Skip to main content

The Best (and Worst) Bangs for Long Face Shapes

Find the best fringe for your face with these tips and celeb examples!

Today, we continue on with the next face shape in the bangs series, the long or oblong face. (Check out the best bangs for round faces here if you missed it, and stay tuned for square, heart, inverted triangle, pear, diamond and oval.)

I want to point out that the long face is an AMAZING one for bangs. Like I've been saying, the whole point of bangs is to help make your face appear more oval and to bring out your eyes. Well, guess what? Because bangs fall right at the middle of your face, they naturally aid in creating that horizontal line that you want to widen a long face. (That is, unless you make one of the bang mishaps I'll get to later.)

All of this is not to say there's anything wrong with going bang-less and wearing your long face loud and proud—look at Sarah Jessica Parker! But if you're looking for a fun change and feel inspired by any of these pics, bring 'em in to your hairstylist to make sure you're speaking the same language. As always, keep in mind your hair texture, even skin type (since oily foreheads can encourage bangs to clump together faster). I don't think a bit of bang separation due to cowlicks is a problem at all, though.

Do You Have a Long Face Shape?

Liv Tyler is the first celebrity that comes to mind when I think about the long face shape. As she demonstrates, long faces are less wide than they are long, with the rounded edges that are similar to an oval around the hairline and chin. The forehead, cheeks and jawline are all about the same width.

The Best Bangs for Long Faces

Blunt, full, straight-across bangs: I don't know why Liv Tyler ever grew out these bangs, because I just love them on her. As you can see, a full horizontal fringe really helps to widen her face. It's just the right thickness; any fuller and I think the bangs would take over, instead of them emphasizing her eyes like they're doing now. Note the slight choppiness on the ends, which breaks them up a bit and adds softness.

Textured, straight-across bangs: Kelly Rowland is wearing a variation on Liv Tyler's straight-across bangs—these are more textured, but have the same effect of creating horizontal fullness. I like this technique in particular for wavier hair types, as it takes away from the contrast between the straight bangs and curlier lengths. You still want the bangs to be substantial enough to cover the forehead; anything thin and wispy is only going to accentuate a long face.

Bardot bangs: Nevermind her skin, Rachel Zoe has amazing hair—and the big reason is her smart choice of bangs. These totally remind me of Brigitte Bardot. They're deliberately longer and thicker on the sides, and gently part in the middle to expose a bit of forehead. The weight on the edges of the face helps create the illusion of a more oval shape.

Bardot bangs: Another example of Bardot bangs on Alexa Chung, who wears them with a more defined centre parting. You could also do the same thing with a slightly off-centre part. Her bangs are a bit longer on the sides than Rachel's, but the effect is the same: a more oval-shaped face.

Long side-swept bangs: Kelly Reilly is wearing a gorgeous side-swept fringe here, with amazing volume that you'd get from blow-drying with a round brush. It has a rounding effect because it covers most of the forehead (only a tiny corner is showing above her left eye), and then it hits right at brow level before tapering down on one side. I think the length of the bangs are key. You want them to end somewhere around the middle of the face, instead of down around the chin, because where the bangs stop is where you'll get the most widening benefit.

Scroll to Continue

From The Skincare Edit Archives

Side-swept bangs: Another variation on the side-swept bang is this look on Molly Sims. Her bangs aren't cut as thickly as Kelly Reilly's, as her hair type is finer and straighter. They're also not as long, reaching just the top of the brows. But they still work well to cover most of the forehead, and I love the interest they add to the long, straight hairstyle. Really pretty.

The Worst Bangs for Long Faces

Wondering what not to do? Here are a few noteworthy examples:

Baby bangs: Not that it's any surprise for Chloë Sevigny to land on a "worst of" list, but honestly, these bangs are so unfortunate. Not only do they look like they just air-dried haphazardly (and not in a good way), they're cut well above the eyebrows, which is too high on the face to have the desired widening action. We'll not even talk about those weird curled-out ends on her bob... eeks!

Side-swept baby bangs: Here's another example of baby bangs, this time on Sarah Jessica Parker. These were a short-lived hair experiment in 2008, so I take it she didn't love 'em. I don't think they're terrible, but if you compare to the longer side-swept bangs on Molly Sims or Kelly Reilly, you can see how they'd do more to soften SJP's face than these short ones. Note that Sarah now tends to use her curls, instead of bangs, to widen her face—so that's a good technique, too, if you're naturally curly. The widest part of the curly hairstyle should be right in the middle of the face.

Short, textured bangs: Not only are Hilary Swank's bangs too short and wispy-looking, but they're accompanied by short layers all throughout her short haircut—which is creating a huge amount of height at the top of her head. Height is not what we want. We want width. I think this is something to be very aware of if you have a long face and want a short hairstyle; try to keep the layers at the top nice and long, so that they lie flat. Short would be great on her if she went Elsa Pataky-style, with a long side-swept bang.

Heavy, blunt bangs: The idea behind these Leona Lewis bangs was good—I just think something got lost in the execution, as they're way too heavy, long and helmet-like. All you see are bangs, comin' through! Not her eyes or any of her pretty face. The more natural way that Liv Tyler did blunt bangs is better, with a length that reaches the bottom of the eyebrows, a slightly thinner bang and more choppiness on the ends to soften.

Stringy bangs: Alicia Keys was SO close here—I actually love the idea of bangs on her, just not these bangs. They don't have enough weight to eliminate the stringiness, so need more hair to be cut into the bang from higher on the crown. I'd also cut them a half-inch shorter, so they're grazing the bottom of her brows.

Curtain bangs: I'm not 100 percent against these long, face-framing bangs on Maggie Q and still think she looks great. But I think you can see how they don't exactly hide the length, since she's wearing a middle part, and unlike the Bardot bangs, they don't cover that much of the forehead. These bangs are also elongating because they stop at her jawline. It would be better if they stopped around the cheekbones, to create the illusion of width in the middle. Know what I mean?

What’s your favourite style of bangs for a long face?

If you have a long face, which hairstyles have worked for you?

What’s the worst style for long faces?