Hair Color And Coloring

Where to Place Highlights and Lowlights to Flatter your Face Shape

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"Where to Place Highlights and Lowlights to Flatter your Face Shape"
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It is not only your haircut and style that can influence the appearance of your face shape, the way you utilize color also has a large impact. This article provides a brief guide on where to place highlights and lowlights to help create balance on heart, rectangle, round and square shaped faces.

The rule of thumb is that light colors come forward and dark colors recede.  Highlights lighten the natural color of your hair so they come forward. Lowlights darken the natural color of your hair so they recede. This means a highlight can attract attention to an area and make it seem somewhat fuller and a lowlight can help to downplay an area, or make it seem narrower.


A heart shaped faced is wide at the top of the head, but gets significantly narrower at the chin. Think Reece Witherspoon. To reduce the contrast between a narrow jaw and wide forehead, it can be beneficial to have lowlights applied around the top of the head and highlights placed in the ends of your hair from just below the cheeks downwards. This is particularly effective if applied to a bob hairstyle, or hair no longer then shoulder length with layering past the cheeks. In addition if you style your hair with the highlighted ends flicked out it can have a dramatic influence on creating the appearance of width in your lower face and therefore visually create a more balanced appearance.


If you have a long, narrow face shape, it is likely that you will be looking to make your face appear wider. You can go wild with highlights around the sides of your face because they will help add visual volume. Chunky highlights can be particularly effective. However, make sure you stick to lowlights at the top of your head, because you want to downplay the length of your face. If you partner this kind of technique with a short, full hairstyle this will really help to visually widen the appearance of your face. If you have a short and thick fringe and apply highlights to this area, all the better.


A round face typically looks as wide as it does long and has full cheeks. You want to aim to minimize the fullness at the cheeks and draw attention to the top of your head to create more visual length. This means that lowlights around the sides of the face and highlights towards the top back area of the head are effective. This is best partnered with a long sleek hairstyle that has some volume at the top of the head.


A square face is typically wide and angular. The goal is to soften the jaw line, whilst adding the appearance of length to the face. Highlights at the very top of the head can help to make the face look longer, because they draw the eye up. When it comes to softening your face a mix of fine highlights and lowlights along the sides of the face can be effective. Just be sure to avoid chunky highlights in this region, because they can add visual width to your face. It is best to combine this technique with a hairstyle past the shoulders in length, with volume at the top of the head and ideally a deep side swept part.

When it comes to getting highlights and lowlights to suit your face shape, make sure you choose a stylist who is experienced in these color techniques, because a flattering result calls for precise work. You also need to be aware that there will be quite a bit of upkeep required to keep your highlights and lowlights in the right position as your hair grows out.

More about this author: Kimberley Heit

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