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13 Before-and-Afters That Prove a New Haircut Can Make You Look Years Younger

Take inspiration from these stunning age-defying styles for the next time you head to the salon

Getting a fresh haircut isn’t only a mood-booster — it can also help shed years from your overall appearance. Not ready to make a big snip? Even making a little tweak can be age defying. To see this for yourself, we gathered 13 of our favorite before and after photos of real-life women who were shot for our sister publication First for Women, real-life women whose stylists posted their photos on Instagram and photos of celebrities. Read on to get a glimpse of the hair transformations — one might just inspire your next haircut!

1. Haircuts to look younger: A piecey pixie

Mature woman with long hair
Mature woman after haircut with short hair

“Hair that’s all one length and falls way past the shoulders ends up pulling the eye down and causing features to take on a droopier appearance,” says Igor Santos, a hairstylist at Christo Fifth Avenue Salon in New York City, who transformed Elizabeth Clayton’s (above) look. But a pixie does the exact opposite as it directs focus upward for an instant optical­ face-lift.

What to ask for: A textured pixie with stacked layers that’s also longer through the crown and on the sides.

2. Haircuts to look younger: A modern shag

Mature woman before haircut with dark medium length hair
Mature woman after haircut with shag look

Wioletta Krygowska (above) took her locks from limp to luscious with this shaggy cut by hairstylist Ammon Carver, who’s worked with Kate Beckinsale and Molly Sims. Thanks goes to the style’s texture from choppy layers throughout. Plus, adding in sun-kissed highlights gives hair even more depth and dimension.

What to ask for: A shag with short layers, lots of texture and cropped in layers throughout the crown.

Related: Shag Haircuts for Women Over 50 Add Instant Pizzaz + Volume to Any Length Hair

3. Haircuts to look younger: A cheeky crop

Mature woman before her haircut to look younger
Mature woman with gorgeous after haircut that makes her look younger

A layered, ear-length crop as shown on Margo Feltman above creates volume at the crown that conceals any thinner spots. And the movement from layers and wispy bags also creates an overall more energized look.

What to ask for: A cut that sit just beneath the ears with stacked, graduating layers and wispy side-swept bangs.

4. Haircuts to look younger: A blunt bob

Mature woman with mid-length hair before transformation
Mature woman with lob haircut after

A short, bob style that ends right below the ear (as shown on Kambri Crews above) is not only the perfect low-maintenance haircut that takes 5 minutes to style, it’s also ultra-flattering. And pairing it with side-swept bangs brings attention to gorgeous eyes.

What to ask for: A rounded bob that skims the jaw with light layering and side bangs long enough to be tucked behind the ear.

5. Haircuts to look younger: A layered shoulder sweep

Side by side of before and after haircut

It’s amazing how a little bit of layering can make a huge difference as shown by this hair transformation by @dannyflawlesshair on Instagram. Layers beautifully frame the face and make hair look thicker by giving strands youthful movement. Bonus: A smooth blowout also helps blur any fine lines or wrinkles.

What to ask for: A shoulder-length cut with graduating face-framing layers and textured, point-cut ends

6. Haircuts to look younger: A sleek bob

Before and after photos of woman with long hair to bob cut.

Another long to short hair transformation — this one by @awalkinmycomb on Instagram shows how a haircut can create a surgery-free face lift effect. This short bob directs the eye vertically, pulling eyes and cheeks with it. And ends that flip in toward the face beautiful frame it to put a spotlight on gorgeous facial features.

What to ask for: A jaw-length bob that has a rounded shape and long, blended layers.

7. Haircuts to look younger: An asymmetrical crop

Mature woman with mid-length hair before and then asymmetrical pixie after.
Facebook/Center Street Glam

This hair transformation by @centerstreetglam on Facebook took years off this woman’s appearance. A slanted crop not only removes dead, scraggly ends to restore shine to hair, but it also visually lifts features likes eyes and cheekbones. What’s more, side bangs cleverly conceal forehead furrows.

What to ask for: An ear-length cut that’s longer on one side with side-swept bangs.

Related: Stylists Are Raving About Pixie Cuts for Women Over 60 — Here’s Why

8. Haircuts to look younger: A layered crop

Jean Smart with mid-length hair
Steve Granitz/Getty
Jean Smart after haircut that makes her look younger

“This shorter style on Jean Smart draws focus upward so features look lifted and youthful, while also visually elongating and slimming the face,” says hairstylist Carrie Butterworth, who’s worked with Sigourney Weaver and Mena Suvari. “And the layers’ texture ensures the shorter style looks more modern than matronly.”

What to ask for: An ear-length cut with soft, blended side bangs and choppy layers throughout.

9. Haircuts to look younger: Layers + curtain bangs

Heidi Klum with long, straight hair
Heidi Klum with curtain bangs

Heidi Klum above is proof of how snipping in bangs and face-framing layers can take long locks from blah to beautiful. And curtain bangs cover the majority of the forehead to instantly mask wrinkles, while they also swing open like a curtain over the temples conceals any thinning along the hairline.

What to ask for: Brow-skimming­ curtain bangs that seamlessly blend into the rest of hair with face-framing layer.

10. Haircuts to look younger: A tapered pixie

Maye Musk with bob haircut
Bennett Raglin/Getty
Maye Musk with cute pixie after haircut

Another flattering and anti-aging pixie cut? One that’s tapered like Maye Musk’s! “It restores bounce to fine strands while pulling focus up and away from droopy skin,” says Butterworth.

What to ask for: A pixie with light, blended layers that’s longer on top and shorter on the side.

11. Haircuts to look younger: A wavy long bob

Jennifer Garner with long, wavy before haircut
Jennifer Garner with shoulder-length waves

Cropping long locks to shoulder length like Jennifer Garner did works wonders to turn back the clock, says hairstylist Kendall Dorsey, who’s worked with Alicia Keys and Kelly Rowland. That’s because shoulder-sweeping strands infused with light, yet volumizing layers creates hair-thickening oomph and movement to finer, thinnner tresses.

What to ask for: A shoulder-skimming cut with long, blended layers and soft side bangs.

12. Haircuts to look younger: A modern midi

Regina Hall before haircut with mid-length hair
Regina Hall with gorgeous after haircut, a modern midi.

Removing 3-4 inches as shown on Regina Hall above can make all the difference to elongate the face. “It draws the eye down at a slant, creating an angular look that helps slim a rounder face,” says hairstylist Chaz Dean, who’s worked with Eva Longoria and Drew Barrymore. Bonus: A blunt cut’s sharpness and structure optically contour and chisel the jawline, helping a double chin instantly recede.

What to ask for: A blunt cut with a slightly inverted silhouette that sits just above the shoulders.

13. Haircuts to look younger: A flippy bob

Claire Danes with before side part haircut
Claire Danes with flip after haircut to look younger

To take the focus off of harsh features, which can be emphasized when hair falls past the shoulders, Dean suggests swapping to a shorter cut with flippy ends like Claire Danes above. This draws attention to hair and optically softens any harsh angles. Even better? The cropped ‘do makes finer strands appear denser.

What to ask for: A jaw-length cut with angled, texturized razor-cut ends.

For more anti-aging hair tips and tricks, click through these stories:

8 Updos That Add Volume To Thin Hair: Celebrity Stylists Give the Easy How-Tos

The 10 Best Haircuts For Thin Hair That Make Hair Look Fuller from Every Angle

How To Create Sock Curls + More Heatless Styles That Add Volume to Fine Hair

How Lisa Rinna’s Hair Cut Changed Her Life: And How You Can Get the Look

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