A popular topic around beauty blogs and magazines is that of face shapes and determining which cuts/makeup/etc.etc.etc. is right for you. Now, I am a little bit untraditional. I didn’t grow up feeling like I had to look more Caucasian or like Barbie. I felt no pressure to wear makeup or even really to style my hair, although trying to keep my skin healthy and have a good cut was important to me. I never remember people telling me that I needed to look a particular way.
Modern style isn’t about looking a uniform way. It isn’t about everyone having one haircut, or one of five haircuts. People are even willing to embrace their natural texture. And yet, sometimes the verbiage I hear when discussing face shapes in the salon is very outdated.
First off, I don’t believe in using hair to conceal. I believe in using hair to balance. It sounds like a meaningless linguistic difference, but really I think it denotes an important shift in mindset. If we believe our faces behold some defect, and our mission is to disguise ourselves, that puts a limit on the joy you can get from your haircut because you feel like, “Well, I really want ______, but because of _____ I have to have _____ instead.” Even if someone using this formulation does like their haircut, they probably would like it more if they didn’t feel like it was one of their only choices. Besides, sometimes when the only goal is to conceal, it backfires and just points more attention towards whatever is being hidden. The most exaggerated version of this is the extreme combover.
When we talk about balance it is all about creating harmony with the client. And it isn’t just about face shape. It is about individual facial features, overall body shape, size, overall style and personality. It’s about drawing attention to the positives and working with overall (objective) shapes in order to create something visually appealing. It isn’t about oval being good and square being bad it is about creating a cut that is holistic, that embraces the client’s individuality. Some women look darn good with a strong jawline and whether the woman wants a strong shape or a soft shape depends more on where she is in her career and with her life than on something being “right.” Sometimes obsessing about face shape will cause you to miss a golden opportunity in highlighting gorgeous eyes. And you can give the perfect cut to create an illusion of slightly more height on a petite woman, but if it doesn’t fit her personality, what is the point?
It’s not about one style looking bad, it is about another looking better.
I believe that cuts and color services should be flattering, but I don’t believe in black and white rules. I don’t believe in approaching a service with a list of things I can’t do. I believe that as a hairstylist, my vision for my client should be both attentive to their overall aesthetic and sensitive to who they are as person and where they are in their life. I believe that part of my job is to instill pride and comfort in one’s own body, in one’s own identity.