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Last updated on March 27th, 2005 by Karen Shelton

Introduction

Gwyneth Paltrow

DC Media All Rights Reserved

Center hair parts are considered the classic part. They've been around since the beginning of time and quite simply are defined as hair which has a part down the center.

While in some cases the effect of a center part is to open up a face and draw attention to the eyes, nose, lips and skin tone, if those are not features you want to magnify a center part may not work for you.

Parts come and go in popularity on the Fashion Runways and Red Carpets on a regular basis. Some celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Lindsay Lohan and Sarah Jessica Parker.

On the 2008 Milan Fashion Runway center parts were all the rage. At the Etro, Iceberg, Lorenzo Riva, and Thes & Thes by Thes Tzivel runways the models showcased hair pulled tightly back and styled with severe center parts.

Everyone can choose to wear a center part, but may or may not opt for due to their face shape, hair length, type and texture.

A center part may or may not work depending upon your hairline which may fall into the following:

- Normal - Plain/Straight - Widow's Peak Hairline - Receding/Balding Hairline - Irregular/Asymetrical

Consider the following considerations when selecting a center part:

• Facial Symmetry: Some hair experts may advise against a center part if you have a prominent, crooked or unattractive nose. Ironically Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP) of Sex And The City (SATC) fame looks great with a center part which she combines with her gorgeous trademark mermaid waves even though she doesn't have the best nose.

If you have a unaligned eyes, a severe center part part may highlight what you might not like to highlight.

Gwyneth Paltrow

DC Media All Rights Reserved

Instead, go for a part that's just slightly off-center. Even better consider a side or deep side part. You'll still get the same effect but with more flattering results.

Severe Look: A perfectly straight center part often produces a very severe if not extreme look.

If you're dead set on going for exactly in the center but are worried about it being too extreme, just create a smaller part instead, which looks a bit softer.

You can also try starting your part in the middle at the hairline, and veer slightly off-center to the side as you work your way back.

Another option? Part your hair down the middle, but use your fingers to create a not-too-perfectly-straight part you'd get from a comb.

Widow's peak: If you have a widow's peak, a middle part may work for you too. You don't have to fight the natural parting of your hair, but you can coerce it to lie flat by combing damp hair tautly with a brush, followed by a blow dryer to set.

Gwyneth Paltrow

DC Media All Rights Reserved

From boho to sleek: Middle parts on long hair create a bohemian, laid-back vibe. To transform the look into a sleek nighttime style, break out the flat-iron to create straight locks.

Keep your makeup clean and simple so as to not compete with your more severe hairstyle.

• Do it up: If you're considering wearing your hair back, take some inspiration from Gwyneth, who wore her golden tresses in a loose, slightly off-center part with a slight waves throughout the perimeter of her hair.

For something more formal, slick your hair back into a tight bun to showcase your center part. A half up/half down do combined with a center part looks glam and extremely polished. For an extra sexy or softening effect, leave out several fringe pieces of hair around the face.

Reasons For Not Opting For A Center Part

In essence a center part requires that a straight line be drawn down the center of the head from the crown to the hairline. Obviously if you don't have a perfect symmetrical face a center part may give your face an unusual or unbalanced look.

A center part also may not be complementary with high foreheads unless combined with bangs which work wonders to camouflage a prominent hairline.

Gwyneth Paltrow

DC Media All Rights Reserved

Summary

Center-parted hairstyles have taken over the deep side part as a favored style. The center part will open up and brighten a face to emphasize the eyes.

The center part works well with angle-softening curls or wispy bangs. Hairstyles that work well with a center part include medium, long, partial updo and bob hairstyles

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- Revised Publication Date: 04/23/11

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