Flattering Hairstyles for Black and African American Face Shapes

It's all about embracing your face shape

Actress Tessa Thompson with a wavy bob

 Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Looking for the most flattering hairstyle for your face can be a long, hard journey. But consider this: There is no one-size-fits-all hairstyle for any given face shape. The beauty of Black and African American hair is it can be so many things: curly, kinky, wavy, relaxed, braided, twisted and so on. You shouldn't feel limited by your face shape if you want to experiment with any and all of these looks.

However, there are, of course, many trailblazers to look to for inspiration if you just want to find a style that feels authentic for you. When choosing a hairstyle for your face shape, think less about playing your face shape down, and more about playing it up. Got prominent cheekbones? Pull your hair back and let them shine. Is your face long and narrow? Maybe accentuate the straight lines with relaxed hair. Embrace your best and most unique features, and you'll experience a whole new level of confidence. Here are a few looks to spark your own vision for your hair.

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Short, Natural Hair for Round Face Shapes

Actress Lupita Nyong'o with short hair and pink lipstick
  Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

There's an old notion that you should try to slim down a round face. Lupita Nyong'o proves this all wrong. She is always a vision with short, natural hair, defying any rules about contouring a round face with a hairstyle that frames it. Instead, she lets her soft cheeks do the talking. Similar short, natural hairstyles that let you put your best face forward are really lovely on round shapes.

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Long, Straight Hair for a Rectangular Face Shape

Model Joan Smalls
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Joan Smalls keeps it long and sleek, and it has clearly worked for her during her long reign as a supermodel. This look is about working with the narrow, elongated shape of your face, not against it. You can wear relaxed hair down or in a tight, high ponytail for a refined look.

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A Short Bob for a Square-Shaped Face

Actress Tessa Thompson with wavy bob
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Tessa Thompson is a chameleon who's done braids, curly hair, and relaxed hair. But one of her most stunning looks of all time has definitely been her short bob. This style is modern and cool, but the waves give it a classic, old Hollywood feel.

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Slicked-Back Hair for a Diamond-Shaped Face

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Tracee Ellis Ross Ross is about the cheekbones. While her natural hair is dreamy and enviable, some of her most show-stopping looks are when she slicks her hair down or pulls it back in protective cornrows. That's when her diamond-shaped face gets to stand out in all its glory.

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An Array of Hairstyles for Oval-Shaped Faces

Kerry Washington with a coily updo
  Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

People with oval-shaped faces can get away with many different hairstyles. Kerry Washington herself is living proof, having rocked every look from natural to relaxed, short to long, as well as bangs and everything in between. Flattering hairstyles for oval shapes are virtually limitless. Here are some other oval-faced beauties to look to for inspiration: Beyonce, Halle Berry, Zoe Kravitz.

Wear It Your Way

Your hair texture and face shape are unique, and so you're the best judge about what works for you. The general rule of thumb: Try not to use hair to hide anything you wish was different about you. Instead, use it to your advantage and express your real self.