11 hairstyles that knock 10 years off your age

from left to right, Thandiwe Newton, Jennifer Coolidge, Rihanna and Selena Gomez

They say that age is just a number — and for many people, that number hardly describes them at all. Some of us just look younger than we are.

Others have embraced one of the open secrets of looking years younger: Their hairstyle does the work for them.

Could this method work for you? We spoke to six hair experts to learn exactly how this works — can your hair actually make you look more youthful? And if so, which styles have a way of taking years off your face?

All of the experts agreed that it was indeed possible, and they offered some real-life examples of this clever trick in practice. Read on to learn their secrets!

Short Hair

1. Chin-Length Bob

A haircut that lands at your chin looks sleek and snappy, which also translates to young.

“A classic bob cut just around the chin frames the face beautifully, highlighting the jawline and cheekbones,” says says Anna Peterson, a licensed cosmetologist and owner of Salon Route.

This type of cut also adds youthful volume (think bouncy), and it frames the face. “A bob is versatile and can soften features, making it a great choice for a youthful appearance,” says Kate Ross, a hair specialist at Irresistible Me, a company specializing in hair extensions and wigs.

MORE: Get the sleekest hair of your life with this cult-favorite smoothing shampoo

Can you believe that Robin Wright (below) is 57? Not with that chic haircut, you can’t!

Robin Wright

2. Pixie Cut

People often call a pixie cut a bold or brave choice, which may be why women with this short-and-sweet cut seem to exude confidence. 

“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but, done right…. wow!” says Natalie Crank, a hair salon owner and the director of HEIR Salon and Education. “The pixie cut accentuates the wearer’s defining features, their cheekbones, eyes and jawline.” And that, in turn, gives them a signature style.

And as with the chin-length bob, to have a trendy “look” is to give off a youthful vibe. “Pixie cuts can make one look more vibrant and energetic, significantly reducing years off one’s appearance,” says Ross.

Helen Mirren may have an ageless quality about her, but the short cut she’s rocking in the photo below is certainly playing its part in her cute and perky look.

Helen Mirren

3. Bouncy Curls

Coils that twist and twirl around your face just carry that vibrant lift of youth.

“Bouncy curls always reduce your age,” says Ghanima Abdullah, a cosmetologist and beauty consultant at The Right Hairstyles. “They are just too fun-loving.”

And they work on both long and short hair styles. Halle Berry’s curls are working overtime in the photo below, making the 57-year-old actress seem years younger.

Abdullah points out that bouncy curls are also a favorite look of 42-year-old Beyoncé.

Halle Berry

MORE: Get this Conair Curl Secret styling tool for under $60

Long Hair

4. Face-Framing Highlights

A surefire way to lend vitality to a hairstyle is to add various color dimensions. “Face-framing highlights reduce your age because they naturally appear on children,” says Abdullah.

The effect is even more pronounced when the highlights hit around the center of your face rather than the upper forehead. “Face-framing pieces around the eyes and cheekbones draw attention upwards, minimizing the look of wrinkles,” says beauty expert Houna Bech, the founder of With Houna.

Even subtly different shades of hair color around the face can add a sense of movement, which equates with vitality and youth. “Incorporating highlights or lowlights can add dimension and brightness to your hair, further enhancing your youthful glow,” explains Adam Garfield, the marketing director of Hairbro.

No doubt Jennifer Aniston (below) looks younger than her 55 years.

Jennifer Aniston

MORE: Watch Jennifer Aniston forget ‘The Rachel’ haircut she made famous in new ad

5. Beachy Waves

Loose waves are naturally playful, and they also happen to be trending now. Whether your hair is chin-length or down your back, adding some waves can make you look more relaxed.

And from a technical standpoint? “Loose waves will add the appearance of thickness, volume and texture,” says Crank.

There are no signs of age-related hair thinning on Jennifer Coolidge (below), who’s 62 years old!

Jennifer Coolidge

6. Messy Bun

Rihanna is only 35 years old, but she might as well be 20 in the photo below. A younger woman might also sport this expertly sloppy bun, and that’s the point.

“Sleek looks can be nice when you’re actually young because they make you look more mature,” says Abdullah. “Messy buns have an ‘I don’t care’ attitude that brings back your youth.”


7. Sleek Ponytail

For kids, ponytails keep their hair off their face. For adults, they can offer a tidy, clean, elegant style — but they can also make you look like a kid again.

“A youthful, swinging ponytail is just the thing to take off five or ten years,” says Garfield. To heighten the effect, heighten the ponytail.

“A high ponytail elongates the face and highlights cheekbones, offering a simple yet youthful appearance,” says Ross.

Jennifer Lopez may be 54 years old, but the ponytail denotes her youthful and energetic spirit.

Jennifer Lopez

8. Curtain Bangs

Curtain bangs happen to be on-trend, but they also serve a purpose for women concerned about wrinkles. “They can hide signs of aging around the forehead and temples,” says Ross.

Does 34-year-old Dakota Johnson have wrinkles under those long bangs? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, she looks stunning with this haircut.

Dakota Johnson

MORE: Claw clips are back—and they make styling your hair so easy

9. The Lob

Though the lob (the long bob) has been around for a while, it continues to be an incredibly popular style in 2024. And that’s good news for women who are intent on looking younger.

“Creating a collarbone-skimming, blunt baseline adds instant weight and thickness to the hairstyle, making the hair look fuller and the wearer more youthful,” says Crank.

You can enhance the youthful vibe by adding choppy layers that add movement. “The key is embracing natural texture — think tousled waves, piece ends, and effortless curls,” says Bech. “Texture lifts limp strands and adds body, creating a youthful vibrancy.”

With her lob, Selena Gomez (below) looks sophisticated without looking old. (Which she isn’t … she’s only 31.)

Selena Gomez

Braided Hair

10. Box Braids

Braids bring a natural sense of youthfulness for the obvious reason — children wear them. But they also have an unconventional, boundary-breaking vibe that tends to be within the domain of the young. Choosing to wear braids is a bold (and therefore youthful) way to move through the world.

“Braids, such as box braids or a crown braid, are not only protective styles but they also add a youthful, bohemian flair to any look,” says Ross. You can see this effect in action on 51-year-old Thandiwe Newton (below).

Thandiwe Newton

11. Crown or Soft Braids

Soft braids that crown the head call up a princess-like vibe — and princesses tend to be young. “Loosely styled braids, whether a fishtail or a simple side braid, suggest a carefree spirit,” says Peterson. “They work beautifully in adding a youthful touch to any ensemble.”

Anyone who’s seen “Barbie” knows that 33-year-old Margot Robbie has a naturally playful spirit, but the crown braid below enhances the effect.

Margot Robbie

What do you think? Will you be trying out any of these styles?

MORE: How to bring extremely dry hair back to life 

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About the Author
Jennifer Graham Kizer
Jennifer Graham Kizer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Health, Parents, Parenting, Redbook and TV Guide. Visit Scripps News to see more of Jennifer's work.

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