your head steady and don’t move your position.

Step 3: Trace the Shape

Keeping your position super-still, looking straight ahead, trace your face in the mirror. Stay as level as you can, but if you mess up, don’t sweat it–this technique is more about fun than anything else. Once you’ve traced your face, take a step back to check out your work of art. What face shape does it look like? If you’re not sure, wipe it off and try again. Hint: this makes a really fun TikTok.

Face Shape Method #4: Make a Collage

Let’s head back to art class, when we cut out pictures and glued them all together either as art or just inspiration. Here, you’ll be doing the same thing with celebrities that have similar face shapes as you. Now, if you prefer to be a little less hands-on, you can also do this on an app like Pinterest. 

Step 1: Choose Your Celebs

Compile any old magazines you have laying around. They don’t have to be recent. This is all about reusing what you already have! Then, go through them all and cut out any faces you think resemble yours. Do people tell you you look like a young Angelina Jolie? Or more like Selena Gomez? How do you see yourself? This will help determine your closest face shape. 

Step 2: Organize the Photos Together 

Put celebrities with similar face shapes together. What do you see? Did you choose Selena Gomez, Gabrielle Union, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Hayden Panettiere? They all have round faces, so chances are, so do you. 

Step 3: Hang It Up As Inspo

Now that you’ve discovered your face shape using celebrity images, you can take inspiration from their best hairstyles, blush placement, and more. Plus, it makes for pretty cool artwork in your bedroom.

Every Single Face Shape, Explained:

1. Heart Face Shape

Close-up of a smiling Naomi Campbell with a broken line heart shape overlay
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain / Staff/Getty Images

People with heart face shapes have a slightly pointy chin, wide forehead, and generally a more angular jawline, making the face resemble–you guessed it–a heart shape. “You're the real deal heart shape if you have a widow's peak in addition to the above,” says Scheibel.

2. Square Face Shape

Close-up of Sandra Bullock with a broken line square shape overlay
Photo by Michael Loccisano / Staff/Getty Images

If the length of your face is about equal to the width of your face, and your jaw is angular instead of rounded, your face shape is square. “Cheekbones on a square face will be parallel to the hairline and jawline,” says Scheibel.

3. Oval Face Shape

Close-up of Rihanna with a broken line oval shape overlay
Photo by Tim P. Whitby / Stringer/Getty Images

Oval shapes are defined by an oblong form. “Oval face shapes generally, are longer than they are wide, with wider cheekbones than the rest of the face,” continues Scheibel. “The jawline doesn't come to a point but is very narrow and rounded.” Think Jennifer Lopez and Bella Hadid.

4. Rectangle Face Shape

Close-up of Kate Winslet with a broken line rectangle shape overlay
Photo by Jason Merritt/TERM / Staff/Getty Images

Similar to square face shapes, people with rectangle face shapes have an angular, strong jawline. Unlike square face shapes, though, rectangle face shapes are longer than they are wide. “The cheekbones on a rectangle face will be no wider than the forehead and jawline,” adds Scheibel.

5. Round Face Shape

Close-up of Selena Gomez with a broken line round shape overlay
Photo by Tibrina Hobson / Stringer/Getty Images

For those who have round faces, the widest part of your face will be your cheekbones, while the forehead and chin are rounded out. “Cheekbones will be the widest part of the face in a rounded shape,” says Scheibel.

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About the author
Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated April 27, 2022 12:00 AM