Hairstyles Perfect For Older Women Who Want To Stay Youthful

If there's one thing about our appearances that reveal our age, it's our hair. Over time, with life and hormonal changes, our hair may thin, change textures, or simply lose the volume it once had. But often times, it's not the state of our hair that shows our age. It's the style. Many of us spend time and money on skincare products and makeup that promise to make us look younger, not realizing that keeping a dated haircut is immediately revealing us. 

While there's nothing wrong with wearing styles from the past (especially if you love them), if you want hair that truly flatters your features at every age, there are a few looks that are sure to do the trick. Whether you're trying to go short for the first time, or looking for a new look to help you embrace your gray, fresh cut might be just what you need to bring that youthful spring back into your step.

Try a textured bob for easy, youthful locks

There's a reason so many celebs have rocked a textured bob at some point in their career. Along with being a fun, lively, style, a longer bob can work well on many different face shapes. "It's youthful because while it's a bob length, the layers around the face keep it soft and flowing without the usual angular lines of a bob, and the layers in the crown or around the perimeter give lift and movement," Brian Zinno, senior education director at Antonio Prieto Salon, told InStyle. And stylist and salon owner Nunzio Saviano clearly agreed while speaking to Reader's Digest. "Adding the right layers around the face will accentuate your best features, whether it's your cheekbones or jawline," they said. This style is great for those who don't want to spend hours upon hours styling their hair, as well as those who have a lot of natural texture they want to show off.

In fact, country superstar Carrie Underwood told Elle in 2016 that more age and responsibility was behind her decision to get her new signature bob. "Now that my hair is shorter, it's easier to fix, which was the whole point. Cutting my hair was a 'mom' move," she shared. "I could spend half an hour to blow it dry and have it be super long, or I could spend that time playing with my son, and I'd much rather do the latter."

Though a straight bob can also roll back the years

You don't have to style your bob with waves or curls to make this classic style appear youthful. You can also opt for a super sleek and chic bob which will also help to age down your appearance. Clearly, there's a reason why stars like Kelly Ripa, Victoria Beckham, and Jane Krakowski have all rocked straight and stylish bobs over the years.

"This look screams classic and sophisticated by accentuating your cheeks and overall bone structure," explained the co-founders of DreamGirls, Tonya Thompson and Sharie Wilson, while speaking to Reader's Digest. Just, not in a way that's going to add the years on. Instead, it's giving that youthful edge to your style because, as Thompson and Wilson shared, "It softens facial features and opens up the face." So, a sleek bob can actually visually soften the appearance of any lines or wrinkles on the face. Just remember when you style it to bring a little volume to the roots to avoid a flat, thin style, which can be aging.

There's also the asymmetric bob option

Yes, proving bobs really are a great way to go, there's yet another of these shorter styles that will have you dialing back the years. The asymmetrical kind. One of the big reasons this can be a great way to bring some youth to your hairstyle is because it will make thinner hair (which happens naturally over time) will look thicker with this cut. "A textured asymmetrical bob is another terrific choice for fine hair," Gina Rivera, celebrity hair stylist and founder of Phenix Salon Suites, told She Finds.

But it's not just thickness you're getting with this look, as it's also bringing the fun, youthful edge by keeping the sides of your hair at different lengths. "[It's] so hip that it's perfect for making our ladies in their prime look super chic," Rivera shared, noting that because an asymmetric look has a lot of movement to it, it only adds to that younger appearance. She added of the asymmetric element, "[That will] remove some of the damaged ends and weight," so will give you healthier, bouncier hair. And healthier hair makes for an all-round younger appearance.

Or go super short to bring youth and boldness to your style

Ruth Negga is one of the queens of the super short crop, and the star rocked amazing short hair around the time she turned 35. And her hairstylist, Vernon Francois, explained to Us Weekly that the look kept her looking and feeling young because she had plenty of texture in the crop. "Ruth's hair always looks refreshingly youthful because I like to experiment with texture," he said. "She knows what she likes and is very involved in the creative process and the look that she wants to achieve."

As Nunzio Saviano told Reader's Digest, not only will a super shortcut like this keep you looking youthful, but it also offers versatility and ease you may not even realize. "Pixies are much more versatile than people think," he shared. "You can wear it straight, curly, wavy or even smooth and slicked back." But, it goes without saying that this look is pretty bold and, while, of course, your locks will grow back, it's not for everyone. "You have to have self-confidence and want to make a statement for a pixie," he shared.

