The middle part vs side part debate has everyone wondering which one truly looks better. Gen Z sure loves the middle part, millennials are forever rocking a side part, and somebody’s gotta pick a side here.
Come on in as we attempt to get off the fence and settle the middle part vs side part debate for good.
How Did the Middle Part vs Side Part Debate Start?
The debate about where to part your hair has been going on since the beginning of time (we guess) but reached a fever pitch around 2020. Maybe being locked down for a little while gave us all some time to sit back and really think about our hair and why we part it where we do.
The debate seems to have started in earnest with one game-changing video on TikTok, where user GlowyBerd issued a definitive statement that everyone looks better with a middle part, calling it “far more supreme” than the side part.
People were either offended or totally in agreement.
She issued a #MiddlePartChallenge for people to send her a photo of themselves with a side part, then a middle part, stating her doubt that anyone could look more attractive with their hair parted on the side.
The video and hashtag quickly went viral — despite the user wearing bangs and a high ponytail with no discernible part — and thousands of Gen Z trendsetters agreed with her. That was it: Side parts were officially “out.”
Maybe there was something about wearing pink on Wednesdays too, we can’t remember. This didn’t sit too well with millennials, who have been comfortably rocking a side part since the latter part of the 90s with no intention of giving it up anytime soon.
They took the skinny jeans, the tears of joy emoji — now this? No, this would be the hill to die on. For some, at least.
Millennials say the side part is more flattering, makes their hair look thicker, adds more volume, and has a spunkier look than a basic middle part.
The fact that many women have been training their hair in a side part for decades adds to the stubborn debate here — sometimes your hair literally resists a middle part because of it.
We want to get to the bottom of the part argument and find out which one is actually the most flattering. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both the middle part and side part to see what they’ve got going for and against them.
Middle Part vs Side Part: The Pros of Each
No matter which side of the debate you fall on, there are undeniably good things about both the middle and side parts. Here are the pros of rocking each.
Middle Part Pros
- Trendier, more youthful look
- Highlights facial symmetry
- Creates the illusion of facial length for an oval shape
- Shows less of the hairline than side parts
- Suits round, oval, and oblong face shapes
The pros of wearing a middle part are many, as long as it suits your face shape and features. Many agree that middle parts are trendier than side parts, make you look a little younger and more stylish, and can be very flattering on the right face.
Middle parts highlight and accentuate facial symmetry. So if you’re blessed with a countenance with mirror symmetry, you should absolutely take it out for a spin.
They also show less of the hairline than side parts do, so they can be great for disguising thinning zones around the temples or diffuse hair loss that’s leaving your usual part line a little bare.
Middle parts can work well for slim round, oval, and oblong faces and pack a little sculpting and lengthening power.
If your features are soft and tend to get lost with a side part, a middle part can really make them pop while helping sculpt your jawline a bit more. But this is a debate, so let’s talk about what makes the side part great.
Side Part Pros
- Adds flattering volume and height
- Creates the illusion of a slimmer face
- Accentuates eyes and cheekbones
- Softens asymmetrical/strong facial features
- Suits round, square, oval, heart, and diamond face shapes
Rocking a side part has a lot of pros to stand on, including helping create a face-slimming silhouette that softens any strong features you want to balance out.
This works well for round faces that want to trim some width, heart faces that want to soften the pointy chin, square faces that want a softer jawline, and diamonds that want to balance their features.
Since side parts direct a larger portion of your hair over to the side, they direct the eye in a diagonal line down and across the face rather than straight up and down (like a middle part).
This is much more flattering if you’ve got any asymmetrical features, a wider face, a square jawline, a long or broad nose, or a longer face shape.
The flattering boost of height and volume you get with a side part is also worth noting — it’s super appealing on round, oval, oblong, and square faces.
When you part your hair this way, you’re stacking more hair on one side and that physically creates some extra volume and height. This is a great way to create the illusion of fuller, thicker hair if your hair is very fine or thin.
Add a little volumizing product and a good blowout to the mix, and you’ll be working with some seriously sexy volume that you just can’t achieve as easily with a middle part.
Middle Part vs Side Part: The Cons of Each
But as beautiful as each part can be with different face shapes and features, it’s not all sunshine and roses. There are downsides to both the middle and side part, and in the interest of being honest here, we’re going to play devil’s advocate and trash talk each one equally but fairly.
