How to Match Your Hairstyle and Body Type

Different body types and hairstyles
Photo: Depositphotos
We have already discussed, and most of us understand, the importance of choosing a hairstyle that suits the shape of your face. The right hairstyle can help to de-emphasize prominent features, accentuate your best assets, and make you look and feel your best. However, many people are unaware that their hair may not be suitable for their body type. Here are some common body types, along with dos and don'ts for each:
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 subtle wave patterns. Avoid heavily curled styles which can either make your head look large or make you appear too child-like. It is also important that petite women choose their hair accessories carefully, as overly frilly or fancy bows, barrettes, and ponytail holders can make them seem juvenile.
The same applies to a bright hair color; 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 for celebrating 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. Proportion is 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 very 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 which is mid-back length and has a lot of volume. Being a full-figured woman, she was unaware of how much her hair added to her apparent size. We straightened her hair, then pulled the top and sides back and secured them with a comb. As a result, she looked to have lost 20-25 pounds and was shocked by the difference.
Women with different body types
Photo: Africa Studio via Canva
While the full-figured woman needs "slimmer" hair, the slender woman needs more volume. Many lengths work well (although short-short styles can be a hazard and make you appear gaunt), but volume is important. Generally, hair that is 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 curves to the body lines. Even with shorter styles, a bit of volume and curl can add fullness. Good choices of color to warm the skin tone, or highlights and lowlights for curled styles, add to this effect.
This is considered the ideal body type, as virtually any hairstyle is suitable. You should always follow the guidelines of 'proportion', but whether it is short or long, wavy or straight, the tall and/or athletic woman can carry it off.
See also: Hairstyle lengths that will work with your features