Asymmetrical bangs can also help to camouflage fine lines or wrinkles

As we get older, lines and wrinkles along the forehead are bound to become more prevalent. And they're certainly nothing to be ashamed of. But if you feel those natural signs of aging are making you look that bit older you may want to try cutting asymmetrical bangs into your look. "If you're worried about forehead lines, a very long bang that can be swept to the side is a good option. It's like a nice little bit of window dressing for the face," hairstylist Carrie Butterworth told Prevention.

Asymmetric bangs may be a better choice than bangs that are more on the blunt side, as straight bangs that create a solid line across the face can be a little harsh — so not so youthful. Equally, other types of bangs can be a little long so they close off the eyes, whereas eyes that look wider and are fully on show will give you a more youthful look.

While an ombre effect is a fun twist for a youthful glow (and so can highlights!)

Another way to bring a young vibe to your tresses is to play with color, and a style that's known to roll back the years is ombre. One of the reasons ombre is so effective is because it is a stereotypically younger trend, so you'll get some points for knowing what's hot today. Not to mention, doing something people wouldn't necessarily expect is always a good way to get in touch with your youthful side. "Keep pushing boundaries. Older doesn't equate to boring, so don't hesitate to try new styles," Michelle Sultan, creative director for Imbue Curls, told Reader's Digest.

Keep in mind though that to get the most of the ombre effect, you'll need slightly longer locks. Ombre can still look great on shoulder-length hair, but the longer your tresses are, the more you'll be able to see the effect in full force. If you don't have hair long enough for this look or don't want long locks, then highlights can be similarly de-aging. "Adding well-blended highlights can remove a monotonal style, adding dimension and texture," Milk + Blush hair expert Alice Dawkins told Express.

A shorter, rounded cut can also shave years off your look

Keeping your hair that bit shorter and curly, like a bob or a lob (that's a longer bob) can actually keep your face looking somewhat firmer. No wonder Meg Ryan has rocked such a similar look for so many years — it's clearly working for her! So many other people looking to bring a little youth back to their look tend to go for shorter locks over something longer, too. And there's a reason for that.

As Carrie Butterworth told Prevention, "Long hair drags the eyes down, emphasizing drooping facial features." In contrast, something that sits somewhere above the shoulders will help to give the appearance of plumper, more elastic facial features. Which means a more youthful and lifted appearance over all. "A shorter cut is a non-surgical facelift that draws the eye away from facial imperfections," she explained. Keeping your cut more rounded and your styling with more volume will also help to create a larger hair look, as thin hair can also be a tell-tale sign of aging.

But you can still go shoulder-length if you add some layers

According to Hayley Gibson-Forbes, director at S J Forbes, if you're trying to appear more youthful, it's a good idea to avoid styles that are overly blunt as this can look too severe on aging skin. "This is because, as we age, the plumpness in our face is reduced and our face shape appears more angular, so any style that accentuates these angles can have an aging effect," they explained to Good Housekeeping UK. Instead, they suggested "softly layered styles, rather than blunt cuts," like straight across fringe or a blunt bob. You can achieve this with shoulder-length hair by asking for your stylist to texturize the bottom of your hair to create a lightness at the botto. 

A side part is a quick way to age down your tresses

You don't have to take to the scissors to get a totally new style. Rodney Cutler, the founder and lead stylist at Cutler Salons, told Prevention that a quick and easy way to freshen up your look is by rocking a side part. Although the late 2010s had Gen-Z calling the look an immediate tell for one's age, the Y2k style made a comeback among celebrities 2021, proving it was fresher than ever. 

Along with helping you appear on trend, combing your hair to the side helps to maintain your style. "As we get older, our hair tends to be more prone to frizz and static," Cutler explained, noting that a shoulder-length style with a side part will help to keep the flyaways at bay. 

Stylists agree, pointing out that the once-cheugy style now connotes timeless glamour, but in a more youthful way. "A side parting can look even cooler [than a center part] with connotations of an '80s supermodel," Luke Hersheson, hair stylist and CEO of Hershesons, told Glamour UK.

Long, voluminous layers

For many people, wearing long hair can be a challenge, especially with thinning. But it's not impossible. As stylist Alice Dawkins put it to Express, to turn back the clock is to opt for a style with bounce and volume. This is because the added bulk subtly draws attention away from the face, where you may have fine lines or other signs of aging. It also makes your hair look full and lively. You can achieve this by opting for a cut that's just past the shoulders with lots of long layers. This allows you to easily style daily with a blow dryer, a round brush, and some mouse to create loose waves that naturally add bulk horizontally. To really play up the look, opt for foilyage style highlights that brighten your ends.

Dawkins also explained that those with shorter hair looking for adding fun and vigor can change things up with extensions. "Easy to apply to your hair and versatile, they are a perfect way to experiment with your look and try assorted styles," she said.