29 Hairstyles That Can Make You Look Younger
New rule: There are no rules for looking and feeling your best ... but there are a few hairstyles that will give you a youthful edge
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The right haircut can rewind time
Your hair is one of the first things people notice when they look at you, so if you’ve had the same hairstyle for a while, it could be time for a refresh. Plus, a lively, fresh ‘do can do way more than clean up dusty split ends: A new haircut tailored to flatter your facial features can actually help you look younger, just like the right makeup, clothing and accessories can work similar magic. Not to mention, if you’re loving your hair, it definitely shows in your confident smile, shining eyes and overall magnetic, positive energy.
So, what are the hairstyles that make you look younger? We looked to our favorite celebs and asked stylists for inspiration. And that’s not all. We also made sure to include styling tips and products that will help you get the look easily, as well as mistakes to avoid so you don’t accidentally end up with a hairstyle that makes you look older. With these simple tricks, you’ll look better in pictures and in real life, each and every day.
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Long, lush layers
Ditch the extremely limiting myth that all women of a certain age need to have short hair. “I think that mid-aged women have the confidence to experiment with different styles and lengths,” says award-winning stylist Nunzio Saviano, owner of the Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City. “You don’t necessarily have to go shorter to look younger, but it helps to frame the face and provide movement and ‘lift.'” This strategic technique will pull your features up instead of dragging them down.
To master this softly layered look, a round brush with boar bristles will be your best friend. It will smooth flyaways, boost shine and offer just the right amount of tension when blow-drying to leave hair looking full and soft.
Looking for shorter (but not too short) hairstyles that make you look younger? For type 2 hair, which is wavy but not exactly curly, Saviano recommends layers to bring out its natural texture and add a casual, youthful sensibility. Much like Kelly Ripa herself! “Adding the right layers around the face will accentuate your best features, whether it’s your cheekbones or jawline, and styling will be easy with little to no effort,” Saviano says. “Just run a styling cream through damp hair and air-dry.”
This hairstyle for women over 40 is easy-peasy, especially if you use the Too Shea! Extra Moisturizing Conditioner by Jessicurl. It’s a seriously hydrating formula, and it will make your hair feel soft, not greasy.
When it comes to beautiful ringlets like these, more is more! “I think that the stereotype about women over 40 always having to wear their hair short is a complete and utter myth,” says stylist Michelle Sultan, creative director for Imbue Curls. “This is the time of life that you know who you are, and you definitely shouldn’t be afraid to show it off.”
Channel Angela Bassett’s self-assured confidence by wearing your hair wild and free. Just make sure to use the best shampoo for curly hair and a moisturizing, curl-defining cream for styling control. Living Proof Curl Definer Conditioning Cream enhances hair’s natural curl pattern while taming frizz.
Tousled, undone waves
“Healthy, well-maintained hair, no matter the texture, is always flattering,” says stylist Stacey Ciceron, an educator with Oribe. And to pull off playfully undone, tousled waves a la Salma Hayek, your hair needs to be healthy and glossy. If it’s not, you’ll miss the casual-cool vibe you’re going for and your look will instead read as sloppy—which will add years, not subtract them.
Ciceron recommends prepping hair with Oribe Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler to remove tangles, then styling curls with Curl Gelée to boost shine and definition. If you need a little extra help with knots, try this $12 Crave Naturals detangling brush, which has nearly 50,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
The lob is a great option for thinner hair textures because the choppy ends and bendy, lightly layered strands give the illusion of easy movement. Layers soften the face to give a more youthful look, say Tonya Thompson and Sharie Wilson, the co-founders of DreamGirls, while the collarbone-grazing length accentuates a slim neckline for an overall look of pure sophistication.
Just make sure you’re using a thickening shampoo and conditioner, like this duo from RevitaLash, for added movement and bounce. It will help you avoid a flat style, which can accidentally add years instead.
Voluminous, shiny waves
Healthy-looking hair is the golden ticket to looking put-together, well rested and ready to take on the day. Cascading curls, like Michelle Obama’s, give a rich, youthful fullness, and a super shiny finish is always in style, regardless of your age. With this style, the former first lady nails the playful look Saviano recommends: “I think a hairstyle for a mid-aged woman should have movement and body.” This effortlessly ups the playful factor, which gives you a younger feel.
