Been sporting the same cut from your 20s? That's old news. For a more youthful appearance, it all starts with your hair.
Just as your face changes as you get older, so should your mane, and keeping the same look from decades past isn’t doing your facial features any justice. Stylists agree that getting an age-appropriate cut will not only flatter your face, but it could also make you look younger without going under the knife-and who wouldn’t love that?
READ: Staying Stylish in Your 40s and Beyond
“I think that women hitting their 40s and 50s are pre-programmed by society to believe they immediately need to go short,” explains stylist Allen Ruiz, whose work has appeared for fashion houses Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney, among others. “The key to standing out from everyone else is to make sure you get the right cut and length that will play up your best features.”
“A lot of women also tend to experience thinner and drier hair,” adds Ruiz. “The mistake these women make is to think that they should never cut their hair and keep it as long as possible. Quite often, wearing your hair long will accentuate its flaws whereas going shorter would actually help you disguise the issues.”
Whether you’re thinking about going long or short, women in their 40s and beyond have plenty of stylish options to keep them looking fresh, youthful, and glowing. To find out which style is right for you, check out these picks below recommended by several celebrity stylists:
It's All About Layers
"Hair tends to get thinner as we age, so a layered bob is great to frame the face beautifully while creating an illusion of voluminous hair,” explains New York City-based celebrity stylist Angelo David. Whether your hair is short or long, you can benefit with layers to enhance your facial features, as well as to make your mane appear thicker and healthier. If you’re unsure which products will maintain the look of your layers, David suggests speaking to your stylist on product recommendations best suited for your hair, which you can use at home.
Sweep Away Your Bangs
If the idea of committing to a full fringe doesn’t sound appealing, try equally flattering sideswept bangs, which are easy to manage throughout the day and also have the ability to hide any lines on your forehead you don’t want others to see. “Cutting your bangs to give it a sideswept look is best left to a professional, since the process entails cutting your bangs in a precise angle,” warns David. “Partner your bangs with mid-length hair and you have a very age-appropriate look.”
Texturize Your Pixie
The super short pixie does require frequent visits to the salon to maintain its effortless-looking shape, but it easily draws all eyes on you and it’s simple enough to style when on the go. But to get the most out of a pixie cut to reveal youthful features, make sure you add texture. “A short, texture pixie cut is flattering and sophisticated,” says Pasquale Caselle of IT&LY HAIRFASHION. “Make sure your stylist properly texturizes your hair so that it doesn’t look like a ball on the head. Spray it with a texturizing spray and blow dry with fingers. You can finish it off with wax or pomade, depending on your hair.” To easily add some texture to fine, limp hair, simply spritz on dry shampoo for instant volume.
Add a Ponytail
Never underestimate the power of a ponytail. Stylists love this look for women over 40 because it pulls your hair back and up, creating the illusion of an instant face-lift. To give the classic ponytail a modern touch, it’s recommended to get creative, especially if your hair is long. “One of my favorite styles is to blow dry the hair straight with a round brush, tease the crown a bit for some height, and then pull into a sleek, low ponytail,” says Caselle. “This takes a woman from work to a fun night out.”
Try a Bob
There’s a reason why the bob is back and hotter than ever. The jaw-length cut works for nearly any face shape and hair type, plus you can easily style it with just hairspray. “This style is perfect for women who want to look chic without requiring a lot of maintenance,” says hairstylist Chris Garcia of Beverly Hills-based Nelson J Salon. “Almost any hair texture or face shape can carry a bob, although tight curls may need a little bit more layering, and those with round faces should ideally opt for longer versions.”
Vamp Up Long Locks
Seeking an effortless cut that works for nearly anyone without compromising length? Keep your hair at shoulder length or even a few inches past it. Contrary to popular belief, anyone over 40 can rock a long mane-as long as they experiment with different styles. “A medium cut lets you transfer from ponytails during the day to beautiful curls at night,” says Garcia. “Catherine Zeta Jones is a perfect example of this style.”
Pin to the Side
Everyone has a favorite side they like to show off in photos and a sideswept gives you the freedom to flaunt your favorite features. Simply part the other side back with a few bobby pins in the same color as your hair. You can also try a jeweled pin for a romantic, retro feel. For a night out, give your hair plenty of bounce with loose, romantic curls.
Warm it Up
For women with longer hair, the key is to give your tresses a deep, rich color to brighten your face without piling on the cosmetics. “As women get older they tend to wear more makeup to mask aging,” says Ruiz. “I recommend my clients instead to warm up with their color. Stay away from a single processed color, which will downplay your haircut and leave you looking washed out.” Ruiz says Sandra Bullock is a perfect example of a star who adds dimension to her brunette locks with varying, luscious tones.
Keep it Beachy
"My client Sarah Jessica Parker opts for long, beachy waves that are soft and luxurious,” says celebrity stylist David Babaii. However, don't forget to keep the natural shape of your hair in mind. “The density, condition, texture, as well as your face shape must always be taken in consideration,” says Babaii. “If your hair is bone straight, don’t try to curl it and if it’s curly don’t try to straighten it. Make the best of your hair’s capabilities and you will look marvelous.”
Ask for a Fringe
When 62-year-old actress Jane Seymour wanted to look younger, she chose bangs over Botox. Unlike sideswept bangs, a full fringe will hide all those pesky lines on your forehead THAT you may not want to show with ease. Plus, stylists say it has the ability to make nearly any woman look younger with minimal effort. To refresh your locks and avoid unwanted grease, simple sprtiz on dry shampoo for extra bounce and volume.