Changing your face shape

Reshape your face without surgery

Want a V-shaped face? Here’s a way to achieve it without going under the knife.

Like the cupcakes that I once tried (and failed miserably) to bake, human faces come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Oval, round, square, oblong, triangular, and even diamond-shaped, no two persons are exactly alike when it comes to the shape of their face.

I’ve heard that some astrologers can read a person’s fortune and future just by looking at the shape of their face and their facial traits.

Face reading, also known as physiognomy (that’s Greek for ‘nature’ and ‘interpreter’), is the reading of a person’s personality and mind by evaluating various facial features, like the shape of the eyes, nose, lips, chin, jawline, etc.

While I’m no expert at foretelling my clients’ future career path or their love life, I do know for sure that one’s facial shape can affect a person’s looks.

A person with a round face may look overweight. A lady with a squarish face would look too masculine, and most men are not into ladies whose face shape resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger.

If your face is too long and oblong, you might be mistaken for Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. In other words, your face shape can make or break you.

For this reason, I have had many clients who are interested in altering the shape of their faces.

A square jaw

Most ladies, and even some metrosexual men, prefer to have an oval or V-shaped face.

A large number of people have a prominent or squarish jawline. This is usually due to the prominence of the masseter, which is the muscle used for chewing our food.

It is common for Asians to genetically have larger jaw muscles. Some people get enlarged jaw muscles by frequently chewing gum.

Others suffer from involuntary grinding of the teeth during sleep – a condition known as bruxism.

In order to have a V-shaped face, one option is to undergo plastic surgery. As with any surgery, there would be some after-effects of swelling, redness and bruising.

You might have to take time off work if you do not wish your colleagues to see you looking like Frankenstein’s long-lost relative.

Another option is to see an aesthetic doctor to help reduce the size of the masseter or jaw muscle.

Botox for the jawline

Korean doctors pioneered the use of Botuli-num Toxin A (BTA) injections to shrink the jaw muscles.

Since then, many doctors worldwide, including in Malaysia, have used this simple procedure to make their clients more attractive.

BTA is a neurotoxin protein that temporarily halts the action of muscles. It is most commonly used to reduce wrinkles over the forehead, the frown area between the eyes, and crow’s feet at the corner of the eyes.

It has many other uses as well, such as reducing excessive sweating or reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.

In the case of facial reshaping, BTA is injected to reduce the strength and action of the masseter muscle.

Whenever any muscle in the body is less used, it shrinks in size. By reducing the activity of the masseter or jaw muscle, it becomes smaller and less prominent over time.

Usually, three to five tiny injections are given on both sides of the jawline. Small, safe doses of BTA are injected directly into the masseter.

At least one month needs to pass before improvements can be seen, as it takes time for the muscle to shrink. The result is a more slender and oval-shaped face.

Usually two or more sessions of BTA injections, spaced a few months apart, will be necessary to get the best results.

Results last for up to a year, but can be shorter for those who still chew gum frequently or those with bruxism.

After that period of time, you can opt to go for another session of injections.

Otherwise, the masseter muscle will slowly get bigger over time as the effect of BTA diminishes.

The good thing is that the jawline will still be more slender than before, even if you decide not to have any further procedures done.

The BTA jaw injection comes with some minor side effects. You may feel it’s slightly harder initially to chew rubbery, tough food, such as squid (or an old ayam kampung).

As with any injection, there can be a few days of swelling. Bruising is also a possibility, but doesn’t happen very often.

¦ Dr Chen Tai Ho is an experienced aesthetic doctor who chills by the pool sipping espresso latte when he’s not attending to his patients. For further information, e-mail [email protected] The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

DIY Plastic Surgery: Can You Change Your Face Without Going Under the Knife?

Who’s the prettiest of them all? It’s more than a folkloric contest in Asia, where inflated and omnipresent beauty standards inspire millions to go under the knife each year. Countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan put a social and workplace premium on appearance, causing citizens to turn to the operating table in order to achieve the slim jawline, double eyelids, and straight nose coveted by many. These three Asian nations all made it into the latest study of the top 10 most plastic-surgery dependent countries in the world. South Korea ranked first, with 16 procedures per 1,000 people, Taiwan took sixth, and Japan came in seventh. In the South Korean capital of Seoul alone, one in five women underwent cosmetic surgery in 2012. And two years earlier, it was estimated that more than 5.8 million procedures were performed across Asia.

