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The right hairstyle can knock years off your appearance, so it pays to give it the royal treatment, says Kate Lovelace
Telltale signs of ageing are often most apparent on the face. But could your hairstyle be adding years to your looks? Experts say it could be.
"The most important thing for any woman is to ensure that their hair is healthy and shiny," says Emiliano Vitale, creative director of é Salon in Sydney. "Frizzy, messy hair makes you look old and unkempt. Fresh, shiny hair exudes youth."
Make an appointment at the hairdresser's today and opt for a style that suits your features. Here's your check list.
Healthy hair tips
- If you colour your hair, have it done professionally (if your budget permits). If you opt for a DIY colour, follow the packet instructions carefully and don't leave the dye on your hair for longer than is recommended.
- Have regular hair treatments in a salon, or at home, to nourish, fortify, strengthen and add shine to your locks.
- Choosing the right products for your hair type can be tricky. Strong conditioners, for instance, sound appealing but these may weigh the hair down, making it look like it's lost its vitality. Ask your hairdresser about what products are suitable for you.
- Regular brushing and scalp massage will increase and maintain hair shine. Brushing your hair in the morning as well as at night will also prevent tangles from forming.
- Try Kérastase Résistance Bain Age Recharge shampoo, $33.50, and Kérastase Résistance Bain Age Recharge Masque, $55. These products act as an anti-ageing potion for the hair and work to smooth coarse locks and relax tight scalps.
"A sweeping fringe can instantly take years off your face," says Clare McGrowdie, senior stylist at Gallo Hair in Sydney. "It hides the forehead, and acts like instant Botox for any unwanted lines and wrinkles!"
- A fringe that rounds off and finishes at the cheekbones immediately slims the face.
- A short fringe (one that you can see the forehead through) makes a rounder, smaller face appear elongated.
Need to know
For the perfect fringe, brush it forward and blast with a hairdryer pointed downwards. Smooth the fringe at the front, before sweeping it to your desired direction.
Forget the myth that hair should be cut short once you reach the other side of 40. "As long as the ends of the hair are thick, you're okay. But beware of ends that are weak and stringy, as this could age you," explains Vitale.
- Longer, layered styles that create shape around the face help to accentuate your best features, and detract from the ones you wish to hide, like wrinkles.
- If you want to bring out your eyes, get a fringe cut.
- If you want to accentuate your cheekbones, have the layers in your hair cut starting at the cheekbones.
- If your hair isn't naturally thick, try using extensions. You can have these attached in a salon or you can do it yourself (which is a cost-effective option). Headlines Hairpieces have a range of extended hair pieces and volumisers that start from $165.
"If your hair is looking straggly and needs a pick-me-up, then try a shorter style. It lifts the face and neck, giving you a youthful boost. So it not only gives you a whole new look, but also makes you feel 10 years younger," says McGrowdie.
- Variations of the "bob" work rather well and look youthful.
- When your neck starts to age, a style that promotes softness around the nape and is visible behind the ears from the front is most flattering.
- If you're going for the big chop, ask your hairdresser for advice on a style that will suit your face shape.
"Keeping hair soft and bouncy makes you look younger," says Marie Uva, creative director of Rokk Ebony in Melbourne. "Stay away from long, straight styles with a single part down the middle," she warns.
- Try a style with body, layers around the face and a long fringe.
- Full barrel curls, which can easily be created by using a hair straightener (such as a GHD) or rollers, instantly soften the face and slim the features.
- Make sure you finish your style with a shine spray. It makes the hair appear healthier and more youthful. Try Wella Delva Leave-in Spray SheenTreatment, $18.50.
Need to know
For soft, bouncy curls, apply a volumising spray through the hair before styling. Try Wella High Hair Ocean Spritz Strong Control, $21.50. Wrap pieces of hair around a curling iron then gently release curls. Once you have finished, blast hair with a hairdryer to create a natural fullness.
"Lighter hair tends to enhance and soften the face more than darker hair," says Belinda Jeffrey, Clairol Nice 'n Easy colourist ambassador. Here are Jeffrey's tips for how the right hair colour can make you appear younger.
- A creamy, sun-kissed hair colour softens the skin tone for a more youthful appearance.
- Lightening the eyebrows by one or two shades can create a younger look.
- Putting highlights through hair will give you a modern and younger-looking appearance. Solid colours tend to look harsher on the skin.
- Brunettes should stick to warmer hues like chestnuts and chocolates, rather than blue-blacks which are not very forgiving on the skin.
- In the red family, choose coppers and strawberry tones because these are much more complimentary than garnets or mahoganies, which tend to bring out lines, wrinkles and darkness around the eyes.
Another great trick is to pull your hair back into a chic, stylish, low-slung ponytail. "By doing this, you actually give yourself an instant facelift! It pulls in the corners of the eyes and the temples, giving you tighter skin in that area. And by lifting the back and neck area, it gives you an instant chin lift, too," says McGrowdie.
- For a youthful look, allow for a little softness around the forehead, like a fringe or some strands, but make sure the hair on the sides and back is relatively tight.
- Some light teasing of the hair will soften and add fullness to a ponytail. To tease tresses, section the hair from the temple to the crown and backcomb a little at a time. Then gently brush back and sweep into a ponytail.
- Secure using a snag-free elastic or add a hair accessory to dress up for the evening. Mimco have a great selection of hair accessories from $20.