Almost daily my brood of Gen Z kids reminds me that my millennial is showing. On days when I really want to horrify them, I clarify that I am technically a smidge shy of being a millennial and actually part of Gen X—gasp! High crimes in my household, indeed.
I still seem to check all their cringey boxes: skinny jeans, using the wrong emoji—and the ultimate faux pas, sporting a side part. After testing and tossing both a side part and middle part— it was time to bring in the big guns and ask the biggest names in the business to weigh in. A middle part looks amazing on a tween or 20-something model, but what about those of us that need a bit more effort to get glowing?
“Whether a side or middle part is best depends more on your face and head shape than your age,” explains famed beauty guru Eva Scrivo of Eva Scrivo Salon. The award-winning author of Beauty; The Tools, Techniques and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs To Be Her Most Beautiful, Confident Self counts many celebrity clients as regulars who flock to her chair for her flattering, painted cut.
“Hair styles are not only a form of self-expression,” she says. “They are also about geometry and, when designed correctly, balancing asymmetry in our facial structures. For example, if your face is square or round, an off-center part will make it look slimmer. A deep side part can add instant glamour and a 'red carpet' feel. A center part works well on women with symmetrical face shapes, as the hair is equally balanced from left to right. It also has a more casual, relaxed feel to it and perhaps less professional. A great pro tip is to blow dry the hair forward when wearing a middle part. This helps to soften the look and minimize a high forehead.”
“Hair parts are about the shape of the face versus age defying,” says Julien Farel, creative director and owner of the Julien Farel Restore Salon and Spa. “For example, if you have a round shape face, the ideal part line is down the middle or a deep side part. Both of these parts will give the illusion of length and create symmetry around your face. For a square face, I recommend an extra-deep side part to highlight your features. An oval face can pull off pretty much any part, and I recommend playing with the part... and having some fun with it. A heart-shaped face does well with a deep side part which breaks up the chin line that can be pointy and will soften and highlight your cheekbones. Diamond shape faces should stay away from side parts.”
In general, Farel says the best part depends on your face shape. “A side part overall complements strong cheekbones and good bone structure," he says. "Middle parts are ideal for an oblong shaped face and I believe add an illusion of roundness."
"The middle part is definitely our favorite,” says celebrity hair stylist and salon owner Adel Chabbi. “It frames the face beautifully and helps to achieve an attractive oval shape.” Chabbi proclaims that the middle part is more youthful and has additional advantages like not showing the hairline as much.
“Everyday Gen Z finds new ways to let elders know their millennial is showing,” Farel adds, who suggests the most important thing is to have fun with it and mix it up occasionally. “If your hair naturally parts down the middle, it’s fun to create a side part by parting hair while it’s wet," recommending a product like his Restore to hydrate hair and prevent flyaways.
“I also suggest applying a gel to hold the new part in place," he says. "Use a fine tooth comb to direct your hair in the new direction of your part and then the blow dry will keep the part perfect."
Switching it up day-to-day (and even moment-to-moment between Zoom calls), I decided that the “swiddle part” is my vibe. Must be my disaffected Gen X showing.
Photography by: Averie Woodard / Allef Vinicius / Unsplash