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  • Writer's pictureThe Shampoo Lounge

9 Haircuts That’ll Make You Look Younger at 40 and Beyond

The secret to turning back the clock without breaking the bank? Making tiny tweaks to your hair cut, style or color! Here, celebrity hair pros reveal the changes that will completely transform your look in an instant.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.


Subtract Years: Nicole Kidman's Soft, Voluminous Waves

BEFORE: “Beachy” waves may be easy to achieve, but the unkempt style leaves hair looking dry, frizzy and stringy, says celebrity hairstylist Gina Rivera.

NOW: “Smooth, oversize waves distribute hair’s natural sheen so locks look soft and lustrous,” explains Rivera. Even better, the beautiful bounce gives the illusion of instant depth and dimension for thicker-looking tresses.

GET THE LOOK: Wrap one-inch sections of hair around a 1 1/2-inch curling iron, alternating the way curls fall (one section away from the face and the other toward the face) for added movement. Once all of hair has been curled, gently brush through strands with fingers to break up any tighter coils. Set with hairspray.

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: The glimmer of a jeweled neckline reflects light up onto hair to enhance shine.


Subtract Years: Gabrielle Union's Asymmetrical Crop

BEFORE: Ultra-long textured locks that cascade past the bust cause the eye to scan all over, emphasizing a fuller face for a more bloated appearance.

NOW: An uneven bob that’s beveled on one side causes the eye to scan vertically to stretch and slim, shedding “pounds” and years from the face, says hairstylist Daniel Koye, who’s worked with Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Williams. And the angular cut “chisels” cheekbones and infuses strands with youthful edge.

GET THE LOOK: Ask your stylist for a blunt asymmetrical bob with lightly textured ends and sideswept bangs.

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: Brush on a rosy blush. The pop of color on cheeks directs the eye up for an instant face-slimming effect.


Subtract Years: Mary Steenburgen's Bouncy Bob

BEFORE: Too much hair hanging heavy on the temples, brow and near the mouth acts like an arrow pointing directly at fine lines and wrinkles around the face, says hairstylist Carrie Butterworth, who has worked with Sigourney Weaver and Mena Suvari. Plus, the weight of overly textured strands tends to cast dark shadows onto skin, adding years to the complexion.

NOW: The soft movement of a light, swingy bob directs focus away from any aging facial flaws. What’s more, lighter, wispier bangs open up the face, allowing light to reflect onto skin to brighten the complexion and blur lines.

GET THE LOOK: Ask your stylist for a bob with long, blended layers that rest one inch under the chin with angled ends and soft, brow-skimming fringe.

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: Work a shine serum into hair. The added luster helps hair look silky, plus reflects light onto skin to boost radiance.


Subtract Years: Sharon Stone's Plumped Pixie

BEFORE: A frizzy one-length cut that fans out from cheek to jawline pulls the eye from side to side, creating the illusion of width that makes the face look fuller and the neck appear thicker. Plus, the lack of dimension causes hair to fall flat, leaving locks that look thin and limp.

NOW: Cropping tresses into an ear-length pixie directs the eye vertically, optically elongating the face and neck. And the more layered style infuses fine tresses with volume-boosting dimension.

GET THE LOOK: Ask your stylist for a pixie with wispy, graduating layers that are long enough on the sides to be tucked behind ears.

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: The open style of a V-neck top “extends” the area so the neck looks longer and leaner.


Subtract Years: Rita Moreno's Piecey, Feathery Layers

BEFORE: The lack of movement in a dated helmet-like style leaves locks looking dull while the flat ’do directs the eye down, putting focus on a saggy jawline.

NOW: “Texture from piecey layers creates volumizing depth and adds a hint of modern edge to the shorter cut to prevent it from looking matronly,” says celebrity hairstylist Carrie Butterworth. “Plus, the added lift takes attention away from pesky agers like sagging skin.”

GET THE LOOK: Run a flatiron through one-inch sections of hair, flicking the wrist outward at the ends for a flipped texture. Finish by working a dime-sized amount of pomade, like Kenra Professional Clear Paste 20 ($13.69, Amazon) through ends to define sections even more.

