The Fastest Way to Change up Your Entire Look? Switch Your Hair Part

Photo: Getty Images/Tim Robberts
I know this sounds dramatic, but changing the way you part your hair can change your entire life. Hear me out: growing up, my mom was my hairstylist—and so everyday I was rocking that signature middle part. But then, upon entering adulthood, I took control of things and rebelled by changing my hair and transitioning to a rather deep side part. You don't realize this until you do it, but your hair part literally provides structure for your entire face. And you can change it whenever you want.

"Changing your hair part allows for a brand new look without a cut or color commitment," says celebrity hairstylist Linet K.  "Parts to me should be fluid, always adjustable and not seen as a real pattern on your scalp," adds celebrity hairstylist Paul Labrecque with Paul Labrecque Salon. So it's good to switch things up. Depending on where you choose to place your hair in relation to your part, you can totally change up your look. "It can add volume to the opposite side of your part to give you a more dramatic look," says K. "Deep parts are great for vampy or classic evening look."

Then there's the classic middle part, which has made a resurgence on the runways. "Middle parts are great for more casual or bohemian looks," she says. If you're looking to switch depending on your face shape, she recommends sticking with the middle to elongate a rounder, longer, or more oval face shape. "It gives the face symmetry, so it's good for that," she says. "Then I like a side part for a more square or round face."

That said, some people have what's considered a "rigid" part—AKA it's been parted one way, and it's stubbornly used to it. "First you should see if your part can move—your hair has a memory, and if your hair is heavy and you always part it in the same place, that will certainly become the place it naturally falls after time," says Labrecque. Also important to consider? Cowlicks. "Check for any cowlicks in the front of your head, since these areas can be very natural places to part your hair. Your part should fall where your eye is drawn, meaning a middle part will bring attention to the middle of your face." Got a monster zit? Flip your part to the opposite side to draw attention away from it (just me?).

Your hair's thickness and length can come into play, too. Nick Stenson, artistic directory at Matrix, says that the biggest thing to consider is your hair's density. "Which side is your hair thicker? That’s the side you will want to create the part to give the illusion that your hair is thicker all over," he says. "And I do love following the cheekbone but also take into consideration the length of the hair. Hair that has some long layering can easily be tousled back and forth for a versatile parting that give great texture at any angle."

Regardless of the makeover effect, the thing is that you actually should be switching it up once in a while—for the sake of your hair health. "Switch it up—the more often the better," says K. "Having the same part for an extended amount of time can cause breakage so it's best to switch it up regularly—every other month is healthy." She explains that having your hair in a certain part for a long period of time can put continuous strain on the hair follicle (think about it: you're going over the same spot with a hot tool time-and-time again). "I tell my clients all the time and they tell me they have noticed new hair growth after changing their part and wearing the hair in looser ponytails or down more," she says.

If you're frantically grabbing a comb and flipping your hair around, you'll notice that your hair is stubborn when you try to switch where it's parted—but you've just gotta force it. "It takes about a day or two for your hair to get used to a new part," she says. "Using a comb to brush and push your hair in the direction you desire with a lightweight, workable hairspray is the best way to train it." You'll be surprised at the new person you become with a different hair part—with zero dye job or chop required.

Oh, BTW—here's how to wash your hair, because apparently I've been doing it wrong my entire life. And this is your guide on how to blow-dry your hair for salon-level styling. 

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