There’s nothing quite like a great haircut. That feeling when you can’t stop catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror or running your hands through your new layers is priceless. Unfortunately, a bad hairstyle can cut through all that confidence and leave you looking older than you are. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to update your look without a lot of time or money. We asked some of our favorite hairstylists to share the biggest mistakes they see women making with their hair — and how to fix them!
Our stylists seemed to agree that all women can rock long hair… to a point. That being said, crazy long hair will always age you. “Too long always ages a woman,” advises celebrity stylist Mitch Stone. “I’m not talking past-your-shoulders long, but cat-lady long (not to be confused with Cat Woman).” According to Stone, once your hair has passed your ribs, it’s officially making you look older. He recommends going with a timeless long bob “or as short as an inch or 2 past your chin (think of my girlfriend Kim Basinger’s hair in 9 1/2 weeks — HOT at any age).”
If you love the long look, go for it! Just make sure your haircut does not go shorter in the front and longer in the back. “In general, shorter in the front, longer in the back (unless you’re going for a rocker mullet) tends to look dated,” explains Judy McGuinness, senior stylist at Mizu New York salon. “Keep everything pretty square or a bit longer in the front for shorter hairstyles.”
The wrong length
Finding the perfect haircut for your face shape can be a lifelong search. Talk to your stylist about the most flattering look for your hair and face type. Our hair thins as we age, so keeping it long may accentuate the thinning. “If hair is thinning, going shorter is an option,” says Sam Villa Show Ambassador, Marissa Villa. “If you’ve had long hair your entire life, it might be time to update to a lob.”
Whatever you do, make sure your haircut has layers and depth. “The classic hairstyle that makes a woman look older and dowdy is the cut where everything is the same length all over, a few inches long,” says Damian Santiago, co-owner of Mizu New York salon. “Then set with a small curling iron all over. Not cute or modern. Wispy bangs on this look kill it for me.”
As long as you have a dynamic, flattering style, the length of your hair truly doesn’t matter. Santiago told us he has mature clients who rock long layers or short pixie cuts. “A mature client with a strong inner confidence can rock any cool and modern look.”
Careful with color
Going too dark can add years to your look. “Your hair color should compliment your skin tone,” explains Sam Villa Show Ambassador, Marissa Villa. “If you have fair skin, jet black is not the best choice, and it’s always a good idea to have more than one color to add depth and dimension.”
Celebrity colorist Kelly Cardenas also recommends his clients focus on their skin tone when choosing a color. “No matter your hair color, if you go up a shade or two, it will give the appearance of looking more youthful, but the placement of highlights is key,” he explains. “Have your hairstylist frame your face to brighten your complexion.”
Celebrity stylist Mitch Stone agrees with steering clear of dark colors and trends that are too young. “For hair, be careful of stripy colors or trying to keep up with trends targeted to a younger generation,” he told The List. “That time is over and I say it’s time to own your power and go with chic and smart.” Stone advises his clients to stick with softer colors, “like golden blondes and gorgeous reds.” The darker colors can be too severe and instantly add years to your face.
Jeff Stump, owner of Artkiteks salon points out that in additon to making you look older, dark colors show gray or white roots much faster than a more subtle color. “I recommend blending the color with highlights or a demi-permanent color, so that the color with grow out much better than a solid line and achieving a more natural look.”
The wrong part
Our expert stylists taught me so much about small tweaks that can make a huge difference. I had no idea that how you part your hair could age you. “Straight down the middle doesn’t work for everyone, but you also don’t want to have a severe side part either,” Sam Villa Show Ambassador, Marissa Villa told The List. “A soft irregular part could be flattering, and don’t forget about bangs; in some cases, they can make you look younger.”