Middle Part Cons
- Accentuates the nose, chin, and jawline
- Highlights any facial asymmetry
- Can widen a round face
- Creates less volume on top for a flatter look
- Difficult to train after wearing a side part for a while
Wearing a middle part bares your face fully, making it a poor choice if you’re trying to mask asymmetrical features (eyes, eyebrows, crooked nose, etc.).
Ladies with a large or long nose will find that a middle part seems to accentuate it, along with those with a pointier chin or square, sculpted jawline.
The middle part draws the eye down an invisible line vertically through your face, which can widen a round face and make a long face look longer. It also creates less top volume than a side part unless you put in the work with products and teasing to counter the flatter effect.
Oh, and if you’ve been wearing your hair in a side part or off-center part for any extended period, you’re going to find it hard to train your hair to lay properly in a middle part.
Side Part Cons
- Makes you look older and dated
- Challenging to find the right part location (deep or slightly offset)
- Creates the illusion of thicker hair on one side
- Can cover more of the face
- Makes some trendy styles difficult to pull off
You knew we had to roast the side part, too. Lots of people say it instantly ages you and makes you look outdated, pretty much labeling you as a millennial (as if you were trying to hide it).
Since middle parts are in and side parts are out, you won’t be on the cutting edge of fashion and hair trends when you wear this look. There’s a whole range of side parts, so it’s not always easy to choose the most flattering for your face shape and features.
From deep side parts that remind us of Myspace days to less-drastic angled side parts and slight off-center parts, you might struggle to find the right line to flatter your face with a side part.
Deep side parts look great on round, heart, and diamond face shapes, but more conservative off-center side parts are better for square and oval faces. Side parting the hair stacks more hair on one side, which creates some asymmetry in your hair’s volume and can look wonky if done improperly.
Since the hair typically falls forward onto the face (or if you’ve got side bangs), you also end up covering more of your pretty face when you wear one.
And if you’re trying to rock any of the comeback trendy styles the youth is boldly reclaiming today (space buns, double Dutch braids, ponytails with twin face-framing tendrils, etc.), a side part is going to throw an ugly wrench into your youthifying plans.
So, Which Part Actually Looks Better?
Okay, we’ve looked at the middle part vs side part evidence as clearly and fairly as we can. You’ll find a lot of vocal support for each side and there’s a clear generational split here.
Gen Z won’t be caught dead in a side part (we literally found a post from 2021 called “Side Parts Are for Olds”) and millennials would rather die than let younger women peer pressure their part choice.
Something’s gotta give, right? Which one actually looks better? It really does depend on the shape of your face and your specific features. Let’s lay it all out.
Middle parts are better for:
- Oval, slim round, and symmetrical faces
- Short faces that need the illusion of length
- People who prefer sleeker, low-volume styles
Note that middle parts are a little severe for some faces and can accentuate strong features or areas you’re trying to downplay. To use an analogy, a middle part is like sheer foundation that bares it all. It can be gorgeously natural and beautiful on some, but a little unforgiving for others.
Side parts are better for:
- Wide round, square, heart, and diamond faces
- Thin or flat hair that needs a volume boost
- Asymmetrical facial features
Remember that side parts can instantly age you in the eyes of some, and aren’t always easy to line up in the most flattering way for your specific face shape or features.
Using the foundation analogy, a side part is more like full-coverage foundation — it’s great on some, but younger girls don’t often use it and it can make you look older or a little “over-done.”
So, look. If you’ve played around with middle and side parts and prefer the central line, you’re in good company. It’s definitely on-trend and can make others see you as a little more modern and youthful.
No one’s going to hate on a middle part (though you might get some glares from millennials wrestling with the changing trends). If you’re only rocking it because, well, everyone else is, quit cosplaying as Alfalfa and get back to the part you know and love.
If you can’t seem to, erm, part with the side part that became so iconic in the 90s and 00s and feel it’s genuinely more flattering for your face, please don’t change it up now.
Keep on rocking that side part with pride and know that you look absolutely bangin’ and have our full support. It might instantly identify you as an “old” or trigger disses from girls you used to babysit, but that’s no biggie. You do what you feel looks best on you.
So reach across the aisle, find that middle ground (sorry, we had to) and extend some understanding both ways.
You may land on different sides (we’ll see ourselves out) of the issue, but at the crux of it all, we all just wanna wear the part we feel most confident in. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that part.