Hair can get drier and duller with age, which is why it’s essential to protect it, especially when using hot styling tools. Olaplex’s Hair Repair Treatment Kit gives you everything you need to prevent damage and keep your curls hydrated, nourished and strong. To add curls if you don’t already have them, try the Dyson Airwrap, an all-in-one hair tool that experts and regular women are obsessed with. It comes with two types of curling barrels, as well as a pre-styling dryer, round volumizing brush and so much more for the days you want a blowout instead.
On the flip side, pin-straight hair can also work on more mature women. You don’t even need J.Lo-level confidence to rock an edgy, angular bob; you just need a hairstylist who knows how to flatter your angles. “I love really strong shapes—angular, round, square—that showcase the person’s features,” says Ciceron, who adds that an unexpected ‘do can convey confidence and a refreshing anything-goes spirit.
To ensure your ends stay pointy, choose a moisturizing pomade with a long-lasting hold, like this one from Ouai, which contains beeswax and kaolin clay. Just the tiniest amount will get the job done and tame flyaways.
“There are many haircuts that are powerful and daring,” says legendary stylist Frédéric Fekkai, and one of those is a polished pixie with megawatt shine. A pixie can shave years off your appearance by bringing out and flattering strong facial features, like the cheekbones and eyes. For these hairstyles that make you look younger, Fekkai recommends mixing a medium-hold hair gel and a brilliant glossing cream in your hands before applying. Then, to get Michelle Williams’s taut, smooth look, pull a brush through the hair in a sideswept motion over the forehead, ending back behind the ear.
A few pumps of Revitalash’s Volume Enhancing Foam will help you get the look. This biotin-rich formula plumps up fine or thin locks without weighing them down, and it also contains saw palmetto, which will add the perfect amount of shine and movement to strands. Where your part falls also makes a difference, so make sure to check out this guide on the best way to part your hair to flatter your face shape.
“Pixies are much more versatile than people think,” says Saviano. A pixie style is youthful but still put-together, especially when the cut is piecey and the layers can be tousled, like Ginnifer Goodwin’s look here. The key with short cuts like this is to avoid anything too coiffed, which can come across as grandma-like and accentuate lines on your face. Another perk of the pixie? “You can wear it straight, curly, wavy or even smooth and slicked back,” Saviano adds. “You have to have self-confidence and want to make a statement for a pixie.”
All you need is a flexible paste or pomade, like Oribe’s Fiber Groom, to keep everything in place. Congrats—now you’re all set for a fabulous hair day!
“I am loving the lion cut for curly hair,” says Sultan. “It’s when the hair is cut to frame the face, mostly using bangs to create the drama and masses of layering through the top and sides, to create a really cool shape that is very sexy.” A full mane (pun intended) of thick, voluminous hair is undoubtedly a symbol of youth, but the well-shaped style reins it in to make it age appropriate—without sacrificing an ounce of confidence.
Slide Imbue Curl Energising Hydration Serum over spirals to add definition to lackluster curls. The hydrating formula also keeps frizz at bay.
This one is sultry and high glam, just like Naomi Campbell herself. Bangs don’t have to be a full, thick fringe to have a massive impact. “Bangs come in all shapes and lengths and can really help to flatter a hairstyle overall, adding texture and softness,” Saviano says. Naomi’s loose, wispy strands are an excellent example. The soft, feather-light strands are undeniably youthful, while a beautifully styled fringe adds professional polish.
To rock the pin-straight look, Thompson and Wilson recommend sectioning out hair before using a flat iron or hair-straightener comb. And don’t forget to spritz on a good heat-protectant spray. For a real home run, apply Kérastase’s Nutritive 8-Hour Magic Serum from mid-shaft to ends a few nights a week before going to bed and wake up to next-level shine.
Sleek, straight bob
According to Thompson and Wilson, a bob is not only universally flattering but is also one of the hairstyles that make you look younger because “it softens facial features and opens up the face,” which, in turn, reduces the appearance of wrinkles. And you can’t forget that “this look screams classic and sophisticated by accentuating your cheeks and overall bone structure,” they add.
Speed up dry time with a super-charged dryer, like the beloved Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. Not only will it dry your hair in record time, but its intelligent heat control will also keep your hair safe in the process. This product is an investment, but it’s totally worth it, according to customers and stylists.
Playful, soft curtain bangs add a certain je ne sais quoi and a little sultriness to any style. They are also great “to add body to longer lengths and create more modern updos, but leave a few strands and wisps around the hairline for a more youthful look,” explains Saviano. Keeping hair along the face soft, light and flattering is key, since blunt angles can accentuate a thinning face. And by using a rich, leave-in butter, like this one from Virtue, you’ll have no trouble at all.