Research showing improved economic opportunities for those deemed attractive has, in part, fueled this rise, especially within hyper-competitive markets like China. Even pre-teen children are undergoing these procedures. “I’m having her do it,” the mother of a 12-year-old Korean girl who got double-fold eye surgery told CNN, “because I think it’ll help her. This is a society where you have to be pretty to get ahead. She’s my only daughter.”

The desire to have a specific look is not just an issue for South Korean and Japanese women. Many Asian-Americans cite pressure to conform to Western beauty standards as a reason to alter their natural appearance. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of Asian-Americans who had cosmetic procedures nearly doubled, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In September, CBS anchor Julie Chen stirred up attention when she admitted to undergoing the double-eyelid procedure in her 20s at the behest of her boss, who thought she looked too Chinese.

But these procedures are both costly and invasive. As an alternative to plastic surgery, some people, primarily teens, are now turning to a low-tech solution: torturous-looking products that claim to mold the users’ features into the “ideal” standard of beauty.

Cosmetic surgeons worry such products can harm natural development in adolescents who are barely in their teens. Dr. Hong Jung Gon, of the Metro Plastic Surgery Clinic in Seoul, recently revealed to the GlobalPost that his clinic has occasionally treated teenagers who’ve inflicted damage on themselves by using the face-shaping gadgets, and interviews with users found they experienced bruising and pain. “We want to become pretty without spending all the money,” a 17-year-old South Korean teen told the GlobalPost. “We know that these methods aren’t approved of, but lots of our peers do it.”

“These kinds of devices usually make claims that have no basis in studies or scientific fact,” Dr. James Marotta, a Long Island facial plastic surgeon, told a beauty blog in December. ”At the very best, you end up completely wasting your money. At the very worst, you can injure yourself resulting in infections, permanent scars, or other irreversible facial deformities.”

Here is a look at a few of the more bizarre products, and the results they claim to achieve.

Face slimmer

A recently popular surgery in China and South Korea involves shaving off and realigning the jaw bone to sculpt a slimmer face shape. This clownesque mouthpiece claims to cure your saggy cheeks and tired muscles after three minutes a day of use. Just pop the silicone lips into your mouth and repeat vowel sounds, according to directions, for a “more youthful, vibrant” face. A more hi-tech version called “Facial Lift At Once” vibrates in your mouth to exercise facial muscles.

Scalp Stretcher

Instead of slicing into your skin, this ribbon clip pulls your face taut from above the ears in what it claims is an instant facelift. Hook it on every day, pull your hair over it, and the wrinkles around your cheeks and eyes are said to disappear.

Nose Lift

A buzzing maroon gadget is inserted into your nostrils and plastic legs press into the bottom, sides, and bridge of your nose. Three-minute-per-day vibrations claim to shape the nose into a straighter, higher version of the shnoz you currently have. “A nose lift without the hassle!” a description reads.

Anti-Aging Mask

This bandit-like mask straps around the eyes, head, and over the crown and applies pressure across the face to maintain a smooth, wrinkle-free appearance. Use it while “you are eating, working or sitting in the bath,” the description instructs, saying the product is designed to achieve the beauty goal of a smaller face, known as kogao in Japan. In the past decade, sales of products claiming to slim and mold the face into smaller proportions have been booming in the country.

Double-Fold Eyelids

This glasses-like contraption pledges to provide a double-fold eyelid after five minutes a day of wearing it, as an alternative to the increasingly popular 20-minute eyelid surgery. The $16 plastic frame appears to push up into the eyelid cover to separate it from the lid. As you blink, the device supposedly trains your lids into the desired look of depth. The product apparently sold thousands of units in its first month, and was expanded to 200 stores.

Nose Slimmer

In some parts of Asia, a rounded nose is considered less ideal than a straight, pointed one, and surgery-free products are flooding the market. One of these clips inside your nostrils to “push up the bones and contours of your nose,” slimming it. Some are meant to be worn as you sleep, like this seemingly suffocating clip and this metallic clamp.

