Like your clothes, haircuts aren’t one-size-fits-all. But unlike your clothes, you can’t take a crap haircut off after a day of fielding digs from your colleagues.
Which is why – before going under the barber’s scissors – it’s worth knowing which styles best suit your face shape. After all, an extra inch here or a smattering of facial hair there can make all the difference.
What Face Shape Am I?But how can you actually determine what shape your face is? It’s simple. First, arm yourself with a flexible tape measure. Then, take the following measurements, recording each as you go:
OvalSeen as the ideal face shape for women, an oval may not be the most alpha of face shapes for men, but it’s a good canvas for experimentation. Symmetrical and well-proportioned, an oval face shape does pretty much any hairstyle justice, so – you lucky boy – the choice is very much yours.
That said, there are a couple of minor caveats to ensure you optimise your ovalness. “The trick with an oval face shape is to wear your hair off the forehead to create some volume and angles on top,” says Stelios Nicolaou, Aveda Master Barber. “The most suitable style is a classic shorter cut: short on the side and slightly longer on the top, with a side-swept parting.”
You’ll also want to avoid a forward fringe. “Too much heaviness on the forehead softens features and increases roundness of the face,” says celebrity hair stylist Jamie Stevens.
And feel free to ditch the beard, says Adam Brady, Ruffians’ Trend Expert: “You don’t need facial hair to fill out any disproportionate gaps in this case, so feel free to go clean-shaven.”
Why Sport Stubble?
1. It’s Perfect If You’re Patchy
Now that beards are tolerated more in formal environments, so too is stubble – and it’s particularly popular with men who can’t jump on the beard trend because they have patchy facial hair.
It is possible to grow stubble to a certain point and keep it looking less patchy than if you were trying for a beard.
2. Women Love It
According to a study by psychologists at North Umbria University, women are more attracted to men with stubble than to those that are either bearded or clean-shaven.
3. It Can Mask Your Imperfections
Like beards, stubble is great for hiding facial imperfections such as uneven skin pigmentation and acne scars. What’s more, it boosts the apparent size of your jaw, by virtue of color contrast, draws attention to your teeth. Stubble will also balance your face in a way a full beard won’t, which is worth remembering if you’re bald on top.
4. It Matures Baby Faces
Given the fact that facial hair is one of the most obvious signs of sexual maturity, it’s no surprise that men with smooth chins came bottom of the pile in terms of ideal partners in North Umbria University’s study.
So, if you’re always getting asked for ID, take a leaf out of Leo DiCaprio’s book and grow some stubble to banish that baby face.
How To Maintain Stubble
Treat It Like You Would A Beard
Put simply, stubble is just a beard that hasn’t yet reached adulthood and, although the two differ in length, facial hair is facial hair. Which means your two-day-old growth can be treated in a similar way to a six-month-old grizzly.
Like a beard, it’ll still wick moisture away from the surface of your face, causing skin to dry out faster, so make sure you moisturize daily – or use a conditioning oil – to keep skin hydrated.
Know Your Bone Structure
It’s always worth being aware of your bone structure when shaping stubble, To ensure it looks its best, shave parallel to the cheekbone and shave corners on each side of the chin, so that a squared off silhouette of stubble is created when looking at the face straight on.
Use a shaving mirror for accuracy and run your fingertips over your face once done to check that your stubble is even.
Unlike beards, which sometimes benefit from precision topiary, stubble tends to look better when left au naturel, particularly if your main reason for growing some is to appear more rugged.
If you want to keep your neck smooth – perhaps to prevent stubble catching on your shirt collars – avoid using the actual jawline itself as a guide as this looks too obvious.
For a less jarring effect, start your shaving just under the jawline instead, or simply trim the area below on the shortest trimmer setting so that it looks graduated.
Head Off Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs are a bit like in-laws: they tend to pop up when you least expect (or want) them to, create havoc when they do and quite often turn out to be a real pain. If you keep your stubble in check, you should avoid hairs growing back upon themselves, but if you’re in a cycle of shaving and growing, you’re asking for ingrowns.
“The simplest way to avoid pseudofolliculitis barbae (the technical name for ingrown hairs) is to exfoliate regularly to lift hairs,” advises Sally Penford of The International Dermal Institute.
Try a gentle exfoliator, like Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant and philosophy renewed hope for men mattifying moisturizer,