The dos and don'ts of ageing hair

There’s a reason hairdressers play such a big role in makeover shows. The right haircut and colour can transform your look and really boost your confidence – especially as we get older (which is something to be celebrated, of course).

“Our hair is an integral part of how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us,” says Nick Willis, master stylist at Charles Worthington Salons. “We want to look and feel our best, and that includes looking and feeling our age, or maybe even younger! What we don’t want is hair that ages us.”

That doesn’t mean you have to eliminate any trace of grey, however. Nor do you have to keep up with modern trends at all costs – it’s about deciding what’s best for you.

Here, hair pros offer their expert advice for making the most of your locks at any age.

1. Find your perfect shade

“The wrong hair colour for your skin tone is the biggest mistake we make in terms of your hair ageing you,” says Mr Willis. “As we age, our complexion evolves and we tend to lose pigment, known as melanocytes; this can make us look less radiant if we are choosing the wrong hair tones.”

While on some people, grey hair is “a statement and looks fabulous”, on others it can “sap the radiance from you and can make you look older”.

And cool-toned blonde shades can have the same effect, adding subtle sun-kissed low lights can be a great option to soften the blonde, as well as using a conditioner with a hint of gold.

For grey hair, using a purple shampoo can make it look fresh, cool and bright, which will also brighten the complexion.

Read: Keep grey hair looking healthy

2. Choose the right length

Gone are the days when women over 50 were expected to chop their locks into a prim and proper bob. Just look at 56-year-old Sarah Jessica Parker and her beautiful cascading waves.

“I believe longer hair is anti-ageing,” says Mr Willis. “I would recommend that my client keeps their hair at a mid to long length. With the right shape and layering techniques, you will have movement and volume, both huge factors in looking and feeling younger.”

That said, if you feel fab with a short, sassy do, go for it.

Sam Hillerby, a hairstylist at John Frieda Salons, says: “Change up your style and create a more youthful, modern look by going for the big chop – think Helen Mirren or Judy Dench style. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, then add choppy layers to give texture and volume.”

Read: Six hairstyle mistakes we’ve probably all made

3. Get a confidence-boosting cut

“I believe that hair doesn’t have age,” says hairstylist Paco Latorre. “If you want long or short hair, vivid colour or natural colour effect, one length or lots of texture and shaggy or vintage style … doesn’t matter your age, it has to match with your personality.”

Talk to your hairdresser about a style that’s flattering for your face shape and hair texture. Hair gets finer as we get older and pulls the face down. The texture can change and become frizzy, so it might be good to avoid blunt cuts such as a bob at the jawline. Go for a slightly longer length with some soft layers to create a fuller look. Style it with a lightweight oil that will not weigh the hair down but boost the hair with shine.

Mr Willis adds: “Have the right cut that suits your face shape but also a cut that suits your lifestyle – feeling comfortable in your skin (and hair!) will make you radiate a youthful confidence.”

4. Look after your locks

Mr Latorre says: “The most important thing, no matter the colour and style you have, is to take care of the health of your hair. Like we take care of our skin and face, we have to do with our hair.”

Mr Willis agrees: “Shiny, healthy-looking hair makes you look younger. Use repairing and moisturising treatments at home and ask your stylist which are the best restorative products for your hair type.”

Read: Is your hairbrush behind your bad hair day?

To counteract dryness, try using less shampoo and more conditioner as well as getting a haircut at least every three to four months. Also, be gentle with your tresses to avoid damage: don’t use an excess of thermal tools, and avoid pulling your hair too tight.

Have you changed your hair in the past few years? Do you like to keep it long or have you chopped it off? Let us know in the comments section below.

– With PA

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Written by Katie Wright

Fashion and beauty editor at the Press Association.

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