You are the perfect picture of youthfulness. You hit the gym four days a week, you invest in the best eye cream, your makeup is expertly applied, and you still look great in a pair of skinny jeans. If it wasn’t for your hair, no one would ever guess your age.
The truth is that no matter how many age-defying steps you take, the wrong hairstyle, length, or color can undo all of your other efforts. Here are 10 of the most common hair mistakes that will, in fact, make you look older than you really are.
Sporting a defunct ‘do
While Dorothy Hamill’s wedge and Farrah Fawcett’s feathers were hot in 1970’s, they are completely out of their element today. And if your hairstyling regime involves a backcomb, an overly generous helping of Final Net, and anything resembling The Flock of Seagulls, it should be Fed-Ex’d back to the eighties where it belongs. Even “The Rachel” looks ridiculous in the modern world.
The best way to recapture your youth is not to steal a hairdo from it. Instead, go for an update. If you’re not sure what style would best suit your face, check out this guide or pay a visit to your favorite stylist and see what they suggest. The results may surprise you—in a good way.
While most experts say that long hair can look great at any age, there is such a thing as too long. Mitch Stone, stylist to the stars, warns, “once hair has passes your ribs, it is officially making you look older.” Trimming a few inches off your locks is an easy fix for this common hairstyle mistake, taking years off your appearance and revitalizing your look. If you are old enough to remember Crystal Gayle, you are not young enough to pull off her hairstyle.
Dabbling in darkness
Dyeing your hair too dark is a sure-fire way to accentuate lines and dark spots—the very things we all try to hide as we age. The experts agree that framing your face with a warmer shade will brighten up your coloring and better hide the signs of aging. Brad Johns, the Color Director of the Salon and Spa at Saks Fifth Avenue, recommends strategically placing highlights and lowlights with “the brightest around your face and on top, and darker underneath.” A quick way to achieve this, while giving yourself a fuller head of hair, is to opt for clip-in hair extensions in a warm hue and clip a few face-framing pieces in.
And don’t forget to ensure that your eyebrows match your new color. We recommend picking a shade that matches the lightest highlight in your hair for best results.
Flattening your follicles
Poker straight hair can look shimmering and healthy—in your twenties. As we age, however, it simply looks flat and dull. Limp and lifeless hair will make your face look drawn, while highlighting laugh lines and crow’s feet. And, if you are using a flat iron to achieve this look, you are subjecting your hair to damaging heat, making hair strands themselves look older. Yikes!
An easy way to correct this hairstyle mistake is to use velcro rollers to create natural looking volume or opt for products that promote body and fullness. Remember, hair extensions can also be used to add dimension to your hair. These products are not just for adding length, but increasing volume and thickness.
Over-washing your hair
No one wants greasy hair or shoulders bedecked in dandruff, but overly shampooed hair is not desirable either. Too much washing will rob your hair and your scalp of its much-needed natural oils, leaving your follicles brittle and lifeless. Experts agree that the average head only requires a shampooing two to three times a week.
Wash, lather, rinse, and repeat may actually cause damage, breakage, and depending on the product may harm or dehydrate the scalp. Just a single dollop of shampoo and conditioner is usually enough. Don’t fall for that common hair mistake, no matter what your shampoo bottle tells you.
Leaving out the layers
Layers are magical. They give your hair life. And bounce. And a spring in its step. All-one-length hair, on the other hand, can be heavy and lifeless, making your face look longer and older than it actually is.
There are easy ways to correct this common hairstyle mistake. Eva Scrivo, New York City hairstylist and beauty author, recommends “side-swept bangs if you want to make your face a bit rounder and your cheekbones stronger.” If you have thin hair and would like to add layers and thickness, you can opt for hair extensions instead of heading for the dreaded scissors.
Your Hair looks thirsty
If your hair could be described as “parched” or “withered,” it’s time for you to give your locks some love in the form of moisture. Sun-baked or over-processed follicles —or even those that are simply getting more brittle with age—need extra care. Deep conditioning treatments and weightless oils will definitely help keep your hair healthy, especially when you find your hair texture changing with age. A great TLC remedy for aging hair or hormonal hair changes is castor oil or baobab oil, since it is rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants.
Parting your hair wrong
Have you been putting your part in the wrong place for all these years? This is a very common hair mistake that can actually be ageing you. The perfectly situated part for a youthful appearance is slightly off-center. Adam Bogucki, owner of Chicago’s Lumination Salon, contends that a “middle part looks like you’re trying too hard, and severe side parts can just look off.”
Bleaching your hair
Your flaxen follicles have been your crowning glory ever since you can remember. They likely served you well over the years, but keeping your hair that light can be a huge hair mistake as you age. Unfortunately, as you get older, your complexion loses a great deal of its natural color and very light hair can completely wash you out.
On the bright side, you do have several options. You can opt for a warmer shade like honey, strawberry, or caramel, especially around the face. If you don’t want to resort to chemicals, you could add in some warm-hued hair extensions to create a softer overall effect.
The style you sport is too stern
A tightly pulled back style dramatically highlights your face—and every line, blemish, errant facial hair, and dark shadow on it. This doesn’t mean you can’t put your hair up anymore. It simply means that you should opt for looser looks with tendrils that fall along your face.
If you have just discovered that you have been making a follicle faux pas, do not fret. You are definitely not alone. Everyone tends to get comfortable in their own hair, forgetting that what worked for them in their twenties no longer does. It’s time to boldly embrace a new youthful style, watch the years fall from your face, and reveal the beauty that you have always possessed. You are, after all, a classic.
Written by: Kimberley Laws