Where do you part your hair? Chances are, it's in the middle, or off to the side—the early '00s zig-zag part isn't exactly applicable in the present day. Switching up your part is the easiest, quickest way to make your hairstyle look brand-new, not to mention, hide roots in dire need of a shampoo (Fun fact, your hair tends to get oiliest where you part it first).
During a late-night YouTube binge, we came across hair colorist Silvia Reis's wildly popular Ellebangs account, and after studying her nose contouring technique, we got lost in her Are You Parting Your Hair the Right Way? video. To break things down a little further, we reached out to Reis, who helped us determine whether to go with a center part, or throw our layers to the side.
"I think it's good to try different parts out—it's easy to put back if you don't like it, and you can have a lot of fun with your look without much risk," she tells us. "Just be sure to keep in mind how it flatters your face, and how it calls attention to your features. It's a simple thing that takes two seconds, but it can completely change your hairstyle." Here, Reis gives us the lowdown on what to consider when going for a center, side, or off-center part.
1. SIDE PART
Consider the side part, a la Olivia Munn, the hair equivalent of a one-size-fits-all tee. Just about any face shape can pull it off, and it puts your very best brow on display. Is it just us, or does one always end up better than the other? "I think the side part is universally flattering, and there's an edgy, fun vibe about it," Reis says. "If you have a stronger brow, part your hair to show that off as more of the face is exposed on that side."
In the case that a deep side part looks too severe, Reis recommends a diagonal option. Section your hair toward the back in a diagonal line so that as it reaches your crown, the part ends up more or less in the center. You still get the carefree side-swept effect in the front, but both sides of the head are evenly balanced in the back.
With blunt bangs like Kerry Washington's, you can certainly experiment with a side part, but naturally, the hair tends to fall in the center. "It's kind of that three-point system, and leaving the part in the middle will make your hair look balanced at each side," Reis explains. "Parts are more apparent if you have a free forehead, but if you have bangs covering it, your part won't be seen."
3. CENTER PART
A super-precise center part like Kim Kardashian's is considered classic, and gives off a clean, polished effect, although they work best on faces that are more or less symmetrical. "It can be the least forgiving if there are any uneven areas on the face, as it can call attention to them, and on long faces, it can exaggerate the shape," Reis explains.
4. OFF-CENTER PART
If you want to go for a center part, but don't want to call attention to an uneven area, try sectioning your hair slightly away from the middle as Blake Lively did, but not so far that it ends up veering into side part territory. "It throws the eye off, so nothing looks out of balance, but gives off the illusion of a center part," says Reis. "This is sometimes the best option if you have a cowlick in the front, and it is also less severe than dividing hair in the middle."
This article originally appeared on InStyle U.S.