Is there one magical hair parting that is universally slimming? Is a centre parting more flattering than a side one? These are the Holy Grail Qs beauty editors chase as a result of our constant style stalking of stars who have perpetually perfect hair. We spoke to Mathew Alexander, celebrity hairstylist extraordinaire, to get the skinny on face shapes, lengths and styling trickery to achieve a sleek look that suits every visage.“To figure out if a centre or a side parting will slim down your face more, you need to consider three factors: the position of your crown, your natural hair line and your face shape,” explains Alexander.
“Begin by figuring out where your natural parting is: does it naturally fall in the centre or the left side or the right side? Your perfect parting is dictated by the position of your crown. The crown is where the pattern of hair growth is determined.
“If you’re struggling to visualise this, consider the swirl that a newborn baby’s hair grows from, that’s the crown. Typically, it’s located at the top back of your head, sometimes lower and some people have a double crown. Your crown will be either slightly to the centre or side. If your crown is more to the left, your hair will part better from the left, off-centre.
“A central parting best suits people with a hair length that falls complementary to the jawline, is drawn from the crown and parallels the natural parting,” Alexander says.
“From this natural parting, the perfect length and shape of your cut can be determined to complement your bone structure and flatter the jaw line.”
The parting, therefore, doesn’t dictate the slimming factor in isolation. Alexander adds, “If you have a square face (you’re as wide across the cheeks as you are in length) then the hair around your face should be no shorter than the jaw but preferably chin length. If you have a long face like Sarah Jessica Parker, it’s best to cut the length at the front a little bit shorter. Preferably a longer fringe, or something that falls between the eyes and cheek bones. The styled parting then follows the crown and natural parting.”
OK, so it’s not straight forward, but once you’ve decoded it, you’re set to flip your hair the right way every day. To help you mastermind the chic way to swish your hair right now, we’ve rounded up celebrities with the perfect parting.
Click through for quick-fire hair inspiration from the A-list.
The Off-Centre Parting: Alexa Chung hit the FROW at London Fashion Week with an on-point zigzag parting that suited her face shape perfectly.
The Off-Centre Parting: Eva Herzigová graced the street style circuit at New York Fashion Week with a soft diagonal parting, finishing off centre to softly frame her updo.
The Off-Centre Parting: Sofia Sanchez makes a chic case for clever asymmetric layers of ombre hair.
The Side Parting: Nicola Warne flatters her oval face shape with a shoulder-length neat bob and side parting. Copy that.
The Side Parting: Giovanna Engelbert opts for a sharp side style to emphasise her square jawline and show off those seriously cool sunglasses. Yes.
The Centre Parting: Olivia Palermo nails the straight centre hair style, coupled with her effortless beach wave blow-dry.
The Centre Parting: Not just suitable for wavy hair, SJP proves that a simple centrally-parted, poker-straight hairdo has style mileage.