Is your hairstyle ageing you? Salon experts weigh in

The hair mistakes you’re making that could be ageing you beyond your years. We enlisted the advice of several hair experts on how to choose an appropriate hairstyle for your age. 

It was only about a year ago that I learnt a good hairstyle did more than just leave you looking cute (hopefully).

I was in a Sydney salon, Headcase Hair, and the team dropped some knowledge on me that has changed my view of my ‘do forever.

Cofounders Vincent Nobile and John Pulitano explained to me that cut and colour choices go beyond ‘suiting your face’. Your hairstyle can change the way your skin tone looks; it can even add or remove age. This information blew my mind.

A year on, in the middle of a pandemic, I found myself with a mop of a hairdo, unsure what move to make with my tresses. So, I enlisted the advice of some experts to help steer me, and anyone else interested, in the most flattering direction.

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Four lessons I walked away with

1. Watch out for length

Rapunzel certainly had her look, but according to every expert I chatted with, growing your hair too long has the potential to add age.

“There is definitely a point where it [hair] gets past a certain length, and it can make a person seem older and weigh them down,” Haircare Expert for Grow Haircare, Aimee Egan, says.

“I’m talking about hair that reaches down to a person’s hips and starts to look scraggly, thinned out and tired at the ends – it’s been on your head way too long!”

Our hair naturally thins out as we age, Egan explains, so wearing a particularly long ‘do will accentuate worn-out ends.

This goes for men, too. Joe Ribera, award-winning Hairdresser and Cofounder of OMIT Headcare explains.

“They [men] tend to grow their hair a little bit longer to try and disguise the fact that they’re thinning,” he says.

“In turn, it actually makes it more obvious.”

Instead, he recommends fellas keep their hair shorter to achieve “a more youthful appearance”.

2. Colour choice is king

“I cannot stress how important skin tone and hair colour combination is,” Megan Panozzo, Owner of In Awe Salon, shares. The right colour choice is “basically Botox if used correctly”.

What many of us don’t realise is that our skin tone changes with age, Vincent Nobile, Cofounder & Colour Director Headcase Hair explains.

“You need to find colour adjustments that add glow to your complexion versus washing it out,” he said.

The secret is to work with your hairdresser to regularly reassess which colours will “soften the contrast and bring light to your features”.

Egan agrees, saying that generally, cooler complexions should “avoid gold, yellow, red and bronze tones” as they can leave your skin looking “sallow and drawn.”

“People with warmer skin tones might like to avoid blue, violet and ash-based hair colours because it can wash out their complexion,” she continues.

For men concerned about greys, Alex Fuchs, Batiste Ambassador and Director of Fuchs Hair recommends “a quick ten-minute grey camouflage or shading colours that look very natural”.

“Stay away from heavy tints that emphasise regrowth,” he advises.

3. Avoid wearing the same style too long

If you’re hoping to maintain a youthful look, giving your hair a regular style shake-up is a great move.

Egan believes that folks “usually get used to a certain style by the time they hit 40 and beyond”. This sounds convenient, but according to the experts, adapting your ‘do at least once a year is the best way to avoid stale styles. This could be as subtle as going “a shade lighter or darker”, she says.

Fuchs suggests making simple changes, like adding volume in your 40s and 50s with layers, or by blow-drying your hair with a rounded brush.

4. Don’t ignore hair care

“Our hair ages just like our skin does,” Panozzo says. And one of the best ways to counter the effects is with “moisturisers and hydration”.

Fuchs agrees, recommending a weekly hair mask once you hit your 30s.

“10-15 minutes really penetrates through the hair structure and repairs from within the hair shaft,” he says.

In addition to nourishing your strands, however, Ribera wants people to look after their scalps.

“When you go to the dentist, they want you to have healthy teeth; they treat the gums. This is the same concept,” he says.

Ribera explains the condition of your scalp, and the products you use on it, can lead to issues like thinning hair – which, as you age, is something you want to avoid.

“It’s about making sure the hair that you have, you retain,” he says.

Protecting your scalp with products that are “as natural as possible”, will get you on your way to healthier, more youthful-looking hair.

In the end, the choices you make with your hair need to make *you* happy. Your hairdresser is there to help you get the most out of that mane of yours, in a way that will leave you feeling yourself every time you walk out the door. If that means shaving it all off and dying your buzzcut blue, that is up to you!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to treat myself to a hair mask.