Hairdressers share the do’s and don’ts of ageing hair
The right hair cut and colour can transform your look and really boost your confidence – especially as we start clocking up the years (something to be celebrated, of course).
“Our hair is an integral part of how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us,” says Nick Willis, master stylist at Charles Worthington Salons. “We want to look and feel our best, and that includes looking and feeling our age, or maybe even younger! What we don’t want is hair that ages us.”
That doesn’t mean you have to eliminate any trace of grey, however. Nor do you have to keep up with modern trends at all costs – it’s about deciding what’s best for you.
Here, hair pros offer their expert advice for making the most of your locks at any age…
1. Find your perfect shade
“The wrong hair colour for your skin tone is the biggest mistake we make in terms of your hair ageing you,” says Willis. “As we age, our complexion evolves and we tend to lose pigment, known as melanocytes, this can make us look less radiant if we are choosing the wrong hair tones.”
While on some people, grey hair is “a statement and looks fabulous”, on others it can “sap the radiance from you and can make you look older”.
Christel Barron-Hough, founder and creative director of Stil Salon, says cool-toned blonde shades can have the same effect: “Adding subtle sun-kissed low lights can be a great option to soften the blonde, as well as using a conditioner with a hint of gold.”
For grey hair, she recommends using a purple shampoo, as it “makes it look fresh, cool and bright, which will brighten the complexion”.
2. Choose the right length
Gone are the days when women over 50 were expected to chop their locks into a prim and proper bob. Just look at 56-year-old Sarah Jessica Parker and her beautiful cascading waves.
“I believe longer hair is anti-ageing,” says Willis. “I would recommend that my client keeps their hair at a mid to long length. With the right shape and layering techniques, you will have movement and volume, both huge factors in looking and feeling younger.”
Natalia Vera, designer stylist at Live True London, agrees that “medium length haircuts are a safe bet for any woman of any age” – but if you feel fab with a short, sassy do, go for it.
Sam Hillerby, hair stylist at John Frieda Salons, says: “Change up your style and create a more youthful, modern look by going for the big chop – think Helen Mirren or Judy Dench style. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, then add choppy layers to give texture and volume.”
3. Get a confidence-boosting cut
“I believe that hair doesn’t have age,” says Paco Latorre, creative director at Live True London. “If you want long or short hair, vivid colour or natural colour effect, one length or lot of texture and shaggy or vintage style… doesn’t matter your age, it has to match with your personality.”
Talk to your hairdresser about a style that’s flattering for your face shape and hair texture. Belle Cannan, co-founder of Salon Sloane, says: “Hair gets finer as we get older and pulls the face down. The texture will change and become frizzy.”
She recommends avoiding “blunt cuts like a bob at jawline – go for a slightly longer length with some soft layers to create a fuller look”, and style with “a lightweight oil that will not weigh the hair down but boost the hair with shine”.
Willis adds: “Have the right cut that suits your face shape but also a cut that suits your lifestyle – feeling comfortable in your skin (and hair!) will make you radiate a youthful confidence.”
4. Look after your locks
Latorre says: “The most important thing, no matter the colour and style you have, is take care of the health from your hair. Like we take care of our skin and face, we have to do with our hair.”
Willis agrees: “Shiny, healthy-looking hair makes you look younger. Use repairing and moisturising treatments at home and ask your stylist which are the best restorative products for your hair type, and ask for Olaplex [a bonding treatment] to be added to your colour in salon.”
To counteract dryness, Vera recommends “using less shampoo and more conditioner” as well as getting a haircut at least ever three to four months. Also, be gentle with your tresses to avoid damage: “Don’t use an excess of thermal tools, and avoid pulling your hair too tight.”
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