BY CARRIE
MADORMO, RN, MPH

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!
Cat-lady
long

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.”
Never
changing your look

For hair stylist Jenna Mast,
the biggest mistake women make when it comes to looking older is keeping the
same hairstyle for decades. “If you are 50 years old, the chances are
high that you’ve been going to a salon for 25+ years and like the way your hair
looked in 1992 when you lost a bunch of weight and had that great red dress you
wore to your cousin’s wedding,” she told The List. “Which makes it
likely that you’ve been instructing hairdresser after hairdresser to recreate
that look by showing them that exact dated photo. The reality is, like
everything else, hairdressing has evolved dramatically.”

As Sam Villa Show Ambassador,
Marissa Villa told us, “It’s important to evolve — everything usually
comes back around, but with a modern twist.”
Careful
with color

Going too dark can add years
to your look. “Your hair color should complement 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.”
Too
much volume

While a little volume can be
beautiful, going overboard will only age you. Because our hair tends to thin as
we age, many of us worry about it looking too flat. Talk to your stylist about
a great volumizing shampoo or flattering layers.

Damian Santiago, co-owner of
Mizu New York salon often sees clients trying to get that volume in all the
wrong places. “Too often, a mature client thinks she must have
height,” he told The List. “Teased up hair can make anyone look
older. Volume is different and can look modern and elegant.”
Don’t
fall flat



As our aging hair thins, it
can be tough to find the right balance. Too much volume and hairspray reads
very 80s. However, no one wants to give in to the thinning. “While it can
be a big mistake to have too much volume on your hair, not having enough can
also be a large pitfall,” says Murat Evin, creative director at The London
School of Make-Up.
“Many women and men with
long hair often age themselves unnecessarily by allowing their hair to fall too
flat on their face, either by combing it down too much or not using mousse or
similar when blow-drying.” Even explains that flat hair only accentuates
prominent facial features. So if you’re not crazy about your nose or chin, a
flat do calls more attention to them. Make sure you’re not weighing your hair
down with too much product, and try not to brush it too much.
The
wrong shampoo

Your shampoo affects your
hairstyle, and it may be making you look older. Shampoos for “normal hair
types” are not the best option as you age. “You have to have the
right tools and products for gorgeous hair,” says Sam Villa Show
Ambassador, Marissa Villa. “Grey and aging hair has unique characteristics
that require a mask once a week, color protecting shampoo, thermal protectant,
and more effort in the fight against frizz.”
Keep
it healthy

Damaged hair always looks
older than it is, leaving the owner looking older than she is. It’s important
to keep up your natural sheen by taking good care of your locks. If you’re
noticing a lot of split ends, it’s time to go to the salon for a cut. “If
you want long hair and your hair just isn’t healthy enough, get extensions to
create fullness or length that looks healthy and shiny,” recommends Sam
Villa Show Ambassador, Marissa Villa. “When you look good, you feel good —
and you’re only as young as you feel!”
Cool
it on the accessories

Oftentimes when we want to
have a more youthful appearance, we fall back on the styles that we wore when
we were younger. It worked back then, right? However, pulling out your old
sparkly butterfly clips is a first class ticket to looking older than you are.
Dina Scherer, NYC Image & Wardrobe Stylist & Personal Shopper and owner
of Modnitsa Styling recommends the less-is-more approach when it comes to hair
accessories. “Hairstyles that include many dated accessories, like
scrunchies, hair clips that don’t match your hair color and are obvious,
certain types of claw clips,” warns Scherer. “They all attract too
much attention to themselves — distracting from your do, and can make you look
juvenile and read as fashion no-nos.”
If you tend to wear your hair
longer and need to pull it back from time to time, stick with a relaxed, soft
ponytail. “If you prefer long hair, wearing it tied low, loose and to the
side is more elegant and youthful than a tight ponytail in the middle back or
high up on your head,” says celebrity hair stylist Vernon Francois.
“I’d also suggest choosing accessories that match or are a similar tone to
the color of your hair, instead of something very contrasting… Resist anything
cartoony or gimmicky.”
You and your hair are gorgeous
just as you are. Don’t cover it up with neon scrunchies.
Beware
of helmet head

As we age, our hair thins, so
it’s tempting to whip out the hairspray and give yourself some serious volume.
The problem is that too much hairspray gives you that stiff 80s look, so not
youthful. “We all want to avoid it, yet this super stiff hairstyle,
popularized by news anchors in the 1980s, is still quite popular with the news
world and beyond,” celebrity hair stylist Scott Yance told me.
“When clients ask for a
cut like this, I am always honest with them, letting them know that a stiff
hairstyle will always make you look years older.” Yance actually likes to
steer clear of traditional hairspray all together. He prefers more versatile
products that still let the hair move. If you’re stuck in a windstorm and your
hair doesn’t move, it’s time to move away from the hairspray.
Slicked
back styles

As we age, it’s a chance to
embrace our true selves and ditch all that self consciousness that ruled our
teens and 20s. Rock your true hair texture and look without trying to pull it
back into tight knots. This only makes you look older.
“While hair that’s
loosely pulled back can be very flattering, tightly pulled buns and pony tails
tend to put any wrinkles or imperfections front and center,” says Scott
Yance. “As we age, it’s best to work with your hair stylist to find a
haircut and style that frames your face and plays up your best features.”
Stylist Dina Scherer also
recommends staying away from pulled back styles that come off as too youthful,
such as pigtails or mini side buns. “These looks can be fun and flirty for
a 20- or even 30-year-old if done in a dramatic or feminine way, but can look
ridiculous on a 40- to 50-year-old, aging them by the nature of being
disconnected, and not-age-appropriate.”
Show
off your gray

As the gray hairs start to
take over, most of us assume it’s time to start covering them up, stat.
However, not everyone has to rush to their colorist. “There are a few
lucky ladies with the perfect, enviable silver,” says stylist Julie
Featherman. “Talk to your stylist about how you can show off your gray
with panache.” Featherman recommends accentuating your gray with silver
glosses, ‘pepper’ lowlights, and the right cut. Another feature that will give
you a younger look? Having the confidence to embrace your gray and rock it.
Your
hair should reflect your lifestyle

Throughout your life, you have
had some major accomplishments. You’re in a very different place than you were
20 or even five years ago. Make sure that as your lifestyle changes, so does
your hairstyle. Juju salon owner and hair stylist Julie Featherman reminds us
to make sure to choose a cut that fits our current life.
For example, if you’ve always
worked in a corporate job, but are now retired and pursuing your yoga
certification, you hair should reflect that. “A former polished corporate
‘do’ will no longer work on the mat and your life of new found endeavors,”
she explains. “Switch out the polished put together with something more
textured and less structured.”
Don’t
forget the makeup



A gorgeous, youthful hairstyle
will keep you looking great, but if your makeup is aging you, no one is going
to notice your locks. Celebrity stylist Mitch Stone often sees clients aging
themselves with way too much makeup. “When skin starts to age, make-up can
exaggerate lines and wrinkles if not put on correctly,” he explains.
“Go slow and accentuate your eyes and lips, use a light base and take it
slow.”

SOURCE:
THELIST
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.