Smile Trainer

A clear silicon retainer presses your lips into a perma-smile meant to form your face into a natural grin after five minutes of use a day. The product claims to improve “the angle and balance of your face and cheeks.”

Figuring out your face shape has always been one of life’s greatest mysteries. Is it round? Is it square? Does it look like a heart? There are so many different options, it can make your head spin! But determining your face shape doesn’t require a beauty degree.

There are six main face types, and pinpointing yours is as easy as looking in the mirror and answering a few key questions. To help you get started, we tapped several beauty experts to break down the most common characteristics of each face shape and offer tips for accentuating your unique look. You can thank us later!

What face shape do I have?

Determining your face shape is as easy as 1, 2, 3 — literally.

“The face shape is broken down into three parts. The forehead and cheekbone width, the jawline and the face length. To identify your face shape ask yourself, what is the widest part of my face? Is it my cheekbones? You probably have a round face. Is it my forehead? You probably have an oval face,” said celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo.

Next, take a look at the width of your jawline. “A strong jawline usually means you have a square or rectangle face shape. If your jawline comes to a point then you have a heart-shaped face,” Oquendo said.

Finally, check out the length of your face. Rounder faces are typically on the shorter side and oval faces are usually on the longer side.

Most of us fall predominantly into one category or another, but it’s totally possible to have characteristics of more than one face shape!

“Someone can easily teeter between two different face shapes, especially the shapes that aren’t so far off from one another,” said Lauren Lebowitz, Glamsquad New York’s regional makeup expert.

Sure, knowing your face shape is fun and all, but does it actually serve a purpose? You bet!

“Knowing your face shape can be very helpful. It can help you decide life’s toughest questions like which haircut is most flattering on me? Which makeup will make me look most natural? And it just might be the answer to finding your favorite pair of glasses,” Oquendo said.

Now let’s get to it and take a look at the six main types of face shapes!

Round face shape

A dead giveaway that you have a round face shape? If your face is shorter and cheekbones are the widest part.Getty Images

Wondering if you have a round face shape? Here are a few facial traits that can help you decide:

  • Round face shapes are typically pretty symmetrical. “With a round face shape, your face is about the same width and length, and you have a round jawline and chin,” said Stephanie Brown, master hair colorist at the Eddie Arthur Salon in New York City.
  • Cheekbones aren’t particularly prominent on a round face.
  • Round faces tend to be circular in appearance and have no major angles or edges.

Celebrities with a round face shape: Chrissy Metz, Ginnifer Goodwin, Mila Kunis, Chrissy Teigen

Mila Kunis, Chrissy Metz and Chrissy Teigen all have round faces.Getty Images

Hair tips for a round face shape:

Looking to accentuate your round face shape? The right hairstyle can make a world of difference. For starters, pixies and center parts are pretty darn flattering for a rounder face.

“A center part with pieces falling in front of your face will help slim your face,” said celebrity hairstylist Michael Duenas.

If you’re crazy about fringe, just try to avoid short, blunt bangs and instead opt for soft, longer bangs (think Brigitte Bardot!).

Volume in the right places is also key for a circular face. “You don’t want a haircut that gives you volume at the jawline. Volume needs to be at the crown of the head. A flattering length is a grown-out bob/lob,” Lebowitz said.

Getty Images Slideshow

28 best hairstyles for round faces

Take these celebrities as inspiration to find the best haircuts for a round face. Chrissy Teigen, Jennifer Lawrence, Adele and more.

Makeup tips for a round face shape:

Makeup can also help accentuate or downplay some of your facial features. For starters, contouring can work wonders.

“Women should enhance their cheekbones, jawline and the temple of their head to make it look like they have more structure than they really do,” Lebowitz said.

