Changing up your hairstyle is fun, and if you’ve never seen yourself with short hair, you might be wondering what you look like with a cute bob. Sure, there are plenty of apps that will help you visualize it, but as it turns out, there’s an even easier, low-tech way to figure it out: following the 2.25 inch rule.
According to Elle, this measurement was discovered by hair expert John Frieda, who studied faces and found that the angle of the jawbone determines if someone would look better with short or long hair.
You’re going to need a mirror, a pencil and a ruler. To take the test, stand in front of the mirror so you can see the side of your face, and hold the pencil horizontally under your chin and a ruler under your ear vertically. Measure the distance from your ear to the pencil. If it’s less than 2.25 inches, short hair (like a chin-length bob) should look great on you. Over 2.25 inches, a longer cut might be a better option.
Great, but why is this the case? Per the John Frieda website:
Apparently, it’s less about face shape and more about the angle of your jawbone (says John Frieda stylist Giles Robinson). There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but this is a good test if you’re toying with the idea of shorter hair.
Face shape plays into this too and the type of hairstyle that would be most flattering, but the ruler test is a quick and easy way to stop wondering about short locks.
But also keep in mind that there are exceptions to every rule—so if you want short hair, don’t let a ruler stand in your way.
This article has been updated since its original publication.