Your haircut, style or color may not be doing you any favors if you want a youthful look. Follow these tips to give your look a few young years and watch out for these 7 hair mistakes that age you.
You can pile on all the anti-aging skin care products you want, but when it comes to looking 10 years older – or younger than your current age, it’s your hair that makes all the difference. « Your hair is one of the first things people notice when they meet you, » says Brad Johns, director of color at Saks Fifth Avenue Salon and Spa. Crow’s feet? Not so much.
And we’re not just talking about gray. In fact, gray hair can look « youthful » when cut and styled properly. Meanwhile, even if you have a great brown, blonde or red hair color, a bad haircut will age you.
Here, we highlight the biggest mistakes women make with their hair, from monotone color to the most severe styles. Follow our expert advice, and you’ll be well on your way to a new youthful look.
1. The wrong haircut
If your haircut is too straight, too severe or doesn’t flatter your face, it’s probably adding years to your look. « I disagree with the rule of thumb that your hair gets shorter as you age, » says Nick Penna, owner and head stylist at SalonCapri in Boston. « The cut and style are more important than the length. »
Penna recommends choosing a layered haircut that cuts the face, one that doesn’t fall over the face. « Your hair should frame your face in a soft way, » he says. If you’re stuck on the idea of bangs, he suggests long, quick locks. « It’s very youthful, » he says. « And it can even cover some forehead lines. » One of the common hair mistakes…
2. Making it too tight
If you pull your hair back into a ponytail or tight bun, you’ll manage to look younger momentarily (think: instant facelift), but these styles also draw attention to every line and point on your face. You can still wear your hair back, but keep it soft, suggests Penna. « Let a few pieces of hair fall around the face. »
For an even more forgiving style, try putting only a few of your tifs up. « Half up, half down works, » says Penna. « Just pull pieces to the side of the face and pin them back. » Consider the hairstyles from the Cannes Film Festival as an example.
3. A dated look
If you’ve had the same haircut for 20 years, it may be time for a change. The Farrah Fawcett and Rachel were great cuts back in the day, but now they’re outdated and old-fashioned – the key word being old. « Dated styles are ones that women shouldn’t adhere to, » says Penna.
However, if your look is classic, you can wear it forever. « I think of someone like Carolina Herrera or Anna Wintour, » says Penna. « Their haircuts are their signatures. When it’s classic and timeless, and you wear it well, it works. » Ask your stylist for her honest opinion and consider an upgrade.
4. Split ends
According to Penna, the quality of your hair is just as important as the cut and style. Curly, tapered and damaged ends will make your hair, and you, look older. To avoid split ends, give your hair a regular trim every six to eight weeks.
In between cuts, use a split-end serum, such as an anti-breakage serum, to protect your ends from heat damage, keep your hair moisturized and reduce frizz.
5. Monotone color
No matter what color your hair is-blond, brown, red or even gray-if you choose a solid color, it will make you look older. « Monotone doesn’t work on anyone, » says Johns. « It looks like a wig or a helmet and it’s aging. »
If you have your hair colored at a salon, Johns suggests bringing three pictures of your favorite hair color and three pictures of your disliked hair color to your next appointment. . « Colorists are visual, » he explains. « You have to treat them like an interior designer. » And if you color your hair at home, he recommends choosing a shade lighter than the color you really want. « Different sections of your hair will take on different amounts of color, which will give it dimension, » he says.
6. The wrong color around your face
Even if your hair has highlights and more highlights, they should be strategically placed. « Hair color should be brighter around your face and on top, and darker underneath, » says Johns. The brightness makes your skin look warm and youthful, and the color mimics natural variations. « It’s like the hair of a little boy who’s been at the beach for a month, » Johns says. Another of the common hair mistakes…
7. Cool shades
Now that you know you need highlights, you’ll want to pick the right shade. « The warmer the shade, the younger the look, » says Johns. « If you’re a blonde, white hair can be fun, but it’s not young – golden hair is young. » Similarly, he suggests brunettes choose caramel tones instead of ashy, while redheads choose copper instead of burgundy. « Think warm, spicy colors, » he says. « Cool doesn’t have to be young. »