To contour a round face, follow these expert-approved tips:

  • Celebrity makeup artist Desirae Cherman recommends shading and highlighting. “Add a highlighting powder to the bridge of your nose, center of the forehead and on the chin to create length,” she said.
  • Applying highlighter high up on cheekbones (above where blush is applied) can also emphasize bone structure and make your face appear less round.
  • Contour from the back of the ear to the center of your cheek and blend, blend, blend!
  • Blush can also lend cheekbones a bit more depth. “For round face shapes, focus blush right on the apple of the cheeks and blend down and out,” Oquendo said.

Last but not least, eyebrows can also help balance out a round face. “Keep your brows straighter and long with an angled arch. You don’t want them round at all,” Cherman said.

Square face shape

The key to a square face shape? The jawline.Getty Images

Think you have a square face shape? You might be right if your face meets the following criteria:

  • The key to a square face lies in the jawline. “With a square face shape, your forehead, cheekbones and jaw will be the same width, but your jaw will have sharp angles to it,” Duenas said.
  • Square face shapes are similar in appearance to a round face, but have a more pronounced, wide jawline.
  • A square face has very minimal curves to it.

Celebrities with a square face shape: Demi Lovato, Cameron Diaz, Olivia Wilde, Lucy Liu

Stuff We Love

Get a daily roundup of items that will make your life easier, healthier and more stylish. Demi Lovato, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu all have square face shapes.AP, Getty Images

Hair tips for a square face shape:

Want to rock your square face shape with attitude? Aim for a soft, textured look that hits your face at just the right spot. “Steer clear of a length that hits at the jawline and aim to have your bob fall an inch or two below the jawline,” Lebowitz said.

In other words, opt for a shoulder-length lob (long bob) that elongates and flatters your gorgeous face in the best possible way. Sideswept bangs and longer, tousled pixies are also great at balancing out a square face.

When styling your hair, focus the volume at the root, to create a more overall oval shape, and opt for styles with plenty of texture to lend a bit of airiness to your ends.

Makeup tips for a square face:

Since your jaw is so strong, you may want to soften the edges of your face with a bit of contouring at the jawline and the top of the temple.

“Add bronzer or blush to your jawline to soften the edges. For square or rectangle shapes, focus blush on the apple of the cheek and softly blend upward. You can also take any residual blush on the brush and sweep around your temples for a soft rounding effect,” said Ramy Gafni, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Ramy Cosmetics.

If you’re rocking a square face, you can really have fun with your eyes and lips since the rest of your face is already so defined. “Do a more rounded smokey eye to contrast the angular shapes. Same thing on your cheeks: Swirl a bright pink or peachy shade in a circular motion to cut the angle and give the appearance of a softer, more rounded cheek. A bright or bold lip color will distract from a harder jawline,” Cherman said.

Diamond face shape

Diamond face shapes have a narrow forehead.Getty Images

Diamond and heart-shaped faces can sometimes seem interchangeable, but diamond faces definitely have their own unique traits:

  • Diamond face shapes have a narrow forehead and a small chin.
  • Your cheekbones will be the widest part of your face and sit nice and high.
  • Your forehead won’t be as wide as a heart-shaped face.

Celebrities with a diamond face shape: Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson, Tyra Banks, Liz Hurley

Scarlett Johansson, Tyra Banks and Liz Hurley all have a diamond face.Getty Images

Hair tips for diamond face shape:

Hairstyles that show off the curves of your face or add a bit of depth are totally flattering for diamond face shapes.

“A chin-length bob is my go-to for diamond shaped faces. You actually want a little width in your style, so any hairstyle that helps widen the jawline is flattering,” Lebowitz said.

Long hair with layers is also a great option! “It shows off your angular features and lets you play with wavy or curly looks,” Duenas said.

Makeup tips for diamond face shape:

Certain makeup tricks can help amplify and complement your diamond face shape. For starters, those with diamond face shapes should aim to add fullness to the jaw and forehead.

“You can do this by highlighting the forehead and jawline with a lighter shade of foundation,” Cherman said. ”You can also create the illusion of a wider forehead by grooming the brows up and having a wider gap in the center.”

Contouring the bottom of your chin can also soften your face a bit. “It creates more of a shadow, while highlighting the cheekbones to bring more light and focus to the center of the face,” Lebowitz said.

Finally, if you’ve got a diamond face shape and want to use some blush, don’t go overboard. Just stick to the apples of your cheeks!

