The Best Hairstyles by Body Type

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Your Hairstyle and Body Type

When you're seeking a new hairstyle to change up your look, there are many things to consider. Your natural hair texture and face shape can help guide you, but have you considered your overall body shape?

It's something many women don't think about. Your body type is a factor because your haircut can accentuate certain features in either a good way while downplaying others. Whether you're tall or petite, slim or curvy, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind before you decide on your next cut.

Generally, it's all about finding a balance from head to toe. You might even find that you fall into more than one category, so you'll want to find a middle ground, which is pretty easy.

Also, when you see your stylist for a consultation, be sure that she takes your body type into consideration. Do the consult before sitting down in the chair and getting caped up. It will give both of you a better idea of which direction to go if you can see your full body.

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For Tall, Athletic Women

Ruby Rose
Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images

Tall women with an athletic build can get away with almost any hairstyle. You can generally go long, short, wavy, straight, or whatever your heart desires. That probably doesn't help you make any decisions, though.

Since your body type is so versatile, concentrate on finding a style that fits your hair's thickness and texture. Your face shape can also play a big role in guiding you toward a style.

What to Avoid

If you have broader shoulders, a short cut can accent them, especially if you have a smaller bust. There's a risk of appearing less feminine and more masculine, so keep that in mind. A longer cut allows your hair to soften the shoulder and your overall look.

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For Tall, Slender Women

Shannon Kane
Andy Krop/Getty Images

When you're tall and slender, chin-length or longer hair is often your best bet. It can look more feminine than short hairstyles and balances out the length of your body. Face-framing layers  and bangs can also soften a longer face and neck.

A great look for this body type is soft, shoulder-length waves. This is particularly true if you don't have many curves. Any length below your chin and adding volume will offset your slender figure.

You can also go with long straight or curly hair. If you want to go shorter, think about a long bob that skims your shoulders.

What to Avoid

Most tall women will want to avoid really short haircuts like pixies. These styles can make your head seem smaller than the rest of your body, which can accent your height. Likewise, super straight styles can make you look even skinnier.

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For Petite Women

Actress Christina Ricci, February 2008
Scott Gries/Getty Images

Sleek and sophisticated styles are a great choice for petite women. Bobs are super flattering and offer many great variations for you to play with. Layers and angles cut into the bob can actually give you a little height, as can any volume on top of your head.

Any cut that falls between your chin and shoulders is a great choice because it will keep your hair in proportion to your smaller frame. Soft waves are a great option as well.

What to Avoid

If you're petite, you know that it can be rather easy to appear a bit child-like at times. To avoid this, skip the super short pixie cuts, tight curls, and extreme hair colors.

If you go too short, you risk looking too boyish and it can make your head appear larger than it is. On the flip side, very long hair can make you appear shorter.

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For Full-Figured Women

Oprah Winfrey
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Full-figured women look fabulous with a cut that balances out the top and bottom of your body. Soft curls and a medium length tend to be the most flattering. 

If your hair is thick, ask your stylist to take some of the volume out with layers or a razor. Going a little straighter, while keeping a gentle wave, and pulling hair back from your face can also be slimming. If you want to go shorter, try to keep the length between your chin and shoulders.

What to Avoid

Short hairstyles, as well as very long cuts, can accent some of the features you may want to downplay. For instance, a short pixie can expose a shorter neck and rounder face. Long hair can have the same effect, especially if your hair is very thick or you are shorter.

In general, any style that's considered "big hair" is not your best option.

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For Curvy Women

Katherine McPhee
Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Many women have an hour glass figure. If you have curves—wider hips and bust with a thinner waist—then medium to long, wavy or curly hair is a great look. It will bring attention to your hair and face, not your chest and hips.

The secret is to add body to your hair. This will soften your entire look and balance everything out. Some bangs and a side part can also be a great option because they frame your face.

What to Avoid

Straight hair only accentuates a curvy body, so it's best to be avoided. Short cuts and updos can also put the focus on your body and even make your head appear disproportionately small.

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Hide Big Ears

Jennifer Garner
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

There are certain individual features that women like to downplay as well. One of those is bigger ears and many women get in the habit of tucking their hair behind their ears.

If you feel like your ears are a little larger than you'd like, try to keep your hair over them. That may mean getting a cut that does this naturally or breaking the hair tuck habit.

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Hide a Big Forehead

Naomi Campbell
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Bangs are the ultimate solution for any woman who has a higher hairline and feels her forehead is too big. You can go with a sleek blunt cut or opt for a sexy side-sweep (which can also hide your ears).