Classic Bob: What To Ask For
Forget the scalpel and submit to the scissors: These four flattering haircuts make you look younger. Here, celebrity hairstylist Jessica Gillin of the Marie Robinson Salon in New York City shares her pro secrets and expert tips for maximizing the youth-boosting power of a new 'do.
Go for an angled bob that grazes the bottom of your jaw in front and gets progressively shorter toward the back. If you have fine hair, ask to have the edges cut in a straight line; this will make hair look thicker. If you have coarse locks, soft layers throughout will keep a bob from looking bulky.
Classic Bob: Why It's Flattering
It gives the face an instant lift by drawing onlookers' eyes up the diagonal from the chin to the nape of your neck. "The angle creates the illusion of lifted cheekbones and a higher jaw, making the bob a great choice if your face is showing the effects of gravity and your skin is starting to sag," says Gillin.
Classic Bob: What To Avoid
Going too short The cut shouldn't rise above your hairline in the back, or the style will look messy once your fine baby hairs start growing in. And if you are heavier-set or have a round face, make sure the bob is not rounded. "An angled graduation of length will help give definition to your jawline," says Gillin.
Classic Bob: Styling Tricks
Blow-drying is essential to creating a bob's trademark polish. If your strands are thick, prep damp hair with a smoothing cream (those with thin strands can skip this step). Our pick: L'Oreal Paris EverStyle Smooth & Shine Creme ($7, drugstores). Wrap sections over a round brush and aim heat on top to smooth the cuticles. Finish with a flexible-hold hairspray. Try: Pantene Fine Hair Style Touchable Volume Hairspray ($4, drugstores).
Choppy Layers: What To Ask For
Ask your stylist to cut short, shaggy layers throughout your hair. "This look is heavily layered and all about having lots of defined, angled pieces," says Gillin, so specify that you want the layers to be chunky and square. The length of the style should hit around the middle of your neck.
Choppy Layers: Why It's Flattering
Multiple short layers create fullness and volume, making this a good cut for those whose hair is a bit thinner on the sides or on top. Long hair lies flat and can show the scalp, but short, shaggy layers throughout help hide thinness, says Gillin. They also add breadth to your face, counteracting gauntness.
Choppy Layers: What To Avoid
The wrong ratio of lengths "If the layers are too short on the sides and too long in the back, the cut will look dated," says Gillin. Prevent this "aging-rock-star" style by keeping the sides no more than half an inch shorter than the back, with the overall length proportional and about the same around your head.
Choppy Layers: Styling Tricks
Create definition to highlight choppy pieces. After blow-drying, warm a dime-size amount of a styling wax or pomade between your palms (this ensures even distribution). One to try: Samy Professional Dry Icing Instant Re-Styler ($10, Walgreens). Then flip your head upside down and work product through dry hair, starting at the underside and going all the way to the ends. This draws attention to the individual layers without weighing down the top and making hair flat.
Long Layers: What To Ask For
Request soft layers, subtly graduated. If your hair is thick, ask for face-framing pieces. Layers should graze the cheek, then gradually get longer. For thin hair, the front ones should be no shorter than chin length, which will keep ends from looking stringy. The cut should end around your collarbone.
Long Layers: Why It's Flattering
Long hair is youthful, but this tasteful length doesn't come across as "wannabe 20-something," says Gillin. It draws attention to and highlights the collarbone, a flattering area on women of any age. The soft layers in the front open up your face and make the style more modern than a blunt cut.