It’s so simple to stick to your same old cut, especially if you feel like you’ve got the styling routine down. But beware: This comfort zone can leave you looking dated. “If you have the same 'do you had 10 years ago, it’s time for a new look,” says celebrity hair stylist Nick Arrojo, owner of Arrojo salons in New York City. Don’t worry—you don’t have to chop it all off. Even tiny tweaks, like switching up your blow-dry routine, will breathe life into your appearance.
Change your part It seems so simple, but it works, especially if you have been parting your hair in the middle. (Middle parts can look severe and aging, say pros.) The key: push hair opposite of the direction it grows in to add volume, says celebrity hairstylist Rodney Cutler, whose clients include Rachel Ray, Emma Watson and Fergie. “You get a natural swoop on top of the head, which lifts the eye.” Plus, if you’ve been parting your hair in one place for years, that part may look thinner than it would elsewhere, thanks to repeated styling and combing at the roots, says New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD, who specializes in hair and scalp health.
Try a gentle ponytail If your hair is mid-length or longer, wearing it off your face once in a while isn’t just a nice, unexpected change—it can also give you a more chiseled appearance, if you keep it soft and give it a little lift at the roots. To get the perfect age-appropriate pony:
- First, add volume that will draw the eye up by softly teasing back-to-back, 2-inch wide sections of hair at the crown. Just lift hair straight up toward the ceiling and brush it down to the root with a paddle brush (two easy strokes on each section should do it).
- Then, gently pull hair back into a ponytail that’s in line with the top of your ears. “Any higher, and it will seem like you’re trying to look 16,” says San Diego hairstylist Jet Rhys. Use your hand to smooth out the top, and secure it with a no-damage hair elastic to prevent breakage.
- To finish, rub a drop of a lightweight, moisturizing hair cream between your hands (shine serums are too heavy here) and apply it only to your ends. “This adds polish and hides split strands without weighing down the whole pony,” Rhys adds.
Blow longer hair back When hair is heavy and tucked in around the cheeks, it can draw attention to a sagging jawline. “Lifting the hair away from the face will bring our your eyes and accentuate your cheekbones—especially if you’ve got medium-length or long hair,” says Cutler. The best time to do this is when you blow-dry: Apply a root booster to damp hair, then use your hand to lift the section of hair closest to the corner of your eyes and cheekbones off the scalp and up toward the ceiling. Then, blow up the ends. “This points the roots in an antigravity direction, setting hair off the face,” he adds.
Add separation to a short cut If you’ve got a cropped do or bob and typically finish it with a spray, experiment with whips or pomades, which add texture and lift, says Tippi Shorter, a celebrity hairstylist who has worked with Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson.
Rethink tight, slicked-back styles Anything that keeps hair tight against the scalp—like an extremely sleek bun or flat twists—can appear harsh against aging skin.