In today's society, it is so easy to pigeon-hole myself into little boxes which are excellent at hiding my own little quirks and complexities: female, white, European, atheist. I can subdivide further: British, dark-haired, owns a cat, cookery enthusiast. Before you realise it, it becomes an exhausting mess of Venn diagrams and bar charts and government statistics, but that's what we all are, essentially. Statistics.
And so is the next thing I'm going to talk about. One thing I've never been very adept at pinning down is my own face-shape, that genetic convergence point somewhere between my mum and dad which ended up at me. After all, shouldn't my face conform to a series of measurements and statistics, a template? It should be double this and half that and you've got a round-oval-heart shape with rounded corners. Can numbers solve my problem? I've gone through cycles and endless rounds of paranoid questioning and I've still got no idea, even when I pore over pictures of my own unsmiling self. I still can't figure it out, so I'm devoting this blog post to trying.
There are numerous guides on the internet; some miss out shapes others deem relevant, so it's difficult to weed out which information is actually useful, and whether or not my face shape actually exists within the pixellated wonderland of Google Images.
Finding your face shape is sort-of important, I guess. It defines how you have your hair cut and what choices you make, and it defines how you contour and highlight your face to show it off to its best potential.
Obviously, I've no idea what shape I'm supposed to be... So I've been unwittingly doing it wrong all along. Or just ignorantly.
So, I'm going to try two methods, and cross-reference, just to see if I'm an amorphous genetic blob, or if there is any reason to all of this madness.
Alright then. Here's my mostly unsmiling visage in the form of a photo taken for my new railcard (since you ask):
THE MIRROR METHOD:
I scrape all my hair back with a hairband and arm myself with my least favourite eyeliner - something I don't particularly mind wasting. Drawing the outline of your face into a mirror is harder than you'd think; I suffer from unexpected jiggles and wobbles as I try to remain absolutely still.
What results is a fairly wobbly heart-shape - at least that's what it looks like - but it could well be wishful thinking after a stab in the dark and finding a needle in a haystack.
THE MATHEMATICAL METHOD:
I follow various internet guides to arrive at my conclusion:
- Measure widest point of cheekbone: 20cm
- Measure widest point of jawline: 21cm
- Measure widest point of forehead: 16cm
- Measure length from middle of forehead to tip of chin: 18cm
At this point, I begin to get frustrated due to the lack of diagrams showing me EXACTLY IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE from where and to where I need to measure.
I plod on and read through: I find I'm a round face shape - the length and width are almost the same and although I have a slightly squared jaw, it's generally more rounded.
I panic-take a quiz to confirm my result - which was one I wasn't really hoping for, but OKAY. I CAN DEAL WITH THE NEWS.
It tells me I'm a round-face as well. I download a little self-help pdf for People Like Me and learn that I should never have a blunt, eyebrow length fringe or chin-length hair and should always have layers starting from the cheekbone and part my hair off-centre.
In terms of eyebrows, I'm doing well; people with round faces should aim for eyebrows with a high-arch to off-set the roly-poly nature of their faces. Contouring should be placed at the temples, hollows of the cheeks and jawline. Highlighting should be on the forehead (as if - I get oily enough already) and centre of the chin.
All in all - the mirror method - although fairly ridiculous and fun - is stupid and doesn't help whatsoever. And it's kind of hard. The numerical side of things wasn't particularly easy either; there are no clear-cut rules on where and how to measure. Funnily enough, the most useful thing I found was a quiz on some lifestyle website which had 4 comprehensive questions.
My journey is complete, and now I'm going to go buy some self-help books to cope with having a disproportionately wide face - seriously! How do you even get a face which is wider than it is long?!