Age-Defying Hairstyles

See three chic looks that practically turn back time

While skincare and nutrition get a lot of attention from anti-aging experts, there’s another way you can instantly turn back the clock—your hairstyle! Whether your locks are long, mid-length or short, these techniques will take years off your look.

1. Mid-Length with Face-Framing Layers

How It Takes Years Off: “On most women over 40, long hair that’s all one length tends to drag the face down, partly because hair thins as we age,” says Jennifer Lawrence, senior hairstylist at the Louis Licari Salon in New York City. “A midlength style with strategically cut layers softens and frames the face, and is more sophisticated and sexy.” Jet Rhys, stylist and owner of Jet Rhys Hair Salons in San Diego, says, “This is the perfect length for almost any face shape or hair texture.”

What To Ask For: A midlength bob (no longer than the collarbone) with some longer layers hitting at the cheekbone or jawline.

Style Tip: “Twist damp hair into a loose knot, let it dry, undo the knot and let hair fall into soft, natural waves,” says Lawrence. “The movement of layers will distract people from things like crow’s feet.”

2. Short with Volume at the Crown

How It Takes Years Off: A short length—like a gamine pixie cut or a bob with longer layers on top, enough to tuck behind your ears— opens up the face and highlights your cheekbones. And a little height at the crown serves as an instant facelift, drawing attention upward.

What To Ask For: A cut with a little length on top gives hair softness and swing—both of which are key to making you look younger. (A too-short, too-cropped style can look dated—and put fine lines and sagging skin on display.) “Ask your stylist to point-cut—chip into the ends, rather than cut them straight across—the outer edges of your hair on the sides and at the nape,” says Rhys. “This prevents sharp, barbered lines.”

Style Tip: Spritz a thickening spray (try Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray) at the roots, and use your fingers to lift the base of the hair as you blow-dry, says Rhys.

3. Brow-Skimming, Sideswept Bangs

How It Takes Years Off: “Bangs are better than Botox,” jokes Rhys. “They add youthfulness to your face, hide fine lines on your forehead, play up your eyes, draw attention to your cheekbones and give any old hairstyle a new look.” Even if you have curly hair, adds Lawrence, you can easily blow-dry a front section to make it look smooth.

What To Ask For: Have your stylist point-cut bangs just below your brow to create a chunkier texture; avoid a heavy Cleopatra bang that’s cut straight across. “A longer fringe cut at a slight angle, swept over to one eye, gives a nice symmetry and softness to the face,” says Rhys.

Style Tip: To avoid a ’70s-era bubble bang, direct the dryer nozzle down as you brush back and forth like a windshield wiper with a flat brush (try CHI Air Expert Paddle Brush), says Rhys.

Photos: Sergio Kurhajec/Woman’s Day