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The Face Shape Guide You Never Knew You Needed

A face reading expert is here to help.
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

While the beauty of beauty is the freedom that comes with it, it’s helpful to have a frame of reference, and the best frame is your very own face. Whether it’s selecting the most complementary makeup looks or choosing the best hairstyles, your face shape can be an effective tool to use as a guide. Unfortunately, much like analyzing the aspects of your eyebrows and nose, determining your face shape is a lot easier said than done.

If you’re not sure what category your features fall under, don’t worry. Jean Haner, Chinese face reading expert and author of The Wisdom of Your Face, gives her expert insight below and breaks it down to a simple process.

TAKE YOUR MEASUREMENTS

For starters, it’s best to tie your hair back and pull your hair off your forehead so you can see your entire face. Most of determining face shapes come from being able to see the top of your hairline and all of your jawline. Then, whip out a flexible measuring tape and take yourself back to third-grade geometry. Measure the four key parts of your face, listed below.

Forehead Width

Run your measuring tape across your forehead from hairline to hairline, making sure the measuring tape is placed at the widest point. Jot this number down.

Cheekbone Width

Starting at just past the outer corner of one eye, extend your tape measure across the bridge of your nose to slightly past the outer corner of your other eye. The measuring tape should be even and sit just above the cheekbones in the same spot on each side of your head. Add this measurement to your notes.

Jawline

Locate the base of your jaw, which can be found underneath your ear. Run your tape measurer along the edge of your jaw until you reach the middle of your chin. Continue to measure the other side or simply multiply that number by two. Indicate this number as your jawline measurement in your notes.

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Face Length

Place the tip of your measuring tape at the middle of your hairline and stretch it down until it reaches the tip of your chin. When done properly, the measuring tape should run directly over your nose. Add this last number to your list.

DETERMINE YOUR SHAPE

Now that you've gathered your measurements, sort through the six common face shapes listed below, eliminating the types with descriptions that don't align with your own characteristics.

Round Shape

With your measurements in mind, ask yourself the below questions. If you answer "yes" to the first question, move to the next. If you answer "no," skip to the next face shape. 

Forehead: Is your forehead rounded at the hairline?

Cheekbone: Is the width of your face essentially the same as the length?

Jawline: Does your jawline have rounded versus sharper edges?

Face: Is the length of your face essentially the same size as the width?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you have a round-shaped face! Find out what your face shape means here, and learn how to best contour and highlight for your features here.

Square Shape

With your measurements in mind, ask yourself the below questions. If you answer "yes" to the first question, move to the next. If you answer "no," skip to the next face shape. 

Forehead: Does your hairline follow a straight line? Is your forehead essentially the same width as your jaw?

Cheekbone: Are there minimal curves to your cheekbones? Do the sides of your face follow a straight line from your jaw to your forehead? Is the width of your cheekbones about the same as the width of your forehead and jaw?

Jawline: Do you have a strong, squared jawline? Do the sides of your face follow a straight line from your jaw to your forehead?

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Face: Is your face about as long as it is wide?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you have a square-shaped face! Find out what your face shape means here, and learn how to best contour and highlight for your features here.

Diamond Shape

With your measurements in mind, ask yourself the below questions. If you answer "yes" to the first question, move to the next. If you answer "no," skip to the next face shape. 

Forehead: Is the width of your forehead smaller than the width of your cheekbones?

Cheekbone: Are your cheekbones significantly wider than your forehead? Are your cheekbones wider than your jawline?

Jawline: Do you have a narrow chin area and does your chin have a strong point? Is your cheekbone measurement wider than your jawline?

Face: Is the length of your face shorter versus longer?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you have a diamond-shaped face! Find out what your face shape means here, and learn how to best contour and highlight for your features here.

Oval Shape

With your measurements in mind, ask yourself the below questions. If you answer "yes" to the first question, move to the next. If you answer "no," skip to the next face shape. 

Forehead: Is the width of your forehead smaller than the width of your cheekbones? Do you have a tall forehead?

Cheekbone: Are your cheekbones the widest part of your face?

Jawline: Do you have no sharp angles on your jaw or chin?

Face: Is your face longer than it is wide?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you have an oval-shaped face! Find out what your face shape means here, and learn how to best contour and highlight for your features here.

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Heart Shape

With your measurements in mind, ask yourself the below questions. If you answer "yes" to the first question, move to the next. If you answer "no," skip to the next face shape. 

Forehead: Is your forehead wider than your jawline? Is your hairline rounded? Bonus: Do you have a widow's peak (a V-shaped point in the hairline at the center of the forehead)?

Cheekbone: Is your cheekbone width about the same as your forehead width? Are they both wider than your jawline?

Jawline: Do you have a narrow jawline? Does your chin have a strong point?

Face: Is the length of your face short versus longer?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you have a heart-shaped face! Find out what your face shape means here, and learn how to best contour and highlight for your features here.

Rectangular Shape

With your measurements in mind, ask yourself the below questions. If you answer "yes" to the first question, move to the next. If you answer "no," skip to the next face shape. 

Forehead: Does your hairline follow a straight line? Is your forehead essentially the same width as your jaw? Do you have a tall forehead?

Cheekbone: Are there minimal curves to your cheekbones? Do the sides of your face follow a straight line from your jaw to your forehead? Is the width of your cheekbones about the same as the width of your forehead and jaw?

Jawline: Do you have a strong, squared jawline? Do the sides of your face follow a straight line from your jaw to your forehead?

Face: Is your face twice as long as it is wide? Does your face have a square resemblance but appear slightly longer?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you have a rectangular shaped face! Find out what your face shape means here, and learn how to best contour and highlight for your features here.

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*If you're still having trouble deciphering between square and rectangle, you can often distinguish a rectangular shape from its straight/horizontal hairline, extended middle, and very defined/square jawline.*

A Blend Of Shapes

Not everyone falls into a singular face shape! Haner points out that many people end up being a combination. If none of your measurements perfectly aligned with a specific category, you’re not alone. Although the most common fusion is rectangular and oval, other mixtures are indeed possible. That doesn’t mean you’re more limited in the beauty space–think of it as getting the best of both worlds! Play around with looks from both spaces and figure out which ones you prefer.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.