Heart-shaped face

Heart shaped faces usually have a wide forehead.Getty Images

Curious whether or not your face is shaped like a heart? See if it matches the following criteria:

  • “A heart-shaped face will typically have a larger, wider forehead. Then the face gets more angled towards the chin, finishing into a point,” Cherman said.
  • Heart shaped faces are somewhat similar in appearance to round faces, but have a wider forehead.
  • You have a slender jawline and your cheekbones and forehead are the widest parts of your face.

Celebrities with heart-shaped faces: Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Ruby Rose, Lili Reinhart

Ruby Rose, Reese Witherspoon and Lili Reinhart all have heart-shaped faces.WireImage, Getty Images

Hair tips for heart-shaped faces:

Want to flatter your heart-shaped face? Try long, sideswept bangs to add nice definition to your cheekbones! Or, opt for a shoulder-length cut with pixie bangs.

“Bangs work well! A lob with bangs is really cute. The key is, you want to have a cut to balance out your forehead and chin,” Brown said.

Makeup tips for heart-shaped faces:

Looking to balance out a heart-shaped face? Turn to your makeup bag!

“To soften the appearance of a larger forehead you can use a bronzer along the sides of the temples and bottom of your chin. Use a rosy blush to accentuate the high cheekbones,” Cherman said. “It’s also good to bring attention to your lips – think bright colors and glossy lips – because it subsequently draws eyes away from the jawline.”

Those with heart-shaped faces can also use light eye makeup colors — think champagnes, pinks and nudes — to highlight and make the eyes pop.

Oval/oblong face shape

An oval/long face is longer than it is wide.Getty Images

The terms “oval” and “long” faces are often used interchangeably, and with good reason: A long face is pretty much just an elongated version of an oval:

  • An oval/long face is longer than it is wide.
  • You’ll also have a round chin and jawline.
  • “If the lower half of your faces seems to be longer than the top, you have a long face. Also the forehead will typically be the widest part of the face, while all the other features remain rounded and soft,” Cherman said.

Celebrities with oval/long faces: Olivia Munn, Julianne Moore, Jessica Alba, Kate Middleton

Julianne Moore, Olivia Munn and Kate Middleton all have oval/long faces.Getty Images

Hair tips for oval face shapes:

Luckily, oval face shapes can rock pretty much any hairstyle! Long, short, bangs, voluminous styles — they all equally flatter your face shape.

“An oval face shape is every woman’s dream. I love a modern pixie or a haircut that allows you to slick it back. Think short layers with a softer fringe or pixie paired with a deep side part,” Lebowitz said.

If you’re rocking an oval/long face, you could also try a shag or sideswept bangs. Both will help break up the length of your face!

Makeup tips for oval face shapes:

Congratulations if you have an oval face shape! You can rock pretty much any makeup style with ease.

“An oval face shape is ideal and can apply any makeup style and look great,” Gafni said. “Long faces should apply blush along the hairline and on cheeks, focusing on the area near your ears (this creates a wide-looking face) and along the jawline.”

You can also try lightly dusting a bronzer along the forehead, under the cheekbone and onto the apples of your cheeks.

Luckily, though, you don’t actually need to call attention to any neglected areas of your face if it’s oval.

“Since an oval face shape is the most balanced, you don’t really need to over-emphasize. Subtle makeup should be the thought here,” Cherman said.

Rectangle face shape

Rectangular face shapes feature a square jaw and a face that’s longer than it is wide. Getty Images

A rectangle face shape is actually a mix of two different other shapes.

  • “The rectangular face shape is a hybrid of the oval/long and square shaped face. It’s essentially the long face with angular edges,” Gafni said.
  • Rectangular face shapes feature a square jaw and a face that’s longer than it is wide.
  • You’ll also likely have a high forehead.