“It’s always lovely to see a customer over 40 sporting a creative style,” says Fekkai. “A beautiful asymmetric bob with one short side and the other coming to chin length is a hairstyle that shows character, personality, elegance and confidence.” It also shows a woman wise enough to know her angles and facial features—and play them up.
Keep strands straight and safe with a flat iron that comes with a built-in heat protectant, like the Nition Professional Salon Hair Straightener, which boasts flexible ceramic-coated tourmaline and titanium plates that are super gentle on hair. This iron is also infused with actual argan oil to make hair soft, sleek and shiny. It will seriously make you forget that frizz is even a thing.
Topknot braided bun
“Protective hairstyles, such as hair extensions or braids, allow you to experiment with long layers or shorter lengths,” say Thompson and Wilson. “We love extensions because they allow you to have fun with different cuts and styles without the regret of cutting your natural hair.” Actress Freema Agyeman’s braided topknot bun masterfully mixes glamour with a modern sensibility.
Natural textures love a weekly deep-conditioning treatment, and Jessicurl’s is beloved for providing all the moisture natural hair craves without any of the lingering buildup.
She has an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy—and let’s add an award for her amazingly voluminous spirals! To get curls as fabulous as Viola Davis’s, you have to put the time into maintaining them (read: no flyaways), but the payoff is pure sophistication and poise. “Curly hair is very fragile, so using a wide-tooth comb is the gentlest way to detangle curls,” explain Thompson and Wilson. They recommend their moisturizing TLC Comb-Out Treatment to detangle hair, smooth strands and reduce the amount of stress on hair, which helps fight against breakage.
Sultan loves Taraji P. Henson’s modified pixie, which oozes a youthful, devil-may-care spirit. To get the look, cut the sides and back, leaving the length on top. “Type 4 curls look incredible with this style, as the volume looks really cool when it stands up high,” Sultan says. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, a boost of color like Taraji’s “creates extra dimension throughout the haircut.”
Sultan has her clients finish the style with Imbue Curl Worshipping Shine Oil to make hair look healthier instantly by reflecting light.
“Let’s not forget that in addition to a fresh, modern and stylized haircut, the color and highlights need to be impeccable,” notes Fekkai. Gwyneth Paltrow’s face-framing blonde highlights add dimension and a sun-kissed feel to her blow-out. And not only does this look evoke the playful spirit of summertime, but it also lightens, brightens and lifts her features subtly and strategically. While you may want to consult with your stylist to find the perfect hue for you, here are some tips to find the best hair color for your skin tone.
Keep your color pristine by spritzing in a color-safe leave-in treatment to protect against damage. Pureology’s Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Conditioner works with all hair types and textures.
Deep side part
Penelope Cruz’s deep side part gives her flipped hair next-level volume that’s at once glam and carefree. The best way to get this type of bouncy body, according to Thompson and Wilson, is to start with squeaky clean hair so there’s no excess oil to weigh down hair. Then, use a speedy hair dryer, like Zuvi Halo (which also comes with a diffuser) to dry hair by about 90% before using a large, loose-barrel curling wand just through the ends of the hair haphazardly. To finish, brush out the curls, generously spritz with a shine spray … et voila!
High, brushed-back pony
A high, brushed-back pony is the mature—and modern—equivalent of the schoolgirl hairstyle we all once had. And it has multiple perks: The high, frizz-free pony looks elevated, it can be styled quickly and it gives your features the illusion of a lift, making this a hairstyle that can make you look younger in a flash.
To get a look like Gwen Stefani’s, start with smooth, flat-ironed hair. Then tease hair at the roots from the middle to the crown of your head with a soft-paddle brush (like this Prose boar-bristle brush) before brushing over the smooth front section. That teasing will get you the lift you need. Secure hair with a strong rubber band, and loop hair over it to camouflage it and add extra polish.
You can always count on Tilda Swinton to bring the showstopping pixie styles. “Truly, pixie cuts are always timeless and effortless,” says Fekkai. “And actually, the only face shape that doesn’t suit a pixie haircut is a square shape. Pixie haircuts with different styles and lengths will work with many women to make someone look younger.” The vibe of this particular pixie is vibrant, versatile and spunky, all of which reflects back on the woman wearing it. The key factor to making a cut like this work for you? The hair’s texture, which will determine “either a soft wispy nape of the neck, or a sharp angle at the sideburns.”
