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I Got A "Face-Lift Haircut" & Here's What Happened

Photographed by Martin Mendizabal.
I've spent 20 years trying to obfuscate my round face. I hid it behind thick chunks of hair, hats, even makeup — anything to draw attention away from my wide cheeks and perceived double chin. With time, I've come to appreciate my features, and although I no longer cower in fear at the thought of a ponytail, I do what I can to enhance the features I love.

Does this make me insecure? Yes. But I'm sure I'm not the only person whose confidence has ever faltered. So, when a coworker of mine wrote a story about haircuts that can give you a faux face-lift, my ears perked up. Could a simple haircut change my face shape? I needed to find out.

I booked an appointment with master hairstylist and founder of Spoke & Weal salons, Jon Reyman, and presented him with my conundrum. We talked (for almost an hour) about what I liked and didn't like about my hair and facial features and used dozens of reference images from Jennifer Lawrence (love) to '80s choppy cuts (hate) — all so that Reyman could figure out exactly what I wanted. (To be fair, I didn't know myself. )
Photographed by Martin Mendizabal.
Contouring...But With Hair
When I walked into Reyman's salon, I was very unhappy with my shapeless crop. In my opinion, it was flat, sleek, and devoid of texture. On top of that, it did no favours for my face shape.

For Reyman, a good haircut creates balance. "You feel like your face is more round," he said. "The wider the cut, the wider your face will look." To counteract, Reyman left the pieces near my face long, creating a slight A-line shape, which creates the illusion of a more elongated face: The eye is naturally drawn to the longer pieces.

When I asked about bangs, Reyman suggested I stay away (that's also something I've learned from firsthand experience). "Bangs would just cut your face off and make you look wider," he said.

He also thinned the hair at the top of my head for a bit more lift (something I desperately, desperately needed). "If you have more volume at the crown, your face looks narrower, because it brings the eyes up." Suddenly, my hair didn't feel like one giant mass. It felt lighter, breezier, and had a lot more movement.
Then, we moved onto my wayward fringe, which was not unlike arrows pointing directly to my jaw (and therefore, my double chin). I had let them grow out for months on end; now, they were just sitting there looking clunky. The first thing Reyman did was thin, to blend the fringe with the rest of my hair. Then, he cut off a few centimetres. "Now, when your fringe falls, it brings more attention to your cheekbone than your jaw," he said. Boom: Instant cheekbone lift.
Then, Reyman asked me a question I had never considered myself: "What do think of your profile?" Although I hadn't given this question much thought in the past, I knew the answer immediately: "My face looks flat," I cooed.

"I want your hair to have more body and texture in the back, so that in your profile, it creates more fullness," he said. In other words, by adding more volume at the back of my head, my profile appeared circular, rather than 2-dimensional. How did he do this? By thinning the hair in the back so that it wasn't weighed down.

All of this thinning also unleashed my natural texture. My hair lives in the wayward land between wavy and stick-straight. After Reyman worked his magic, I was able to air-dry my tresses (as you can see in these photos) while maintaining body and movement.
Et voilà, my haircut was done. Although the difference was minimal, the subtle changes made me feel good about my face, hair, and even my ability to style. Now, on most days, I let my hair air-dry before zhuzhing with a generous dose of sea salt spray. Occasionally, I'll throw a straightener into the mix and run it through my hair, bending it in opposite directions to create a slight wave. In the end, I realised the key to getting a good haircut is entirely reliant on the communication you have with your hairdresser. After it all, it wasn't a "face-lift" haircut I needed. I just needed a good one.