The middle part vs. side part debate is a tale as old as time. Millennials and Gen Z seem to differ on which hair part is the superior hairstyle. However, the truth is that there is no right or wrong answer!
Your preference for a middle or side part depends on a few factors, from your face shape to hair length. Read on to learn more about which part will make your hair look as fabulous as you wish.
What Is Middle Part?
A middle part hairstyle is how it sounds–It runs directly down the center of the head. It’s a popular choice because it can highlight facial features by framing the face.
They bring an element of symmetry to a look, and symmetry is an evergreen facet of fashion and style. Plus, it puts less of the hairline on display.
This reasoning may be why middle parts trend among Gen Z, though some prefer to avoid it because it can make faces appear wider. It also does not allow for as much volume.
To find a middle part, trace a line from the tip of the nose to the scalp, then use a comb to trace a straight line through the hair.
Pros and Cons of a Middle Part
Middle parts have their advantages and disadvantages, with the standouts being:
- More youthful and trendy
- Accentuates symmetry
- Less hairline on display
- Works well with bangs
- Accentuates asymmetry
- Less voluminous
- Widens the face
What Is a Side Part?
As with its middle counterpart, a side part hairstyle is exactly as the term suggests. Some choose to go slightly off-center, while others prefer a hard part.
Side parts are typical with crew and pixie cuts, but that doesn’t mean it’s unheard of to see one used on medium and long hair. While they aren’t as trendy as the younger generation, they have upsides.
In particular, the parting on the side is perfect for anyone looking to add volume and highlight their cheekbones. It slims the face, which is ideal for round or wide faces.
Moreover, if you have beautiful eyes, try a side part to accentuate their shape and color.
To give yourself a side part, use a comb to trace a line through the scalp in the spot where you would like to have one. Some prefer a hard, straight part, while others opt for a softer one that shows less scalp.
Pros and Cons of a Side Part
Side parts may not have the same widespread appeal as middle parts, but they have as many pros as cons:
- Slims the face
- Creates volume
- Softens asymmetrical features
- Highlights cheekbones and eyes
- Hides the hairline
- Dated hairstyle
- Deep side parts age the face
- Hard to find the side part
What Does Side and Middle Part Hair Look Like?
The middle part is a straight line directly down the center of the head. In most cases, the hair in the front will frame the face, and the hair on top will be flat rather than voluminous.
The strands tend to fall on the sides of the face. They cover the edges of the jawline and much of the hairline.
Side parts have a little more variance in their appearance. Some are slightly off-center, while others are far to one side.
You may want a hard side part that shows a straight scalp line or a softer one that creates volume without a severe scalp line. Side parts can make the hair on one side of the head appear thicker.
Major Differences Between Middle and Side Hair Part
There are some key differences between the middle part and side part. These distinctions may help you decide which part you should wear.
- Curly hair: Side part
- Straight hair: Middle part
- Long hair: Middle part
- Medium-length hair: Middle or side part
- Short hair: Side part
- Braids: Middle part
- Layers: Middle part
- Bangs: Middle part
- One-length: Side part
1. Face Shape
Your face shape will ultimately determine which part you should choose. Oval and oblong faces look best with a middle part because of the rounding and widening effects.
In contrast, square, rectangular, and round faces look best with a middle part because it slims the face.
Go with a center part if your face is more symmetrical because it highlights the beauty of symmetry. Side parts work best for asymmetric features as the style has a softening quality.
2. Hair Type
Curly hair is more likely to get away with a side part than straight hair. It has enough natural volume that a side part will highlight its bounce and let the ringlets dance while you move.
For the same reason, thick hair can gain from a side part as it highlights fullness well. Thin or straight hair will fall nicely into a middle part to frame the face.
Hair length will also play a role in helping you decide which part to go for. Longer hair looks better with a middle parting, but a side is ideal for shorter hair/pixie cuts.
Medium-length hair can go either way. Remember to consider other factors like hair type and face shape on top of length.
You want your hair to reflect your personality and preferences. Ultimately, how you style your hair is just as important as which part you choose.
Side parts look gorgeous with half-up-half-down styles, and middle parts are ideal for various braids. Remember, hair parts are a component of hairstyles and not a style themselves.
Your haircut will affect which part you can wear. If you have face-framing layers or bangs, it’s best to have a middle part so they can do their job. If your hair is all one length, experiment with a side part.
Take a look at this table to see which part sounds like a match, but keep in mind that more than one factor should play into the decision.
|Square, Round, Rectangular||Oval, Oblong|
|Thin, Straight Hair||Thick, Curly Hair|
|Long Hair||Short Hair|
|Braids||Half Up Hairstyles|
How To Know if You Can Pull off a Middle or Side Part?
The good thing about hair parts is that they are not permanent. You can train your hair to fall into either and experiment with the two parts in the mirror.
Try a middle or side part and consider how it looks with your facial features. See if they look more symmetrical or asymmetrical and if the part highlights your nose, cheeks, eyes, or jawline.
If your hair is curly or straight, check if it still looks nice with the part at the end of a long day. And, if you’re still unsure, speak to a beautician or hair stylist for a second opinion.
There is no one size fits all formula in the middle part vs. side part debate. Evaluate your hair type, length, face shape, and cut before deciding whether you want to change your part.
Middle parts may be all the rage right now, but if you want to soften your facial features and slim your face, you may be better off with a side part. They may be a more dated style, but they suit round, square, and rectangular faces well.