How to Match Your Hairstyle and Body Type

Different body types and hairstyles
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stacy - Hair Stylist     ©
See also: Hairstyle lengths that will work with your features