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The way a woman wears her hair is part of her identity. The cut, the color — even the way she parts it — contribute to her overall look. Like clothing and shoe styles, hairstyle trends change, and so does our hair’s texture and color as we age. Hairstyles that once brought out your eyes or enhanced the contours of your face may do the exact opposite now. Updating your look, making subtle changes, or choosing a whole new hairstyle, can enhance your appearance in ways you never expected.

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Super-long, one-length styles may make you look older

If your long hair is dry, thinning, or has no shape, your hairstyle may need an update. Or, if you pile your long hair in a bun on top of your head or pull it back in a tight ponytail every day, a new hairstyle may be a good idea. Long hair can also age you. Try a shorter haircut that brings back volume and gets rid of dry ends. The right cut flatters your face shape and brightens your skin tones. If you want to keep some length, opt for a long, layered bob or long layers that work with the natural pattern of your hair.

super long shape hair yuriyzhuravov / Getty Images
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Tight-perms damage hair health

Many women who’ve worn perms are choosing to ditch them as they get older. Instead of tight curls that require harsh chemicals, they’re opting for textured waves that use gentler chemicals and larger curling rollers. The result is a much softer, natural look that’s easy to style on your own once you’ve left the hairstylist’s chair. Textured waves make your hair look healthier, add just the right amount of volume, and can easily transition from a laid-back look to a more glamorous one. Plus, they work with longer styles as well as shorter and mid-length ones.

softer natural curl texture waves CoffeeAndMilk / Getty Images
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Blunt cuts and geometric styles may age you

Hairstyle gurus advise women to choose a cut that creates lift and movement around the face. Trimmed or choppy edges and layers accomplish the job and are easy to care for. Not all women can pull off blunt cuts and severe geometric styles like they did when the styles were at their peak. Tousled bobs soften facial contours. If you’re looking for a shorter cut, consider a French bob to add volume and texture.

blunt cuts trimmed french bob Hello World / Getty Images
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Try a different style of bangs

Different bang versions fall in and out of style. Chances are, you either love them, or you hate them. While bangs can be flattering, they can also accentuate wider faces. Audrey Hepburn’s baby bangs made a resurgence a decade ago, and then again in recent years, but they can be tough to pull off. Beautiful, thick, straight, big bangs like those Zooey Deschanel wears take a lot of work to keep them looking stylish. If you’ve always worn bangs and prefer to keep them, it may be time to go for a softer style. Consider a longer, side-swept version for a classic, sophisticated look that’s easier to style and maintain between trips to the salon.

softer side swept bangs ajr_images / Getty Images
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Move the mohawk forward

The mohawk is more than a hairstyle: it is a bold statement that speaks before you do. With more edgy hairstyles and color options than ever, the mohawk style had since lost its impact as a strong message decades ago. Today, more relaxed versions of the style, such as the faux-hawk, bowl cut, wedge, with a side shave or undercut, allow for more versatility and style variations.

Young hip black businesswoman using her cellphone. Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images
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Do away with complicated styling routines

There was a time when women suffered through long, difficult hair routines to create a specific look or to manage their everyday hairstyle. Weekly “set-and-style” trips to the beauty shop, sitting under a hairdryer, and using a can of hairspray were common practices. If it takes you an hour to style your hair every day, consider updating it with one that works well with scrunching and air-drying techniques, such as beach waves. Compact, structured styles add years to your appearance and hide your best features.

complicated styling techniques gaffera / Getty Images
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Keep the mullet, but update it

If you think of the 80s mullet as an iconic hairstyle that should never go away, you’re not alone. This hairstyle has its own fan club, and modern style icons sport a wide array of fun and interesting versions today. But if your mullet looks more like Billy Ray Cyrus’ and less like Miley’s version, you probably need some changes. Texture, balanced choppiness, and a textured fringe create a modern twist to the traditional mullet cut. Keep the sides longer for more of a retro-70s, shaggier look.

80s iconic hairstyle mullet miley Amy Sussman / Getty Images
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From Pixie to asymmetrical

The pixie cut is a traditional short style for women available in many variations, though it can be dated, and growing it out to a longer, layered, or bobbed look can be unpleasant at times. You may want to try an asymmetrical style for a fresh change, where one side is either slightly or drastically longer than the other. This style embodies an edgy and trendy appearance while giving most women various style options: a bit of curl or layers, or a bob on one side, tapering to a shorter, layered look on the opposite side.

A modern blonde woman in pink flamingo top posing in front of a blue wall in Hanoi City street redrooster2 / Getty Images
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Update those old-fashioned highlights

Highlights are meant to frame facial features and lend your look more dimension, but often, those effects are offset by incorrect coloring or a job so subtle it's difficult to notice. Strands should appear sun-kissed, seamless, and salon-approved, which is why it's probably time for an upgrade. New and improved techniques like balayage, babylights, and ombre build upon the existing canon of hair color, adding fresh, of-the-moment effects that make strands stand out from a distance. Up the ante by coloring locks a bold hue that's at least two shades lighter or darker than your natural color, or create drama by highlighting thicker, longer blocks of hair instead of thin strands.

