Looking radiant and youthful can be achieved through various ways, such as choosing a hairstyle that complements your face shape, opting for a hair color that enhances your skin tone, and going for a contemporary haircut. If you’re searching for effective hairstyle tips to avoid appearing older than you actually are, we’ve got you covered!
We reached out to professional hair stylists and experts who shared five short (collarbone-length and up) styles that can add years to your look if not altered properly. They also provided modern techniques that you can ask your stylist to apply to achieve a youthful appearance! Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Ghanima Abdullah, hair expert and cosmetologist at The Right Hairstyles and Lauren Udoh, hair stylist and hair creative director of WigReports.
1. One-Length Bob
A long bob or lob that is cut without any layering can make someone's tresses look dull and lifeless, Udoh notes. While Kim Kardashian looks chic with this classic style, this 'do can make women over 40 look older inadvertently while drawing attention to signs of aging rather than adding volume and movement.
"A long bob can make someone look older if it is cut straight across and is not layered," Udoh says. In order to avoid this, she suggests parting a straight bob or lob to the side for "instant volume," or adding "layers and texture" for a more standout look.
2. Rounded Shag Cut
While a flattering shag cut never truly goes out of style and continues to be a celeb-fave look (as seen here on Juliette Lewis), if it is too rounded or has too many layers, it can add years to your look, Abdullah says. "This is another outdated trend that will put too much emphasis wherever the bangs lay," she notes.
"In addition, the rounded poof look just belongs somewhere in the 80s." Udoh agrees: "A shag haircut can also be aging if it is too choppy or unkempt." Instead, Abdullah recommends going for shags with fringe styles that are cut in short, angular snips. "Give them more volume and thickness by pulling more hair in from the center of your head, if it's possible," she says.
3. Bob with Baby Bangs
You can never go wrong with a bob designed to flatter your face shape, but Abdullah advises against choosing one that features baby bangs (or fringe that is cut above your eyebrows). While Maisie Williams pulls off this edgy look, it can have a different effect on mature beauties, she points out, as having your bangs end here can emphasize forehead wrinkles.
Opting for curtain bangs with your chin-length bob is often much more flattering, according to Abdullah. "Curtain bangs are a type of fringe cut that creates a soft, natural looking wave at the top of the head," she explains. "They are often used to frame the face and specifically, to give it a youthful appearance."
4. Lob with Blunt Bangs
Similarly, pairing a bob or lob with harsh, blunt fringe can have an unflattering effect as well. If your bangs are too long (past your eyebrows and almost over your eyes), this can lead to a dull-looking appearance, Udoh says, and if your locks are super-straight this can add on years too.
Instead of Rose Byrne's 'do above, she suggests trying side-swept bangs and layers in the rest of your bob or lob to add movement. "Cuts that are [too] blunt can shorten the appearance of your face and make it appear wider [over 40]," Udoh says. "A better option" for women over 40 is to try "long layers that will add length and softly frame your face" as well as "side-swept bangs to soften the face."
5. Mid-length Bob
A bob looks the best when it ends at the chin or at the collarbone, Abdullah says. If your bob ends at the middle of your neck, she stresses that this could make you look older, even if that is not the goal. The thing about bobs and lobs, Abdullah says, is that they fall "right where you want to draw attention." A longer, mid-length bob might look great on Kerry Washington, but as Abdullah notes, for many of us this cut would fall "right at the neck." For a woman who's over 40, Abdullah says, this could be a spot where "fine lines and wrinkles" could be more apparent.
"When I see a woman with a medium bob, my eye is always drawn to the neck, right where the hair falls," she stresses. "A bob is great if you want the eyes drawn to the chin or cheekbones, and lobs are great for moving the eye towards the collarbone and shoulders, but medium-length bobs are not as flattering" for mature women, she explains. Instead, a chin-length or collarbone-length cut might look more refreshed and radiant!