The most flattering hair ideas for every age
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 20s: Softened pixie
Your 20s may be a decade of experimentation and finding yourself. That, however, shouldn't apply to your hair. Here, a collection of cuts so flattering, you'll want to stick with them into your 40s.
Supershort hair, like this pixie, can still be long on style and individuality. "Michelle, Miley, Anne—all short hair, but they're totally different women. This cut lets your personality really come through," says hairstylist Chris McMillan. To keep this look both young and versatile, he recommends keeping hair longer on top, with soft edges along the back and around the ears. Whether you're opting for clean precision or windblown ease, massaging in a light-weight styling cream, like Living Proof Amp2, will temper unruly curls andgive shape to finer strands. "You can camouflage a wide forehead with long bangs, but think about any features you'd rather deemphasize, because this cut keeps you pretty exposed." And though he admits pixies aren't for the faint of heart, or head, don't be too precious about the style, cautions McMillan. "You can change it up for any occasion," he says. "Making a deep side part and sweeping bangs across your forehead will look very lady, and finger-styling it a bit messy gives you a chic edge."
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 20s: Razored bob
We've said it before, but it bears repeating: The lob, or long bob, flatters everyone. (Yes, everyone.) It can be swept into an updo or messy ponytail, and looks perfectly tousled in the morning. For the most movement (and the least amount of maintenance), stylist Riawna Capri, who works with Julianne Hough, recommends a shoulder-grazing cut with gently razored ends. "It'll appear clean, but still have shape." With your fingers, concentrate a texturizing cream, like Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine, on the ends for some separation that's soft but not spiky.
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 20s: Midlength layers with heavy, side-swept bangs
Not all of us are spending weekends posing for swimsuit shoots like Kate Upton, but that doesn't mean we can't model her lush layers and long bangs. "This cut is all about perimeter and internal layers," says Peter Butler, the hairstylist behind it. How exactly does one create internal layers, you might wonder? Butler does this by leaving the top layer of hair long and ones underneath just a touch shorter. It's the key to movement, volume, and saving time, he says—and the perfect cut for someone whose hair tends to fall flat. "The choppier pieces underneath help retain lift and shape," Butler says. Keep stands looking bouncy by massaging a volumizing mousse, like Leonor Greyl Mousse Au Lotus Volumatrice, into damp hair. While the wavy shape and framing bangs flatter most face shapes, ladies with heavy curls or unruly waves should play around with more length. "Keep the perimeter strong and layers longer," Butler suggests. "If you cut anything above the chin, your hair will pouf up."
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 20s: Long and layered
A head full of sexy, choppy layers adds tons of volume, says hairstylist Mark Townsend, who works with Jennifer Lawrence. "The key to keeping hair long is health," he says, recommending an eighth-inch trim every two months. No matter what your hair texture, ask for chest-length hair with light layering only at the bottom to preserve that beachy fullness—especially if you have a natural waves like Lawrence. If your hair is thin, adding soft layers just under the jawline will create enough shape that you can still mimic Lawrence's volume. Finish the look by misting Sally Hershberger Genius Spray Wax over the head, focusing on the ends. ("Very Kate Moss in the 90s—piecey, and no barrel curls allowed.") If hair starts to look a little limp, freshen up roots with Dove Dry Shampoo at night before bed and give your head a good shake in the morning. Katniss Everdeen–approved.
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 20s: Long and layer-free
The absence of face-framing layers in the front opens up the face, making this a versatile cut for almost any face shape. Just ask Mila Kunis: If you've got wide cheeks and soft, nonangular features, hair that hits below the shoulders can lengthen the face's shape and camouflage roundness. Ask for baby layers at the ends, rather than choppy ones. "Without many layers, a smooth finish with tons of shine is essential," says Mara Roszak, who works with Kunis. True minimalists might opt for a middle part, but adding bangs—like those Roszak cut for Emma Stone—can take the edge off. One caveat: this cut isn't for every hair texture. Women with very thick or curly hair (or those who aren't ready to commit to their flatirons) should try a style with layers. And those with superfine hair run the risk of this style falling flat.
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 30s: Softened pixie
A woman's 30s are a busy decade—careers take off, dating gets serious, and families get started. Your haircut needs to keep up. We rounded up five styles so gorgeous, you'll be looking forward to your next birthday.
A short cut is perfect for women who are on the move, says hairstylist Bridget Brager. While this cut isn't exactly wash and go, your drying time will be seriously reduced. But not all pixies are created equal: Ask your stylist for layers that, in Brager's words, "melt—they're barely noticeable, and keep the sides from looking choppy or poufy." All it takes to style is a bit of pomade (we love Göt2b Defiant Define + Shine Pomade) or, for those with heart-shaped faces, a spritz of volumizing spray, such as Alterna Bamboo Volume 48-Hour Sustainable Volume Spray, to give the roots a boost. The goal is for this to look effortless, so those with coarse, curly hair may want to avoid, as it will require lots of styling. "It's such a confident style," she says. "And at 30, that's how you should be."
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 30s: Graduated bob
Dockery may play an Edwardian lady in Downton Abbey, but her haircut is far from stuffy—or worse, soccer mom–ish. "It's a beautiful way to do a bob," Brager says. "Shorter in back and slightly angled in front, it has so much volume and shows off her natural texture." A bonus? It's easy to style (and flatters just about every face shape and hair texture). Just blow-dry with a diffuser until it's about 60 percent dry, then let your natural texture take care of the rest. Curl a few face-framing pieces, and run a pomade, such as Wella Professionals Texture Touch Reworkable Clay, through the ends to make them look piecey.
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 30s: Blung bob
"The common thread with all of these styles is that they look so effortless, but put together," Brager says. "A collarbone-length cut is one of the most versatile. You can wear it up or down without it getting in the way." For those with round or heart-shaped faces, ask your stylist for a version that's all one length with blunt ends. If your face is oval or square, request a few face-framing layers to give it dimension and accentuate your cheekbones. Those with thicker hair will also want to ask their stylist to thin it out, eliminating bulk (and any chance of helmet head). All this cut needs for that tousled finish is a little volumizing spray, such as Fekkai Advanced Full Blown Volume Lifting Hairspray, before blow-drying. Spritz from the roots to midshaft, Brager says.
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 30s: Tousled layers
"When you're younger, you want to make a statement," Brager says. "In your late teens and 20s, you try every trend and fry the crap out of your hair. For your 30s, you want your hair to do its own thing, not be overdone." And Saldana does just that with this wavy, medium-length cut. Because of its length, anyone can pull off this cut—heart-shaped or square face, coarse or fine hair. Using your natural part, ask for layers that start at your chin. "They make waves look even more bouncy," she says.
The 5 best haircuts for women in their 30s: Long layers with soft bangs
Now, we're not saying you should try fringe as a way to cover up signs of aging. There's actually a much better reason to give bangs a try: "They frame your best features," Brager says. Those with round faces can pull off straight-across styles, while others should go for a lash-grazing version that angles down at the corners. Long, below-the-shoulder layers are a perfect complement; just blow-dry smooth with a round brush (a little bend at the ends adds softness) and dab an oil, like L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil, at the ends for major shine. "It looks so healthy—and totally age appropriate," Brager says.