When it comes to a middle part, there are usually two camps: love it or hate it. Whether it makes you feel like a powerful badass or like your hair has been glued to your face, the middle part has withstood the test of time. It’s flirty, dynamic, face-defining and bold. For a hairstyle that elicits such strong emotions, we thought best to turn to two professionals for the low-down on creating, perfecting and rocking a middle part—even if you feel like it’s not for you.
If you’re going to go for the hairstyle, might as well have experts such as Justine Marjan, celebrity hairstylist who’s worked on the Kardashians, Ashley Graham and Chrissy Teigen, and L’Oréal Paris celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Colombini tell you how to do it. Both advised first grabbing a rattail comb—the ones that form a point at the end—to create the part. To determine where to make the middle part, Marjan says to use the “bridge of the nose as a guide.” Move up toward the “front hairline, use the tip of the comb and move it straight back toward the crown of the head.”
For the easiest route, Colombini advises starting with wet hair. “For a flawless, natural-looking part that won’t fight back, start your part with wet hair.” He also recommends a heat protectant such as L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Treatment before styling.
From that point, both say to blow-dry. Marjan says, “I usually always blow-dry around the front parting and hairline with my ghd air blow dryer first then pin it with Kitsch no-crease clips to set it and to tame any cowlicks.” Colombini finishes it off with “L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray for a sleek look and to help smooth down flyaways.”
Do You Have to Train Your Hair?
We’ve heard for a long time when it comes to parts you have to train your hair, which honestly sounds ridiculous, but it’s not. Marjan and Colombini both say if your hair doesn’t naturally fall in the middle, then you have to train it to. “The best way to combat this is by blow-drying the hair into a center part,” says Colombini.
What Face Shape Does the Middle Part Work Best With?
The jury is in: oval and round. Marjan explains, “The center parting brings out the asymmetries in the facial features.” But don’t let that get you down or stop you from rocking the middle part.
Marjan says to work with what you got. “For example, if you have a heart-shaped face and want to wear a middle part, you’d want to cut or style the hair with volume around the jawline to balance out the features. If you have a square- or round-shaped face, volume at the roots would be better.”
Why Does the Middle Part Get a Bad Rap?
People can be legitimately afraid of the middle part (OK, fine, that was me for 15 years), but why? Colombini chalks it up to the middle part being an art. “Believe it or not, perfecting your part is an art; it can bring life to your best features, draw attention away from your worst, and introduce you to cheekbones. Sometimes a middle part is too harsh for some faces.”
How to Jazz It Up
Once you’ve mastered the art, it’s time to get funky. Marjan says messing around with the classic style is best for amplifying or hiding features. “If you are scared of a middle part bringing out certain facial features, jazz it up with bangs or faux bangs to soften the face. I also find that it is really helpful to style with no-crease clips to make sure the hair curves or lays straight the same way around both sides of the face.”