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Highlight Hair By Face Shape



The reasons for incorporating highlights into a hairstyle are historically documented. Besides providing an instant hairstyle change, highlights can give tresses the appearance of more volume, movement and shimmer.

Highlights, which can also be referred to as dimensional color, literally light up hair strands. When properly placed they will either help to maximize or minimize your face shape.

Whether you select dimensional color applied via caps, foils or freehand painted, properly placed highlights and lowlights can direct attention to the best parts of your face shape and direct shadows to areas of your face you may wish to de-emphasize.

If you wish to take the benefits of dimensional color even further, incorporate carefully planned root shadings along with for the best of all worlds.

Dimensional color which is harmoniously placed with your face shape can instantly shave off weight, age or other desired imperfections. It can light up your eyes, help to give the appearance of chiseled cheekbones and give hair a healthy glow.

While it's possible to benefit from dimensional color placed at home, to achieve the most professional results, work with your favorite hair color expert who specializes in all forms of hair color creation and placement.

Ultimately the key point to successful utilization of dimensional color for face shape perfection is to start with a very clear knowledge of your own personal face shape.

For more information on finding your face shape refer to the following articles:

When it comes to face shape most hair and beauty experts agree on the following primary face shapes:
  • Oval Face
  • Round Face
  • Long or Rectangular
  • Heart or Triangular
  • Square
  • Diamond
  • Pear

Classic round shaped faces do occur but are more rare. Usually what is considered a round shape is an oval with extra padding or additional angles such as an oval face with a prominent jawline or wider cheeks.

There is no such thing as a perfect face shape. Most face shapes are a combination of the classic shapes. Therefore a heart shaped face may have elements of a square shape.

Regardless of your actual face shape, even if it is a perfect shape, you may have additional challenges such as a prominent nose, double chin or close set eyes.

Understand what your best points are (eyes, lips, skin tone, hairline, chin) and the areas you wish to minimize or deflect. Think also about your body shape and how it can be benefited by the use of highlights and related color options.

The same rules which dictate how make-up can be utilized to minimize and maximize facial features can be summarized when evaluating dimensional hair color tricks. Makeup is based on the principles of bringing the best features forward by widening and going lighter. Less desirable features are make up to appear less wide and darker.

Make up experts teach that the human eye is naturally drawn to lighter areas which means using highlights to draw attention and lowlights to redirect.

Advantages To Oiling Your Tresses

Understand what your best points are (eyes, lips, skin tone, hairline, chin) and the areas you wish to minimize or deflect. Think also about your body shape and how it can be benefited by the use of highlights and related color options.

Oval Face

Round Face - Round faces are usually as long as they are wide. The place not to highlight is the temple area which will make your face look even rounder. Leave that area dark and instead lighten just the area north of your eyebrows to give the round face a little more length. Also, you'll find an asymmetrical or side-parted hairstyle helps minimize too much roundness in the face.

Long/Rectangular Face - Shatter any long face lines by focusing the highlights along the temples to give the appearance of a wideness in that area. This will help give the face more of an oval appearance. Wear your hair in styles that do not extend past the chin.

Heart - The shape of face is also called triangular, with the bottom point at the chin. The logical area of the hair to leave dark is at the top, lest the forehead look even wider than it is. Extending that logic would seem to indicate that highlights belong on both sides of the jaw to widen that area, but in my opinion, this will just make those highlights look as if they're grown out too far. Thus, this face shape is the only one on which I would not depend on highlights for balance. Instead, look to your hairstyle and make sure it has lots of fullness and volume from the bottom of the ears on down.

Square - Since the forehead, cheeks, and chin are all the same width on a square face, concentrate the highlights either at the temples or around the forehead. This will take the edges off a square face and aim the eye up and away from the jaw. Curved bangs soften the forehead of a square face. As for an overall style, a blunt cut in which the hair swings forward from the ear, forming a curve instead of an angle, looks good against a square chin line.

