Short Hair to Look YoungerQ: I am a 40+ woman and I feel too old for my long hair. Actually, I think that my hair makes me look older than I really am. It’s a little over shoulder length and straight (blunt cut), with bangs. My face is squarish and my neck is rather long. I have always been interested in pixie cuts. I think that they are so cute! I think that I’m ready for a pixie, but I would like to go short gradually - maybe in 2 or 3 steps. A drastic change might be too frightening. What in-between steps would you advise and what elements do I have to keep in mind (especially for the final result, the pixie) to make sure that the shorter haircuts make me look younger. Do I need layers, graduation...?
A: There’s actually a little more to determining whether a given style will work for someone than simply face shape, neck length and wave pattern. But let’s assume that the other factors (hair texture and hair density) are sufficient to support a shorter haircut. That way we can focus on the basics for gradually transitioning to a pixie cut as you wish.
First we’ll discuss the easiest steps for transition cuts, then we’ll look at the things to keep in mind to make sure your new look(s) is flattering and makes you look younger.
The first step for you, given your statement of more than shoulder-length, blunt-cut hair with fringe would be to bring the cut up to perhaps just below the chin and begin incorporating a little internal layering. This allows you to even out the bulk of the hair, and style it with a little more texture provided that your hair has some body to it naturally. If your hair is “stick straight” (such as is often found in Asian-ethnic hair types) you can keep the smoother styling and vary the cutting line along the bottom of the style using a slight angle.
As a next step, perhaps you can go with an angled bob and steeply layer the back of the hair, to build up a taper to the occipital bone. This would bring your hair to the short lengths you want at the back of the style and leave the final stage of transition as the pixie cut itself.
That being established, the things you want to remember when planning a dramatic change in hairstyle are that the style should be one to flatter your features, as well as work with your face shape and proportions. Look closely at yourself in the mirror and be evaluative. Pull your hair back from your face and look at the particulars of your features. Are your features sharp, or rounded? Do you have pronounced laugh lines or crows’ feet? These are some of the extra factors that will really help you select a flattering, youthful look.
If you have sharp, strong features and prominent lines around your mouth or eyes, then you want to keep the cut and style looking “soft” with some curves and lightness around the perimeter of the cut. Avoid strong cutting lines, and opt for wispy bangs and curved bangs to help provide balance.
If your features are more rounded, such as a button nose or large eyes and apple cheeks, then you can aim for sharper texturing and some steeper angles in the cut. Finding the perfect balance is about camouflaging the things we want to obscure, while enhancing the features we consider most appealing.
Hairstyles to look younger
Raspy short hair for 40+ women