While a great hairstyle can lift years off your look and make you feel completely reinvigorated, few realize that it’s your face shape that is truly at play. As the foundation for any haircut, the shape of your face determines how your hair will emphasize your eyes, lips and cheekbones.“With a great haircut and layering technique that is finely tuned to your face shape, you can truly make the best of yourself, and instantly bring more life and vitality to your features,” says Guido, YouBeauty Hair Advisor. First, you’ll want to determine what face shape you have naturally.

QUIZ: What’s Your Face Shape? Find Out Now

The texture of your hair—whether straight/wavy, curly or highly texturized—is another essential part of determining how your final cut will look. “Texture determines how your hair is going to fall. You can plan a haircut according to your face shape, but if you ignore the texture of your hair, your cut can end up looking very different from what you’re expecting,” says Guido. For example, thick curls tend to rebel less and layer flatter if they have a longer length to weigh strands down. On the other hand, fine hair that is straight can look flat and thin if cut too long.

Basing a cut on your face shape and hair texture can make you look your best, and translate into saving you some serious styling time in the morning. “If you’ve got the right cut, you can easily afford to just get up and go with your natural hair, as it’ll fall the right way and flatter you. You won’t have to struggle against it,” says Guido.

You also want to take your lifestyle into consideration when choosing your haircut, from environmental factors like humidity that you may have to contend with, to whether you preference is to pull your hair back in a quick pony for a run or while working.“Don’t fight the reality of the way you live. Of course we always want what we can’t have, but you have to let go of that at some point, just like you have to let go of styles that are no longer working for you. Be honest and ask yourself, ‘Is my hair dragging me down?’ If the answer is yes, it’s time to move on,” says Guido.

An additional note to consider: If you’ve treated your hair with a relaxer, perm or other process that has changed its texture and finish, be sure to follow the guideline for the new feel of your hair, as the actual composition of your strands have changed on a cellular level.

And, as with any advice, take this guide with a grain of salt. “These rules are basic and meant to help lead you in the right direction, but nothing is ever a total given,” says Guido. If in doubt, seek out a local hair expert who has the experience, education and client recommendations to customize the best haircut for you.