Celebrities with rectangle face shapes: Liv Tyler, Kim Kardashian, Courteney Cox, Meryl Streep

Kim Kardashian, Meryl Streep, Courteney Cox all have a rectangular face shape.WireImage, Getty Images

Makeup tips for rectangle face shape:

  • Apply blush on outer edges of forehead, on cheeks and on either side of chin along jawline to soften the edges of your face.
  • The best way to draw attention away from the length of your face is to play up the eyes. Dramatic smokey eyes with bold colors or exaggerated cat eyes will make them pop. You can also make your brows a little more round in order to create some curve to the face. Keep lips to a minimum here, with a rosy fresh color to make them look more plump and full.

Hair tips for rectangular face shape:

It’s all about layers, layers, layers, baby! “Whether it’s long bangs, soft layers or something similar, layers will make your face appear somewhat wider, and less angular,” Duenas said.

Much like a square face, rectangular faces also do well with soft, voluminous looks that have a touch of texture. Lobs and bouncy waves are all perfect if you’re rocking a rectangular face.

Which are the best bangs for your face shape?

Jan. 24, 201801:55

Illustration: Angelica Alzona (Gizmodo) Giz AsksGiz AsksIn this Gizmodo series, we ask questions about everything from space to butts and get answers from a variety of experts.

Two decades of healthy growth, followed by four to eight decades of slow-motion physical and mental collapse—that’s life, for most of us, despite the efforts of various deluded cranks and tech billionaires. Time spares nothing, and seems particularly to have it out for our faces, paying just as much attention to skin-level deformations (worry-lines, wrinkles, tumorous outgrowths) as it does to the large-scale hollowings and saggings which, over time, change the actual shape of our faces.

To varying degrees we’re all marked by time, or will be soon. We can’t reverse this process, but we can try to understand it. To that end, for this week’s Giz Asks we reached out to a number of aging experts and plastic surgeons to figure out why our faces change shape as we age. As it turns out, what some people think of as “facial weight gain” might in fact be something else—and that is, sad to say, not even the half of what’s in store for nearly all of us.


Derek M. Steinbacher

Associate Professor, Plastic Surgery, Director of Craniofacial, and Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Yale

Facial aging, and changes to bone, skin, and soft tissue are, in part, genetically predetermined. “Wear and tear” and environmental exposures are also factors. In a young person, the cells comprising facial tissues are spry, and there are clearly defined compartments with intact attachments holding skin and facial structures in the appropriate locations. The appearance of tight skin, developed cheekbones, well-defined contours—with contrasting plump areas and subtle depressions —is what defines a youthful face. With age and time, these boundaries start to stretch and lose integrity, which leads to fat pad displacement, or blending into areas where fullness didn’t exist before (e.g., jowls), and descent of skin and soft-tissue of the face. It’s almost akin to wax melting, and with gravity the structures are “dripping” or migrating downwards.

In terms of rejuvenation and correction of the aging face, we recognize that a youthful face is actually a well-supported face, with appropriate fullness and hollows (light reflexes and shadows on photographs), without the sagging or tissue spilling/descent we see with aging. In some areas the fat atrophies (shrinks away) and creating hollows (for instance around the eyes).

What are some of the most common effects of aging on the face?

Beginning at the forehead and eyebrow area, due to prolonged muscle action attached to the skin, obvious horizontal creases and wrinkles develop, and vertical creases (like a “#11”) from between the eyebrows, giving an aged appearance. The eyebrows themselves begin to sag down closer to the eyelids; and the skin around the eyelids becomes bunched (stretched and redundant) hanging over the eyelashes and blocking vision. This dermatochalasia obliterates the crisp eyelid crease, and gives an old and tired appearance. The lower eyelid skin looks more like crepe paper, with dark circles forming, and an obvious crease between the lid and cheek (lid-cheek junction).

The fat compartments of the face, usually held back by retaining ligaments, begin to push out and migrate into lower areas. For instance, cheek fat comes down and collects underneath the nose and above the lips (forming deep “nasolabial” folds), and making the cheekbones look less defined. The skin and fat lower in the face herniates below the jawline, behind the chin. Below the chin, going toward the neck, a thin muscle (platysma) spreads apart, forming “bands,” and fat herniates through and the skin hangs off – giving the “turkey-gobbler” appearance.

