I don't know about you, but the past year has felt long. I've got more grey hair and more wrinkles, and despite going to bed earlier, I'm still tired. There's no denying that I've felt like I've aged faster in lockdown. While there's nothing inherently wrong with this (I have no issues with changing hair colour or a few lines on my face), the speed at which it has happened has been a little disconcerting. I want to feel like myself again, and for me, that means getting a haircut.
Over the past few months, I've lost count of the number of people who have said their hair needs cutting, from my husband to my colleagues as well as my parents. The craving to get a chop has been strong. Personally, I'm desperate to get my hair cut back into a bob. I want to feel like that new and improved version that always comes post-chop. I don't think I'd be exaggerating to say that a visit to the hairdresser can be transformative. Both physically and emotionally.
With this in mind, I spoke to two expert hairstylists—Peter Burkill and Efi Davies, the international artistic director for Toni&Guy—on the haircuts to go for at your next appointment. Plus, they told us which cuts will make us look and feel more youthful to combat all the accelerated ageing we feel like we've undergone (although, I'm certain that's not really the case).
First, it's important to assess your hair before you even book that appointment. "Unlike skincare, most people I've spoken to haven't spent as much time on their hair routine," says Burkill. "Before you go to the salon, leave-in conditioners and weekly masks will make your hair look much healthier," he advises.
Burkill also says that "to get the best out of your hair, it needs to be in good condition. Whether you've got fine, thick, curly or Afro hair, you need to work with a conditioning product and properly work it through the hair." Burkill recommends Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair for all hair types, and "if the hair is tightly curled, you can also try Aveda's Nutriplenish Leave-In Conditioner to help define curls." Ultimately, says Burkill, if your hair is in good condition, you'll save yourself a couple of inches, and you might also find you like your hair more.
Second, you want to think about how much you want to cut off. "The first thing I assess when you sit in my chair is working out you as a person," says Davies. "After that," she says, "I assess your facial characteristics and the hair texture and go from there on what would suit you the best." While you should always have a good idea of what you love and by all means take in a few looks you love, it's always best to chat with your hairdresser first on the overall style you're trying to achieve.
Once you've considered all the above, it's worth noting that there are a couple of cuts and styles that will help give you that youthful look you're hunting for. Keep scrolling for some inspiration.
1. The Mid-Length Cut
"I want to get away from the myth that the older you get, the shorter you need to go with your hair," says Davies. "If you like having longer hair, then don't go short. What really suits most people of any age and makes you feel great is a mid-length haircut. Try it just above or below the shoulder, as it can help to extend the facial characteristics and elongate the neck, which looks incredible."
Davies also says it's worth experimenting with texture in a lob, and giving your hair added volume will also make it appear more youthful.
We love this blunt cut with face-framing layers.
Hair cut just below the shoulders is a great way to keep length in your hair, while making it look thicker.
We're screenshotting this incredibly cool mid-length haircut.
Mid-length hair with flicked ends looks endlessly stylish.
2. Fringes and Soft Layers Around the Eyes
For a super-quick way to immediately lift your look, "try soft '70s bangs," says Burkill. "The fringe will draw the eye up. You can also try shorter lengths around the eyes to accentuate your face."
Davies also recommends playing around with a fringe, although she says to not go too high, and go for softer layers around the face to enhance your eyes.
Not ready for a full fringe? Shorter layers around the face make for a stylish middle-ground.
We love the way the fringe blends effortlessly into the rest of the lengths.
3. Short But Thick at the Back
If you're really desperate to go short, Davies suggests keeping it thick at the back is key to making it appear youthful. "If you’re a bit concerned with hair texture, you can achieve beautiful volume with the way you place graduation at the back."
For curly and oily hair, it doesn't get much better than Shea Moisturie's products, which leave lengths hydrated, conditioned and defined.
If your hair has been treated with colour, or you use a lot of heated styling tools on your lengths, then you'll love the repairing and softening effects of this restorative hair mask.
Next up, the low-maintenance skincare routines that actually work.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.