Diamond - The shape of this face is a combination of triangular with a bottom point at the chin and the pear which has a narrow or even pointed forehead. The cheeks are full. Leave the hair lighter at the top of the head - to add width and balance to the forehead area. Extend the highlights along both sides of the face and the jaw to widen the chin area. Lowlights interwoven along the sides of your face would help minimize the wide cheeks. Make sure you have lots of fullness and volume to balance the chin and wear a full side-swept fringe to balance the forehead.

Pear - Narrow at the forehead, full at the cheeks and chin, this face can benefit enormously crom concentrating highlights from the cheekbones up. The whole face will come into balance with liberal amounts of highlights scattered through all the face from the top of the ears up and across the forehead. That's the same area in which to place the fullest part of your hairstyle, too. Loosely waved layers or curls across the top of your head works beautifully to bring this face shape into balance.

Small Face - Direct the eyes up by concentrating highlights across the front crown and bangs. This will give the face the appearance of more height. Since a small face often goes on a shorter person, if you're under five feet two inches, be sure your hairstyle is no longer than mid-neck lest it pull the eye down and make you look even shorter.

Dimensional Color - Too Much Or Too Little

Highlighting is one of the most subtle forms of coloring your hair because you lighten relatively few strands. But since you want to see some change, if you don't see enough the first time you try highlighting, do it again. I assume you're leaving the lightener or permanent hair-coloring product on your hair for the full time specified in the directions. But in case this is the reason you're seeing too little highlight, set your timer and don't rinse off a minute sooner than the instructions recommend.

You might also feel your are getting too little highlighting if you were expecting too much change. Remember, this method is mean to point up your natural color by giving nature a little help in lightening certain strands so hair looks sunnier. In that sense, it's a great way to start coloring your hair because highlighting is such a subtle method. It's a turn-on for your natural hair color, but if you want or need more than that, don't expect highlighting to result in a major color change.

There's one other possibility if you are see too little change with highlighting and that is you are more than 20% gray. As we discussed earlier, going gray involves more than developing a few gray hair. All the hair becomes drabber n color. So if you're highlighting hair that is already on its way to gray, you won't get much effect from highlighting because there's not that much natural color left to serve as a base for those highlights. Over twenty percent gray, you're better off going to those highlights. Over 20 percent gray, you're better off going to those highlights. Over 20% gray, you're better off going to semi-permanent or permanent hair color for your most flattering change.

At the other extreme of too lighting is too much and it can look perfectly dreadful. Too much is when the hair looks striped with highlights that are too light against hair that is too dark. The overall effect is one of tiger stripes, which may look great in the jungle, but can make a woman look cheap and vulgar. Highlights is designed to be discreet, subtle, elegant and give your hair a care-for look.

Highlighting looks best on hair no darker than medium brown. Redheads or dark blondes look fine with highlights too, but if your hair is dark brown, highlights will look too artificial on you and you'd be better off choosing another hair-coloring technique.


You can mix one or two drops with your jojoba or coconut oil to scent your hair with. Do change the amount of jojoba (or whatever your choice) to accommodate this addition so as not to over-oil your hair in one sitting. (In a way, there's no such thing as too much oil over the course of, say, a week, but in one sitting it can be too much.) Also, I notice that when I apply more to my palms for the next application (I do about 6 applications to get all of my hair length, 3 each side) that there's a bit of buildup on my palms, so sometimes I have to pat my palms on a paper towel to remove excess so as not to apply too much oil to that section of hair.

You can choose other oils such as Sweet Almond Oil. I know of one person who uses vegetable oil (she didn't say which brand) achieving beautiful results; however, I have been advised that many such oils are pressed differently (two or more times) to withstand high heat (for frying and such) and thus, the acid content is higher. In days of yore (and likely still) other cultures have used olive oil; however, it tends to be rather heavy and is pressed differently for sustaining high temperatures (and not breaking down). Oils such as flax seed oil are not intended for hair use although they are not pressed to sustain high heat

So, give it a whirl. Remember that you will have to do it around 2 times before you get the hang of it and find the right amount for you. A little really does go a long way. You can fan your hair out on a soft cotton sheet and oil that way if you like - I find this method gets to more of the individual strands then.

If you want to talk more about these or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums

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