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: Sporting a pair of bold specs adds fun flair, and the pop of color keeps hair and skin from blending together for a lively boost.


Subtract Years: Sandra Bullock's Side-Parted Strands

BEFORE: “The more linear look of a center part can help slim the face, but the vertical pull tends to drag facial features down with it, so they appear drawn and droopy,” says Butterworth.

NOW: Switching hair to a deep side part allows it to skim over — and emphasize — features like eyes and cheekbones for an instant facelift. What enhances the youthful effect? Styling in effortless waves. Bonus: Pulling the bulk of locks to one side creates the illusion of even fuller hair!

GET THE LOOK: Create a deep side part that lines up with the arch of the brow. Then wrap three to four sections of hair around a one-inch curling iron, leaving ends out (this keeps curls from looking too structured). Brush through curls with fingers; set with hairspray.

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: Smaller earrings that “crawl” up the ear keep the eye moving upward, giving beautiful features the spotlight.


Subtract Years: Kelly Ripa's Honey Blond Hue

BEFORE: “The harsh, icy, blue-based pigments in an ashy blond hair color contrast with the warmer tones in a golden complexion,” says colorist Mike Petrizzi, who’s worked with Mandy Moore and Joan Jett. This ends up accentuating any discoloration and creases on the skin.

NOW: Switching to a golden-based hue leaves a soft warm cast that complements the complexion, so skin looks more even, lines get “blurred” and the face simply glows.

GET THE LOOK: Use a dye that has the word “golden” on the box, like Garnier Nutrisse #93-Light Golden Blonde ($6.87, Amazon), avoiding ones labeled “ash.” Apply from roots to ends, combing through to ensure even distribution. Let sit 30 minutes; rinse.

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: A nude lipstick that’s one shade lighter than lips’ natural color adds warmth without overwhelming the complexion.


Subtract Years: Glenn Close's Sleek Silver Shade

BEFORE: Since gray hair lacks pigment, it tends to pick up tones from harsh shower water, product residue, and even air pollutants, leaving behind a yellow tinge. This causes strands to look “old,” dirty and dull. Another downside? The yellowing in hair can make skin appear sallow.

NOW: “The vibrance of a snowy silver hue not only refreshes and rejuvenates hair, it shines a spotlight onto skin for an instant brightening effect overall,” says Petrizzi. “The boost in luster also helps thinner tresses appear plumper.”

GET THE LOOK: Mix a dime-sized amount of hair lightener, like Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener ($11.99, Sally Beauty), with a palmful of shampoo, then lather into wet hair. Let sit 10 minutes; rinse. Says Petrizzi: “The lightener’s peroxide fades any yellow to reveal a beautiful silvery shade.”

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: Dot a shimmery silver shadow at the inner corners of the eyes. The light-reflecting pigments brighten eyes so they look wide-awake.


Subtract Years: Patricia Heaton's Dark Auburn 'Gloss'

BEFORE: A combo of gray roots and faded dye not only leaves hair looking drab, the lack of oomph draws attention to sparse spots on the scalp and around the temples, says colorist Rick Wellman, who’s worked with Tina Fey and Mariska Hargitay.

NOW: The deep, dark tones of a rich auburn hue create a shadow-like effect that “fills in” sparse spots, masking thinning and visu- ally thickening hair. An added perk? The red undertones impart a fresh flush onto skin.

GET THE LOOK: Opt for a color formula that’s enriched with avocado and grapeseed oils, like Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Color Crème in #452-Dark Reddish Brown ($6.97, Amazon).

AGE-DEFYING BONUS: The blue-based pigments of a light-pink lip gloss cancel out any discoloration in teeth for a megawatt smile! Both oils are packed with fatty acids that hydrate and nourish to ensure hair retains healthy luster. Simply apply the dye from roots to ends, then brush through hair with a wide-tooth comb to evenly distribute color. Let process for 30 minutes, then rinse.

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