Sunday, August 9, 2015

The center parting: a love-hate relationship

[As published on HERE]
Ah, who doesn’t love the center parting? Well, I don’t. Because it makes me look like I smashed my face into a wall. My already-flat features look like they’ve been steamrolled. My mother calls it the ‘ham chim peng’ (flat deep-fried dough with five-spice swirl inside, kind of like a Chinese-style cinnamon bun) look. For comparison’s sake, here is a ham chim peng:
That said, I’ve always envied women who can carry off the center parting well. Victoria’s Secret angels (all of ‘em). Gwyneth Paltrow. Megan Fox. And not forgetting the icon of center parts, Jennifer Aniston.  In Hollywood, there is usually a similar underlying pattern when it comes to different hair partings.
The Center Parting means:
Kim Kardashian
“I’m channelling a laid-back, nonchalant look. I want to look sexy, but not too sexy. I want to be seen as someone serious that still knows how to have fun, yet I know my stuff out here. My hair should ideally flutter gently in the soft breeze, making it super-flattering when the paps try to snap a photo of me. Shall we have a big blowout and those glossy waves that make me look so gorgeous? Yes.”

The Side Parting means:
Emilia Clarke
“I’m all business today. I’m here to kick some ass, and I’m not afraid to show it. Anyone who doesn’t like it can shove it. I’m fierce, and I know it. But I want to look elegant at the same time (don’t want to be overbearing, do we?), so let’s soften the look with a severe side part, but keep the hair soft and flowy and wavy so that I look more ‘old-Hollywood starlet’ and less ‘crazy competitive contender for award’.”

The Off-center Parting means:
Jennifer Lawrence
“I’m cool ‘cos I’m a non-conformist. I like to be in your face (but in a subtle way) and show you that I live by my own rules. WOOHOO!”

Who looks good with a center parting?
Professional hairstylists say that women with oval or oblong faces look best with a center parting. Think SJP, Alexa Chung, Jordan Dunn, Jessica Biel… Why? Because the first thing a center part sets out to do is ‘shorten’ the face when you split your hair down the middle. But when your face is proportionately long (or a bit on the longer side), you’ll have more leeway.
Case in point: Jennifer Aniston.
Jennifer Aniston
It doesn’t get any better than this. Our favourite Friends character has always had a center part most of the time, because she knows it works on her. She’s also been known to carry off a side part on occasion, but who are we kidding? Jen Aniston just isn’t Jen Aniston without the center parting.

Who doesn’t look good with a center parting?
If you have a square, round or heart-shaped face, you would fare better with a side part instead. A center parting gives the illusion of a wider, bigger face, making you look 90% face and 10% hair, which isn’t exactly the kind of look we’d go for, because honestly – who has time to wake up 2 hours earlier in the morning just to do your hair up all nice and bombshell-esque like a VS model?
Case in point: Fergie.
Her forehead is really low, and her hairline isn’t smooth, so a center parting makes her look like all her facial features are pinched together. However, she really seems to prefer the center part over everything else, because literally 80% of the internet is filled with photos of her with a center parting. I don’t know why, because just look at her rocking an off-center part. She looks so amazing!!!!! (And much younger, too).
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Fergie attends the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Final thoughts:
Personally, I think the center parting requires more work, because if you’ve got makeup on, it magically looks nicer than if you’re bare-faced. It does give the impression of being more high-maintenance, which is why you see a lot of tai-tais preferring to have a center parting. Volume is key, nobody likes a center part when your roots are greasy and your hair is lank. Which also means that it’s easier to achieve the desired effect when you pay someone to style your hair. But thankfully, life is fair, because not everyone looks good with a center parting. Just like how some of us look good in a grey top, but some of us look yellow and sickly. But not everyone looks good with a side part either, so it’s a win-win situation for all of us.
At the end of the day, it’s just hair. If you feel like trying a center parting, just do it. Not feeling it? Just change it back. You call the shots. What say you?

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