In addition to facial ligaments loosening, and the skin losing elasticity and sagging, the bone changes as well. The facial skeleton is a biologic system, undergoing regular remodeling. Osteoporotic changes, and bone resorption can be a component of aging. Loss of teeth is a problem too—resulting not only in less lip and facial tissue support, but accentuating bone resorption of the alveolus (arches of the jaws). In the upper jaw (maxilla) bone shrinks away in an “up and back” direction, whereas in the lower jaw (mandible), this occurs “down and forward.” This gives way to the “toothless” elderly appearance (when you see a grandparent without their dentures). The chin/mandible looks more prominent and over-closes, while the maxilla is recessed and the lips flop inward (unsupported).

Facial aging is a normal biologic process and differences exist based on gender, geography, exposures, disease, and upkeep. The diversity of the human face, and anthropologic differences, in-and-of themselves are normal and beautiful. However, the ability to alter facial aging (biochemically, surgically, genetically), is the here-and-now, and can improve function and alter our human experience.

Michael Alperovich

Assistant Professor, Surgery, Yale University

Essentially there are fat compartments distributed throughout the face—around your cheekbones, around your frown-lines, around your mouth. Those fat compartments are maintained by these ligaments that are essentially going from the bone in your facial skeleton to the skin. As you age these fat compartment start to descend—they go lower—so if you actually evaluate a patient chronologically, from their twenties and thirties up to their fifties and sixties, you find that their facial fat descends to the lower portion of their face. For that reason, patients’ faces tend to look longer as they grow older.

The other thing that happens is that, even though your skin and your fat descent, those ligaments still are retained from the bony surfaces of your facial skeleton, and so those prominent lines you find around your mouth, or that fold between your nose and your mouth, become more indented and obvious as laxity increases on the rest of your skin. But those parts of the bone are fixed and firm and so they become more dramatic as you age. They essentially look like very coarse wrinkles because of the fact that they’re still attached to the bony undersurface.


Alexes Hazen

Associate Professor, Plastic Surgery, NYU School of Medicine

Our faces change primarily due to the soft tissue or fat component in our faces.

If you look at the faces of young people, regardless of weight, their faces are full and full of convexities! As we age the fat in our faces dissipates and also descends southward or down due to aging of the structures and gravity. The bony component remains stable but all of the rest ages and changes. We typically see noses that look longer and hence bigger, this is due to drooping of that structure, ear lobules that are longer and hanging, and the same phenomenon with the jawline and the chin even! In the midface we see prominent high cheekbones look lower and less defined. Usually lips thin out a bit as well. All these factors influence the shape and appearance of the face.


Angela Cheng

Assistant Professor, Plastic Surgery, Emory University Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital

Facial aging is a combination of multiple processes. First, there is the skin itself. The skin itself atrophies (the dermis thins), there are fewer fibroblasts, mast cells and blood vessels and elastic fibers with aging. The skin becomes more prone to wrinkling and sagging, and fine lines start to become deeper, especially the areas with facial animation—the forehead, between the eyebrows, the corners of the eyes, and around the mouth.

Over time, our skin suffers damage (mostly from sun exposure and lifestyle choices such as smoking), which leads to wrinkles, dark spots, and even tumors. Sun damages the elastic fibers and causes them to accumulate in abnormal arrangements. The number of collagen fibers decrease and the remaining fibers become disorganized. A thin layer of dermis called the green zone forms between the abnormal dermis (deeper layer of skin) and epidermis (top layer of skin).

Loose skin becomes noticeable often with lowering of the brows, under the chin, jowls, and eyelids. As the tissue becomes weaker, it stretches. The facial fat also atrophies and descends due to chronic exposure to gravity. This can be noticeable in the temple areas, which can become hollow, or the eyes, which look sunken in. The malar (cheek) fat pad descends and cheeks look sunken in, nasolabial folds deepen, and jowls develop.


Ross Andel

Professor, School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida

There are obvious and visible changes to the epidermis, the main layer of the skin, that make the skin less flexible. The process is referred to as cross-linking and it involves more rigid/less flexible bonding across molecules of collagen and elastin. This is magnified by thinning of the skin and by the fact that facial muscles continuously contract, particularly during periods of concentration or emotional arousal (stress), making wrinkles appear larger over time.