“A cute one-length style is ageless and super slick,” says Sultan. “And a cute ear tuck can look youthful and show beautiful angles on an ‘older’ face.” And don’t be nervous to play around with “younger” color trends, like Sandra Bullock’s beautiful golden-rust ombré. This kind of softer, layered color softens features, which can appear more severe and angular with age. Plus, the style is fun and youthful without going overboard. “Keep pushing boundaries,” continues Sultan. “Older doesn’t equate to boring, so don’t hesitate to try new styles.”
For hairstyles that make you look younger, just be sure to avoid dry, brittle ends by sousing the tips in Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime Hydrating Hair Oil Serum for a lightweight, yet nourished, finish. And while we’re talking about the ends, don’t forget to touch up the roots when necessary too!
Braids on braids
Kerry Washington’s box braids look young and hip, thanks in large part to bejeweled and gold accessories accenting her strands. But braids can also help hair get healthy if you want to switch up your style in the future. “It’s important that you limit chemical treatments on the hair as you get older,” says Sultan, and braids like Kerry’s are a super chic and fun alternative to more high-maintenance, heat-styled ‘dos.
Cameron Diaz’s stacked bob—a style defined as being shorter in the back and longer in the front—is a terrific option for women who don’t want to sacrifice gorgeous hair and a young vibe but also don’t want to spend hours on styling. “It’s a low-maintenance style that still looks chic and stylish,” says Saviano, who adds that the asymmetric cut is nearly universally flattering and works on both full and thin faces.
To mimic Cameron’s beachy waves, try Ouai’s Texturizing Hair Spray to amp up the movement and the “undone” feel. Plus, it’s a buildable spray, so you can customize how tousled you’d like your style to look.
“Adult women with shorter hair usually exhibit confidence and a secure situation both professionally and emotionally,” says Fekkai. Plus, he says, many have left those years of coloring, bleaching and chemically treating hair behind, and now they’re looking for just A Very Good Cut that “is shaped, sophisticated and alluring. That’s the way to go.”
To get the look at home and bring attention to your eyes, have your stylist feather your hair directly around your face outward and, when styling, curl the bottom back in to frame it. A large-barrel curling iron, like this affordable model from Hot Tools, will get the job done at home.
Solange’s striking style aligns with Thompson and Wilson’s golden rule of hair care: No matter what age, a woman should wear any style that makes her feel good about herself. “For a wild and adventurous look, we would recommend a chic pixie cut,” they say. And by coloring it platinum like Solange? Hello, youth! (Just make sure your skin tone agrees with the vibrancy of a bright platinum hue first.)
To moisturize parched curls and help fortify the curl pattern, Jessicurl’s Confident Coils Styling Solution will enhance your ringlets, whether you want to wear them tightly coiled or finger-combed outward for a looser look.
You can also look to your younger counterparts for style inspiration. Blending that youthful spirit with classic beauty exudes glamour and confidence, says Sultan, and creates a look that is uniquely yours. A little out of your comfort zone? That’s another reason to try it! “I think if you haven’t tried something by 40, it might be time to give it a shot,” encourages Ciceron. After all, she reminds us, “growing older is a privilege.”
The trick to Zendaya’s look? Lots of buildable hairspray. We love Color Wow’s Cult Favorite Firm + Flexible Hairspray because it is color-safe, non-sticky and, best of all, still lets hair move (within reason). Oh, and speaking of Color Wow, their Dream Coat spray is a must-have to manage frizz, too.
Long, straight layers
One of our favorite things about Jennifer Aniston is that she knows what works for her—and she sticks to it. Maintenance, of course, is key with a long look like this, so be sure to keep split ends snipped, hair smooth, color looking fresh and highlights perfectly placed. Jennifer’s blonde highlights right around her face go from root to tip and brighten her features, while the chunkier highlights further down give her features a veritable lift, making her look younger effortlessly.
To help strands look their best, invest in the best shampoos for color-treated hair, which don’t strip the color you worked so hard to achieve (and likely paid quite a bit for!). Biolage’s Color Last Purple Shampoo is specially formulated for damaged, over-processed hair and neutralizes brassy, warm tones.
Middle part with bouncy waves
When it comes to hairstyles that make you look younger, nothing gives youthful vibes quite like lush, thick hair from one end to the other, and Julia Roberts shows us that layers of touchable, cascading curls are a timeless classic that shouldn’t just be reserved for our younger years. A strong middle part is softened by waves of shiny hair for an undeniably feminine style (although if you aren’t matching Julia’s fullness, consider parting hair another way).
Ensure loads of volume and body, starting at the root, by spritzing in Moroccanoil’s Root Boost. It will add texture, not to mention a heavy dose of glossy goodness.