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Scared of commitment? Try an app

Craving a major change but afraid to commit? That's no longer a problem. Give yourself a hair makeover instantly with easy-to-use apps like HairMakeover, Hairstyle Lite, Hairstyle Magic Mirror, and Modiface. Simply upload the selfie of your choice, and you can sample hundreds of shades, cuts, colors, and styles by placing them directly over your photo. Whether you want to wow the crowd with red locks or test out face-framing layers, all you need is a smartphone to update your style without stress.

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Take your head shape into consideration

You've probably noticed hairstyles that looked beautiful on someone else but didn't work so well with you. Wondering why? Your face and head shape play major roles. The ideal hairstyle frames your face perfectly, highlighting favorite features while distracting from those you like less. Just the same, the way your hair lies against the scalp impacts the contouring and dimension of any cut, so speak with a stylist to find the look that best suits your head shape. Those with a more rounded head, for instance, do well with multi-layered cuts; these thick strands create a slimming, more even effect from every angle.

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Shaved heads are easy maintenance without style options

At least once in a lifetime, some of us will try a full head shave. It's a great option for low maintenance or a fresh new start when hair is damaged or hard to work with after many treatments and dyes. A complete shave can be refreshing once or twice, though it doesn't leave much for styling options. If you're looking to go much shorter, consider a buzzed look with tapering on the sides, or grow out the top and maintain an undercut for easier maintenance. Shorter, buzzed styles are excellent for experimenting with different hair colors too!

Cheerful senior woman sitting on the couch at home, relaxing. Well dressed and confident. vitapix / Getty Imags
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The same old part is hard on your hair

If you've been wearing the same part since childhood, then you're long overdue for an upgrade. While it seems simple, changing your part can make a profound impact on your entire appearance, and it's healthier on hair, too. The longer you maintain the same part, the more your hair gets weighed down, resulting in breakage and weaker roots that will only get worse with time. Switching up your part delivers a whole host of benefits: it revives damaged strands, boosts volume, and gives your roots room to breathe. The best part? You can play up your look without committing to long-term, permanent changes.

straight symmetrical middle side part PeopleImages / Getty Images
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There is such a thing as too much volume

In the 1960s and 70s, big hair was iconic. Brigette Bardot, Raquel Welch, and a long list of supermodels inspired it. But the days of lacquered, teased-up hair have passed for the most part. While volume can be a good thing, overdoing it can cause women to look older than they are. Natural curls and waves enhance a woman’s hair texture and add movement and volume without all the fuss. Newer styling products are available that add oompf without causing stickiness or making your locks stiff and unmoving. Plus, they won’t damage your hair.

volume waves natural brunette Holubenko Nataliia / Getty Images
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Bohemian update to a layered style

Long hairstyles are beautiful and, at times, challenging to manage, especially if you have thick hair or tresses that are hard to tame. Various bohemian styles and ideas are fun and creative for a while, though they can become inconvenient when you want a faster and easier way to work with length. Long layers with or without bangs and even trimming the length by a few inches can make a major difference: you'll feel lighter and find easier styling solutions and working with your hair.

Close-up of bohemian woman with freckles wearing boho style silver turquoise rings and necklaces wundervisuals / Getty Images
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Refresh your Farrah Fawcett feathers

For decades, hairstylists have been updating and reimagining the flipped out, feathered locks that Farrah Fawcett unveiled on the television show, Charlie’s Angels. Because the style has re-emerged again and again each decade, some women have maintained the same look year after year. Without freshening it from time to time, your hairstyle may appear a bit dated. A medium-length cut, with a little volume at the roots and the sides flipped out, adds softness and revitalizes your look.

farrah flipped feathered medium redhead CoffeeAndMilk / Getty Images
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The “V” shape cut isn’t always flattering

While some may claim the “V” cut is timeless, many stylists disagree. To achieve this style, the stylist layers the hair in shorter lengths in the front and tapers to longer strands in the back, which create the signature “V” look. The problem is, as it grows out, the cut quickly loses shape, and the numerous layers around the front weigh down the hair. The ends frizz and the hair in the back looks more like a tail. Instead, use layers throughout to achieve a more flattering style that isn’t hard to keep up between cuts.

shorter front tail back haircut eclipse_images / Getty Images

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15. Go for a genderless style, and smash the patriarchy!

These days, there's really no such thing as "men's" and "women's" hairstyles. Women's hairstyles, whether they are traditional or edgy, tend to be geared towards a feminine look, complete with fashion and accessories. Why not take another direction, and try a completely new diversion from the expected? Many women are trying genderless styles, whether it's a crew cut or a similar cropped style. Sometimes, a drastic change from an overgrown bob or layered style is a sign that you're getting serious or about to make a big change!

Portrait of a punk woman Elisaveta Ivanova / Getty Images

Step away from the heat

In addition to slimming out your routine, stepping away from the heat tools helps restore your strands' health from root to tip, reviving any outdated hairstyle's appearance. Set aside time to moisturize, let it air dry, and give that trusted flat iron a break; if you can't eliminate tools completely, try a lower heat setting or reduced temperature, and time your usage accordingly. Ten minutes on low heat is much different than 30 minutes on high, so reduce time and temperature where you can.

After just a week or two away from the heat, your scalp's natural oils will start regenerating, strands will become softer, and you'll feel a noticeable improvement in the strength, hydration, and texture of your hair as a whole, with curls becoming springy and more defined over time. The longer you part from the heat, the better you'll achieve silky strands that look and feel salon-ready.


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