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The Best (and Worst) Bangs for Square Face Shapes

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

We've talked about bangs for round faces and bangs for long faces; today we move on to the square face shape. (Keep checking back weekly for the next ones in the series: heart, inverted triangle, pear, diamond and oval.)

The square face can be a tricky one for bangs. Any bangs that are too straight-across only serve to emphasize the same angles in the jawline, which is exactly what you're trying to soften (along with bringing out the eyes). In fact, straight hair in general can be tough for square faces to pull off, since it has none of the layers, waves or movement that help diffuse angular corners. Luckily, there are lots of clever bang styles that will help round out the face—and that's what I'll be sharing with you today.

As always, keep in mind your individual hair type, any cowlicks that force your hair to separate and of course, make sure to bring any photos that resonate with you to show your hairstylist.

Do You Have a Square Face Shape?

As you know, Olivia Wilde is one of my top beauty crushes—and she's also got a square face shape. So know that it's no impediment to looking incredibly beautiful (and it's totally fine to rock a bang-less style that shows it off, like Olivia does here). The trademark feature of a square face is a strong, angular jaw. The face is also about the same width from the jaw to the cheekbones to the forehead.

The Best Bangs for Square Faces

Bardot bangs: They say a centre part makes a square face look more prominent, but as Nicole Richie demonstrates here, it's not true if you do centre-parted bangs. That's because they're covering the sides of the forehead, therefore creating the illusion of roundness. I think the soft layers help, too; this was one of my all-time favourite Nicole Richie hairstyles.

Soft, tousled bangs: Lucy Liu has gone bang-free since this pic was taken about 10 years ago, but she looked great in her tousled, choppy bangs that are a variation on Nicole's Bardot style. With these, there is no definitive part, but they don't hang down straight, either. The end result is movement and softness that totally diverts your attention from the angles of the jaw. (Alexa Chung is another great example of someone who often wears bangs like this.)

Full but textured bangs: You might think you need to avoid full bangs with a square face shape, but that'd be wrong. As long as they're cut like Lea Michele's—nice and textured on the ends and hitting around brow level—then it's a gorgeous hairstyle option, even with long, straight hair. Let me repeat that part about the texturizing. That's really the key; you want to break up the straight line so that it doesn't emphasize the same in your jaw.

Choppy bangs: Olivia Wilde demonstrates a variation on Lea Michele's bangs here; they're full and straight across but with even more choppiness to break them up. These bangs look especially great with the beachy texture of the high ponytail, and a few longer strands pulled out to add softness around the face (without looking like prom tendrils).

Long side bangs: Side bangs are a great choice for a square face like Katie Holmes', because of that sweeping curve they create across the forehead. Katie's bangs are quite long, but this would also work on ones an inch or two shorter. It's a good idea to play with a round brush when drying, to create as much movement and wave in the bangs as possible. Note the little outward curl at the ends of Katie's bob, which is another way she diffuses the angles of her jaw.

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

Flippy side bangs: Here's another example of the side bangs on Mena Suvari, who wears them a little shorter than Katie Holmes, and has them covering more of her forehead. If you look at her crown, the bangs are cut from quite high up, and have some long layers to create movement. I just love how she styled them with the sleek long bob; her bangs are straight but all directed to one side. Love!

The Worst Bangs for Square Faces

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

Short, wide, boxy bangs: Bai Ling is always a cautionary tale in beauty terms, but here it's specifically her bangs I want to talk about. They're not only cut in that straight-across, graphic blunt shape I advised against, but they're also cut way too short and way too far into the sides of her face—which only makes her more boxy-looking.

Short, blunt bangs: A similar situation is going on here with Rosario Dawson. Short bangs in general aren't the best choice for a square face, and neither is cutting away a lot of hair at the sides, nor their obviously too-graphic line. A few inches longer and a pair of texturizing scissors would've made all the difference here.

Long, heavy bangs: Who doesn't remember the awards show when Sandra Bullock stepped out with this most unfortunate-looking set of bangs? These are just way too heavy and long to be flattering. Instead of bringing the focus to her eyes, they totally hide them and direct attention to the lower part of her face.

Rounded bangs: Rounded bangs should counter the shape of a square face, right? Wrong. At least not when they're cut like Bella Heathcote's. Because her bangs are so straight and flat, they still have the same effect as a straight-across fringe, which is to draw attention to her strong jaw. If they were more choppy, like Olivia Wilde's, the eye would be drawn up instead of down.

Thin bangs: A little wispiness might be okay for long faces (see: Molly Sims), but for square face shapes, don't even bother. Demi Moore's bangs are thin and clumping together, so there's no definitive bang statement at all here. I'd also add that they're a little short to do a proper side-sweep, as there's not enough length to really bring them out from the face and create a full, dramatic curve.

Blunt bangs with side pieces: A truly terrible idea, as demonstrated by Keira Knightley, is the addition of side pieces to your blunt bangs. Nothing could be more helmet-like on a square face. Rather than detract from the strong jawline, the side pieces act like a giant flashing sign to say "look at me!" It would be better if she did some Lea Michele-style texturizing in a bang that wasn't quite as full, and either pulled the side pieces into her ponytail or left them loose (with the rest of the hair down), but tucked behind one ear.

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

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

What’s the worst style for square faces?