3 Steps to Identify Your Face Shape (It's Actually So Easy)

Face shape is one of those physical features we might not always be actively thinking about, but it contributes to so many parts of our lives. Everything from picking a hairstyle to determining the best makeup technique and even selecting the most flattering sunglasses hinges on this specific anatomical detail. According to Tanuj Nakra, MD, board-certified cosmetic surgeon and co-founder of Avya Skincare, "The shape of our faces is a direct result of our underlying bone structure, which is based on genetics." That being said, the process of identifying your face shape certainly doesn't need to include a trip to the doctor's office.

It’s time to finally demystify the magic of identifying your face shape, and we’re here to help you do it. While we fancy ourselves quite knowledgeable on a host of beauty topics, we knew a team of cosmetic dermatologists and surgeons would be the perfect resource for breaking down the specific steps for pinpointing your face shape quickly and accurately. So we called in our favorite MDs to help us understand the ins and outs of facial structure.

Keep scrolling to peep our handy face-shape chart and the three best tips for identifying yours, according to our squad of aesthetic experts. Then, read more about your specific face shape.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tip #1: Trace your face.

According to Simon Ourian, MD, founder of Epione Beverly Hills, making an outline of your face in the mirror can point you in the right direction of determining your face shape. "Stand in front of a mirror and trace the outline of your face using lipstick or anything else removable," he instructs. Step back, and you can use the below guidelines to identify your face shape.

Tip #2: Consider the relative prominence of your cheekbones and jawbone.

As Nakra puts it, "The cheekbones (maxilla) and jawbone shape (mandible) have a major impact on facial shape." He says that some other factors also contribute, such as the shape of the forehead and nose, the location of the eyes and mouth, and the prominence of facial fat pads, but the cheeks and jaw tell most of the story. "First, identify the most prominent point and location of each cheekbone. Next, determine the shape and prominence of the jawbone. Comparing these two bony landmarks can help determine the face shape," he instructs.

Tip #3: Think outside the box.

Obviously, our faces are not going to be exact replicas of geometric shapes we learned about in school. So it's best to be less rigid with our expectations of conforming to an exact shape and leave room for other contributing factors. "The overall face shape takes into account the relative prominence of features and changes with age and weight," says Anita Patel, MD, founder of her eponymous cosmetic surgery practice in Beverly Hills. "If looking at a triangle, a youthful face has the apex at the bottom, whereas an aged look has the triangle flipped upside down, with the base at the bottom," she adds.

In addition, Ourian recommends thinking about how we apply our makeup to help make us more cognizant of our facial structure. "As a rule of thumb, consider how and why you contour and highlight certain areas of the face using bronzer, blush, and highlighter. This bone structure you exaggerate shadows and highlights, contributing to your face shape," he says. 

Now, that you've learned some methods for getting to job done, identifying your face shape will be a breeze. Learn more about each shape below.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Those with square faces have less prominent chins and angled jaws. Along the sides of the face, it's typically straight with a 1:1 proportion when comparing vertical to horizontal length," says Ourian. Patel also adds that on a square face, you'll notice short chin length and more heaviness in the lower cheeks.

Celebs with your face shape: Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Katie Holmes


(Image credit: Getty Images)


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Your beauty staple: bronzer

Emphasize your naturally angled jawline with bronzer. Use it to contour the hollows of your cheeks.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to Nakra, low, flat cheekbones and a small, curved jawbone are common in round face shapes. Ourian agrees, and also says that for round faces, cheeks will be the widest part of the face.

Celebs with your face shape: Chrissy Teigen, Selena Gomez, Kate Bosworth


(Image credit: Getty Images)


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Your beauty staple: blush

If you have a round face, your cheeks are the star of the show. Play them up with tons of blush in a fun color.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Patel calls out the brow bone as a telltale area for identifying rectangular faces, noting that it will typically be broad or more prominent than in other face shapes. Ourian also says there is an equal width up and down the face. "People with rectangular faces typically have foreheads, cheeks, and jawlines that are nearly the same width across," he explains.

Celebs with your face shape: Tracee Ellis Ross, Sarah Jessica Parker, Joan Smalls


(Image credit: Getty Images)


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Your beauty staple: brow gel

Since your brow bone is so prominent, you have the perfect opportunity to enhance your brows. Use a tinted brow gel in a shade close to your natural eyebrow color to draw attention to your bone structure. 


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High, flat cheekbones are the first sign of an oval face, according to Nakra. Patel points out that some more features to take into account are balanced width and proportion of forehead and cheeks, and soft contours in the chin and jawline.

Celebs with your face shape: Beyoncé, Alexa Chung, Jessica Alba


(Image credit: Getty Images)


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Your beauty staple: highlighter

Having higher cheekbones means one thing: you have the perfect face for highlighter. Sweep it all over your cheekbones to illuminate your entire face.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

"This face shape features a wide forehead and narrows to a pointed, narrow chin," Ourian points out of heart-shaped faces. Nakra agrees but clarifies that the narrow chin on a heart-shaped face will still be prominent and well-defined. 

Celebs with your face shape: Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Scarlett Johansson


(Image credit: Getty Images)


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Your beauty staple: mascara

Your wider forehead can handle big, fluttery lashes. Layer on mascara to make your eyes pop.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hollow or narrow temples, prominent cheekbones, and a tapered chin are all defining characteristics of a diamond face shape, according to Patel. Ourian says that angular cheekbones and pointed, prominent chins are also present, and that foreheads for this face shape are slightly narrow in contrast to the other high parts of the face.

Celebs with your face shape: Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Halle Berry


(Image credit: Getty Images)


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Your beauty staple: eyeliner

Similar to heart-shaped faces, diamond shaped faces are all about the eyes. Trace on a cat eye or smudge out a smoky eye to bring all the focus to your narrow temples.

This article was published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Associate Beauty Editor

Courtney Higgs is a Cancer sun, Libra rising beauty enthusiast with about six years of experience in the editorial space. She was previously Who What Wear's associate beauty editor after spending many years working on the West Coast edit team at InStyle Magazine. She graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a BA in communication studies and pivoted to editorial after spending her college years working in the legal field. Her beauty philosophy is simple: She believes there are no wrong answers and that discovering our favorite beauty products and rituals is a journey, not a sprint. When she's not geeking out over products, she can be found adventuring around L.A. with her fiancé; watching reality TV with their French bulldog, Bernie Mac; or relating way too hard to astrology memes.