This may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true: your hairstyle can completely change the way you look. Your hair frames your face. It has the ability to elongate, balance, attract attention to, and detract attention from certain features. Therefore, a fresh style can have the ability to make you appear more youthful instantly. Unfortunately, there are also some hair mistakes that can do just the opposite.
Read up on these styling tips to learn what to do – and what not to do – if you want to maintain a youthful hairstyle.
How Does Your Hair Change With Age?
You aren’t imagining it: your hair really does change as you get older. You may be able to blame it on a mixture of environmental factors paired with hormonal, biochemical, and molecular changes.1 The actual changes are different for everyone, but these are the most common:
- Gray hair
- Thinning of hair and baldness
- Changes in thickness and texture2
- Dry hair
- Loss of volume
- More prone to breakage
- Slower growing hair3
If you once had the type of youthful hair that always looked great without much effort, don’t worry. There are some tips and tricks you can try to bring back that youthful appearance. One of the best things you can do is to fix what you can and embrace the rest. This may mean trying a new color, cut, or style that goes with your new hair texture or tone. Think of it as an opportunity to try something new.4
Get The Color Right
Whether you’ve never touched your hair with dye or you’ve been coloring your mane since you were 16, it may be time to change your routine. Adding a dynamic, natural hair color is one of the best ways to shave years off of your look. Dyeing your hair the wrong way can make you look older.
To maintain a youthful look, avoid heavy, single-tone dark colors. Solid dark hair can accentuate shadows on the face. This can make lines and bags more noticeable, making you look older. If your hair is thinning, dark hair might call attention to your scalp, especially if you have a light skin tone.
Conversely, if you go too light, you may risk washing out the color in your face. This can make you look older. Instead of going bleached blonde, try a darker base color with golden strands woven throughout.5
Talk to your hairstylist about changing up your color. They should be able to recommend a color or combination of colors that will suit you best.
Add Dimension To Your Color
No matter what color you dye your hair, it’s usually a good idea to layer in different tones. This can add depth and dimension to your hair. Dyeing your hair one uniform color can end up looking flat and one-dimensional, which might make you look older.6
Ask your hair stylist to frame your face with highlights. This may brighten your skin complexion. It may also help keep things looking natural when your hair color grows out.7
Get The Right Haircut
Getting the right haircut can do a lot for your look. Ideally you’ll work with a hair stylist to craft a cut that emphasizes your bone structure, helps hides fine lines, and trims years off your appearance. But how?
First, know which haircuts you may want to avoid:
- The Chelsea cut, where the hair is longer in the front and shaved in the back. It may draw attention to your neck, which tends to show early signs of aging.
- Closely cropped hair. This cut may call attention to skin discolorations, face wrinkles, or fine lines.
- Long, stick straight hair. Your hair naturally loses volume as your age, and this style can emphasize that even more.
- A blunt bob with bangs. This style may call attention to your jawline – one area where the signs of aging may be the most noticeable.8
Try these flattering haircut styles instead:
- A shoulder-length cut with long, face-framing layers. This cut can create the illusion of thicker, fuller hair.
- Fringe bangs that curve around your face. This cut can hide forehead lines, frame your face, and emphasize your eyes.
- A slightly off-centered part. This style can add volume.
- A long, modern bob. This cut can frame your face and call attention to your eyes.
- Short hair with long layers. This style can add body and fullness.9
It’s important to remember that no single hairstyle will look great on everyone. Similarly, there is no universal rule on which hairstyles you should absolutely avoid. These are general suggestions. Your best bet is to speak with your stylist and decide on a cut that suits you.
Pick The Right Style Of Bangs
It can be tempting to run to the salon and ask for bangs as soon as you start to see the first sign of forehead wrinkles. Bangs can do a lot to make you look younger – as long as you go for the right style.
To keep things youthful, you may want to avoid blunt, heavy bangs. They can close off your face and make your eyes look smaller. Go for long, fringed bangs instead for a fresh, modern look.10
Pump Up The Volume
As you age, your hair might naturally begin to thin. Adding in a little volume may help you keep a fresh, youthful look. Adding layers to your cut may help give you extra volume. You can also achieve this look by selecting products designed to help add volume to your hair.11
Allow For Plenty Of Movement
As your hair thins, you may be tempted to layer on hairspray to boost volume and cover up bald spots. Unfortunately, super stiff hair tends to make you look older. For a more youthful look, be sure to use products that allow your hair to move and sway when you do.12
Keep Your Hair Conditioned
As you age, you may find that your hair texture becomes more dry and brittle. Damaged hair typically looks older than it is. To counteract dry hair, start focusing on adding moisture back in. Aging hair can still look youthful and healthy – as long as it’s hydrated and shiny.
To keep up with your hair’s hydration needs, you may want to use a hydrating hair mask or a deep conditioner after you apply shampoo. You can also try applying hair oil.13
Change Your Part
Parting your hair straight down the middle may look young and trendy on some people, but it doesn’t work for everyone. A center part will put all of your facial features – and fine lines – front and center. Center parts can also elongate your face and make your hair appear flatter.14
Instead, try parting your hair slightly off-center. It may help balance facial proportions and add volume to your hair.15 Ask your stylist for recommendations.
Adapt Your Tools, Products, And Techniques As Your Hair Ages
If you’ve been styling your hair with the same products for the past 20 years, it may be time to change it up. Your skin care routine likely changed with age. Your hair care routine should evolve as well.
If your hair’s texture has changed, it may be time to reach for products that better suit your new texture. If you’ve been regularly blow drying your hair for as long as you remember, it may be time to let it air dry or make sure you’re protecting it from heat damage.16
Here are a few more tips for caring for aging hair:
- Always apply heat protectants before heat styling.
- Book the occasional salon treatment to defrizz or deep condition your hair.
- Upgrade your heat styling tools to make sure they are less damaging.
- Pick products that allow for less hold and more movement.17
The best thing you can do for yourself at home is to invest in high quality hair products and tools that support the health of your hair. Good products, paired with the advice of an experienced stylist you trust, will ensure that you maintain your youthful look for years to come.
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