We've already talked about (and most of us understand) the importance of
choosing a hairstyle that suits your face's shape. The right hairstyle can help to
de-emphasize prominent features, accentuate your best assets, and make you look and
feel your best. Yet many people are unaware that their hair could be all wrong for
their body type. Here are some common body types, and the dos and don'ts for them:
Short/Petite: For women who are small-framed, the key is to scale the hairstyle choices
down to match their proportions. Chin-to-shoulder-length styles are usually best. Two
key mistakes often made by petite women are wearing their hair too short (which causes
their heads to appear disproportionately large) or much too long (which only serves to make them appear shorter).
Petite women should also choose styles with gentle wave patterns. Avoid heavily
curled styles which can either make your head appear large or make you appear too
child-like. It's also important that petite women choose hair accessories carefully, as
overly-frilly or fancy bows, barettes and ponytail holders can make them seem juvenile.
The same applies to bright haircolor; vibrant shades often work well for petites, but if
you go too 'far-out' with color, you come across as immature.
Ruben-esque: Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), is known to have
celebrated the beauty of full-figured women in his artwork, proving for posterity that
beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Women with larger builds need to be aware,
however, that their hairstyle can sometimes work against them unless carefully chosen. Again, proportion is the key.
Full-figured ladies should avoid overly-voluminous hairstyles, known in some areas
as "big hair". Extra-volume in a hairstyle translates as "extra weight" on the face and
body. Aim for a medium length style, with soft curves. Many larger women buy into the
fallacy that a "short" hairstyle will make them appear thinner, when the reverse is
usually true. A short-short style on a large-framed woman makes her head appear
small, and often makes a fuller face appear jowly.
A client of mine has naturally curly hair. It is long (mid-back length) and has lots of
volume. Being a full-figured woman, she was unaware of the extent to which her hair
added to her apparent size. We pressed her hair straight, then pulled the top and sides
to the back and secured them with a comb. As a result, she looked to have lost 20-25 pounds and was shocked with the difference.
Slender/Willowy: While the full-figured woman needs "slimmer" hair, the slender
woman needs volume. Many lengths work well (although short-short styles are a hazard
and can make you appear gaunt), but volume is important. Generally, neck-length or
longer is great, with enough wave to give the curves that many slender women lack.
Again, think 'proportion' and remember that straight, flat styles will make you
appear stick-like, while flowing curls can give the appearance of curve to the body lines.
Even with shorter styles a bit of volume and curl can add fullness. Good choices in color
to warm the skin tone or add highlights and lowlights to curled styles add to this effect.
Tall/Athletic: This is considered the ideal body type in that virtually any hairstyle is
suitable. You always want to follow the guidelines of 'proportion', but whether it's short
or long, wavy or straight, the Tall and/or Athletic woman can carry it off.