When it comes to the shape of the face, the main players are the bones and connective tissues. Bones, in particular, are quite dynamic. Over time, they do not rebuild themselves as well, leading to overall reduction in mass, which can lead to differences in the shape of face. Eye sockets enlarge and lower jaw decreases in length and height. Connective tissue in the nose and some changes in the angle make the nose appear larger.


Christopher B. Forrest

Professor and Chair, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Toronto and Medical Director, The Centre for Craniofacial Care and Research

It boils down to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Good genes are the intrinsic ones, smoking and sun exposure are the factors we can control. Physiologically, as we age, our faces lose fat, our elastin collagen fibres degrade and the bones of the face erode a bit. All that adds up to aging. It’s a pretty complex and fascinating process, one which we as Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons think we can hold back with surgery of various types—though I suspect we just make the face look different.


Dr. Leonard Guarente

Director of the Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at MIT and Elysium Health Chief Scientist

Aging is accompanied by a loss of subcutaneous fat and a weakening of skeletal muscle termed sarcopenia. Both of these can give an older, saggy appearance to facial features, and, more importantly, lead to a decline in physical strength and tone.


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There are some things about your body that are crucial to know: your blood type, whether you’re allergic to dairy, and your face shape, to name a few. That last one may seem like no big deal, but knowing if your face is oval, square, or round can help you get a more flattering haircut, look more natural when you get fillers, find perfectly fitting glasses, and better sculpt your face with your favorite contouring kit. With the help of a plastic surgeon and hairstylist, we’ve made it easy for you to figure it all out on your own, by breaking down the evaluation process into three easy steps.

But before you start, Philippe Barr, creative director at Frederic Fekkai Salon in Palm Beach, suggests pulling or slicking your hair back so that “the outline of your face is fully exposed.” To make the process even easier, you can also trace the outline of your face onto your mirror with lipstick or lip liner, he adds.

How to Determine Your Face Shape

Step 1: What’s the widest part of your face?

  • Forehead: A wider forehead can be filed under the oval category, especially if its width “tapers toward the chin,” New York-based board-certified plastic surgeon Norman Rowe tells Allure. He determines the shape of his patients’ faces before using injectables or performing a facelift in order to achieve the ideal and most natural-looking outcome. To do so, he notes “differences in symmetry or distances from one feature to the next.”
  • Cheekbones: “Face shapes that are widest at the cheekbones are a typically a round face shape,” Rowe says, but the length of your face also comes into play. With a round face shape, the measurement of width and length are basically equal.
  • Jaw: If your jaw is the widest part of your face, you have a square face shape. In this case, the forehead, cheeks, and jawline are almost equal in width,” Rowe adds. But before you jump to this conclusion, consider the possibility that you might have a heart- or triangle-shaped face. Move on to step two to confirm.

Step 2: What’s the shape of your jaw?

  • Round: Got a rounder jaw? They are often associated with a round face shape, Rowe notes, so if the length of your face is similar to the width, you can feel confident that you’re working with a round face. If the length is noticeably longer than your face is wide, it may be oval.
  • Square: “A strong jawline usually means a square face shape,” Barr says. If yours is angular, but your chin isn’t particularly pointy, this is very likely your shape.
  • Pointy: Consider your face heart shaped. “This face shape strongly tapers toward the chin,” Rowe adds about faces that noticeably narrow toward the bottom.

Step 3: What’s the length of your face?

  • Short: All signs point toward the round face shape, as long as you’re not particularly angular at the jawline.
  • Long: If you haven’t already figured it out from the hints in steps one and two, you probably have an oval face, Barr says.

No matter what your face shape, there are hairstyles, glasses, hats, glasses, and makeup techniques that bring out the best in each. And now that you know yours, it will be that much easier to make those choices.

Now that you know your face shape, check out these tips:

  • Makeup Artists Break Down Blush Placement for Your Face Shape
  • A Visual Guide to Finding the Perfect Pair of Glasses for Your Face Shape
  • Here’s How to Figure Out Which Haircut Is Best for Your Face Shape

Now, check out 10 haircuts perfect for oval-shaped faces: