You’ve studied hairstyles for your upcoming wedding on sites like Pinterest and Byrdie, and now you’re ready for a trial run. As you settle into your stylist’s chair, the first question that’s asked of you: Where would you like to part your hair?
You probably hadn’t given this question a lot of thought, but it’s actually the starting point when it comes to determining your wedding day style. “I wanted maximum volume for my cascading curls, so I parted my hair on the side for my recent wedding,” says Corrine Ugarte, a hairstylist at Panico Salon in Ridgewood, New Jersey. “As someone who styles hair all day, I had the benefit of knowing how to find my perfect part.”
And now, so do you. Ahead, experts offer up their tips to finding the ideal part for your wedding day look.
Schedule a Practice Run
Before you can say side or center part, book an appointment with your wedding day stylist to test out the different options. “There’s no room for guesswork or experimenting on your wedding day, so the trial session is when you’ll need to figure out where you’re going to part your hair,” says Leigh Hardges, a stylist at the Maxine Salon in Chicago. The conversation should include a discussion on personal style. “Do you want to project something dramatic with your hair part? Or something quieter and more refined?” asks celebrity stylist Juan Carlos Maciques of the Oscar Blandi Salon in New York City.
Find Your Natural Part
Determining your natural part to see if it aligns with your preferred style is your next step. “Your stylist will brush your hair back away from your face, then nudge the hair on top of your head forward, towards your face to see where it splits,” says Maciques. “It’s important to do this on wet hair because it’s an unfettered way to know exactly where it goes—dry hair has already been tossed around and styled so won’t flow naturally anymore.” Because your natural part is the least resistant, it’s usually the most favored, but you should keep in mind it may not be your most flattering part, adds Hardges.
Determine Your Face Shape
Establishing your hair part based on your face shape is how most stylists ultimately choose where to part their client’s hair, yet Maciques stresses there are no set rules. “Other physical traits need to be taken into consideration including the shape of the bride’s eyes, nose, and lips,” he shares. “A trained stylist’s eye will ultimately help determine which part is best.” That said, here are some simple guidelines when considering face shape.
- Oval: “Because this face shape is symmetrical, it can pretty much get away with any type of part,” says Maciques, who notes a side part works especially well on long shapes because it adds visual facial width.
- Heart or diamond: “These shapes are wide at the forehead and slimmer at the chin, so center parts tend to balance things out by narrowing out the top and opening up the bottom,” notes Maciques. “A deep side part swooping across the forehead also works well since it breaks up the width of the forehead and makes it appear narrower.” It will also soften the chin’s prominence, adds Hardges.
- Round: A middle part can make a round shape appear slimmer by narrowing the face and shaving width from the sides. “Adding a little height in the styling process also lengthens and slims the face,” says Maciques.
- Square: A side part will incorporate softness and distract from strong facial lines, advises Hardges.
Think About Your Hair’s Texture
Certain hair textures can be enhanced with the right hair part, advises Hardges, who offers up the following pointers:
- Curly: A natural part is the way to go here, otherwise you might be in for a fight with your hair on your wedding day.
- Straight/Fine: A side or a deep side part will create more volume.
- Wavy: Middle to slightly off-center parts are best at reducing volume and allowing for the waves to fall naturally.
- Thick: A middle part to slightly off-center part works well as too much hair on one side can look bulky.
Consider Your Overall Look
“Your face shape influences where you should part your hair, while your hairstyle should be determined by other variables that come into play, including whether or not you have a long or short neck, a low hairline, broad shoulders, a slim or fuller-figured, but most importantly the style of your dress,” says Maciques. “For example, high necklines usually look best with a chignon or ponytail, or hair pulled up in some way.”
Generally, chignons or any low placement styles with a side or slightly off-middle part just scream “bride,” as do half up/half down styles or pulled back looks, as these parts open up the face while adding softness, notes Hardges. “Deep side parts can be ideal for shorter bobs, Hollywood waves, pixie, and shag cuts. But there are other factors that come into play and your part should not be determined solely on the hairstyle you choose to wear.”
Maintain Your Part
Whether you decide to keep your part natural or go with a style altogether different, there are some tricks to keeping it in place. “After shampooing and towel-drying, part your hair in the direction you’d like it to go,” advises Maciques. Then apply a holding spray evenly all over, concentrating on the part (like Phyto Volumizing Blow-Dry Spray). If you’re doing a very slicked down look, try a mousse (such as Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse) or gel (like Keratin Complex Styling Gel).
Know When to Say “No” to the Part
“Bangs are an example of a style where you don’t need a part, as you’ll want to frame the face without a part drawing attention away from your fringe,” says Hardges. “Some softer and more romantic styles should be directed, not parted—you don’t want to see any scalp with these looks.”